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Flash Fridays – The Flash #285 May 1980

posted on August 6, 2021

A nice Heck/Giordano cover kicks off the next phase in Barry Allen’s life and the book begins to explore life after Iris West Allen. Things are kept familiar by devoting the issue to a tangle with the Trickster. It’s a smart move in an attempt to mollify long time Flash readers following the existential turmoil that has embroiled the Flash’s life recently. We get to see some nice superhero super villain action and then it’s on to introducing new characters in the Flash’s/Barry’s life.

As Barry shows up at the police department lab a tad late after his Trickster tussle, we meet his new captain Darryl Frye, an efficiency expert who we find is timing Barry’s arrival time at work. Writer Cary Bates is setting the table for himself as he bakes in some potential problems for Barry in future stories. In an interesting interaction with Frank Curtis who drops by the lab to try and set Barry up with someone, Frank casually mentions that it’s been a year since Iris has been gone. So Cary Bates is looking for a hard reset with a year having elapsed between this issue and the previous one. It makes sense to do something like this if you don’t want to spend a year with Barry grieving, and if you want to get on with his new life right away. It’s interesting that no writer has ever picked up on the opportunity presented here to fill in the Flash’s missing year. Intriguing. Let’s just keep that thought to ourselves and not tell anyone else about it. Deal?

Later we see Barry moving from the house he shared with Iris into a new apartment and in the process meeting two new neighbors. The first is a beautiful but aloof woman named Fiona. The other is a black scientist with two first names Mack Nathan who is a scientist at Star Labs. Again, Bates is creating characters who come with story possibilities attached. In fact, we don’t have to wait long as the Trickster tries to rob Nathan’s safe  for some nuclear secrets with a toy robot that he had managed to get into the hands of Nathan’s son Troy. The cover scene is nicely brought into the story as the Trickster tries to retrieve his toy robot and inadvertently sends the car with Mack and Barry in it off a cliff. Another battle with the Trickster ensues. The Flash keeps the car from crashing and captures the Trickster. And so the new era of the Flash is off and running (pun not intended, it happened by itself).