Police forensics scientist, Barry Allen, is plagued by nightmares, born of his recent troubles. Allen watches the Picture News broadcast which sums up his current situation. After Allen's failure to capture the Golden Glider, as the Flash, a new hero appeared, the Ringmaster, who succeeded where the Flash had failed. The Golden Glider was quick to escape from police custody, an escape that the Flash failed to stop. The denizens of Central City have embraced the Ringmaster as their new champion, eschewing their current protector, the Flash. To make matters worse, Allen's wife, Picture News reporter, Iris West, has left Allen, and begun an affair with the Ringmaster.
At the end of the broadcast, the reporter covering the story suggests that, perhaps, it's time for the Flash to retire. Allen works out his frustrations by running, at super-human speed, on his cosmic treadmill. Suddenly, the Picture News broadcast is interrupted by the Golden Glider, who taunts Allen with the misery she has brought to his life. Allen is, once again, plagued by nightmares. The next morning, West calls on the Ringmaster, in his civilian identity of writer, Beau Baer. Unbeknownst to the two lovers, they are being observed, invisibly, by the Golden Glider. A motorcyclist and a skateboarder are saved from collision, by the Flash and the Ringmaster, who have formed a partnership, to bring the Golden Glider to justice.
At lunch, in mid-conversation, the Flash, and the Ringmaster, are attacked by the Golden Glider. The Golden Glider hits the two heroes with a deadly snowfall. The contact of each fallen snowflake instills intense pain in the heroes' nervous systems. The Ringmaster is thrown clear of the snow field by the propulsion of his "retro-rings". The Flash vibrates his molecules, at super-human speed, becoming insubstantial enough to pass below the street. The Golden Glider presses the attack on the Ringmaster. The Flash resurfaces behind her, and divests the Golden Glider of her skates. Anticipating this tactic, the Golden Glider has rigged her skates to drive the Flash into the ground.
Once again, the Flash vibrates his molecules to pass harmlessly through the street, a tactic the Golden Glider has also anticipated. The skates also vibrate, interlocking the molecules of the Flash's hands with the skates. The only way to stop his downward plunge through the Earth is to stop vibrating, which would kill the Flash instantly as he materialized within solid rock. The Ringmaster snares the Golden Glider with his paralyzing ring. Slowly, inexorably, the Flash manages to moves his arms, so that the skate will propel him back to the surface. The Flash reaches out to shake the Ringmaster's hand, congratulating him on his victory over the Golden Glider.
Due to the skates influence over the Flash, his molecules have not entirely ceased their vibrations. The Ringmaster begins shaking uncontrollably. The intense vibrations pass through the Ringmaster, down the chain to his paralytic ring, freeing the Golden Glider. Before the Flash can reach her, the Golden Glider teleports away in a cloud of smoke. Outraged onlookers demand the Flash retire, holding his bungling accountable for the Golden Glider's escape. That night, the Flash, as Allen, takes their request to heart. Packaging up his Flash costume, Allen sends his uniform to police headquarters, with a taped message declaring his retirement.
Hearing a woman's voice calling out to him, Allen races out at, super-speed, to greet his estranged wife, West. Allen is crestfallen to discover that it is merely his young houseguest, Stacy Conwell. To keep Conwell from learning his secret identity, Allen speeds up until he is moving faster than the eye can see. Conwell never knows that Allen was ever there. While watching West and the Ringmaster in another amorous embrace, the Golden Glider realizes that she has fallen in love with the Ringmaster. The Golden Glider makes plans to remove her rival for the Ringmaster's affections, by manipulating Allen into murdering West.
- This issue contains the Hostess Superhero Ad, Superman in "The Big Fall"