Flash Fridays – The Flash #323 July 1983

Feb 9, 2024

Behind a striking cover, the story opens in the Justice League satellite where the writer Cary Bates uses a conversation between Firestorm and Wonder Woman to let us know that Barry and Fiona are about to get married. Firestorm is upset that the wedding has come up so quickly without everyone being informed, echoing what the readers must be thinking as well. As such, it’a clever way for the writer to bring everyone immediately into the loop. I’ve always been a fan of big stories that start small, and this seemingly innocous scene kicks off one of the major story arcs in the history of comics, the trial of the Flash. At this point, Cary Bates really ups his writing game, and Carmine Infantino follows suit with some of the best cover and interior art of his career, both seemingly energized by being able to dig into a larger story than has ever been told in The Flash before. 

As Barry is about to head over to the chapel, one of the Green Lantern Guardians appears and we finally learn what they have been trying to warn him about. It appears that a random but massive energy charge has managed to tear apart the pocket dimension where the Reverse Flash has been imprisoned and that RF has escaped. So basically the long tease that has been carried over several issues was simply the event that the writer showed us in the previous issue, and which undercut any suspense there might been about this announcement. It’s something you would learn not to do in Comic Strip Writing 101. Anyway, Barry is distraught and immediately takes off to find the Reverse Flash (they couldn’t have just called him the anti-Flash?), leaving his bride, parents and friends like the Elongated Man waiting and wondering. The rest of the story alternates between scenes of the puzzled and worried wedding guests, and the Flash trying to track down the man who has at this point earned the sobriquet arch nemesis. The Flash finally locates RF at the house where he an Iris lived. There’s a cute scene where a young couple who are about to buy the house watch it being razed to the ground by the two Flashes battling at super speed.

So we learn that the Reverse Flash has not only returned, but has returned with the expressed intent to kill Barry’s new wife, thus spilling the same wine twice since he was the one who killed Barry’s first wife Iris. As the one who in Funky had Wally Winkerbean become missing in action only to surprisingly return TWICE, I’m afraid I have to recuse myself from any comment on that. And I’ll give you a nickel if you’ll do me the favor of ignoring that Wally thing.

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