The Secret City (All-Flash #31, 1947)

The story begins when both Jay Garrick and Dr. Maria Flura have an interview scheduled at the same time with newspaper publisher Dale Thomas. They bump into each other at the door, and there’s a bit of a spark between the two, which I’m sure Joan Williams would not be happy about. But that’s quickly brushed aside as Thomas insists that he has no time for either of them since he has another appointment to keep, one made 20 years earlier. However, the individual he’s supposed to meet, former reporter Jim Ronson, turns up dead in the pressroom, and then mysteriously fades away.

flash rowboatFrom there Thomas gives the story of how Ronson found a hidden city in the jungles of the Amazon twenty years earlier and promised to meet with Thomas to tell him all the details. By this point, Jay has left and returned as the Flash, and he, Dr. Flura and Thomas all decide to head to South America. The Flash borrows a rowboat, and then he swims all the way to South America at super speed, pushing the boat with Flura and Thomas inside. I guess an airplane trip would just be too slow! They are attacked by what appear to be white men in odd uniforms, who all look identical and who turn to dust when defeated like the body of Ronson did. They spot Ronson, alive, and follow him, only to fall down into a pit and into the Secret City that gives the story its name. They meet the genuine Ronson, who had learned the secret of mentally projecting duplicates of himself in order to lead them to the city. That power is held by the dictator of the city, and after the Flash has saved himself and the others from being burned alive, the dictator attacks him with it. He first tries duplicates of himself, then of the Flash, but Jay defeats them all and forces the man to surrender.

In the end, Ronson stays behind to study the city, now that he’s no longer a prisoner, while Jay takes Thomas and Dr. Flura home, where Thomas promises to publish the story.

Overall: this was Carmine Infantino’s first ever work with the Flash. He’s better known for drawing Barry Allen, but he drew a few Jay Garrick stories in the late 1940s as well. The story itself is like something from Indiana Jones or Edgar Rice Burroughs, with hidden ancient cities hidden deep in the jungle. It avoids stereotypical natives by instead giving us men of indeterminate ethnicity and strange mental powers. And lastly, Dr. Flura will go on to appear in at least two more stories. One of them is a sequel to the Secret City, and one introduces the Golden Age version of the Star Sapphire, so this is the beginning of some ongoing continuity in the form of a recurring character.

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