Welcome to the latest installment in our series of annotations of classic DC Comics stories starring the Flash!
We’re taking a break from The Trial of the Flash to look at Super-Team Family #15 (December 1977), written by Gerry Conway and featuring a team-up between Flash and The New Gods! This book contains major unheralded moments in the history of both franchises, as well as foundations for future stories that would go untold. Links to artwork and research are included throughout this post. For previous annotations, including Part One of this issue, click here! Now, on to Chapter Two: “Death Quest”!
PG 13 & 14: Darkseid elaborates on his plan to use “growth plasma” to increase Orion’s mass. Doing so will eventually leave Orion planet-sized, with his own gravitational pull devastating the stability of Earth. Flash, accompanying Metron and Lightray on the search for a cure, is a surprise to Darkseid.
PG 15: Darkseid anticipates Flash’s eventual role, exposing a loophole in the nature of the Source Wall that Izaya hopes to exploit in order to find a cure for Orion. Darkseid’s description of “The Secret of the Source”: “…powerful enough to destroy any God who seeks to study it!” Our “source” for Fourth World knowledge for this piece, Ellen Igor, confirmed that no being had been portrayed actively passing through the Source Wall prior to this issue.
From the great KirbyMuseum.org:
The Source, as Orion the Mighty exclaims, “It is eternal!” Says Highfather, “It lived even as the old gods died!” Metron describes it as “serene — omnipotent — all-wise!” The Black Racer tells us simply, “The Source is all!”
The Source exists beyond the Final Barrier, “In one of the last frontiers, where all things begin to lose perspective and all roads to The Source come to an end.” Metron, the cold intellectual new god, as ever seeking to unravel the great questions plaguing him, visits the Final Barrier on the edge of the Promethean Galaxy. “And beyond all knowledge and sweeping concept, the mystery of The Source lies…”
I cannot find anything on Hagdar the Mad, except for his appearance in this issue. There is this page, which briefly refers to him as “*yawn* yet another of the underlings of Darkseid.”
PG 16: Flash tries to think of ways to make up for missing dinner with his wife. The issue was published right around the beginning of the Death of Iris Allen storyline, so a reference to Flash’s relationship with his wife was relevant.
PG 17 – 19: The “legendary ice weirds” appear to be another non-Kirby Fourth World oddity, appearing only in this issue. Flash makes use of Lightray’s powers to perform an interstellar speed trick, striking the ice creatures at lightspeed “…like something he calls a billiard ball!” Metron sets up a Boom Tube as the proverbial “corner pocket.”
PG 20: Hagdar is revealed as the instigator who stirred the normally-passive ice weirds. He apparently possesses telepathic abilities, bragging that he can “survey” Metron’s mind “as easily as a child skimming a primer.” He casts the preceding battle as a test of the heroes’ abilities, and vows to end their quest. Izaya is shown in communion with the source via his staff, and the fate of any God seeking the Source is again confirmed.
PG 21: Back in Earth-orbit, Soviet cosmonauts approach the celestial Orion and, thinking his presence a “capitalist plot,” attempt to destroy him with a missile. The device is detonated prematurely by “beams of fire,” courtesy of “Jezebelle of the Fiery Eyes…”.
NEXT: “A Hell of Giants!” The Epic Conclusion! Flash Ventures Where Gods May Not Tread!