Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Fast Talk: 64th Century Science

64th Century Science: One of the most brilliant and endearing traits of those Silver Age stories featuring the scarlet speedster was their adamant approach to scientific problem solving. In the pages of The Flash, technobabble and imaginative science were capable of explaining any feat or phenomenon regardless of its strangeness or complexity. This is the reason I feature Fast Talk each Wednesday. What's important is the fact that the series was never vague or misleading regarding the stark difference between science and magic, even if the two were all-but indistinguishable in effect. The ultimate example of this policy, of course, is Abra Kadabra, that theatrical convict from the future whose technology masqueraded in the modern day as magic. In this panel, Doctor Fate himself experiences some momentary confusion when one of his "counter-magic" spells fails to work against the supervillain's sinister tricks because, as the editor explains, "Abra Kadabra was using 64th science to make his feats seem like magic--he wasn't really using magic at all!" Let this be a lesson to all conjurers and mystics preparing to head into battle against technologically advanced foes! Don't stories featuring the fastest man alive always manage to leave you feeling Darn Clever?

Issue: The Flash #170 (May 1967)

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