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Flash Fridays – The Flash #235 August 1975

posted on September 27, 2019

Cary Bates pulls together disparate elements of the Flash canon to produce not only this nifty Dick Giordano cover, but a rather good story to match. The return of Golden Age villain Vandal Savage gets the ball rolling. Now I know that some of the more attentive Flash Friday followers are probably thinking: “Hey, didn’t he die in the Death of an Immortal story in #215? In a fireball!?” Well yes, but he got better. Or more accurately, he only half died. Yes, we did see him immolated, annihilated and french fried in a fireball on Earth Two, but apparently he managed to vibrate half of himself to Earth One. Quite understandably he only feels like half the man he once was, and he finds that he needs to absorb the powers of both Flash and Green Lantern to restore his immortality.

To lure the two superheroes into his grasp, he first captures Barry’s wife Iris and Green Lantern’s squeeze Carol Ferris. The hunt for Vandal Savage takes the two heroes to Earth Two where they run into the Earth two Flash who tells them they need to return to Earth One to find Savage. Then he wishes them luck and abruptly takes off leaving the two heroes scratching their heads. Flash and GL finally catch up with Savage and subdue him. They rescue Carol Ferris but there’s no sign of Iris which leaves the Flash distraught and baffled as to what to do next. In the closing two panels of the story we see the Earth Two Flash through a rain streaked window thinking that Barry can never know the truth… that he, Jay Garrick, is responsible for Iris’s disappearance and Barry can never see Iris again. At that point, an editorial box exhorts us not to miss the next issue as Barry continues his desperate search for Iris.

Up to this point, single issue narratives were the exception to the rule in The Flash with most issues containing two stories. So that in itself is unusual. But a continued story is almost unheard of. Can editor Schwartz and writer Bates finally be bowing to the successful Marvel model where every story in every book is continued ad infinitum? Don’t miss the next blog to find out!