Flash Fridays -The Flash #305 Jan ’82

Sep 9, 2022

This issue marks our first visit with the Golden Age Flash Jay Garrick since Carmine Infantino’s return to these pages, and it’s a welcome site. As I’ve written here before, the first pairing of these heroes was so revolutionary and inspiring that it altered the trajectory of not only comics, but my life as well. So seeing the Flash of Earth Two always strikes a welcome chord. The tale opens with Joan Garrick being abducted from her bed and being transported to an alien tableaux where she appears to fall from her death to from a cliff. It turns out that we’re witnessing a dream of Barry Allen’s and he’s so unsettled by it that he decides to head off to Earth Two as the Flash just to check things out. When he gets there he finds out that Joan really has been transported somewhere (or there wouldn’t be any story) and that Jay has spent the day searching for her. Barry can’t bring himself to mention his dream and feels guilty about it thus vaguely justifying the false anger depicted on the cover. Jay being angry with Barry is an issue that’s never really an issue in this issue.

After the two speedsters track down and capture a gang that Jay suspects were his wife’s abductors, but who weren’t, Dr. Fate shows up to intervene. He tells them that Joan was whisked off to the domain of the Lord of Limbo… a callback by writer Cary Bates to a more average than average villain of his creation from issue #284. The Lord of Limbo was a rather lackluster tale about a powerful but creepy guy who traps people in Limbo just to have some friends to hang out with. It doesn’t work for him because everyone trapped there pretty much resents it and are mad at him because of that. The kicker is that no one can die there, so the good news is that Joan is still alive, but trapped forever like the others… including the two Flashes who arrive there with Dr. Fate’s assistance. But that’s the plan you see because the Flash escaped once and the Lord of Limbo figures that he and a second Flash could escape again, and, this time, take him with them because he doesn’t like it there any more than the others because, well… it’s Limbo. He turns out to be right in his assumption because the titans of tempo (just for the record, I believe that I’ve just come up with an alliterative descriptive that long time Flash scripter John Broome never used… and I think we all know why) do escape taking everyone with them but the Limbo Lord himself. Joan is returned to Jay, and Barry gets to make good on the promise he made at the end of the first Limbo tale to come back for the others one day.

As the Earth One Flash and Dr. fate part company, the good Doctor says he hopes their paths will cross again, and when you turn the page you see a house ad announcing that Doctor Fate will be the new back-up feature in The Flash.

In a nice touch at the end, Bates dedicates the story to the creator of both the Flash and Dr. Fate… Gardner Fox… who probably, even at that late date, could still have been capable of writing The Flash if he hadn’t been let go along with several other writers years earlier for having the temerity to ask for health benefits from the company they helped build.

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