The Crank File: Brave and the Bold #81
As a general rule, I'm not someone who likes to apply the laws of science to the world of comic books, a process that inevitably tramples every ounce of fun out of them like grapes at an old-fashioned winery. Sometimes it's enough to just shrug and accept what's happening instead of trying to figure out just why Superman shoots a little version of himself out of his hands sometimes or how Metamorpho's guitar rocks out with the power of laser beams. But sometimes, it's too much even for me.
Ben has a theory that these kind of moments are the result of a pure and gleeful contempt for the audience on the part of Golden and Silver Age comics creators, and while I can't say I totally agree with him, he did formulate said theory while reading through the Golden Age Flash Archives, where radioactive hard water allows a guy to run fast and strip gangsters at super-speed, so I've got to admit he's got a point.
Which is why I've decided to throw the power of the ISB into spotlighting these, the Bat-Shit Craziest Moments of the Silver Age.
I've recently been reading through DC's totally awesome and absolutely gorgeous Batman by Neal Adams hardcovers, which are rife--RIFE, I say!--with this sort of thing, like the time in World's Finest where Batman and Superman have a friendly battle of wits that involves a glass cage full of poison gas and a hidden, punch-activated atomic bomb, but for the moment that blows them all away, we turn tonight to The Brave and the Bold #81:
Yes, springing forth from the mind of my personal hero Bob Haney comes Carl Bork, years before he'd turn into a monster and hang out with an underage pickpocket in the pages of The Power Company.
See, Carl just got back from a trip around the world, only to be immediately run over by a truck. That's just how Gotham City rolls, baby. Anyway, he's surprised to learn that he's unharmed and, naturally assuming he's become invulnerable, robs a diner and walks away, shrugging off a cop's bullets, which ricochet harmlessly with sound effects like "BEEONG!" and "SPRANG!" He puts together a gang by letting them hit him with two-by-fours until they're suitably impressed, and then hands Batman his ass in a fistfight.
Fortunately, Barry Allen's in town to check out the Gotham City Forensics Lab, and Batman's able to enlist his help to track down the mysterious source of Bork's power, which turns out to be--of course!--a wooden statue carved by natives of an island he was shipwrecked on. Alas, Barry is immediately conked on the head by a rock (the bane of a surprising number of founding Justice Leaguers), and loses a life-size magical wooden statue, leaving it to be scooped up by a shady yachtsman:
"Gets mighty lonely out here, my wooden friend..." Yeah. That certainly won't be used for unwholesome purposes.
The Flash eventually recovers the statue and tries unsuccessfully to break it by smashing it against rocks and shooting it with futuristic laser beams, spending his time in the lab while Batman is distracting Bork by getting punched, thus proving who exactly is "the bold" around here.
This is about where it starts to get crazy.
Unable to destroy the statue by conventional means, the Flash decides to pick it up and run to the heart of the sun.
Yeah, you heard me. Run to the heart of the sun. And how does he accomplish this feat? Easy.
A giant, conveniently-located ramp. This one's in Central City, I presume for just such an occasion.
Here's where we run into a bit of a snag in Barry's master plan: Even assuming that he's traveling at lightspeed, he's looking at a seventeen-minute round trip, which--giving him the benefit of the doubt and assuming a relatively normal breathing rate, means he's dragging five and a half cubic feet of air in his slipstream alongside the statue. And that's before we factor in the Flash's apparent immunity to explosive decompression and the fact that he travels through the sun, which, as you may have heard, is awfully hot. And fairly bright.
These problems, of course, are circumvented by vibrating his molecules, and he runs back to Earth--from the far side of the Sun, mind you--by skipping off a string of asteroids, and the statue, along with Bork's invulnerability, is toast.
Hope you like sandwiches, Bork.