We’re back with our series of notes and commentary on Cary Bates‘ “Death of Iris Allen” story from 1979-1980! We’re leading up to the release of Showcase Presents: The Trial of the Flash, due in stores August 9th. Links to artwork and research are included throughout this post. For previous issues, click here!
UP TO SPEED: Iris Allen’s killer remains at large. Professor Zoom has returned. As he dispatches Flash, Zoom reveals that he knows the killer’s identity…
COVER: Editor Ross Andru and the inking machine DC playfully named “Dick Giordano” turn in the second Flash vs. Green Lantern cover in six issues.
PG 1: Zoom has fitted Flash with a pair of “heavy-matter” boots that amplify gravity. Destination: Earth’s core, but Zoom has to reveal that the boots will disintegrate at 6,000 degrees.
PG 2 & 3: These pages bring to mind this incredible Flash analysis piece by Rikdad. As Flash is dragged to the Earth’s core, he maintains a super-speed vibration while relying on his aura to not only protect him from friction but also sustain his oxygen supply. The loose definition, or multiple definitions, of Flash’s peripheral powers and necessary augmentations led to an almost open-ended use of said powers. To quote the “Retcon” example from Rikdad’s post:
For example, Flash #117 states that the Flash has a “friction-proof uniform” not too long before Flash #128 introduced the apparently-contradictory notion that he has an aura that protects him against friction. The aura has become accepted by all writers since then.
Despite the protection of his aura, Flash is unwilling to open his eyes as he passes through Earth’s core. The implications and boundaries set by this scene is echoed in the first few pages of the next issue.
PG 4 & 5: Flash explodes out of the south Pacific Ocean, having caught a current of magma into the birth of a “newly formed volcano”. His thoughts immediately return to Zoom’s comments about Iris’s killer. Flash’s comment about Green Lantern showing up at the “most unexpected times” is a reference to his appearance at the costume party from issue #275. During the throes of his PCP-induced psychosis, Flash attacked GL and the rest of the Justice League aboard the JLA Satellite, an event that shook GL and affected their friendship. Flash declines help, and returns home. Assuming Iris’s killer’s identity is historical record in Zoom’s era, Flash hops onto the Cosmic Treadmill (last seen in issue #269) and heads to the 25th Century.
PG 6 & 7: This sequence is kind of like a recent episode of Jon Benjamin Has a Van.
PG 8: How is Flash a “forgotten figure” in a 25th Century where Zoom wreaks havoc? Flash definitively prioritizes discovering the identity of Iris’s killer ahead of capturing Zoom.
PG 9: Earlier, Flash warned himself that he’d be foolish to believe Zoom. Iris’s murder is listed as “unsolved” in the historical records. The March 29, 1979 date given is not the date that Flash # 275 was published (April 9, 1979).
PG 10 – 13: Chief Paulson, revealed last issue as the man behind both the confiscated-heroin smuggling operation and the attempts on Barry and Frank Curtis’s lives, flees the United States. Flash overtakes his taxi and removes Paulson, taunting him in front of his wife and son. Paulson admits to Flash that he is not the actual mastermind of the operation, and that a mysterious, disembodied voice known as “Mr. XYZ” held his strings. Flash deposits Paulson at CCPD HQ with a recording of their conversation, makes a time joke, and leaves, laughing.
PG 14 – 16: Green Lantern tracks down Flash once again, and finds himself under attack. Assuming that Flash is undergoing some PCP-related episode as a result of his drugging in issue #275, GL takes a super-speed backhand and elbow before forcing Flash’s hand. Red turns to Yellow, and Flash is revealed as Zoom in disguise. Zoom easily drops the Lantern and leaves the scene.
Masquerading as Flash, Zoom was also finding out just how much Paulson knew before sticking him in jail.
Green Lantern vs. Reverse Flash is a fantastic match-up, and was especially when GL’s ring did not have power over the color yellow. An uncompromisingly evil, thoroughly yellow version of his best friend was always a challenge for Hal Jordan, from Flash #225 (1974) to Green Lantern #40 (1993), to the Sinestro Corps War (though the latter had GL minus the weakness to yellow, and a new Zoom to boot).
PG 17: Flash arrives back from the 25th Century, with a bang…