Speed Force
Annotations: The Trial of The Flash, #348 – “The Final Verdict!”

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: Death in the Afternoon!

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 issue hit stands the same day as Crisis on Infinite Earths #5, featuring this ominous sequence (from page 5, via Comic Art Fans):

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PG 1: This 1985 New York Times article showcases the year’s tiny video cameras.

PG 3: The 1982 Knight Rider episode “The Final Verdict” features a shy accountant who can help clear a “friend” of murder, similar to this issue.

PG 4: Last appearance of Frye’s Captain Incredible/Invincible identity.

PG 11: Here is a link to a Van Gogh style Jay Garrick.

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PG 12: If a jury cannot return a verdict, the judge may declare a mistrial. According to Cornell University Law School, the government may retry any case on which the jury could not agree. “The moment of truth” is a bullfighting term for the point at which the matador kills the bull. It is also the title of a 1965 Italian film about bullfighting. The idiom was introduced to the English language by Ernest Hemingway in his Death in the Afternoon (1932, review via New York Times).

In addition to this being the climax of the Trial, the series and (seemingly) Barry Allen, this reference also fits with Flash as matador and the theme of death. This was also highlighted by Geoff Johns-via-Nightwing in 2004.

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From the NYT review:

Bull-fighting is thus presented as an art heightened by the presence of death and, if the spectator can project himself into the matador’s place, in the terror of death. For even the best matadors have their moments of fear–even their days and seasons of fear.

PG 13: According to this Orlando Sentinel article from 1985 about the Sanford, FL police department upgrading to a “top-drawer, first-class computer system,”:

The system will store information on incident files, arrests, suspect files, complaints, department and evidence inventory, and patrol car maintenance. It also will store research information on city problems related to law enforcement.

For example, the computer will be able to show traffic patterns or where the most traffic accidents occur.

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The original art for page 17 can be seen here, page 18 here and page 21 here.

See you next weekend!

Greg Elias.

The post Annotations: The Trial of The Flash, #348 – “The Final Verdict!” appeared first on Speed Force.

Annotations: The Trial of The Flash, #347 – “Back From The Dead!”

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:  Rogue Roundup!

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, recolored and used for the Showcase Presents edition.

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PG 1: “It was a dark and stormy night” is the opening line of the 1830 Sir Edward George Earle Bulwer-Lytton novel Paul Clifford.

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

PG 5: According to this Wall Street Journal article from last week, solar panel systems at homes in New York City and Westchester County “has grown from 277 in 2009 to nearly 3,000 today.”

PG 6 & 7:Cold meat” is pretty arcane slang from the early/mid 1800s. It has a connection to the Trial via another lengthy, multi-part story. The term appeared in The Mysteries of Paris, a 90-part serial novel that ran from June 1842 to October 1843 in the French newspaper Journal des débats. Here’s a handy explanation of what happens when there’s a hung jury. The original art for page six can be seen here.

PG 11: I couldn’t find anything on a “nucleonic pacemaker,” but in Marvel Premiere #47 & 48 (1979) the head of Cross Technological Enterprises was fitted with a “nucleorganic” pacemaker. Captain Frye previously used “cardiopower” as Captain Invincible, an amateur hero who “helped” Flash during the Eradicator storyline. He was last seen as such in issue #319, which is written up here at Crazy Comic Cover’s, who did not like it (with scans).

PG 12: Here’s an article (with video) about an armored car robbery that took place last month in Queens, NY. No weather wands or tricks to be seen. This article from the National Fire Protection Association will teach you how to deal with lightning fires.

The original art for page 13 can be seen here.

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PG 14: Looking at Flash as a law enforcement official (at least a deputy), Reverse-Flash’s death would be counted today amount the at least 400 police killings per year, according to USA Today.

PG 15: As seen here, “Captain Incredible” (as Frye refers to himself here) was known as Captain Invincible in his previous appearances. This is almost definitely another “near miss” name joke from Bates, who has utilized the multiple established Pied Piper aliases (Thomas Peterson, Henry/Hartley Rathaway) during this run, as well as referred to Fiona Webb as “Flora.”

PG 16: The topic of “taking and saving lives” is tackled in detail at this Berkeley Law Scholaship paper from 1993.

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PG 20 & 21: Captain Cold’s hatred of Reverse-Flashes was a major theme in Geoff Johns’ “Rogue War” arc.

See you next weekend!

Greg Elias.

The post Annotations: The Trial of The Flash, #347 – “Back From The Dead!” appeared first on Speed Force.

