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Flash Fridays – #203 February 1971

posted on August 24, 2018

Well, sports fans, this is where the fewmits hit the windmill! It’s the issue where we find out that Barry’s wife Iris is really from the future, 2945 to be precise. For those Flashinados who were depressed about Barry’s hair being longer with the onset of Irv Novick’s pencilling, this news probably sent them right over the proverbial edge. The big whoosh you can hear is John Broome’s exquisitely thoughtful continuity going right out the window. These days, of course, books get retconned and rebooted in the middle of an issue and nobody bats an eyelash, but, back in 1971, this was cause for a Defcon 4 existential crisis.

The goofy looking cover was a clue that some sort of shenanigans were in the offing when an ok Neal Adams cover becomes an odd photo montage. Not only that, but the guy in the photo looks strangely like Stan Lee with a beard. I’m not sure who was to blame for the Iris from the future idea, but, since Kanigher wrote it, Kanigher gets the credit/blame. He basically apes the Superman origin story which he cops to at the story’s end. It seems that Eric and Fran (Fran?) Russell sent baby Iris into the past to avoid being caught up in a nuclear war where she showed-up on the patio (I’m not kidding) of Ira West and his wife. She also came with a locket with the name Iris Russell and it’s the finding of this locket with it’s recorded message from her parents of the future that begins the unravelling of Iris’s life. In a modest nod to what John Broome had established, Kanigher allows that Professor West’s absent mindedness may have stemmed from his trying to suppress all of this craziness. As she calls Barry the to tell him the news (Hey, guess what, honey…) her “time-vibrations”  become unstable and she’s zipped to the future. Oy. She meets her real parents who recognize her from the locket, and then the Flash follows her (thank God for the cosmic treadmill!) to the future and saves her from the evil Sirik the Supreme. Even though this particular future comes about eight hundred years after that of Professor Zoom/The Reverse Flash, it’s still a bit disquieting that it’s nothing like that earlier future. The absence of Infantino’s futuristic buildings are certainly a big part of that. Let’s just say that Novick’s feel for the future leaves a lot to be desired. In the end, Eric and Fran (okay, I can’t stand it! Has there ever in the history of super hero comics or the entire body of science fiction been a character named Fran? I’m thinking probably not, but… it is a big fictional universe out there) decide that Iris’s life should be with her husband in the past, so they part ways with the Flash and Iris promising to visit. The Flash qualifies things by saying “from time to time”, and so the door is left open, but not too open. I really can’t wait to read the Flash-Grams letters page two issue from now.