Flash Fridays – The Flash #325 September 1983

Mar 1, 2024

Cary Bates continues with one of his best story arcs on The Flash so far as he picks up on the previous issue’s shock ending, where the Flash had accidentally killed his arch rival the Reverse Flash at Barry and Fiona’s wedding, and begins to deal with the aftermath. Once again the story is presented in a straightforward linear fashion with no interference from non sequitur subplots. And what a story. By trying to keep the Reverse Flash from killing Barry’s about to be wife just as he did Barry’s first wife Iris, the Flash has done something quite unique for a Silver Age superhero, intentionally or not, he’s killed someone. These days superheroes kill with impunity in the first three pages of a book, but, way back then, this was something new and it would kick up quite a fuss on the Flash Grams letters pages that would only grow as the story arc progressed. The Flash is now venturing into new territory.

Immediately following the wedding, the Flash is trying to comfort the stunned bride Fiona who has just escaped the murderous hand of the the Reverse Flash. She still thinks she has been stood-up by her fiancé Barry, is shaken but the attempt on her life, and then finally collapsing as the press begins to hound her and the Flash. The Flash rushes her to the hospital where he’s told that she needs complete rest.

Now to the “meanwhile”. We cut to a scene at the city morgue where we find Digger Harkness aka Captain Boomerang wheeling a gurney into the morgue. When the coroner on duty pulls back the sheet on the gurney, he finds Captain Cold. The coroner on duty is subdued by the bad Captain, and then the Trickster joins the fray to waylay a policeman who is investigating the scene. What makes this scene especially enjoyable is seeing Carmine Infantino’s work on the Flash’s rouges. With the help of inker Dennis Jensen, he make these Silver Age villains come alive on the page again. It seems to me that Jensen’s even inks the characters back to the earlier thinner look that the characters had before Infantino eschewed that look and decided to bulk everyone up (see a discussion of this in an earlier blog)(I have no idea which one).

The body of the Reverse Flash is then whisked off to a remote area where, joined by the Weather Wizard and the Pied Piper, the Rouges demolish the casket containing the Reverse Flash for the sin of not only being beaten by the Flash, but rather being killed by him. We’re left looking at a smoking hole in the ground.

As this is taking place, the guilt ridden Flash is scouring Central City to catch every crook and save every soul that he can to succor his pain. Then, as Barry, he visits Fiona in the hospital, and while there he hears a radio broadcast summoning the Flash to contact at police headquarters without delay. When the Flash arrives at the station, he’s handcuffed and booked, and we’re left to wonder what happens next. It’s a first rate return to form as Bate’s story stays true character to the while taking things to a whole new floor. Stay tuned, Flashinados.

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