Welcome to the latest installment in our annotations of the collected edition of The Trial of the Flash! We’ve analyzed related stories leading up to the summer 2011 release of Showcase Presents: The Trial of the Flash. In addition, we’ve interviewed author Cary Bates about the buildup and the Trial itself, plus shown you what wasn’t included in the collection.
Links to artwork and research are included throughout this post. For legal analysis of the story, something I will not attempt, go here. For this issue’s corresponding Tom vs. The Flash podcast, go here!
PG 1: Bates was editing Flash at this time, despite going uncredited here. Joey Cavalieri is credited with the script for this issue and the next. He was also the scripter on Gorilla Grodd’s last chronological appearance in Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew #20, remembered here by Kelson:
…from what I recall, Grodd made his way to Earth-C (home of all the funny animal characters and now the Zoo Crew) and used his force of mind to take over a city. Changeling followed him through & teamed up with the Zoo Crew to take him down. Changeling inflated his importance when he introduced himself to the Zoo Crew, claiming that he wasn’t just a member of the Teen Titans, but their leader.
Sadly, it was the final issue of the series. I’d started reading it the month before.
PG 6 & 7: Detective Frank Curtis, discussing the whereabouts of Angelo Torres’ with the boy’s mother. Angelo had fallen in with a gang that has since been taken over by Grodd. Flash chose his college roommate Peter Farley for his defense attorney.
PG 8 & 9: I think it is worth noting how well Flash’s stilted recollection is captured here, by a scripter who would only spend two issues filling in. Flash’s inner monologue in issues #283, 284 and 328 reveal a little more about the moments surrounding the death of Professor Zoom.
PG 13: Panel 2 here was used in the prose piece in the Greatest Flash Stories Ever Told, Bates’ “The Final Flash Storyline”.
PG 18 – 21: Grodd gives the Vultures the powers of their choosing.
PG 22 & 23: Flash’s waning speed is caused by Grodd’s use of Angelo as a conduit for his force of mind powers. The last ten pages of this issue are a total deviation from the relatively reality-based bent of the fallout from Zoom’s death. Infantino gets an opportunity to stretch on some of the action sequences, but some of it feels a little rushed. Given Cavalieri’s involvement on script for only two issues, and the need for a reprint back in #328, this would appear to be around the time that plans changed for the Flash title. In our interview with him, Bates had the following to say about the advent of Crisis on Infinite Earths:
Because DC had given me over a year’s advance notice of the Crisis and Flash’s inevitable demise, I was focusing all my energies on the Trial storyline, since it would now carry through until the very end of the book’s run.