Who's Abra Kadabra?

Who's This? A Flash villain from the 64th Century.
The facts: Abra Kadabra is a Flash villain (but not a Rogue) who first appeared in The Flash #128 (May 1962) and used super-tech as if it were magic (he read Clarke) to commit daring crimes in the 20th Century, forcing bystanders to applaud. Barry Allen defeats him, so repeat appearances have a touch of revenge to them. He then more or less appeared every year or two through the Bronze Age. Most famously, he once turn the Flash into a wooden marionette.
How you could have heard of them: If that last bit sounds familiar to younger readers, it's that he recently pulled that stunt on the Titans in their Rebirth series. He of course appeared on the Flash TV show, played by David Dastmalchian.
Example story: The Flash #170 (May 1967) by Gardner Fox, Carmine Infantino and Sid Greene
Barry Allen's fourth engagement with the Magician from the Future, starts with a stage version of "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court". The Merlin of the play, John Cardine, is so good with the magic tricks, Barry immediately starts suspecting something. Or maybe it's the telepathic cackle beamed into his brain. That would do it. So Barry excuses himself after the production party, gets into his Flash duds and follows Cardine to a ceramics shop where he finds a robbery in progress (but no Cardine). The owner of the shop runs up to him afterward and gives him a reward, a medallion that is distinctly not ceramic. Is it a trap? OF COURSE IT'S A TRAP!
Next thing you know, the Flash can't come up with anything to charge these nice thugs with. Heck, they don't even look like criminals.
Basically, Flash can no longer see, hear or speak (accuse) evil. As he strolls down the street, a gang war erupts in Central City and he doesn't do a damn thing about it.

I think it's time to track back and Silver Age ourselves an explanation! Let's cast our eyes to the 64th Century where Abra Kadabra (no mystery, his name's in the story title) has been saddled with a robot cellmate/alarm clock. The Utopia feels that an inmate can have anything they want so long as it won't allow them to commit more crimes, so Kadabra pulls a Luthor and asks for innocuous parts he can turn into something dangerous.
You know, I never really thought of Abra Kadabra as having a punk mouth, but there it is. Another reason he doesn't fit in the Utopia, I'm sure. So he built a widget that makes people (and robots) incapable of seeing crimes. With it, he just walks out of prison, sends himself to the 20th Century, gets a job as an actor on a lark, discovers Barry Allen is the Flash, and draws him into a robbery to test his gadget, and so on. Got it? Okay, back to our story, already in progress...

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention three strange men following Barry around. They surprise Barry by being in his house, waiting:
Denizens of Earth-2 in his living room?! What is this, the Flash TV show?! Apparently, Dr. Fate was using some mumbo-jumbo to ferret out an evil from the far future of Earth-1 (slow day on Earth-2) and so here they are to investigate why Barry isn't seeing crime anymore. They talk it out, figure it's Abra Kadabra, think up a plan, and track the Magic Man to a museum exhibit - robbery already in progress. Flash can't see a thing, so Fate has cast an invisibility spell on the JSAers, and they're guiding Flash through the fight.
The idea is to trick Abra Kadabra into thinking Barry's gained a bunch of new powers because of his gadget. It works, of course.
Kadabra waves the effect away, Flash can see again, but it's not the pernicious prestidigitator's only trick. Have you seen this one on Penn & Teller's Fool Us? The amazing shrinking costume!
So yeah, Kadabra gets beat by a nude Flash (that's on brand) and sent back to the future. As for why Dr. Fate couldn't dispel the villain's magic, it's because it's not magic at all! We're all about science, here in Central City! But thanks for the magic help anyway, Doc.

Abra Kadabra comes off as a very versatile villain, of the type Gardner Fox had developed for his Justice League of America stories, but like most Flash villains, his ambitions are fairly limited. He's happy with a bit of robbery, a bit of humiliation, and getting underwear thrown at him from the cheap seats.

Who's Next? A hero for the rocket age.



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