Welcome back to the Zoom Room, where we break down classic stories featuring Professor Zoom, the Reverse-Flash!
After last week’s look at Flash #186, we’re jumping forward to Flash #237 and “The Thousand-Year Separation!”, a Tale of the Multiverse by Cary Bates, Irv Novick and Frank McLaughlin. It is the conclusion of a three-part story featuring Jay Garrick, Doctor Fate, and a desperate search for Iris Allen. Links to artwork and research are included throughout this post. For previous annotations, click here!
COVER: One of Ernie Chan’s 10 Flash covers from 1975 & 1976. Flash and Zoom fight over Iris outside of 30th Century Central City.
PG. 1: The opening page is much like the cover, though Zoom elaborates and reveals that Flash’s contact with Iris is destroying the world. Iris is forced to concur, “…I’m his, not yours!” Zoom had made previous “romantic” attempts on Iris in the classic Flash #165 and again, four issues prior to #237, in Flash #233.
PG 2 & 3: Doctor Fate and Jay Garrick monitor Flash via crystal ball from Earth 2. At the end of Flash #236, Fate and the Golden Age Flash helped Iris escape to her home era of the 30th Century (as established in Flash #203). Iris had been stricken with an affliction that forbade her any physical contact with her husband. Fate and Jay Garrick distracted Flash for much of issue #236 while they tried to cure her, and sent her into the far future after they were unsuccessful.
Fate attempts to stall Flash once again by disabling the Cosmic Treadmill, but Flash is able to build the momentum he needs to make the time-jump. Flash arrives in the 30th Century incarnation of Central City, a self-contained metropolis. It appears 30th Century science has also failed to cure Iris, and as a result she has accepted an “outrageous” offer from an ominous benefactor.
PG. 4: After spotting his wife, Flash receives a lightning-fast mental transmission from Fate explaining the hows and whys of Iris’s disappearance and the “lethal energy flux” within her that “…would detonate on contact with the Flash’s super-speed aura!”
PG 5 & 6: Already on a bee-line for Iris as she rides in her parents’ future-car, Flash sets off Universal destruction despite Fate’s attempted warning. Flash tries to undo the damage with some super-speed cement mixing, but is one-upped by an oddly-gesturing Zoom.
PG. 7: Zoom claims to have the secret of nullifying the destruction, but the only compensation he’ll accept is Iris’s hand in marriage. Iris’s wedding gown is similar to Golden Glider’s gear, though the latter had not yet appeared in Flash (she first showed up in #250). It is revealed that Zoom caused the harmful flux in Iris, planting the affliction via super-speed vibrations in Flash #233. Flash deduces that Zoom planted the “doom-omen” that spurred Doctor Fate and Jay Garrick to “kidnap” Iris in issue #235.
PG. 8: Zoom races off with Iris to Earth-East to finalize the marriage. Central City is located in Earth-West. As shown in issue #203, Earth-East is ruled by Sirik the Supreme, who also clashed with Flash over Iris. A good recap of that story can be found here. Flash figures out Zoom’s secret (“fingertips–“) and takes off in pursuit.
PG. 9: Flash recovers Iris, which Zoom claims will “…set off the worldwide holocaust again!” Flash and Zoom trade blows at super-speed.
PG. 10: Barry eliminates Zoom, and stops the planet-wide destruction by mimicking Zoom’s odd hand gestures from the moment the Professor first appeared. By doing this, Zoom had been able to temporarily neutralize the lethal energy flux in Iris. Flash ventures that repeated applications would result in a complete, permanent cure.
PG. 11: Zoom has escaped, but a reunited Barry and Iris happily return to the 20th Century and, Barry’s favorite meal , veal scaloppine. Zoom’s next Flash appearance would come during “The Death of Iris Allen,” bringing his advances on Iris to a horrific close.
Functioning as a Crisis on Multiple Earths-style team-up, a time-travel story and a Zoom installment, Flash #237 is a short-and-sweet entry into the lethal history of Professor Zoom.
See you here next week for another session in the Zoom Room!