Showcase Presents Trial of the Flash, Firestorm, Blackest Night paperbacks continue DC 2011

Friday, November 05, 2010

Following DC Comic's trade solicitation of Aquaman: Death of the Prince (collecting the 1977 Aquaman Adventure Comics run) comes news of a Firestorm: The Nuclear Man paperback collection including Ronnie Raymond's first appearances by Gerry Conway, and a Showcase Presents Trial of the Flash black-and-white TPB collecting the noted 1980s Barry Allen story.

That DC is finally collecting Trial of the Flash, but in their Showcase Presents black-and-white format, will undoubtedly be a disappointment to most. Given that this story spans Flash #340-350 at minimum for the trial itself, and possibly at least ten issues in addition to that ten for Iris Allen's murder at the hands of Professor Zoom and Barry Allen's subsequent killing of Zoom that lead to the trial, it's understandable why DC would choose this cheaper omnibus format for the collection. As well, with historical value aside, the arc isn't widely regarded as well-written in terms of the story.

That said, I for one do wish DC would have chosen maybe one or two color volumes rather than the black-and-white format; for a story of this importance, I'd rather a volume that suggested more lasting value. And I'm holding out hope for a Suicide Squad-type last minute reprieve (where what was solicited as a Showcase Presents.

Hope in Historical Releases
Still, that we're seeing any book at all with "Trial of the Flash" within is good news, as I know fans have been clamoring for that for a long time. "Trial," plus the Gerry Conway Firestorm and Aquaman collections, all represent DC stories, deep in their history, which are not as well-known or shiny as New Teen Titans: The Judas Contract or Legion of Super-Heroes: The Great Darkness Saga, but that are still relevant to current DC continuity and deserve to be available for current readers.

The same can most definitely be said for DC's forthcoming release of Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning's Legion Lost, another long-awaited collection now scheduled to see print. If DC keeps this up, there won't be much left on my wish list still to hope to see reprinted.

("Titans Hunt." Also the death of Katma Tui. Guess there's still a lot on the list.)

Blackest Night for the Rest of You
I have held off of late posting about the collections (to no one's disappointment, hopefully) that I think we all can reasonably expect are coming out anyway -- I think we all know we'll see new volumes of Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Batgirl, Wonder Woman, Red Robin, Outsiders, even Batman: Knight and Squire, and I'd sooner make a fuss for something big and unexpected like Showcase Presents Trial of the Flash.

However, I know there's many out there who've been waiting patiently for Blackest Night to arrive in paperback to finally read this story (I don't know how you all do it, really). It looks like these are now a sure thing coming up in July and August 2011:

* Blackest Night
* Blackest Night: Green Lantern
* Blackest Night: Green Lantern Corps
* Blackest Night: Black Lantern Corps Vol. 1
* Blackest Night: Black Lantern Corps Vol. 2
* Blackest Night: Rise of the Black Lanterns
* Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps

So, despite the fact that I myself have a hard time getting in to once-color, now black-and-white collections, in total I think this Showcase Presents release and DC's general trend right now is a good thing. Maybe if there's enough hubub about Trial of the Flash between now and when it's released, we might even find it with some color added. I can hope.

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  1. I'm very excited to see any Showcase from the 1980s since it's so difficult to work out the economics of it. I hope it actually happens. Trial of the Flash is also one of those long storylines that is surprisingly hard to find in back issues.

  2. I'm not going to complain about the Showcase format, because I'm surprised we are getting the story at all.
    I do wish DC would pick a format for their reprints and stick with it though. All this Arcchive vs Showcase vs Chronicles stuff is starting to get confusing.

  3. Most definitely. And right now it seems Aquaman: Death of the Prince and Firestorm: The Nuclear Man will arrive in paperback, Ken, whereas Legion Lost will be out in hardcover. All three are equally esoteric, I think, so it's hard to figure why which gets what treatment.

    Taking a quick glance, much of the Showcase Presents Flash reprints the Flash Archives, though confusingly not entirely. I wonder if DC would have had any luck with paperback releases of the Archives imprint.

    Is that Devin "The Flash" Johnson up there?

  4. Wow. I think the last time DC reprinted a Flash story from the 1980s was the original Greatest Flash Stories Ever Told...almost 20 years ago!

