The seemingly magic using villain known as Abra Kadabra is the third entry in the still impressive Who’s Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe, which was originally published beginning in 1985 over a span of 26 issues. The brainchild of three luminaries in sequential arts – the late and great Len Wein, Robert Greenberger, as well as Marv Wolfman. Who attempted – actually – succeeded in gathering the deep history of the then current DC Universe into an encyclopedic comic book format. In addition the trio helped to really open the eyes of a generation of readers to the worthy history of the roster of characters that many writers and artists helped create over the years. A prime example of course is the subject of this Who’s Who entry – the villainous Abra Kadabra, a time-traveling stage magician from 64th Century!
Abra Kadabra was created by both Carmine Infantino and John Broome for The Flash #128 in May of 1962 in a story entitled The Case of the Real-Gone Flash!. Infantino also provided the illustration for the Who’s Who entry of the character along with Frank McLaughlin. Of great interest is that along with Infantino, Broome also helped to co-create the likes of Detective Chimp, the Phantom Stranger, Kid Flash, The Elongated Man, as well taking on the mantle of writing for the Barry Allen version of The Flash to name a few of his accomplishments. Abra Kadabra would in fact become an archnemesis of everyone’s favorite scarlet speedster – that brightly garbed protector of Central City.
Frank McLaughlin got his start at Charlton Comics, working on the likes of Blue Beetle – this would be before DC Comics acquired the stable of the Charlton characters. His first work for DC Comics was on The Flash #215 but in addition he would also work on Batman, Action Comics, and Superman among other comic book series.
A quick aside, while Abra Kadabra is a member of the Flash’s vast Rogues Gallery as he is indeed a foe that has been known to clash with the hero again and again over the years – I’m a little more old school though in my thinking. When I think of Flash’s Rogues I always picture a select group that consist of Captain Cold, Mirror Master, Heat Wave, the Weather Wizard, the Trickster, and the Pied Piper. Now having said that I realize that one of those reasons is that the very first Flash comic I ever bought happened to be The Flash #254 from back in October of 1977.
As stated in the entry for Abra Kadabra in the first volume of the Who’s Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe:
- Alter Ego: Unknown
- Occupation: Former Stage Magician, now Professional Criminal
- Marital Status: Unknown
- Known Relatives: None
- Group Affiliation: None
- Base of Operations: 20th and 64th Century Earth
- First Appearance: FLASH #128
- Height 6’6″ Weight: 195 lbs.
- Eyes: Blue Hair: Black
In The Case of the Real-Gone Flash! we are introduced to Abra Kadabra in 6363 A.D. and the stage magician is coming to a horrible conclusion as he walks to the Magician’s Hall. That realization that is thanks to the impressive technological accomplishments by the scientists of the day, such as teleportation, telepathy, instantaneous hypnosis, and even telekinesis there is no need for a stage magician – it’s a dying art.
Upon learning that scientists have created a time machine – Kadabra realizes that this is his chance to travel back to the 20th Century where a stage magician might get some respect. Even with the advanced technological leaps of 6363 A.D. the machine can only make one trip due to it’s use of a rare source of meteorite material known as M-Metal – which would be used in later DC Comics series. This one way trip isn’t a daunting prospect for Kadabra however as he reasons with his scientific ‘magic tricks’ he will clean up as a stage magician. So after briefly hypnotizing three scientists in the laboratory where the time machine is being held he travels back to 1962. To be fair he does amaze an audience on the streets of Central City but grows upset when they fail to applaud him – forcing them to do so by means of the hypnotic machinery housed in a lapel jewel.
While Abra Kadabra is able to raise the finances… by force… to secure a theater booking it appears that the evil stage magician is also a victim of bad luck. Scheduling his first big performance during the finals of the World Series and the unveiling of the Statue of Freedom Central Square – no one shows up. It’s when reading about that last event and the fact that the Flash received press for stopping a gang of burglars that Abra Kadabra comes to the realization that to obtain an audience he must become a master criminal himself.
It’s at that very unveiling of the statue where Kadabra strikes – with a wave of his wand and the ability to use teleporter technology the statue disappears in front of the gathered crowd as well as Barry Allen. Using his hypnosis tech on those assembled, he paralyzes the crowd including Allen – but soon the villain strikes again – this time causing the oldest book ever to be printed to vanish at the Central City Library. This time the Flash is onto him and using his super speed attempts to capture the criminal in the act – yet again Kadabra uses his hypnosis jewel to force everyone to applaud and that includes our hero.
After making his getaway once again, Abra Kadabra publicly announces he will be giving a public performance at the theater he has rented – free of charge. Knowing of course that the Flash will surely show up, which the scarlet speedster does but as he charges the stage magician he is hit with a telekinetic blast that literally sends him soaring off the Earth itself.
Thankfully the speed force aura protects Barry Allen until he manages to figure out a way back home, with the help of a small planetoid. Barry is able to vibrate his body to the very same frequency of the technology that Kadabra used on him – tracking him to his home – this time when the stage magician tries to use his hypnosis jewel it’s an entirely different outcome. The Flash manages to grab Abra Kadabra and pull him in front of his own ‘hypno’ beam and then drops the crook off in the Central City jail.
While Abra Kadabra might not crave the items he is actually stealing – he just wants the attention and more importantly the applause of a crowd…even if he has to force their hands – literally. But his technological know-how does present a tricky challenge for the Flash and throughout the years and through many incarnations the stage magician and eventual real magic user has returned again and again to threaten the safety of the citizens of Central City.