Flash Fridays – The Flash # 320 April 1983

Sep 15, 2023

This issue opens where the previous one left off – with the Flash heading off to finally deal with the Eradicator. Except that writer Cary Bates is merely toying with us. What we’re seeing instead is the Eradicator dressed up as the Flash and breaking into the hideout of the Mirror Master. The flimsy explanation for this ruse is that the Eradicator needs to come after criminals in different ways so he can surprise them. In the fight scene that follows, two of the Mirror Master’s henchmen are disintegrated and MM barely escapes with his life, begging to be sent back to prison when he’s caught by the police.

In an interlude that Bates has become so fond of, we see the Green Lantern Tomar Re running into a yellow meteor swarm (not something you see every day – especially in a swarm) and falling to the Earth.

Resuming the story, the Flash goes to the Mirror Master’s hideout and finds a mirror shard designed to hold an image for forty-eight hours that has the Eradicator’s image on it. From that the Flash vibrates the mirror to find the big E’s personal wavelength and uses that to find the Eradicator’s hideout in a windmill on the outskirts of town. Yes, a windmill. At a time when Marvel comics are exploring the negative zone, Asgard, the hidden land, the blue area of the moon, and various multiverses… Cary Bates is writing about windmills…  and again making use of the outdated tropes that he absorbed as a young comic book reader. Moving on, the Flash arrives to find Fiona tied to one of the windmill vanes, and is attacked by the Eradicator as he frees her. The Flash tries to escape and we are treated to a seven page cross country run during which the Eradicator tries to disintegrate the Flash while the Flash tries to appeal to the good Creed Philips trapped inside the Eradicator. The road trip ends at a cemetery where the Flash takes Eradicator/Creed to the graves of people he’s killed. At the end, the Creed Phillips personality takes over and disintegrates himself and his alter ego, and the Jeckle/Hyde knockoff comes to a quiet denouement. Meanwhile…

The last two panels find some farmers discovering the body of Tomar Re lying in a field. With the frantic subplot insertions finally whittled down to one, I can find myself looking forward to where this is leading. Trust that I’ll let you know.

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