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Flash Fridays – The Flash #209 September 1971

posted on October 12, 2018

The cover to this issue harkens back to one of my all-time favorite Flash covers, the “Who killed the Flash?” cover from issue #130 where the prostrate Flash is shown surrounded by the floating heads of his rogues gallery. Even though there are only a couple of the rogues here, it’s still great to see after a way-too-long absence of the Flash’s criminal counterparts. These colorful captains of crime possibly owed their return to the Flashinados who had been writing in to the Flash-Grams pages demanding to see more of them. On the other hand, their presence may have been precipitated by the fact that Cary Bates, who had grown up reading the The Flash when these villains held sway, had replaced Bob Kanigher as the writer of the lead-off story, in preparation for Bates settling into his log Flash run. Or, more likely, it was simply both reasons.

In any event, the story opens with Captain Boomerang and the Trickster having tripped-up the Flash and apparently killed him. It would be revealed that Grodd the super gorilla (yet another returning oldie but baddie) had guided their hands in this perfidy, but, instead of dying, the Flash had been pulled through the life barrier (which eerily presages the speed force that has come to dominate, and not necessarily in a good way, the current Flash era) by an entity known as the Sentinel who has brought the Flash there to help battle the Devourer who is, devouring natch, the Sentinel’s universe on its way to devouring our own. The Flash succeeds in helping him and he, in turn, returns the Flash to his own universe and back to life. Whereupon the Flash defeats the Trickster, Captain Boomerang and the super gorilla all on a single page (maybe the troublesome trio was a little rusty after the long layoff).

This is followed by a clever Kid Flash tale by Steve Skeates in which the Kid gets his uniform ring mixed-up the the ring of a fellow student. Once again, Skeates delivers a very simple John Broome-like story on a very small town scale that doesn’t venture very far from Blue Valley High School, and is more notable for the way it humanizes the story’s protagonists. It should be observed that in a coloring error, the Kid’s uniform loses its red leggings and is instead solid yellow from top to bottom leaving him looking like a really super fast banana.

The reprint story presented to round out the issue is “The Elongated Man’s Underseas Trap”. While it’s a story I dearly love, it nevertheless is a reprint, which for a dyed-in-the wool Flashinado is old news.