Flash #323 – Reviews Of Old Comics
I was at my local library when I spotted the Essentials collection of The Trial Of The Flash. I remember picking up a few issues of this story when it first came out, but never read the entire run from beginning to end.
The whole thing goes on for quite a long period of time, over two years, culminating in The Flash #350. It’s almost legendary how it ends, using a method that only work in comic books, with the Flash killing his arch-enemy, responsible for the murder of his first wife, on the day the hero is to marry his second wife, Fiona Webb. Unfortunately for Fiona, the Flash had to abandon his Barry Allen identity and ended up going to live in the thirtieth century with his first wife, who’d come back to get him acquitted of murdering the Reverse Flash. Like I said, only in comics.
I was curious about whatever happened to Fiona Webb, and she simply never appeared again after the Trial of the Flash. She only showed up again in flashbacks. Where she went after this day is unknown, but I would like to think that she had an absolutely normal life unaffected by super-heroes. Of course, that would be silly.
Writer: Cary Bates, Nicola Cuti
Pencilers: Carmine Infantino, Chuck Patton, Keith Giffen
Inkers: Rodin Rodriguez, Gary Martin
Colorist: Carl Gafford
Letterers: Phil Felix, Shelly Leferman
Wonder Woman and Firestorm are in the JLA satellite discussing the Flash getting married. Wonder Woman mentions that the JLA members never make a practice of meddling in each others’ personal lives. She is happy to see him marry, especially after his first wife was killed.
Barry speeds to the church. His parents are waiting for him. They leave him to get dressed. His parents miss Barry’s first wife Iris, but his father is going to welcome Fiona into the family. Meanwhile, a Guardian of the Universe visits Barry, invisible to anyone else. A massive energy bolt in space broke the time barrier and freed the Reverse Flash from the Limbo he had been trapped in since killing Barry’s first wife, Iris. The Guardian offers the help of Hal Jordan, but Barry wants to do this himself. He changes into his costume and leaves to find the Reverse-Flash.
Flash goes to the Flash Museum where a statue of the Reverse-Flash has a recording from the villain taunting Flash. It leaves him clues to come and find him. At the church, guests start to arrive, including Ralph Dibny, the Elongated Man. Flash searches all over for the Reverse Flash before realizing where to find him. At the church, people start to worry about why Barry Allen hasn’t shown up yet, including his bride-to-be, becoming convinced that she’s been left at the altar.
Flash finds the Reverse Flash at the house he shared with Iris, still up for sale. A battle between the two demolishes the house, Reverse-Flash takes the battle outside.
In a second story, the Creeper is busting a drug ring run by two brothers. One is a deformed monster and his threat to destroy everyone with a bomb is interrupted by the arrival of the Creeper. The monstrous brother is shot by a bodyguard of a millionaire injected with the deforming drug. With a dying breath, the monster detonates explosives blowing the structure into rubble. slowly emerging from the rubble is the Creeper.
The story is a really great start to what would become a defining story for the Flash. While it’s overly convenient for the Reverse-Flash to escape just days before Barry’s second wedding, it is a coincidence that could be almost inspirational to the villain. Bothered by the news, Barry becomes determined to deal with it alone. The Reverse-Flash’s choice of where to meet the Flash for their big showdown is appropriate. It’s very appropriate that Cary Bates planned out this story, and did it well.
Carmine Infantino’s artwork takes some getting used to. However, it shines best when the Flash uses his speed. Unfortunately, he does make some storytelling decisions with panel placement that are confusing. However, there are some pages where those choices succeed. He does not do a good job of drawing fashion, as the clothes look horribly out of date, even for 1983. Fiona’s dress is an atrocious nightmare of design. Infantino does show his skill in the Flash Museum, rendering the Reverse-Flash statue from multiple angles.
The second story is just horrible all around. I tried to find something redeeming in it and just couldn’t. It even makes use of an arrow to direct the reader through a confusing panel layout.
If you’re looking for the issue itself, then prepare to drop a little change. Twenty dollars for a nice copy wouldn’t be a bad deal. If you want to read it digitally, I’m sorry. Even DC Universe doesn’t have it as of this writing. DC has collected this issue as I mentioned in the introduction of this review as part of the Showcase Edition of The Trial Of The Flash. Apparently, that is out of print, but finding a copy wouldn’t be unheard of.
Final Rating: 7.0 (out of 10)
The second story drags down the score a little, but the first story is a worthy start to a two year epic story.