Speed Force
Annotations: The Trial of The Flash, #344 – “Betrayal!”

Welcome to the latest installment in our annotations of the collected edition of The Trial of the Flash!  A while back, we analyzed related stories leading up to the release of Showcase Presents: The Trial of the Flash.  In addition, we interviewed author Cary Bates about the buildup and the Trial itself, plus showed you what wasn’t included in the collection.

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IN THIS ISSUE: Flash flashback within a Flash Flashback flashback.

Links to original artwork, scans and research are included throughout this post.  For definitive legal analysis of the story by Bob Ingersoll, go here.  Tom vs. Flash Podcast links here, including these issues.  As always, huge thanks to the DC Indexes. See you after the jump!

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COVER by Carmine Infantino and Klaus Janson. Prior to showing up on the last page of issue #343, Kid Flash had not appeared in Flash since #325, where he appeared in the main feature and his own backup story.

PG 1: Kid Flash and Flash were last together in Tales of the Teen Titans #49. In that issue, Wally mentions that he’s waiting to be called to testify but he expects to be questioned as an eyewitness and not a super-speed expert. Kid Flash retired in New Teen Titans #39 (Feb. 1984).

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This issue features partial, framed reprints of stories from Flash #110 (Dec./Jan. 1959, “Meet Kid Flash”) and Flash #149 (Dec. 1964, “The Flash’s Sensational Risk”).  Both stories, own their own and via internal flashbacks, show key points in Kid Flash history. Each also has a tie-in to the fate of Flash’s secret identity during the Trial.

PG 11 & 12: This animal-roundup sequence is referenced in Flash # 45 (1990):

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PG 14: This was the only appearance of the planet Ikora and the K-10 Gang.

PG 18: This story was probably chosen for reprint/flashback because it also flashes back internally to Flash #120 and #135.  The original art for #120, page 25 can be seen here, via Comic Art Fans.  This is the only original art I could find related to #344 and its flashbacks.

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Even though Joe Giella inks both reprints here, Infantino’s figures are a little more muscular in issue #149, an aspect weighted further by Frank McLaughlin’s heavy black inks in the 1985 framing sequence. Check out this “History of Guyana” for more on the locale seen in panel two.

PG 20: The reveal sequence here is another reminder of Barry’s choices and secrets in the Trial story. Barry was always secretive. He kept his Flash adventures a secret from his wife (though she knew ahead of time due to Barry’s sleep-talking) and didn’t reveal he was Barry Allen to Kid Flash until the latter’s seventh appearance in #120.

PG 23: On the back cover of the original, it says in a preview for this issue, “Kid Flash testifies against his mentor!”. That applies to two speech bubbles in the entirety of this issue.  The real testimony will happen next issue.

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See you next weekend!

Greg Elias.

The post Annotations: The Trial of The Flash, #344 – “Betrayal!” appeared first on Speed Force.

Annotations: The Trial of The Flash, #343 – “Revenge and Revelations!”

Welcome to the latest installment in our annotations of the collected edition of The Trial of the Flash!  A while back, we analyzed related stories leading up to the release of Showcase Presents: The Trial of the Flash.  In addition, we interviewed author Cary Bates about the buildup and the Trial itself, plus showed you what wasn’t included in the collection.

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IN THIS ISSUE:  “Love Over Gold”!

Links to original artwork, scans and research are included throughout this post.  For definitive legal analysis of the story by Bob Ingersoll, go here.  Tom vs. Flash Podcast links here, including these issues.  As always, huge thanks to the DC Indexes. See you after the jump!

COVER by Carmine Infantino and Klaus Janson. We’ll cover the clues here in the post. Here is someone who really didn’t like it.

The original art for page two is viewable here, via Comic Art Fans.

PG 3 & 4: Looks like the future city may be dealing with the effects of a coronal mass ejection, sometimes called “ion storms”.

The original art for page five can be seen here.

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PG 6: Goldface’s appearances in this issue and back in Flash #315 – 317 were his only pre-Crisis on Infinite Earth’s appearances outside of the pages of Green Lantern. Here’s the original sequence of Office O’Malley’s execution. His funeral occurred off-panel.

PG 7: Here’s the first appearance of Nathan Newbury, omitted from the Showcase collection.

