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Flash Fridays – The Flash # 248 April 1977

posted on April 3, 2020

This issue of The Flash needed the new full book format to pack in everything that Cary Bates tosses into the mix. The best place to start is right at the beginning where Barry, while waiting for Iris to do some shopping, thinks he spots his high school sweetheart Daphne Dean, now a Hollywood actress, walking in town, but before he can check that out, Heat Wave shows up to rob the store where Iris is shopping. After defeating Heat Wave’s latest invention a heat wave distortion beam and saving Iris and the others, Barry tells Iris about who he saw. When they get home, they find a doctor waiting for them who tells them that Daphne had suffered a concussion on a movie set and now had amnesia (I sometimes wonder what writers would do if the ailment amnesia didn’t exist). The doctor has brought Daphne to Central City to meet with Barry hoping that it will jog Daphne’s memory. Daphne had appeared early in the Silver Age run when she returned to see Barry as part of a publicity stunt that her agent had cooked up. It later backfired on her when she realized she was still in love with Barry.

Next door to the Allens, a young boy named Barney (Barney?) is an aspiring comic book artist and has invented a villain that we see on his drawing board called Master Villain (apparently the whole family is bad at the name thing). We then see Daphne arriving at the Allens is an amorphous alien cloud kind of reminiscent  of the Green Glob from Tales of the Unexpected. The alien slithers over to Barney’s house and inhabits the Master Villain drawing bringing it to life. But now, let us return to the Barry Allens strolling with Daphne Dean in downtown Central City… or so says the caption box in the next panel. Daphne still can’t remember squat when suddenly they see some policemen being tossed through the air. Barry as the Flash takes off to save them, only to end up battling Master Villain. The fight ends in a draw with Master Villain taking off to regroup. Cut to Daphne at a pay phone (I know…) talking with someone about how the Allens fell hook line and sinker for the amnesia routine. Apparently Cary Bates not only resurrected Daphne, but the old plot as well. The story closes for the moment with a shot of Barney creating a superhero at his drawing board. So let’s recap… we’ve got a conniving actress, a formless alien inhabiting an imaginary villain, and an innocent cartoonist creating a superhero. Not bad for one issue.

Speaking of art as we just were, the Irv Novick/Frank McLaughlin art team continues to improve on this book and this is by far one of their best outings combining with storylines everywhere to make this one of the better issues of late.