The Flash #292

    The Flash » The Flash #292 - "Mirror, Mirror, Off The Wall..."/The Hostages Of Precinct 13! released by DC Comics on December 1, 1980.

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    "Mirror, Mirror, Off The Wall..."

    Police forensics scientist, Barry Allen, and his date, Fiona Webb, spend the day visiting a traveling carnival. Inside the Hall Of Mirrors, Allen sees a reflection of Samuel Scudder, the notorious Mirror Master. In their last encounter, Allen, as the Flash, had been in pursuit of the Mirror Master, when a pool of liquid mirror, mistaken for a puddle of water, detonated under his feet. Not only was the Flash rendered unconscious, but a post-hypnotic suggestion was planted in his mind, allowing him, and only him, to see Scudder's reflection in the Hall of Mirrors.

    Scudder telepathically teases his next scheme. Allen spends the rest of the afternoon brooding over Scudder's plans. Feeling neglected, Webb storms off. Allen returns to the Hall of Mirrors, that night, as the Flash. The Mirror Master is waiting for him, his reflection appearing in all of the mirrors. Suddenly, the Flash's body distorts into a fun house mirror version of himself. The Mirror Master leaps into one of the mirrors. When the Flash tries to pursue, the mirror shatters on impact, distorting the Flash's body anew. The Flash shatters all the mirrors. With the mirrors broken, the Flash reverts to normal.

    The Mirror Master, though, has escaped. Racing home, the Flash finds his movements awkward and uncoordinated. Doffing his uniform, the Flash elects to walk home. The next morning, Webb arrives at Allen's apartment, to apologize for her behavior at the carnival. Allen notices the lid coming off the coffee urn, as Webb pours him a cup. Allen attempts to right the lid, at super-human speed, but instead jostles the urn, spilling coffee all over Webb. Once again, Webb storms off. Allen, as the Flash, heads out to get a batter idea of his condition.

    As he runs, he finds himself even more uncoordinated than he was the night before, to the point of losing his balance, as he tumbles down the street. Spying his reflection, in a puddle of water, the Flash suddenly understands what has happened to him. A television news broadcast informs the Flash that the Mirror Master has stolen an enormous refracting mirror, from Mount Malomar Observatory. The Flash returns to the Hall Of Mirrors, the mirrors only having just recently been replaced. The Mirror Master has reversed the Flash's very being, thus incapacitating his ability to move at super-human speed.

    The Flash only caught on when he saw the insignia of his uniform reflecting back normal, in the puddle of water, instead of reversed, as it should. Alternating his vibratory frequency, the Flash rushes into the mirrors, trying to find the right frequency to allow him to pass into the mirror dimension. After shattering several mirrors, again, the Flash finally passes into one. Upon racing back out of the mirror, the Flash is back to normal. To fool the Mirror Master into believing the Flash is still incapacitated, the Flash reverses the emblem on his uniform.

    The Flash tracks the Mirror Master down, his presence automatically triggering a death ray the Mirror Master has aimed at Central City. With no time for games, the Flash beats the Mirror Master into unconsciousness, then outraces the laser beam to Central City. With buckets of silver nitrate, the Flash coats the windows of a skyscraper, turning them into mirrors. The laser is reflected, harmlessly, into the sky. The Flash, as Allen, manages to convince Webb to go out with him again. For his wanton destruction of the Hall of Mirrors, on two separate occasions, the carnival bans the Flash from their premises.

    The Hostages Of Precinct 13!

    Firestorm is attacked by the Hyena. By the team Firestorm recovers from being ambushed, the Hyena has moved on, attacking a local police precinct house. Firestorm moves in to engage, but the Hyena takes the police captain hostage. The Hyena demands media coverage, or else he will slaughter the police captain. The Hyena holds a press conference, wherein he criticizes New York's finest. When a police bulletin comes in, regarding a robbery, the Hyena bolts from the precinct house. Firestorm pursues. While Firestorm gets the shop keeper to safety, the Hyena tears into the thieves. By the time Firestorm returns to the scene of the carnage, the Hyena has escaped.

    Firestorm826's Panel-by-Panel Story Summary (Spoiler Alert)

    Two men fused by a bizarre nuclear explosion: One is Nobel Prize-winning physicist Professor Martin Stein; the other is teenager Ronnie Raymond, and together, they form…Firestorm, the Nuclear Man!

    It’s not strength that makes the Hyena deadly, although the Hyena is strong; it’s not the silver slashing claws, though these too are menacing…The Hyena is a killer - - mad, vicious, ferocious, and sly - - and what the Hyena attacks, dies!

