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Flash Fridays – The Flash #250 June 1977

posted on April 24, 2020

So The Flash hits issue 250 without a whole lot of fanfare. Actually, without any fanfare. These days when every six issue run is hyped with a trade collection celebrating some timeless story arc like it’s the second coming, this rather impressive reaching of a notable milestone in the Silver Age Flash’s run passed unremarked. Curious. Discuss.

Meanwhile, what we have here is a pretty good issue where Cary Bates finally steps up the plate and knocks one out of the park bloops a single to right field with the creation of his first solid Flash villain the Golden Glider. Rather than the bland Flash foes he has foisted on us up to this point, this is a villain that seems to have some… nope, not in the me too era. Let’s just say that the Golden Glider is the first original villain that he’s come up with to date (if you don’t pay attention that Silver Surfer namey likey thingy if you get my drift, wink wink). One nice original touch is that the Golden Glider is Lisa Snart the sister of Len Snart (but then, again, there’s that L thing… Lois Lane, Lucy Lane, Lana Lang, Lex Luthor, Lena Luthor, Lori Lemaris, Lisa and Len la la la la la) (sorry about that little trip to L and back, just getting a little stir fried these days).

Okay, so if we’ve all been paying attention, Len Snart is the nom de pen (as in jail) of Captain Cold, and his sister Lisa is a world class figure skater who visits Roscoe Dillion AKA the Top to pick up some coaching tips on how to spin faster. She also falls for him. After Roscoe’s death a few issues back, she’s vows to get revenge on the Flash as the Golden Glider with a cold gun of her own. So she waves her brother Captain Cold off so she can go after the Flash herself.

Anybody remember that B story about Daphne Dean that we’ve been following on and off for the past two issues? Well Cary Bates finally remembered it too and suddenly she’s at Barry’s house after he gets home following his dust-up with the Golden Glider. It’s turns out that it’s just a modified rehash of the older plot involving her and that she’s just faking amnesia to show that she’d be good for a movie part that she wants to get. Iris, because she’s been spying on her, blows her cover and Daphne apologizes and leaves. Which kind of makes her comment at the end of last issue about “ringing down the curtain on Barry Allen” not make much sense. Speaking of not making sense, with the air finally cleared, Iris gets mad and stomps out of the house. ?  Meanwhile, The Golden Glider has been watching their house because she has a device of the Top’s that lets her track the Flash’s aura (strange that the Top himself never used it). When Iris stomps out, GG shoots her with her cold gun announcing a “lover for a lover” and we’re left to wait until next issue to see if Iris becomes the world’s first freeze dried fatality.

It seems at this juncture The Flash has completed the transformation from multiple stories in an issue to continuous ongoing stories a la the Marvel style because that was what the readers now wanted. It only took DC Comics a decade and then some to finally figure that out.

 

Flash Fridays – The Flash #249 May 1977

posted on April 10, 2020

To recap: Daphne Dean, Barry’s childhood sweetheart has come to Central City to try to cure her amnesia. When she arrives at Barry’s house, a vaporous alien who hitched a ride in her car, goes next door and brings to life a villain that a young boy named Barney is drawing. The villain comes to life as Master Villain and proceeds to battle the Flash to a draw.

As this issue opens, Barry is talking about Daphne in his sleep much to Iris’s consternation. Master Villain shows up in their bedroom threatening to reveal that Barry is the Flash unless the Flash agrees to battle him. The Flash races off to take him on and during the fight Master Villain turns into a flying fist that chases after the Flash trying to run him to exhaustion. In a cute touch, the Flash runs to Metropolis, finds Clark Kent/Superman walking down the street and runs the fist into Clark/Supes in a perfect pick play that splatters the fist.

It turns out that the Allens play cards cards with the neighbors next door (ah, those simpler pre-internet days) and Barry meets Barney. Barney shows him his master villain drawing and a new superhero (named Super-Hero). Barry starts putting two and two together and when the time comes to battle Master villain again it’s Super-Hero who shows up. Master Villain is confused and to who this new guy is, gets soundly beaten, the alien wish gets bored and leaves Master Villain, and surprise, surprise, Super-Hero turns out to be the Flash.

Meanwhile, Iris went skulking after Daphne and her phony doctor friend. And as they sit on a park bench Daphne says that she wants to “ring down the final curtain on Barry Allen”. That can’t be good. It looks like we’ll have to wait to next issue to find out Daphne is up to. Beware the childhood sweetheart.

Flash Friday Extra: When I was getting ready to send Vol. 10 off to Black Squirrel Books AKA The Kent State University Press, I saw that the book will include a couple of strips where Lisa and Holly and Lisa and Cindy meet in a coffee shop called Jitters. When the The Flash tv show introduced a coffee shop with the same name, I wondered if it was simply a coinkydink (you know, great minds and all) or if one of the writers had remembered it from Funky.

I think it would be so cool if it was the latter, but as every History Channel show ends, perhaps we’ll never know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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