Flash Fridays – The Flash # 248 April 1977
posted on April 3, 2020
This issue of The Flash needed the new full book format to pack in everything that Cary Bates tosses into the mix. The best place to start is right at the beginning where Barry, while waiting for Iris to do some shopping, thinks he spots his high school sweetheart Daphne Dean, now a Hollywood actress, walking in town, but before he can check that out, Heat Wave shows up to rob the store where Iris is shopping. After defeating Heat Wave’s latest invention a heat wave distortion beam and saving Iris and the others, Barry tells Iris about who he saw. When they get home, they find a doctor waiting for them who tells them that Daphne had suffered a concussion on a movie set and now had amnesia (I sometimes wonder what writers would do if the ailment amnesia didn’t exist). The doctor has brought Daphne to Central City to meet with Barry hoping that it will jog Daphne’s memory. Daphne had appeared early in the Silver Age run when she returned to see Barry as part of a publicity stunt that her agent had cooked up. It later backfired on her when she realized she was still in love with Barry.
Next door to the Allens, a young boy named Barney (Barney?) is an aspiring comic book artist and has invented a villain that we see on his drawing board called Master Villain (apparently the whole family is bad at the name thing). We then see Daphne arriving at the Allens is an amorphous alien cloud kind of reminiscent of the Green Glob from Tales of the Unexpected. The alien slithers over to Barney’s house and inhabits the Master Villain drawing bringing it to life. But now, let us return to the Barry Allens strolling with Daphne Dean in downtown Central City… or so says the caption box in the next panel. Daphne still can’t remember squat when suddenly they see some policemen being tossed through the air. Barry as the Flash takes off to save them, only to end up battling Master Villain. The fight ends in a draw with Master Villain taking off to regroup. Cut to Daphne at a pay phone (I know…) talking with someone about how the Allens fell hook line and sinker for the amnesia routine. Apparently Cary Bates not only resurrected Daphne, but the old plot as well. The story closes for the moment with a shot of Barney creating a superhero at his drawing board. So let’s recap… we’ve got a conniving actress, a formless alien inhabiting an imaginary villain, and an innocent cartoonist creating a superhero. Not bad for one issue.
Speaking of art as we just were, the Irv Novick/Frank McLaughlin art team continues to improve on this book and this is by far one of their best outings combining with storylines everywhere to make this one of the better issues of late.
Flash Fridays – The Flash #247 March 1977
posted on March 27, 2020
A great looking Rich Buckler/Frank Springer cover not only clues us to the fact that the Earth Two Flash turns up in the second half of the Abra Kadabra two-parter, but that the comic has been restored to monthly status (with the exception of February, April, July and October which apparently aren’t months in DC’s world). When last we saw the Flash, he was in prison in the 64th century for appearing to have killed the reformed and beloved Abra Kadabra. AK had been mentally tinkered with so that he no longer wanted to commit crimes, and it was driving him crazy. Crazier. So he made it appear that the Flash had atomized him so that the Flash would be arrested for the crime which is exactly what happened. A five star plan so far, but the second part of the plan was that AK’s unassembled atoms would travel back in time to Central City in 1977 where he would yell “atoms assemble” and immediately be invited to join the Avengers. Okay, I was just kidding about that last part, but his atoms did travel back in time to 1977, but to Keystone City on Earth Two. Nearly. Anyway, when AK runs into the Earth Two Flash Jay Garrick, he mighty puzzled to say the very least.
Meanwhile, in the future, our favorite Flash keeps trying different ways to escape his escape proof cell. He eventually succeeds by trowing a chair at the wall with one set of vibrations while he vibrates through using a different set of vibrations. So it’s back to the drawing board for the escape proof cell folks, and back to 1977 as the the Flash follows Kadabra’s vibrations to Keystone City. Of course our Flash knows exactly where he is and shows up in time to save the Earth Two Flash from AK’s wrath who it turns out had captured the Earth Two Flash and was about to dispatch him with his magic (scientific) wand. Together the two Flashes atomize Abra Kadabra one more time and send him back to his future. The story ends which the nice touch of Barry dining with the Garricks before returning to Earth One and Central City. The book length format gives the story a little more room to breath and the narrative seem less rushed, so the departure of Green Lantern seems to have paid some nice dividends.
To My Funky Readers and Fellow Flashinados
posted on March 20, 2020
Dear Followers of the Funkyverse,
Have you heard about what’s going on? You Have? Okay, then I just want to pile on and say that these are indeed the most unsettling of times for all of us (that last comment should put me in the running for biggest understatement of the year). We go from extreme anxiety to fixed determination, and that’s just before breakfast. So I just want to take a moment to send by best hopes and wishes for each and every one of my gentle readers in the days that lay ahead. I want to let you know that the Funkyverse remains a safe harbor to help us slip away from these times for a bit. That’s my job and I’m determined to provide you that place both in the strips and in this blog. Story is what will navigate us through all of this, and I’ll do my very best to keep ’em coming. And thanks to all of the Funky fans who have been reaching out. Means more than you know.