    The Hyena lunged from a rooftop, attacking Firestorm as he flew past. The Hyena rakes Firestorm with his claws as the two fall from the sky. “This guy’s a maniac!” Ronnie thinks as he struggles. “I answer a call for help from Professor Stein, and he tells me about seeing ‘someone’ on a roof…I go to take a look, and whammo! This escapee from a gorilla movie is all over me, like a hot cheerleader!

    The Hyena scratches at Firestorm’s chest, shredding and tattering his costume. “Nuts to that! I’m taking action!” Ronnie thinks. FTOOM! He fires a nuclear burst that smashes into the Hyena’s chest! The Hyena is blown back.

    “The last time I saw the Hyena was months ago, back when he teamed up with Multiplex! He almost tore me to pieces! Well I won’t give him the chance to do that again!” Ronnie thinks as watches the Hyena. “This time I’m gonna take the initiative and - - UNNGH!” Ronnie grunts from the Hyena’s kick. The frenzied beast had fallen onto a flagpole, pivoted around it and launched himself back like a slingshot into Firestorm! Ronnie is knocked back headfirst through the air!

    “Ronald, if I may say so, you approached this situation quite inappropriately,” Professor Stein suggests.

    “Save it, Professor. In case you hadn’t noticed…I’m about to break my neck..!” Ronnie replies as he falls. People on the sidewalk below start to scatter at the sight of the plummeting Nuclear Man. “Too dazed to fly…Can barely think..! But I’ve gotta try to keep from going splat all over West 44th Street…even if I’m not half-sure what I’m doing…Only chance…hope it works…”

    FTOOM! Ronnie beams a transforming burst into a car just below him. Instantly, it turns into a soft, car-shaped cushion! SPROIINNG! Ronnie lands safely on top of it. “Really, Ronald - - using your atomic restructuring powers to change an automobile into foam rubber?” Stein asks.

    “I didn’t hear you suggest something better, Professor,” Ronnie replies as he hops onto the sidewalk. “Besides, it did the job…and no one got hurt…least of all, me!”

    From the adjacent Willie’s Pub, an inebriated man stumbles out of the doorway. He fumbles for his keys as he walks up to the foam car. “Boy, ish Marge gonna cream me tonight. Better think of a good excuse,” he thinks. He puts his key in the car’s door lock, only to be dumbfounded by the soft foam material. “I…wonder…Hic!..when the train leavesh for Timbuktu?” he thinks as he wobbles away.

    Ronnie looks down at his ripped and torn uniform. “Lucky those claws only slashed my costume. If the Hyena is running true to style, the claws were probably poisoned!” He waves a hand and mends the holes and tears in the fabric. “Who is that guy, anyway? Why’d he disappear all those months ago?” he thinks as he flies back up the street. “And why did he come back? What does he want this time - - huh?”

    CRASH! “EEEYAAAH!” Just below, a police officer smashes through the lobby window of Precinct 13, landing hard on the sidewalk below. “Oh my gosh, I don’t believe it!” Ronnie blurts as he looks inside the lobby. “The Hyena is attacking that precinct house! That’s what he was heading for! He’s crazy, absolutely out of his mind!”

    “Remember, Ronald, the Hyena has always displayed a pathological hatred for the police. Oddly, he seemed to hate criminals almost as intensely,” Stein cautions.

    “That didn’t stop him from teaming up with Multiplex to kill me, Prof,” Ronnie replies.

    “I think he was misled, Ronald, moreover, he identifies you with the police, and thus, hates you as much as he hates them!” Stein explains.

    Ronnie lowers his atomic density and starts to phase through the front door of the precinct house. “Which still doesn’t explain what he’s doing in a police station, Pro…” Ronnie emerges on the other side, exclaiming, “Holy Hannah!”

    Just ahead, the Hyena stands on the precinct lobby desk. He holds the station’s Captain by the neck; the officer’s feet dangle just above the floor. “One more step, Firestorm, heh-heh-heh! And the Police Captain here is so much dead meat, hii-hii-hii!”

    “Please…do what he says!” gasps the terrified Captain.

    “Take it easy, fella, just relax. What do you want?” Ronnie asks as he cautiously approaches the Hyena.

    “I’m so glad you asked, heh-heh. I want a TV news crew,” the Hyena answers. “Get one or the fat boy in blue dies, hi-hi-hi.”

