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Flash Fridays – The Flash #273 May 1979

posted on April 16, 2021

The really nice Ross Andru/Dick Giordano cover is a harbinger of good things as this issue gets the Scarlet Speedster back on track (pun happened by itself). First, there’s an art change to note – Alex Saviuk and Frank Chiaramonte have stepped in as penciller and inker respectively. Saviuk’s work is a bit chunky which is maybe not the best fit for a runner, but he tells the story well and is ambitious as he swings the camera angles around. Whatever shortcomings he has are attenuated by his bravura approach.

And speaking of story, writer Cary Bates delivers more of that this time around. When we last saw the Flash, he was lying unconscious on the ground having been forced to run into a brick wall due to a mind meld with a strange young woman. We learn that her name is Melanie and that she has developed a fixation with the Flash. We learn this when the Flash accidentally stumbles across her digs at an institute for Psychic Research which look like a mini Flash Museum, and a scene at a club where her friends talk about her obsession. Meanwhile, Iris heads off to the salon to change her look and fight for her marriage. And it almost works when Barry shows up at the house with some flowers, but Barry sees on the TV that there’s a riot at the penitentiary and takes off to quell the riot leaving a broken hearted Iris behind.

The Flash arrives at the prison in time to save Nephron, the guy who’s been messing with the brains of some of the inmates, from being thrown out of a window. What follows is a nicely executed sequence where the Flash puts down the prison riot single handed. Once the dust has settled, one prisoner is still missing. The Flash finally checks the room where Nephron was conducting the experiments on the prisoners, and finds the prisoner Clive Yorkin there strapped to Nephron’s machine and looking a little worse for the wear. A bubble in the corner says: “Next Month: The Mark of the Beast!” I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that I’ll bet the experiment turns Yorkin into a beast. Any takers?