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Flash Fridays – The Flash #301 September 1981

posted on April 15, 2022

So in the first two pages, Barry Allen’s boss Captain Frye is kidnapped, Barry finds a note in his locker from Captain Frye saying that he’s been fired, and Barry gets a call saying that his mother has come out of the coma that she’s been in for the last three issues with no discernible after affects. That’s a busy two pages, but the pace doesn’t slow down. First, Barry’s father Dr. Allen is seen talking on a pay phone (remember those?) to an unidentified paramour, then Barry meets a mysterious blind man in the elevator as he rushes off from a visit to his mom to change to the Flash and track down Captain  Frye’s kidnappers. He goes to Frye’s house to check out the scene and overhears Frye’s wife telling investigators that her husband has a pacemaker that’s less than five years old. A quick check of a medical supple place and the Flash learns that Frye had a model with a radium micro battery. By tuning his vibrations to the electrical frequency of the battery, the Flash takes off to check on the whereabouts of everyone who had one of those pacemakers installed in the past five years.

Patient number three turns out to be the actor Lester McKay who’s staying in town and who looks suspiciously like the blind man we saw in the hospital elevator. Probably more on that later. The Flash eventually finds Frye who has been drugged but seems fine otherwise. Whew… hang on there’s more. Once the Flash has deposited Frye back at the police station, we learn that the good captain is the head of a task force on nuclear terrorism, and that a known nuclear terrorist has just been arrested. Upon hearing this Barry/Flash puts two and two together and whisks Frye away from the city where a micro nuclear device implanted in Frye’s chest explodes just like we saw on the cover. What we didn’t see (and it’s really hard to see in a comic book so we just have to take the writer’s word for it) is the Flash vibrating both of them in such a way so as to cause the explosion to pass harmlessly through them. The Flash then explains that Barry/him had checked Frye’s recent EKG readings and compared them with earlier ones and spotted a telltale difference alerting him to the nuclear implant. So a grateful Frye gives Barry his job back.

So all’s well that ends well, except…. in the last panel we see Dr. Allen romancing a redhead and telling her that Barry’s days are numbered and that the Flash will soon be “as dead as we left his real father”. As the box at the bottom of the final panel says: More on the baffling mystery of Dr. Allen — next issue.

In a final note, this issue marks the editorial debut of Mike W Barr as editor of the Flash. Mike and I probably started reading The Flash at about the same time in our Ohio tot-hood. So the kids have now fully taken over the clubhouse.