Showcase #4: "The Man Who Broke The Time Barrier!"

 "The Man Who Broke The Time Barrier!"
 September-October, 1956

 Story: John Broome
 Art: Carmine Infantino & Joe Kubert

 An exiled futuristic criminal has arrived in our era, setting the stage for a showdown between super-science and super-speed! Each combatant vies for victory -- until both realize that triumph can only be reached by... "The Man Who Broke The Time Barrier!"

 One day, as Henry Brown turns on his electric shaver... he thinks about getting to work on time, when his shaver suddenly flies out of his hand! Elsewhere, as a television repairman replaces a worn-out picture tube... the tube is suddenly torn from his bare hand... The sudden theft of a generator is being reported at the local police station... and in the police laboratory, police scientist Barry Allen is performing an experiment... As Barry ponders the mysterious thefts -- and the unusual method of operation... the beaker into which he was pouring his solution -- has vanished!

 Seeing someone leaving the scene, the police scientist touches the ring on his finger, the cover snaps open -- and a crimson costume is ejected -- expanding instantly upon contact with the air... the Flash appears... A split-second later, the Scarlet Speedster locates the thief on a nearby side street... As the Fastest Man on Earth hurtles at his target, the thief fires off intense heat rings! The red rings are the least hot -- the yellow rings are hotter -- and the blue-white rings are the hottest of all! The Crimson Comet spins at super-speed and creates a wind to cool off the rings -- then sends them skyward... While he avoided the sudden barrage, the thief has made good his escape!

 On the outskirts of Central City, the thief realizes he must be more careful, and admitting to meeting such a fast opponent! As he renews his determination to return to his own time -- Mazdan recalls his last moments in his own era! He was standing on the capsule platform... and the judge was reading his sentence... The court had found him guilty and he was to be exiled in the future via a time capsule! His prison was to be the Earth of the 50th Century -- a barren world! Mazdan vowed that no prison would hold him and that he would be back for revenge! The time capsule closed and was activated! The vibration went off with him inside of it! The capsule did not go into the future -- but into the past... to the Twentieth Century...

 With the aid of his magnetic rod, Mazdan has stolen the objects necessary to send the time capsule back in the future! He still needs to strengthen the capsule's shielding -- with gold! Mazdan recalls how people once kept their gold in banks -- like the one before him! It is currently closed, but that won't stop him... As Mazdan works on entering the bank, a frantic police officer calls for back-up! At police headquarters, Barry Allen overhears about the Clover Street Bank being subjected to rings of heat! Seconds later, the Scarlet Speedster is making his way across Central City... The description fits the thief who had escaped him earlier today! He will reach the bank before the thief can make his getaway! This time, the heat-rings will not stop him from capturing him!

 As the heat-rings are unleashed at the Flash, the Monarch of Motion leaps through the center of the flame, and turns up the heat on the thief! At police headquarters, Mazdan is placed in a jail cell, and stripped of all of his possessions -- but the authorities are unaware of the special contact eye-lens, which he uses to magnify the electric light's heat to melt the metal lock on the cell door!

 The weird weapon, the gold, and the thief are soon gone from police headquarters! The police scientist hears the news and activates his ring once more -- to become the Flash! Since his foe has mastery over heat -- the Scarlet Speedster will use that knowledge to track him down! The Flash can detect slight changes in temperature at super-speed and wherever the thief went, there are traces of raised temperature in the objects he passed! The Fastest Man on Earth follows the heat trail... past an intersection... past a bridge railing -- and the trail is getting hotter!

 On the outskirts of Central City, the Flash finds the thief inside a strange gold-coated projectile! He must reach him before the thief closes the door! Now caught, Mazdan tells his story... promising not to return to the Twentieth Century upon arrival in his own era! The Flash knows the time capsule works by tremendous heat! When the capsule takes off, the resultant blast will be great enough to blast a crater -- at least ten miles in diameter! The Scarlet Speedster asks Mazdan if he has given any thought to the people who reside in the area. They would be killed -- but the thief is unconcerned about the lives of only a few thousand people -- The Flash considers them important -- and to ensure their safety, he will take Mazdan back to his own future era!

 By traveling close to the speed of light, the Flash sets up vibrations that will protect their bodies into the future! An unused racetrack is the ideal location for the Monarch of Motion to get up to speed! As the Fastest Man Alive becomes a blur and fades from sight, his rate of speed reaches a certain level... with both he and Mazdan passing through the mists of time! A roadblock appears on the future time-track... Mazdan had not noticed the time barrier coming to the Twentieth Century because he was traveling in the other direction!

 The Scarlet Speedster battles the time barrier with every erg of his super-speed and finds the experience like unto running on a treadmill -- with hardly any forward motion whatsoever! Faster and faster they go -- until finally... CRACK Mazdan is returned to his own era and placed into another time capsule set for the future! After another spurt of super-speed... the Flash slows down on the racetrack, and realizes that although it may seem he has been gone for hours -- it must have been only a moment that he was gone! Back at the police laboratory, there are no further strange robberies, and police scientist Barry Allen is confident that the thief was caught -- and is serving time -- somewhere!

 This story was reprinted in The Flash #215 (May, 1972).

 Mazdan is bald, wears a purple suit, green shirt and gloves.

 He resembles the 1970s incarnation of Lex Luthor in appearance.

 Carmine Infantino and Joe Kubert illustrated the first story of the Flash in this selfsame issue.

 The Scarlet Speedster was able to run rings around Mazdan's heat rings.

 The judge of the future wears the same kind of lenses as future Flash foe Captain Cold's.

 Gold was plentiful on planet Krypton.

 Despite being searched by Officer Murphy (Biff Maynard), Captain Cold (Michael Champion) managed to make good his escape via a concealed escape device.

 An editor's note informs the reader that the Flash discarded this method of time travel in favor of using his own cosmic treadmill.

 Steve Chung
 "The Man Who Reviewed The Time Barrier!"