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PG 9 – 11: Not only was Goldface lying about the timing of his ultimatum to Flash – once Flash did receive the warning he moved only at hyper-speed to avoid detection. Page nine also has the secret origin of Cecile’s watch.

PG 13 & 14: Going back to the cover – the yellow/gold hand on the cover seems to represent three things: Goldface (as seen in last panel on page 13), the murdered-by-gold O’Malley (actual grave occupant) and, in the context of future issues, a certain opposite number’s comeback. Goldface’s usual alias is Keith Kenyon, but his is named here as “Curtis” Kenyon. The last five issues alone have seen a couple of secret ID discrepancies, something of a Flash inside joke.

PG 16: The encephalo-scanning technology used here is reminiscent of Magnetoencephalography (MEG), which “is a non-invasive neurophysiological technique that measures the magnetic fields generated by neuronal activity of the brain.” Check out this site for more on MEG.

PG 18: Jet-copters use jet engines to drive the rotors/propeller. Here is an article from a couple of years back about the fastest jet-helicopter on Earth.

PG 20: There is no precise speed at which a fall into water can be fatal, but this article on cliff diving goes into terminal velocity and one 22,000 foot fall onto snow that a pilot happened to survive. A 2,000-foot fall at Flash’s top super-speed, assuming he’d go all-out to catch up to Cecile’s fall, is not considered.

PG 22: Michael Jackson participated in The Jacksons’ Victory Tour in 1984. Here is video of a full show from Dallas.

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PG 23: Kid Flash had retired back in New Teen Titans #39 (cover date Feb. 1984), but appeared as Wally West occasionally in that book (i.e. “The Terror of Trigon“) and Tales of the Teen Titans prior to his showing up here. The appearance most relevant to The Trial is an Infantino-illustrated story in Tales of the Teen Titans #49, written by Titans scribe Marv Wolfman, where Flash and Kid Flash meet to discuss a condition that was causing Kid Flash great pain and a loss of his super-speed. Wally and his girlfriend Frances Kane also fight Dr. Light in Central City during their visit.

See you next weekend!

Greg Elias.

The post Annotations: The Trial of The Flash, #343 – “Revenge and Revelations!” appeared first on Speed Force.

Annotations: The Trial of The Flash, #342 – “Smash-Up”

Welcome to the latest installment in our annotations of the collected edition of The Trial of the Flash!  A while back, we analyzed related stories leading up to the release of Showcase Presents: The Trial of the Flash.  In addition, we interviewed author Cary Bates about the buildup and the Trial itself, plus showed you what wasn’t included in the collection.

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IN THIS ISSUE:  Flash vs. Fauna of Equatorial Africa!

Links to original artwork, scans and research are included throughout this post.  For definitive legal analysis of the story by Bob Ingersoll, go here.  Tom vs. Flash Podcast links here, including these issues.  As always, huge thanks to the DC Indexes. See you after the jump!

COVER by Carmine Infantino and Klaus Janson. This is another experimental cover layout by Infantino, but it looks like the white “poster” in the middle may have been added late in the process. There are also two Flash mastheads, one partially obscured by the other. DC included two Flash title logos on covers from issue #236 to 244, but only two times after that with this issue and the iconic cover to Flash #323.

The original art for page one can be seen here, via Comic Art Fans.

PG 4: The font used in the “Smash-Up” title always reminded me of the one used on the famous “Disco Sucks!” signs and t-shirts from the 1970s. It is called “Shatter”. The original art for this page can be seen here.

PG 5: There are some lettercol complaints coming up in a couple issues about Flash’s blood falling from his face to his shoe here, while he is running at super-speed. The phrase “death before dishonor” comes from a Latin military call/sendoff.

PG 6 & 7: This map will give you a general idea of how far Flash ran to get from Central City to Gorilla City.

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Here are some possibilities for identifying the snake in panel two and the cat in panels three, four and six. The original art for page six is available at Anthony’s Comic Book Art.

PG 8 – 10: Gorilla City and Solovar first appeared in Flash #106, the second issue of Barry’s 1959 series following the initial Showcase run. Solovar has a flashback appearance that takes place earlier than the events of Flash #106 in a Grodd “Secret Origin” story in DC Super Stars #14 (1977). Solovar actually did not appear in Flash from 1967 (issue #172) to 1981 (issue #294), but popped up in a few other DC titles.