Annotations: The Trial of The Flash, #346 – “Dead Man’s Bluff”

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 of Two Faces!

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. As seen last issue, the larger-than-normal “next issue” preview cover showed Flash running from a captionless Captain Frye, leaving the surprise to greet readers in person. Flash’s previous appearance on stands was Crisis on Infinite Earths #3, with a note pointing readers to a Flash #350 that was months away.

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PG 2: “Dead Man’s Bluff” brings to mind the Dead Man’s Hand in poker and the story of Wild Bill Hickok.

PG 4: Here is a gallery of courtroom sketches from famous trials.

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PG 5: This article about smoking in comics notes that Marvel has had a smoking ban in place since 2001. Flash had a public encounter with a Top-possessed Henry Allen in this scene from Flash #303.

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PG 9: The Pied Piper (alias Henry Rathaway, this issue at least) appears to have converted the PA System into a customized Long Range Acoustic Device.

PG 11: Piper was committed to Breedmore Mental Hospital following the events of the “lost issues”. There is a real Benson Psychologial Services in North Dakota.

PG 16: Barry’s face was changed in Gorilla City in issue #342, via this silent request.

PG 21: The strongest tidal current in the world is the Saltstraumen Maelstrom, and according to this video, “The speed of the stream is estimated to be up to 22 knots or 40 km per hour, and it is about 3 km long.” The original art for this page can be seen here, via Comic Art Fans.

PG 22: According to this article about about police pursuits:

  • In Oakland, Calif., starting this past January, officers can only chase those suspected of violent forcible crimes, crimes involving the use or possession of firearms or suspects who may have a firearm.

  • That same month, the St. Petersburg Police Department changed its policy and barred officers from pursuing anyone other than people suspected of violent felonies.

  • Kansas City, Kan. officers can now only pursue a driver if there is “probable cause to believe the violator has committed a felony, or misdemeanor, or traffic violation,” according to an April policy change.

The original art for page 23 can be seen here.

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See you next weekend!

Greg Elias.

The post Annotations: The Trial of The Flash, #346 – “Dead Man’s Bluff” appeared first on Speed Force.

Annotations: The Trial of The Flash, #345 – “The Secret Face of The Flash!”

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:

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 issue went on sale one week after Crisis on Infinite Earths #2. Flash fans had to be wondering about this famous sequence with Batman.

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PG 4: Kid Flash retired in New Teen Titans #39 (Feb. 1984). The original art for this page can be seen here, via Comic Art Fans.

The original art for page five can be seen here.

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PG 6 & 7: This two-page spread is featured in a great piece on Infantino from last month over at Sequart.org. Here’s a passage:

[Infatino] explored these experiments in page design even further later in his career by trying full-page layouts without panels à la Will Eisner. Some of the best examples of this are in his work during the epic “Trial of the Flash” story, which ran from issue #323 to the series’ conclusion in #350. Augmented by the bold, clean inks of Frank McLaughlin, Infantino experimented with his page layouts and speedlines, pushing them to new levels of abstraction until they became a sort of kinetic shorthand for motion itself. Yet, even when pushed to those extremes, his linework remained clean, smooth and deliberate. If anything, these later issues demonstrate a well-earned assurance and show just how skilled of artist Infantino was as he pushed the language of the medium in new directions.

PG 8 & 9: The original art for page nine can be seen here. According to this article about reflexes and modifying reflex actions:

Q: When you trip and fall, reflexes automatically command your hands and arms to reach out and break your fall. What if you were carrying a priceless object, say, a vase? Would you drop the vase in order to use your hands to break the fall?

A: Within 10 to 30 milliseconds after tripping, the conscious motor centers of the brain would take control of the fall, weighing the chances of breaking the vase versus breaking your neck. You can modify the reflex action and keep a grip on the vase.

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PG 10: Check out this awesome Lego version of Barry Allen’s lab!

PG 16: The only Fred P. Smithers I found was on a 1901 England census.

PG 18: Here is the original camera (Exhibit A) confiscation scene.

PG 21 & 22: Iris was murdered in Flash #275, but Reverse-Flash was not revealed as the murderer until issue #283. Bates’ “fun with names” continues when he calls Fiona Webb “Flora” on page 22.

In the original issue, this preview image is included alongside the letters. Keep this in mind. See you next weekend!

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Greg Elias.

The post Annotations: The Trial of The Flash, #345 – “The Secret Face of The Flash!” appeared first on 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.

ISSUE #337

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.

ISSUE #339

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.

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