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Flash Fridays – The Flash #194 February 1970

posted on April 20, 2018

The incomparable Neal Adams, who was doing a ton of work for DC during this period, turns in a terrific cover for this issue of The Flash. Neal’s hyperrealistic style was bringing a new look to the way super heroes were depicted that continues to this day. Allow me to get a little art nerdy here and point out the clearly delineated collarbone on the figure of the Flash. That sort of thing just wasn’t done much prior to Neal’s arrival, but would soon become de rigueur for future superhero artists.

As much as I was not a fan of Julie Schwartz’s gimmick covers, this one actually works pretty well. Coming so closely on the heels of the previous wedding cover and wanting to know why this is happening again probably gives it that extra bit of punch. The John Broome story inside is a supernatural/mystical tale that, while not Broome’s forte, is still a tale well told. The bride in question is a woman whose body is invaded by a female from the Realm of Shades (hence the casting of the two shadows) (don’t ask me to explain that – you can’t). This apparently happens every one hundred years and in a previous visit the alien visitor was slated to marry someone who looked like Barry Allen. So now she’s after the Flash whose uniform she can apparently see through. To help exorcise the the alien from the woman, the Flash travels to the Realm of Shades to go through with the sham marriage in order to satisfy the invading spirit. It succeeds, but only after the Flash has to battle his way back to his dimension through a hoard of demons all bent on keeping him there.

A nice little touch to this issue was the inclusion of a short story from Strange Adventures #13 from 1951. The story is by Gardner Fox and the art by Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella. Seeing that art team in a Flash comic alongside the current one certainly invites an immediate and inevitable comparison and once again elicits a nostalgic pang of loss for longtime fans of the book. Which is interesting because on the Flash Grams page Julie throws in the editorial towel and announces in response to yet another complaint about the art that Andru and Esposito will be departing for other DC pastures, and that he’ll be bringing on a stalwart from his artists stable. To quote Julie: “His name – and we’re shouting it from the rooftops – GIL KANE!”