PG 11: The Professor Kingsfield name appears to be lifted from the 1970 novel The Paper Chase, which was adapted into a film and a TV series during the following decade. The similarities end there, as Kingsfield was not portrayed as a physicist or student of Einstein.

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This page are relevant to the eventuality that, in the years following this story, Reverse-Flash continued to appear in Flash comics. Following the Trial annotations, we’ll do a Reverse-Flash timeline that will analyze his movement throughout the timestream, from his origin to his death in issue #324. Note how Bates (mis?)spells Thawne as “Thayne” here, but will include editor’s notes for the Rogues full IDs in the coming pages.

PG 12 & 13: I cannot recommend enough that you pick up the issues of Action Comics that Rip Hunter appears in just before his testimony here. It is one of the great Superman stories of the 1980s, by Marv Wolfman and Gil Kane. I reviewed the recent collection of Kane’s Superman stories at Collected Editions.

PG 15: I can’t find anything pointing to the existence of an actual “Boerner Scotch”.

PG 17: As we mentioned in the notes for issue #338, this is the first Rogues team-up of four or more (not including Flash #300’s visions or their “funeral” for Zoom in Flash #325) since Flash #256.

PG 18: Here’s a post over at Thrillist with a history and current state of prison food.

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PG 19 & 20: Captain Cold is “The Man Who Mastered Absolute Zero,” but minus 1000 degrees would be much colder than the current definition of Absolute Zero at -459.67 Fahrenheit. Last year, a family made headlines when their car was struck by lightning via their antenna. Here is an article, with video, at Jalopnik. The original art for page 20 can be seen here.

PG 22: I think the Gorilla City procedure Big Sir’s condition might have gone a little something like this, which features some of his “little friends”.

The original art for page 23 can be seen here.

See you next weekend!

Greg Elias.

The post Annotations: The Trial of The Flash, #342 – “Smash-Up” appeared first on Speed Force.

Annotations: The Trial of The Flash, #341 – “Trial and Tribulation!”

Welcome to the latest installment in our annotations of the collected edition of The Trial of the Flash!  A while back, we analyzed related stories leading up to the release of Showcase Presents: The Trial of the Flash.  In addition, we interviewed author Cary Bates about the buildup and the Trial itself, plus showed you what wasn’t included in the collection.

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IN THIS ISSUE:
Secret Identities on Trial!

Links to original artwork, scans and research are included throughout this post.  For definitive legal analysis of the story by Bob Ingersoll, go here.  Tom vs. Flash Podcast links here, including these issues.  As always, huge thanks to the DC Indexes. See you after the jump!

COVER by Carmine Infantino and Klaus Janson. While not as recognizable as Flash #163, this continues a tradition of fourth-wall-breaking Flash covers. Here’s a similar “bad day?” Superman cover by Gil Kane from his incredible Action Comics run.

PG 1 – 3: D.A. Anton Slater was seen “breaking out the champagne” himself last issue, with confidence in Flash’s guilt and knowledge of the bombshell 2nd Degree Murder charge. Slater’s only post-Crisis on Infinite Earths appearance was in flashback scenes from the Trial in Flash: Rebirth #3. The original art for page one can be seen here and page three can be seen here, both via Comic Art Fans.

PG 4: Mirror arrays that harness solar energy, not unlike the ones used here by Mirror Master, are being used in the Southwest United States to generate electricity.

The original art for page seven can be seen here, via Cool Lines. The original art for page eight is located here.

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PG 9 & 10:Laws regarding the possession of a firearm in a courthouse/courtroom differ from state to state. In Arkansas, for example, it is a felony. This article over at io9 explains how the human brain tracks fast-moving objects. The original art for page nine can be seen here.

