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Flash Fridays – The Flash #293 January 1981

posted on December 3, 2021

It’s hard to believe that we’re in 1981 already with this January issue of The Flash which sports a George Perez cover from early in his career. And there’s another sweet surprise inside with the return to the book of letterer Gaspar Saladino, who, to my mind, is the best letterer who ever lettered a comic book. Now the lettering in a comic book may not seem like that big a deal, but it really is. I was always turned off by the mechanical lettering in the Charlton Comics books that always had a cold feel to it. Whereas, encountering Gaspar’s lettering, was always a warm and inviting experience. So enjoying it again in the pages of The Flash is a special treat.

And the return one of the Flash’s earliest foes, the Pied Piper, is a treat as well. In an issue seeming replete with surprises, we find Gerry Conway sitting in on the writing chores for Cary Bates. Conway turns in a credible take on the Pied Piper with a simple story about the Piper luring elephants and ostriches to Central City, and then extracting a bounty to lead them away. Sort of a back to the roots story as it were. Conway then pens the back-up Firestorm story where the Flash guests and teams with Firestorm to take down the Atomic Skull. It’s a case of a truly great name being wasted on a rather inept and surprisingly ineffectual villain. It happens. Next up, as we’re told at the end of the Pied piper tale, Grodd the Gorilla is back as the return of the Flash foes continues.