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Flash Fridays -The Flash #271

posted on April 2, 2021

This is a seismic issue of The Flash, and not because the opening splash page shows the Flash stuck in a brick wall as six explosive tipped rockets are heading straight for him. The rockets hit, blasting a hole in the wall and leaving no sign of the Flash. Three squad cars pull up and surround the villain I was calling the Clown, and who the police are now calling the Clown as well, so a point for me. The Clown threatens to suffocate the police by spraying them with an expanding cotton candy. Just as that’s about to happen, the Flash emerges from the pile of bricks with shards of the wall still stuck his body. He saves the policemen and then runs home to try to vibrate the shards from his body out of view of the public.

At home as he’s doing this, Iris, who wants them to ride to work together, gets impatient and stomps out of the house. Writer Cary Bates has been seeding the recent stories with incidents like these obviously setting up signs of marital discord paving the way for an explosion in a coming issue. The writer doubles down with Barry having to cancel a dinner date so he can go witness an aversion therapy session with the  Nephron project at the penitentiary. As he does this, a strange bearded man is seen following him. As long as we’re seeding mysteries here, we also see the mysterious girl from last issue collecting shards of bricks from the brick wall where the Flash had been stuck saying as she does this that each memento that she collects make her stronger and brings him closer to her grasp.

Meanwhile, the Clown is busy capturing executives from the power company and local officials all seemingly related to an event at circus where several trapeze artists died in a tragic fall when the power at the circus failed. The Clown succeeds in capturing the Flash as well and the story ends in a cliff hanger with the Flash, his powers suitably nullified, and the others suspended in chairs atop power lines supported by gyros that will fail and let them fall to their deaths if the power is cut off.

But what really make the issue seismic is that it’s the last issue for Julius Schwartz as editor. Julie had been the only editor of the Silver Age Flash and had helped to usher in said Silver Age when he brought the Flash back in an updated version. Plus, if you’ve been following this blog, you know what Julie meant to fandom and to this fan in particular.  I was off at college at this point and focusing on other things, so the change wasn’t quite as traumatic as it could have been. There are other reasons as well, and I’ll go into more about what they are in the next Flash Friday.