PG 11: You may be thinking, “Kid Flash was at the wedding, he could be an eyewitness!” Bates is setting this up for sure, but readers should remember that Wally West still had a secret identity at this point and Flash decisively destroyed his Barry Allen ID in the wake of Reverse-Flash’s death. Flash places his secret identity above all else in a major, complex motif throughout this story. He was about to marry his second wife without her knowing he was Flash, as he did with his first wife, Iris.  He kept the fact that he was The Flash secret from his own sidekick at first. Barry’s secrecy (especially in close relationships) dates back to his origins and Bates includes it front-and-center in the final stretch. The Elongated Man, the first witness and one superhero with a public identity, shows the other side of the coin with his unintentionally harmful testimony under cross-examination and an exhibition of his stretching abilities.

This all adds weight to Wally’s casting-aside of his secret ID in Mike Baron’s first few issues of Flash – why do it for the ease of a medical examination but not to exonerate your mentor? It is not too hard to imagine that Wally felt it was meaningless post-Crisis and post-Trial.  Kelson wrote in detail about this a few years back (I stole the title of this post from that one).

PG 16: “Who knows from names?” Regular Flash readers would recall the “Jack O’Malley” name from Flash # 316, but I won’t totally spoil it here.

PG 19: Trickster’s machine – the “Mesmeratron” – seems like an aggressive method of hypnosis. Here’s another great io9 article (there are really so many), this time on “What Hypnosis Really Does to Your Brain.” Trickster says Big Sir will be left a “100-pound vegetable,” but his weight was set during his introduction at approximately 300 lbs.

PG 22 & 23: If it took Flash eight minutes to go three miles, that gives a pretty good idea of how much damage he sustained from Big Sir’s mace to the face.  After re-establishing the identity motif during Elongated Man’s testimony, the destruction of Flash’s face is the logical, brutal extension of Bates’ unraveling of Barry Allen identity.

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See you next weekend!

Greg Elias.

The post Annotations: The Trial of The Flash, #341 – “Trial and Tribulation!” appeared first on Speed Force.

Annotations: The Trial of the Flash, #340 – “Reach Out and Waste Someone!”

Welcome to the latest installment in our annotations of the collected edition of The Trial of the Flash!  A while back, we analyzed related stories leading up to the release of Showcase Presents: The Trial of the Flash.  In addition, we interviewed author Cary Bates about the buildup and the Trial itself, plus showed you what wasn’t included in the collection.

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IN THIS ISSUE:  The Flash vs. The Acceleration of Gravity at High Altitudes!

Links to original artwork, scans and research are included throughout this post.  For definitive legal analysis of the story by Bob Ingersoll, go here.  Tom vs. Flash Podcast links here, including these issues.  As always, huge thanks to the DC Indexes. See you after the jump!

Following the three issues that were not included in the Showcase Presents volume, issue #340 picks up with Big Sir’s abduction of Flash.

COVER by Carmine Infantino and Klaus Janson. Flash was arrested at the end of issue #325. Just to compare timelines, not charges: O.J. Simpson was arrested on June 17, 1994 and opening statements were made Jan. 23, 1995.

PG 6 & 7: The search for Barry Allen dovetails with Cecile Horton’s storyline here. Ludlow Dreed got Barry’s costume ring from Captain Frye, whose cat made off with a Flash costume. Flash stayed at Cecile’s house while Peter Farley was handling his case, before Farley was attacked by N.D. Redik and she returned from abroad.

PG 9: Big Sir’s armor was provided by The Monitor via The Rogues. Another memorable pre-Crisis Monitor creation was The New Olympians, who tangled with Batman and The Outsiders when Maxie Zeus tried to disrupt The Olympics. The Monitor’s first appearance was in New Teen Titans #21 (1982).

PG 11: “This is a job for Big Sir!” – Bates is one of the great Superman writers as well. This article by Comics Alliance’s Chris Sims from a couple years back highlights some of the best moments.

The original art for page 16 is viewable at Comic Art Fans.

PG 17: A two-bottle lot of 1921 Dom Perignon, the first vintage, went for a little over $8,000 about 10 years ago, according to these Christie’s listings.

The original art for page 18 can be seen here.

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PG 19 & 20: In order to run on the rocks he threw into the air, Flash must maintain a speed greater than the acceleration of gravity on Earth, which is an average of 9.8 m/s/s. This is affected by altitude, and Flash states he was at a 12,000-foot elevation back on page 16. Read more about gravitational acceleration here, including some interactive features.

