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Flash Fridays – The Flash #288 August 1980

posted on August 27, 2021

As a young fan of The Flash from the beginning of the Silver Age, editor Len Wein is obviously bringing his fan sensibility and love for the character to the book. It’s hard to imagine the he wasn’t an influence on writer Cary Bates reaching back to tap Dr. Alchemy back into the ring. The result is a mix of the basic elements that contributed to the success of the early Flash along with a more modern and less formulaic approach to the writing. And it works especially well with the Don Heck art.

The nuts and bolts of this issue concerns the Flash dealing with an act of destruction by Dr. Alchemy that endangers lives to cover for a robbery that he’s committing, and the backstory of the “new” Al Desmond who has assumed the guise of Dr. Alchemy. In the first instance the Flash takes care of the problem, and, in the second, we find out that the two Al Desmonds are astral twins, that is, twins born of separate parents but with at the same time down to the second, and the same date on the calendar. Personally, I think that a split personalty coming to life would have been pretty interesting as well.

The new Dr. Alchemy then lures the Flash to a park where he turns him into water vapor and watches as the Flash goes floating off into the air. Remember in my last post how I said the Flash running through different colored cars to regin his color was a little hard to swallow? Well, here’s another one to choke on. The Flash vibrates his molecules to cause the cloud to rain and as it rains it reassembles him into the Flash. Double oy.

However, Bates makes up for that head spinner with a sweet writerly move…  on the last panel on the last page… we see that the reformed Al Desmond having escaped from Dr. Alchemy’s hideout, is getting dressed into his Mr. Element gear.