Flash Fridays – The Flash #228 July/August 1974

May 24, 2019

Okay, raise your hand if you thought that the hand tugging on the Flash’s uniform belonged to the Mirror Master? So I’m the only one holding my hand up? Fine, I guess that little ruse was designed just for me because the hand actually belongs to the story’s writer, Cary Bates. In a massive bit of self-insertion into a story, Bates makes himself the focal point of the entire piece. With a full beard, long hair and glasses, Bates has obviously come a long way from the young boy from Sunbeam Avenue in Dayton, Ohio whose letter appeared in the Flash-Grams letters page way back when. The story opens with the author driving to a class reunion at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. He is stopped by a policeman pulling him over which allows the policeman and the reader to find out who he is. Bates then drives through a sudden fog and upon emerging finds himself in a parallel universe where the Flash resides. It’s a cute conceit that allows him to help out the Flash in a battle with the Trickster by dint of the fact that he’s the one making up the story. It’s an ancient trope that you wouldn’t want a writer doing all of the time, but used sparingly makes for a decent one-off. Bates also continues his march through the Flash’s rogues gallery which is enjoyable to see after the long drought of villainous appearances. Once Bates takes care of the Flash in his dimension, he drives off into another fog and returns to our world.

The back-up Green Lantern story is finally resolved when GL finds that’s it’s not his chili but some nasty aliens who were causing him to behave badly. Once again, writer Denny O’Neil does his best to wrap-up this three parter in the limited space allowed to him and all ends well. Dick Dillin and Frank Giacoia do a really nice job with the art, keeping with the new look that Neal Adams brought to the character. Editor Julie Schwartz et al have returned the Flash comic to form and are putting out a really fine book at this point.


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