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PG 22 & 23: Barry Allen is late, now and forever. “Failure to appear” is itself a crime with major consequences for someone charged with (for now) manslaughter.

See you next weekend!

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Greg Elias.

The post Annotations: The Trial of the Flash, #340 – “Reach Out and Waste Someone!” appeared first on Speed Force.

Annotations: The Trial of The Flash, #s 337, 338 & 339 – The “Lost” Issues

Welcome to the latest installment in our annotations of the collected edition of The Trial of the Flash!  A while back, we analyzed related stories leading up to the release of Showcase Presents: The Trial of the Flash.  In addition, we interviewed author Cary Bates about the buildup and the Trial itself, plus showed you what wasn’t included in the collection (important to this post).

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IN THESE ISSUES:  “The Monitor Doesn’t Editorialize!”

Links to original artwork, scans and research are included throughout this post.  For definitive legal analysis of the story by Bob Ingersoll, go here.  Tom vs. Flash Podcast links here, including these issues.  As always, huge thanks to the DC Indexes. See you after the jump!

We’ve arrived at the point in the Showcase Presents volume where the collection skips three issues, #s 337, 338 and 339. The Trial is already one of/the longest Showcase Presents editions at 592 pages, and 66 more pages would have put it at a whopping 658. These three issues introduce a couple major players and are marked by Bates’ intricate plotting and rich dialog.

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COVER by Carmine Infantino and Klaus Janson. The Sound of Music reference here joins a more contemporary one from the Pied Piper’s last Flash encounter in issue #307, which features a line from Don McLean’s “American Pie” on the cover.

PG 1 & 2: Flash saved Mayor Pinchot from the Pied Piper last issue. Under Piper’s control, he had previously vetoed funds to restore The Flash Museum following vandalism orchestrated by the Piper. Pinchot first appeared in Flash #258, and even appeared with Flash in one issue of The Brave and The Bold (#194). The original artwork for these pages can be seen here and here, via Comic Art Fans.

PG 3: The reference to the “Mayor in New York” who said “How am I doin’?” refers to the late Ed Koch, who passed away just last year.

PG 5: Captain Frye’s comment in panel four are the first morsel readers are given as to Cecile Horton’s grudge against Flash.

PG 6: Hostage negotiator Lt. Mondale (no further appearances) appears to be a nod to former Vice President Walter Mondale and his role in the 1980-1 Iran Hostage Crisis.

PG 7: In one of my favorite speed-tricks, Flash catches a bullet in his teeth. Here is a list of six magicians who died performing “The Bullet Catch”.

PG 9: The Pied Piper’s alias here is Thomas Peterson. He is sometimes also referred to as Henry Rathaway along with the most familiar/current Hartley Rathaway. The multiple names is poked fun at a little in Flash #32 (1989) by William Messner-Loebs when Turtle-Man recites The Piper’s dossier.

PG 12: The Piper ignites the Flash dummy, but this article says sound waves can actually be used to fight fires.

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The original artwork for page 16 can be seen here.

The major plot advancement here is the mystery of what happened between Flash and his lawyer’s father. One good side effect of DC leaving it to fans to buy these three issues is you get this letter from Flash himself at the end of this story:

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ISSUE #338

COVER by Infantino and Janson. There have always been those who claim Infantino was “phoning it in” during this period in his career, but I disagree when we see a seasoned master experiment with cover designs like this one.  His sense of design and the rhythm of his pages never faltered.

The original artwork for page one can be seen here.

PG 9: The power of the mind is frequently on display in Bates’ Flash. It is very real and used often as a plot device and even battlefield, from Melanie in the “Death of Iris Allen” arc, The Top’s possession of Henry Allen, Gorilla Grodd and his psychic war with William Dawson, among many other examples.

PG 10: Just last issue, Captain Boomerang referred to Piper as Thomas Peterson. Here, Mirror Master uses his “Rathaway” surname. On page 13 of this issue, Boomerang refers to him as “Henry”. Breedmore Mental Hospital’s only other appearances outside of the Trial appear to be in Pied Piper fanfic.

PG 11: At first, it seems possible that Dufus a.k.a Big Sir is one of the reasons these issues were not included. However, he was featured in a DC comic as recently as 2011.

