Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Flash Facts: The Early Days of Mirror Master

Sam Scudder can attribute all his successes due to image...

...a reflection of who he was, and how he came to be the Mirror Master!

Living a life of crime let him to confront the Flash, and here's where it all started!

The Master of Mirrors

The Mirror Master premiered in Flash #105 (February-March, 1959) by John Broome, Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella, starting off as a bank robber, capturing the image of a teller of a Central City Bank, and using that image to go back and steal money from the bank, attracting the attention of the Flash!  As Flash followed the mirror image of the teller, he found Mirror Master's hideout, and faced off against a few illusions inside, such as a minotaur and a giant mosquito, until Flash saw the light (of not wanting light) to defeat his foes (who were just tricks of light in a mirror), and defeated the Mirror Master.

This story was first reprinted in 80 Page Giant #4 (October, 1964), as well as in Limited Collector's Edition C-45 (June-July, 1976), as well as in the first collection of the Flash Archives of 1996, Flash Chronicles of 2009, Flash Omnibus of 2014 and Flash: The Silver Age of 2016, as Mirror Master was the first villain of the new Flash's solo title to become a reoccurring villain...

Return Of The Mirror Master

Sam returned in Flash #109 (October-November, 1959 by John Broome, Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella) (with a story title that gave it away the basic plot).  Still, when Mirror Master returned, he brought new trouble for the Flash...after using a prison mirror to escape (which was discovered by Iris West as she was reporting on him in his jail cell), Mirror Master used a blinding light to rob banks this time around, and did escape the Flash with the cash.  Flash tracks down Mirror Master, but he uses the mirror he used to escape to shrink the Flash, who does figure out a way to reverse the process and defeat the Mirror Master (and at least try to make up missing time with Iris as well!).

This story was reprinted in Flash #187 (April-May, 1969), in the second Flash Archives of 2000 and Flash Chronicles of 2010, and the first Flash Omnibus of 2014 and Flash: The Silver Age of 2016.

Case Of The Stolen Super Powers

Next appearance for Mirror Master was outside of the Flash title, but instead in Brave and the Bold #30 (June-July, 1960) by Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky and Bernard Sachs.  True, the main villains of the story were Professor Ivo (who made his second appearance in Flash #158) and his android, Amazo, but Mirror Master was there, making him the first individual villain of a JLAer to appear in a Justice League of America story (even before the Justice League had their own title!).

This story was reprinted in Justice League of America #39 (November, 1965), as well as in the first Justice League of America Archive of 1992, Justice League of America Omnibus of 2014 and Justice League of America: The Silver Age of 2016 (and this wouldn't be the last the JLA saw of Mirror Master!).

The Mirror Master's Magic Bullet

Mirror Master returned to the Flash title with Flash #119 (March, 1961) by John Broome, Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson, with his greatest scheme to date...that of stealing rare mirrors in an art collection!  Escaping Flash (who was at the exhibit with the owner's daughter, Bettina; much to Iris' frustration) by throwing some of the mirrors he was stealing out a window (for Flash to save), Flash does find a key left behind by Mirror Master.  Finding Mirror Master by trying every lock in Central City (remember, fastest man alive), Flash is captured in a mirror duplicator and made to serve Mirror Master!  After sending Flash for a few useless trinkets from across the world, Mirror Master sends Flash to steal the rest of the mirrors from the exhibition....which was enough to break Flash out of the hypnotic spell, as Flash normally wouldn't steal.  With Sam back in jail, Barry goes to explain what happened to his reporter fiancee, Iris.

This tale was reprinted in Flash #169 (April-May, 1967), as well as in The Greatest Flash Stories Ever Told (both hardcover of 1991 and softcover of 1992)...

...and in the third Flash Archives of 2002, the fourth Flash Chronicles of 2013, and in the first Flash Omnibus of 2014.

