Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Knowledge Absorption: If a panel like this doesn't prompt you to perform a sudden double take, I don't know what will. One of the more impressive byproducts of the Flash's astonishing super-speed powers is his ability to absorb knowledge at a rate that matches the incredible, accelerated speed of his movements. This allows the monarch of motion to become something of a superhuman polymath or Renaissance Man. When faced with a medical crisis worthy of Michael Crichton or Robin Cook in "24 Hours of Immortality," by Robert Kanigher and Irv Novick, the fastest man alive decides that the matter is simply too dire to leave to the professionals. The scarlet speedster must become a surgeon himself, and he accomplishes this by "absorb[ing] the surgeon's exhausting briefing with lightning rapidity" before taking up a scalpel. (It was kind of Barry to take a nanosecond to don the appropriate scrubs, too. Not only is his crimson costume likely filthy from all that crimefighting, but the more sterile attire is sure to instill some confidence in his bewildered patient as well!) Not surprisingly, this knack for accelerated learning has been used sparingly in stories featuring the Flash, and the writers have imposed some temporal limitations on his encyclopedic memory as well. It's a wonder that scientists like Dr. Tina McGee aren't more interested in studying the Flash's brain rather than his body!
Issue: The Flash #206 (May 1971)