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.
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.
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 secret identities in the courtroom a few years back (I stole the title of this post from that one).
PG 16: “Who knows from names?” Regular Flash readers might recall the “Officer 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.
See you next weekend!