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Flash Fridays – The Flash #260 April 1978

posted on October 9, 2020

This issue features a rather nifty bit of story telling that touches base with one of the more outre´elements of the Flash cannon. It’s narrated by Eric Russell, who along with his wife Fran, are the birth parents of Iris West/Allen from the year 2978 (For the full story on this, I direct you to the post on issue #203). During a visit from Barry/Flash and Iris, Eric does some akin to internet surfing and discovers that one of his ancestors, Philip Russell, died, committed a crime and got married all on the same day. If this is one of those stories that sprang from a Julie Schwartz cover idea, then Cary Bates did a masterful job of pulling it off in a truly genuine and entertaining way.

To solve the mystery, Eric suggests that he and Fran accompany the Allens on their return to 1978. When they get there, Iris and Fran go shopping leaving Eric free to track down some answers. The Flash follows Eric, and, once Eric has filled him in on his dilemma, Eric says that he could cure his renegade relative with something called a psycho-healer, but that he’s leery of tampering with time and the forces of destiny. The Flash assures him that he tampers all the time with time with no ill effects (Can I hear a Holy Flashpoint from you, cousins?). So they fix the fugitive family member, getting him to his wedding on time, thereby fulfilling the family’s future. Given that the current Flash book is filled with little else but how the Flash with his temporal tinkering has screwed up the timeline beyond all hope of repair, an ironic smile is hard to avoid. But those were simpler times when good, simple and clever story telling was all you needed to create a good comic book. Perhaps that’s why I’m reading so much Silver Age stuff these covid days.