PG 14 & 15: These are two of the most important pages omitted from the collection. We get the origin of Nathan Newbury, C.P.A., who plays a huge role down the stretch.  Here’s page 14 and here’s page 15.

PG 17: The Rogues act as if they’re standing up for the Piper, but there is some fear at play as Flash has become unpredictable. The reader knows Flash didn’t rough up Piper as badly as the Rogues believe, but we also don’t know if he meant to kill Reverse-Flash, or if it was an accident. Flash says he doesn’t even know, back in issue #332. This is the first Rogues team-up of four or more (not including Flash #300’s visions or their “funeral” for Zoom in Flash #325) since Flash #256.

PG 18: Sid Dithers, P.I. was a sketch on SCTV in the late 1970s. He was portrayed by Eugene Levy.

PG 20: During the buildup to Crisis on Infinite Earths, The Monitor provided a number of Earth’s villains with weapons.

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PG 21 & 22: Dufus/Big Sir is either mis-colored here, or they changed their minds and covered his arms and legs in blue on the cover. Big Sur is a region of the Central Coast of California.

There are a couple of major plot progressions here, plus the introduction of Nathan Newbury and Big Sir. Both will appear later in the volume, without explanation. The two-page Newbury sequence could have been included as-is, anywhere in middle of the collection.

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PG 1: Big Sir is thankfully blue from here on out. The original artwork for this page can be viewed here.

PG 3: This is the second time the Rogues refer to Big Sir as “Baby Kong”. The first credited Baby Kong on film appeared in 1986’s King Kong LivesThe original artwork for this page is viewable here.

PG 4: “Warday” is also the title of a post-apocalyptic book written in 1984 (the same year as these issues) and published the following year.  Original artwork can be seen here. Page five is here.

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PG 7 & 8: I tend to view Big Sir as Bates’ commentary on the management of Crisis tie-ins/crossovers. The Rogues referring to him as “B.S.”, the name “Dufus”…  The artwork for these pages can be seen here and here.

PG 12: Foreshadowing here with Horton’s comments about recognizing Barry. It is not just a “does she know?” moment.

PG 14: A parabolic mirror is a reflective surface that collects light/sound/radiation and concentrates it into a single point (focus). Here is a great video explaining parabolic and spherical mirrors.

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PG 16: The Monitor/Lyla sequence is a more pointed meta-commentary on Big Sir and the Crisis-crossover. Lyla refers to the creation of Big Sir as “bizarre,” to which The Monitor states he has “no interest” in how his technology was being used, and that he does not “editorialize upon” the events unfolding. Bates intentionally created a strange character when DC gave him marching orders for a Crisis tie-in, and he had free rein as writer/editor.

PG 21: Cecile’s “The sooner this interminable case is over and done with…” reads similarly to the Monitor sequence.

The original artwork for page 22 is located here.  While the introductions of Newbury and Big Sir are very important and Horton’s storyline progresses, the tone of these three issues is wild and there is some pretty clear commentary by Bates to that effect.

See you next weekend, when The Trial commences!

Greg Elias.

The post Annotations: The Trial of The Flash, #s 337, 338 & 339 – The “Lost” Issues appeared first on Speed Force.

Annotations: The Trial of the Flash, #336 – “Murder on the Rocks”

Welcome to the latest (emphasis on late!) installment in our annotations of the collected edition of The Trial of the Flash!  A while back, we analyzed related stories leading up to the release of Showcase Presents: The Trial of the Flash.  In addition, we interviewed author Cary Bates about the buildup and the Trial itself, plus showed you what wasn’t included in the collection.

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IN THIS ISSUE:  The Final Fate of Gigi!

Links to original artwork, scans and research are included throughout this post.  For definitive legal analysis of the story by Bob Ingersoll, go here.  Tom vs. Flash took on this issue here.  See you after the jump!

COVER by Carmine Infantino and Klaus Janson. In addition to this issue, Janson also inked the cover to World’s Finest Comics #306 cover-dated August 1984.

This is the first issue before the Showcase Presents collection skips three issues. We’ll be tackling those in one post next time, as there are some crucial plot elements that unfold therein.

