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Flash Fridays – The Flash #252 August 1977

posted on June 5, 2020

At first blush this looks like the start of an interesting story with a guest appearance by the Elongated Man wearing the new duds he picked up when he left the The Flash to become a backup feature in Detective Comics. Unfortunately the only dud here is the story itself. I’ve never been a fan of stories with multiple narrators. Call it a personal non preference. The approach just doesn’t work for me. But for some bizarre reason, out of the blue, Cary Bates becomes enamored with the conceit and decides to start using it in this issue. The first narrator is Sue Dibny the wife of Ralph Dibny the Elongated Man. She and her husband have just checked into the Central City Inn so the Elongated Man can investigate some crooks called the Chane Gang. You know, I love puns as much as anyone, but somehow that pun is simply sad rather than clever. When you have to make up a word to make your pun work … it’s just sad. But I digress. What follows is one of the most twisted scenes I’ve ever read in a comic book. Ralph enters the room in disguise and proceeds to hit on his own wife. I mean, who would do something like that? It’s only topped ironically by another Elongated Man scene many years down the road when we see Ralph sitting on a bed with a gun in his mouth because his wife has been raped and murdered by Dr. Light in some pathetic attempt to write the next really shocking thing. But I digress yet again. Ralph’s raison d’être is that he plans to infiltrate the bad pun name gang, hence the disguise. Then EM suddenly disappears and Sue narrates herself over to seek help from Barry and Iris. Then the omniscient narrator takes over for a panel or two, followed by Barry/Flash as narrator and then back to the omniscient guy again. All of this in the service of the following (I am not kidding): Barry says he’ll have the Flash look for Ralph, Sue leaves, Barry tells Iris that he made EM disappear because he had heard that Ralph/EM was in town, went to see him, saw the bad pun gang committing a robbery along the way, scooped up EM making it look like he disappeared, captures one of the bad pun gang members with EM, EM takes off after the other, Flash goes to look for EM, we see EM in his disguise meeting the other gang member, he somehow causes the bad guy’s gun to stretch, the Flash gives up his search and goes home to attempt to boogie with Iris (still not kidding), EM (still in disguise) then shows up at the airport and melts a plane, the Flash sees this on TV at home, the Flash goes to the airport where the disguised EM removes his disguise to reveal that he’s someone called the Molder, and then he melts the Flash, whereupon the editorial narrator invites us back to what happens next issue, which I’m not really sure I want to do that at this point, but I will. The things I do for you.

Oh, did I mention that the scene on the cover has nothing at all to do with the so called story? Well, it doesn’t.