    At that moment, only two blocks away… “Okay, you know what to do,” a masked thug tells his partners. They pull their van to a stop outside the Goldberg’s Jewelry shop. “Right. We grab the old guy who owns the place,” another thug answers. “We get him to open his safe,” the driver adds. The leader nods, adding, “And if he gives us any grief - - we waste ‘im.”

    The door swings open and the three armed masked men step into the small shop. “M-May I help you gentlemen?” asks the elderly owner warily.

    “…Come on, come on, what took you so long?” Ronnie asks. He stands outside the precinct house where a crew from WXYZ-TV is unloading equipment from their van.

    “Ever hear of rush hour, Carrot-Top? What’s the story here anyway?” the reporter asks. She plugs her remote microphone into her cameraman’s shoulder-held TV camera. They follow Firestorm into the station as she adds, “All the dispatcher said was to rush right over to Precinct 13 and - - uh-oh.”

    “A lady of the press, heh-heh! How kind of you to come, hi-hi-hi,” the Hyena giggles. “I have a statement to make, hi-hi, concerning the police of this fair city…”

    Ronnie leans against the door looking into the lobby. Several unconscious officers lay strewn about the floor amidst overturned desks and chairs. “Calm down, Ronald. There’s nothing you can do. You can’t even direct a nuclear blast at the Hyena, since our restructuring powers cannot affect organic objects - - especially people,” Stein advises.

    “I know…and it’s eating me up, Professor,” Ronnie replies.

    “Patience, Ronald. If strength will not serve us, wits will,” Stein suggests.

    “I wish I shared your optimism as well as half your mind, Professor,” Ronnie answers. “Right now, things look about as bad as they can get.”

    “Will you explain for our cameras just why you took this Precinct hostage, Mr. - - er - - Hyena?” asks the WXYZ-TV reporter.

    “To expose corruption, my dear, heh-heh-heh! This is supposed to be New York’s finest! The best! But look! Disgustingly overweight…smug…a poltroon, he-he-hee!” the Hyena explains, tapping at the Captain’s belly. “They reject those who would serve the people of this city, hi-hi, and instead - - instead…heh-heh?”

    Breeeeee! The Hyena’s voice trails as an alarm goes off on the Captain’s desk. Inside Goldberg’s Jewelry shop, the owner has reached below the display case to activate the silent robbery alarm.

    “That’s a burglar alarm! Some scum is robbing a jewelry store up the street, heh-heh!” the Hyena cries out. “Get out of my way, you fat fool!” He drops the Captain and leaps away!

    The surprised reporter ducks out of the way, blurting, “Wait! What about your speech? I thought…”

    “Speeches don’t matter! Nothing matters…but to get those scum!” the Hyena calls back as he sprints out the front door, passing right by Firestorm.

    “Now, Ronald, strike now!” Professor Stein urges as the Hyena flashes past.

    Ronnie leaps to the air, closely pursuing the Hyena. “No, Professor, not yet…I’ve got a hunch about this! If the Hyena hates crooks as much as he says he does…this could be verrrry interesting!”

    The three gunmen drag the Mr. Goldberg out of the jewelry shop to the sidewalk. One tightly holds the owner from behind. The other two carry large bags of loot and scan up and down the sidewalk with guns at ready. “Hurry up, old man. You’re coming with us for protection!” a thug barks as he pushes the old man toward the getaway van. “Yeah, nobody is gonna stop us while we’ve got you as a hostage!” another thug adds.

    “Wanna bet? HEE-HI-HEEE! HII-HII-HIII-HA-HA-HA!” the Hyena yells as he leaps onto the top of the getaway van.

    Then, the Hyena is among them, slashing, like the scavenger of the African veldt whose name the Hyena bears… “HII-HI-HA-HA-HA!” the Hyena cackles as it rips into the panicked gunmen.

    “Gotta get this old man out of danger!” Ronnie thinks. He swoops down and scoops up Mr. Goldberg, quickly landing on the steps of a nearby tenement. “There, old man. Now I’ve got to head back to capture the crazy,” Ronnie tells Mr. Goldberg as he gently sets him down.

    “You may find that difficult, Ronald,” Professor Stein advises. “The Hyena fled as soon as he’d completed - - eh - - his job. I doubt we’ll see him again tonight.”

    Ronnie looks over the three unconscious gunmen lying amid the strewn jewelry spilling out of their bags. “So he’s won another round,” Ronnie answers. “But I promise you, Professor…the next one’s gonna be mine!”

    The End



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