  5. Personally I'm happy to get my hands on this historical stuff in any way possible. But yeah, I'd always prefer color.

  6. CE, I'd love it if DC were to start releasing their Archives in paperback, much like Marvel has been doing for a while now. At the very least, I was hoping with the change in editorial leadership that they might get back on track with the hardcover Archives releases, but there doesn't seem to be any sign of that so far. It's kind of sad that Marvel is currently releasing as many Masterworks per month as DC puts out in an entire year.

  7. I just recently read the death of Iris storyline and am working my way towards the trial. While I initially didn't feel the death story was going all that great (and always chuckled whenever the narrator called Flash the "Monarch of Motion"), it actually picked up some steam toward the end and I really got into it.

  8. As I posted on the SF blog: The Flash mostly blew chunks after issues 310 or so. I guess I can understand reprinting the trial for its historical value, I suppose.

    The shame here is that the storyline that builds to the trial is WAY better. The murder of Iris and the issues-long battle with Zoom, from issues 270 – 284. It’s an all-time Flash story with a true beginning, middle and end. Plus, it’s FANTASTIC.

    It is THAT story which should be reprinted in color. In maybe 2 trades

  9. The timing for this Flash collection is interesting. I wonder if the upcoming Flashpoint event ties into the Trial of the Flash storyline.

  10. Sandor, I believe the issues you mention were the ones I read. The stuff with Zoom gets really good; I agree that it should get collected. Sad to hear that it gets worse from there! I had an opportunity to read the last hundred or so Barry Allen issues, which I figured I'd do before reading Flash: Rebirth. I'm sure you don't HAVE to have read any of the original stories to follow Rebirth (or the Flash series that follows), but given how much Green Lantern: Rebirth referenced past events, and both were written by Geoff Johns, I figured it might help me pick up on references having read the old stuff.

    Again, this was pure speculation by me; I haven't read any reviews of Flash Rebirth, to avoid spoiling anything, so maybe that's totally not the case. But I don't regret reading those old issues!

  11. I seems we might eventually see TRIAL OF THE FLASH in SHOWCASE PRESENTS's eventually got to come through, right? If this storyline has to come out now, as with DEATH OF THE PRINCE, price not withstanding, it should be in colour....or maybe with the THE GREAT DARKNESS SAGA....I don't remember the stories as being something great. Only for historical were the DC CLASSICS LIBRARY....except for A DEATH IN THE FAMILY, I felt all of them are worth buying solely for historical value.

  12. I hope Flashpoint doesn't in some way retcon out Barry Allen having killed Professor Zoom (if that's not already out of continuity ... now I'm unsure). I think there's a tendency, especially with Green Lantern, to erase all of the heroes' past sins. Removing Superman's execution of the Phantom Zone criminals I get, but overall DC shouldn't be afraid to let their characters sin, at least a bit.

  13. Glad that they're reprinting this. Not a Flash fan myself, but I loved this series as a kid. I should make a list of the DC stories I'm still waiting for a collection of.

    Keep up the great work!

  14. That's a good point....I basically read stuff very sporadically so I don't know whether the Superman Phantom Zone stuff is out just hasn't been referenced anytime soon (and EXILE,the story that deals with the aftermath of this act has subsequently gone out of print)....the GL stuff still exists, but Hal isn't responsible for that anymore..

  15. Superman's execution of the Phantom Zone criminals, which lead to the Exile storyline, is definitely out of continuity. It was specifically wiped out in the reality-fracturing scene at the end of Infinite Crisis, and then equally ignored in Superman: Last Son, which became Superman's new "first meeting" with Zod.

  16. Okay, I'll have to re read INFINITE CRISIS to check...(I own the HC so hopefully no scenes will have been deleted)...yes LAST SON did look like the 1st meeting with Zod but which Zod? I suppose Supes wiped out the people from the Superboy Pocket universe (don't ask....a few issues after COIE & we get our very own different universe...but both the Superboy story collected in MAN OF STELL VOL 4 as well as the Execution storyline, I suppose till date uncollected are great reads) but the Zod in LAST SON was I suppose New Earth Zod....they have confused the hell out of me with so many Zods. We have the normal Zod, the pocket universe Zod, the FOR TOMORROW Zod, the dictator Zod (from the Jeph Loeb era)....I still cry out foul everytime I read GL REBIRTH....I think I liked Hal better as a villain who thought he was the hero