PG 1 & 2: The two men seen here were contracted last issue via a mysterious tape recorded message. The male victim, seen here alive, was making a tape recording of his own outside of the Horton house last issue. He was speaking with an “assistant” on the other end of a radio.

PG 3 – 6: Scenes like this one between Flash/Barry and Patty Spivot make it easy to understand why Geoff Johns and Francis Manapul/Brian Buccellato chose to reintroduce her as a major character and love interest. Plenty of groundwork for that relationship exists in these “final days” stories and prior.

Flash appears to have the Pied Piper angle figured out just a page earlier, but almost seems to use the case as an excuse to visit Patty and the lab. It’s clear Barry also has an inkling that his first lawyer’s office exploding might be linked to his current lawyer’s avalanche problem.

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PG 7-9: The National Penetrator is a tabloid that has given Flash some negative publicity in the buildup to the Trial, coinciding with the Pied Piper’s assault on his public image.

PG 10: The fact that Cecile is saved by her sensory-deprivation tank ties in nicely to the psychological themes and Easter eggs seen throughout Bates’ Flash writing, something we also covered in our interview with the writer. If the storyline is viewed as a purely academic wringer, knowing Flash’s fate beforehand, it is hard to ignore scenes like this where parapsychology and the paranormal always seem to have the upper hand.

PG 12 – 13: This scene mirrors Flash’s rescue of Mayor Pinchot. The Pied Piper attacks Flash via Pinchot in the public forum, while Horton represents his defense. Both Piper and Horton hate Flash, but from different sides of the law. Pinchot’s grateful appeals reflect Horton’s equally ungrateful turn. Flash removes an artifact from Pinchot (microsonic pipe), but returns one to Horton (watch). Flash rescues Pinchot from the air, and Horton from the water (in her tank).

PG 14 & 15: Barry’s father, Dr. Henry Allen, is referred to as “Herbert” in the first panel. Then, Barry corrects his mother on legal eagle “N.D. Redik’s” proper name. I am fairly certain this is a recurring in-joke (at this point in the title’s run) on the generally inconsistent naming continuity in Flash’s supporting cast (and Rogue’s Gallery).

PG 18 – 20: Redik’s specific motive is first revealed on page 20. Not that it matters, as it is simply why he wanted/needed The Flash Case so badly.  The original art for page 19 can be seen/purchased here, and page 20 here.

PG 21 – 22: Flash seems to enjoy the opportunity to see Redik go to trial. Multiple suicide attempts by Redik over these two pages – I’d say that is dark stuff for pre-Crisis DC.  There’s also some next level stuff in fourth panel, page 21, as Flash’s rote heroic witticism is interrupted by the second suicide attempt. Flash’s “two strikes and you’re out” game could be Cricket, according to Law 34 in the Laws of Cricket.  The original art for page 21 is available here.

PG 23: Now, Flash seems to resent Redik’s demise exclusively because he is avoiding “the humiliation of a trial” (emphasis from the lettering).  The original art for this page can be viewed/purchased here.

This is a packed, cathartic issue with a lot of resolutions as the pre-Trial half of the collection comes to a close. That said, a lot happens in #s 337-339 that impacts the final 10 issues of the title. We’ll cover those in detail next time!

Greg Elias.

The post Annotations: The Trial of the Flash, #336 – “Murder on the Rocks” appeared first on Speed Force.

Annotations: The Trial of the Flash, #332 – “Defend The Flash…and Die?”

Welcome to the latest installment in our annotations of the collected edition of The Trial of the Flash!  We analyzed related stories leading up to the summer 2011 release of Showcase Presents: The Trial of the Flash.  In addition, we interviewed author Cary Bates about the buildup and the Trial itself, plus showed you what wasn’t included in the collection.  Are you ready, Batman?

IN THIS ISSUE:  Carmine Infantino vs. Dave Gibbons - you decide!  Plus, Legal…Vultures?

Links to original artwork, scans and research are included throughout this post.  For legal analysis of the story by Bob Ingersoll, go here.  Tom vs. Flash took on this issue here.  See you after the jump!

COVER by Carmine Infantino and Dick Giordano.  Here is this month’s corresponding Green Lantern #175 cover, by Dave Gibbons.  Flash and Green Lantern co-starred in each-others books this month.