The Doom Of The Mirror Flash

With Flash #126 (February, 1962) by John Broome, Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella, Mirror Master started using mirrors to access other dimensions (escaping jail).  While in that other dimension, Mirror Master befriends the women who live there, making them mirrors, while they bring him everything he wants.  Problem is, Mirror Master wants to escape this dimension, and recruits the Flash to help, bringing Flash to this dimension to help him escape.  Of course, Mirror Master turns the tables on the Flash, trying to kill him by turning the speedster into a mirror....but, Flash still comes out victorious, returning Sam Scudder to jail. 

This story was reprinted in the fourth Flash Archive of 2006 and in the first Flash Omnibus of 2014.

Who Doomed The Flash?

It is Flash who breaks Mirror Master out of jail in Flash #130 (August, 1962) by John Broome, Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella (or at least, so it appears).  Really, Flash was following up on a lead of recent attacks by his foes, but finds them all in jail, with attorney Paul Barrett the only link among them.  Going to check on the lawyer, Flash is overpowered by him, who then disguises himself as the Flash to break Mirror Master out of prison (Barrett was under Mirror Master's control since Sam's trial).  Mirror Master puts Flash in a trap which he escapes by the skin of his teeth (or, more accurately, filling his way out of danger), and recaptures the reflective rogue.

This tale was reprinted in DC Special #8 (July-August, 1970), in the fourth Flash Archive, DC Comics Presents: The Flash in 2011, and in the first Flash Omnibus of 2014.

The Mirror Master's Invincible Bodyguards

Mirror Master breaks jail again in Flash #136 (May, 1963) by John Broome, Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella, with a new plan to take on the Flash!  This time, Mirror Master has created two mirror guardian duplicates of himself to take on the Flash first, so he won't have to get his hands dirty.  This allows Mirror Master to escape his latest heist with his ill-gotten loot (and gets Mirror Master moved up in a poll of popular criminals).  Flash comes to confront Mirror Master creating after-images of himself to distract the mirror guardians, and defeats Mirror Master (with Mirror Master crashing in the criminal polling after heading back to jail).

This story was reprinted in Flash #196 (April-May, 1970) and in the fifth Flash Archive.

The Mirror Master's Master Stroke

Mirror Master's next scheme was a little quicker, as seen in Flash #146 (August, 1964) by John Broome, Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella,  using a mirror gimmick to switch legs with the Flash for a time.  Mirror Master then goes to take a course on making oneself a success, where he brags about his recent heist, hypnotizing the class to forget it after he tells them his tale.  Problem is, Barry Allen was also attending the class, and wonders where his missing time went, eventually figuring out one of his classmates was the Mirror Master, and then defeating him.

This story was reprinted in the sixth and final Flash Archive of 2012.

The House Of "Flashy" Traps

Mirror Master got tired of being caught by the Flash in the Flash comic, so he moved over to Detective Comics #336 (February, 1965) by Gardner Fox, Carmine Infantino and Sid Greene, where Elongated Man helped the Flash while visiting Central City, wherein Elongated Man was to help Flash with Mirror Master, and works his way through a mystery Mirror Master set up, catching a henchman of Mirror Masters....and finding Flash at police headquarters, with Mirror Master captured (with Flash having left his friend behind to solve the mystery, which Ralph Dibny loves to do!).

This story has only been reprinted in black and white, in the Showcase Presents the Elongated Man tradepaperback of 2006.

Reflections On Team-Ups

After his last defeat, Mirror Master teamed up with other Flash foes (like Captain Cold, Captain Boomerang, Heat Wave, the Top and Pied Piper) to form the Rogue's Gallery in Flash #155 (September, 1965), facing a secret villain, and would continue to work with other villains, like the Injustice Gang of the World (and Poison Ivy and Chronos), and with the Secret Society of Super-Villains (with Star Sapphire and Sinestro).  On reflection, this makes this a good place to stop, but some day soon, there will be another look at the Mirror Master!

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