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Flash Fridays – The Flash #245

posted on February 14, 2020

This issue marks one of the lower spots in the Flash’s Silver Age career. It’s hard to know where to start because it pretty much fails across the board. It unfortunately puts on display some of writer Cary Bates baddest habits. So rather than trying to recount this wearisome story, let’s take a look at some of those bad habits.

To start with, this isn’t the first time that Bates has come up with a simply bad super villain team. This gang’s only claim to fame is a “zinger” gun that dissolves walls and allows them to commit robberies. They have no personalities and no interesting backstory. They are virtually characterless characters. They don’t even wear masks because they’re so pointless that nobody cares. As he’s done before, Bates has created a throwaway villain team that we will never see again, which is good because we don’t ever want to see them again.

The Zinger Gang only exists to provide some gimmicky reason for the Flash’s powers to go awry, which they do thanks to the “zinger” gun. This trope that Bates has made his own has become tiresome and boring. Boring is something that you don’t want to write into a comic book. These gimmicky gimmicks give gimmicks a bad name.

And, while we’re talking about giving things a bad name, there’s a brief interaction between Barry and Iris that’s kind of baffling. Actually what’s baffling is their sex life. Barry/Flash returns home quite late explaining to Iris, who’s already in bed, that he ran into trouble on the way home. Iris’s response is to roll over and proclaim: “Well, you’ll get no trouble from me!”. At the end of the previous issue when Barry, feeling a little frisky, is about to chase Iris into the bedroom she responds: “Barry, you wouldn’t!”. Those two incidents are thrown out there with no context or explanation or anything. And there’s no follow-up to either. Bates seems to be clueless about relationships between men and women, and seems to draw most of his understanding from bad 50’s TV sitcoms.

Even the attempt to set up some bait to draw the reader to the next issue is forced and contrived and bears no relationship to anything else in the story.

But, hey, it happens. They can’t all be blockbusters, and I’m sure that writer Bates will return to better form in the next issue. I certainly hope so because we have over a hundred issue left to go.