PG 1: Flash was in Florida at the end of last issue, following a visit to Gorilla City and a super-speed rescue at sea, hence the palm trees.

PG 2 & 3:  Here’s another video of an explosion where you can see the shockwave, for super-speed reference.

Here is the original art for page four from Comic Art Fans.  It appears the same collector has page two at his personal page as part of a substantial Infantino collection.

PG 6 & 7:  Rainbow Raider suits up.  The Raider was last seen in the pages of Flash in issue #299, the second part of a villain two-fer with The Shade.  After that story, in the pages of Brave and the Bold #194 (by Mike W. Barr with art by Infantino), Raider and Dr. X/Dr. Double-X “switched heroes” to face off against Batman and Flash, respectively.  That is likely why the editor’s note at the bottom of page 7 is incomplete/incorrect.  The Brave and the Bold issue is a nice bonus to Infantino’s second Flash run, along with DC Comics Presents # 73 and Tales of the Teen Titans #49.

The two-parter featuring The Shade in Flash #298 - 299 features great art by Infantino and Bob Smith, and some cool black-and-white gimmickry.

PG 9 & 10 : Flash is pretty short with the nurse in the first panel.  Bates peppers Flash’s dialog with signs of stress as the story progresses.  This page also has shady lawyer N.D. Redik circling in an aircraft, watching the news on the health of Flash’s injured lawyer and swooping in on the apparent vacancy on Flash’s defense.  Redik pulls strings with a national newspaper columnist to gain a public “endorsement”.

PG 11 & 12:  Captain Frye dropped the missing persons flyers last issue.  Flash is curt with the telegram delivery man.  “C. Horton” is Flash’s lawyer’s law partner and the owner of the house Flash has been using as a “temporary headquarters”.

PG 15:  Visit this site to read about Melvin Belli, known as the “Father of Demonstrative Evidence”.  Here is a video of F. Lee Bailey.  Besides being famous defense lawyers, Belli and Bailey were also controversial public figures and were seemingly chosen to provide Redik with an level of instant characterization by association.

PG 18 - 20 :  The Brave and the Bold issue mentioned above is correctly noted here.

Pages 18 - 21 of this issue feature the same script as pages 8 - 11 in Green Lantern #175.  Green Lantern Hal Jordan had just returned from a lengthy period in outer space.  This fact is also why Tomar-Re was sent by the Guardians in Jordan’s stead to alert Flash of Professor Zoom’s return back in issue #319.

Each issue credits only its own writer, Bates and GL's Len Wein (former Flash editor) with the full script.  Dave Gibbons and Carmine Infantino each give their own interpretation and they are fun to compare (below, numbered as Flash/Green Lantern, from original issues):

Page 18/8: Infantino / Gibbons

Page 19/9: Infantino / Gibbons

Page 20/10: Infantino (original, from Comic Art Fans) / Gibbons

Page 21/11: Infantino / Gibbons (original, from Comic Art Fans)

Which version do you like most?  Let us know in the comments, and we’ll announce the winner of this matchup of masters in the next installment.

Both artists approach it from unique perspectives and disparate styles, focused on their respective stars.  The Green Lantern issue will be reprinted for the first time in the upcoming Green Lantern: Sector 2814 collection of Gibbons’ work on that title.

PG 22 & 23:  The matter-of-fact second panel shows some of the deterioration of the Barry Allen identity.  Big reveal: C. Horton is a lady lawyer!  1984!

See you next time!

Annotations: Super-Team Family #15, Part Three - “A Hell of Giants!”

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 and Two of this issue, click here!  Now, on to Chapter Three: “A Hell of Giants!”

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Friday Flashback

The *ahem* top post at Speed Force this week, by the amount of discussion, was Lia’s post on “Why I Like the Top.” But the most-read article was Devin’s write-up on the exclusive Flash figure that will ship with Best Buy’s edition of Justice League: Doom later this month. Also this week: The first part of Greg’s annotations on a hidden Flash/New Gods crossover from the 1970s, in Super-Team Family #15, and the latest sales ranking for The Flash #5 in January.  Meanwhile, the Wayback Wednesday feature looked back at a classic original Young Justice moment with Impulse, Superboy and the Ray: remember when your comic was canceled?