It has been over 25 years since Cary Bates’ last Flash story was published in Flash #350, but his DC Retroactive: 1970s issue shows he hasn’t forgotten how to have fun with the Scarlet Speedster.
Opening with a page that would have been right at home in any Julius Schwartz-edited Flash magazine, Bates crafts a story that recalls his many years as writer on the book, while also addressing a lingering question regarding Barry Allen’s relationship with his wife Iris. The pitch-perfect plot and dialog give this book a place in the story of the Allens’ marriage. It could easily be slotted at any point during the early-to-mid 70s and would not feel out of place in terms of narrative.
The artwork by Benito Gallego and the legendary Sal Buscema is great, and more than appropriate for this story. Based on the cover pencils, Buscema’s inks are a comfortable compliment to Gallego’s style. It took me a few minutes, but Gallego’s Flash and Barry Allen portrayals are occasionally reminiscent of Joe Kubert’s late-60s Flash covers. It is also easy to picture this story illustrated by the late, great Irv Novick, especially considering the pacing and structure of Bates’ plot.
For further analysis, including spoilers, see you after the jump…