The Trial of the Flash was an extended storyline in The Flash comics, written by Cary Bates and Carmine Infantino. Lasting from issue #323 to the end of the series in issue #350, it's notable for being very long, as well as ending the Barry Allen run of the Flash as a lead-in to Crisis on Infinite Earths.
The story had its genesis in Flash (vol. 1) #275, when Barry's evil counterpart, the Reverse-Flash, killed his wife Iris. By the time of #323, Barry had found happiness with Fiona Webb and intended to marry her. Unfortunately, Reverse-Flash wanted to kill Fiona too, and in the resulting struggle, the Flash snapped his enemy's neck, killing him.
This resulted in the titular trial, where the Flash was charged with murder, was almost voted out of the Justice League, and had to reconcile his Barry Allen identity with what the Flash was going through.
This storyline contains examples of:
- Amoral Attorney: N.D. Redik is a famous and unscrupulous defense attorney who sees the Flash trial as a chance to boost his career to permanent glory. When Flash turns to other lawyers, Redik tries to have them killed to force Flash to employ him.
- Artistic License Law: Comic book writer and lawyer Bob Ingersoll, in his Comics Buyer's Guide column "The Law Is a Ass", used to point out the legal issues with this storyline. For example, how Flash's killing of Reverse-Flash was justified as self-defense, and should not have been considered a crime. And how Flash's mug shot was taken with his mask still on, which wouldn't happen in the real world because mug shots are a means of identifying the person underneath the mask.
- The Atoner: After killing the Reverse-Flash, Barry went into a craze of life-saving efforts.
- Body Horror: Big Sir mutilates Flash's face with an energy mace, distorting it beyond recognition. When a couple of kids unmask the Flash, they scream in terror and run away.
- Dramatic Unmask: Barry Allen's lawyer, having guessed who he is, decides this would be a huge mitigating factor; no jury will convict a man for saving his bride-to-be from his first wife's murderer. So she unmasks him in open court to reveal a face we've never seen before. This wrecks his lawyer's plan, but Barry is ultimately acquitted anyway, and he gets his old face back in time for his big Heroic Sacrifice in the Crisis.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: The storyline ran for over two years and had the Flash's life being completely wrecked several times, but in the end, Barry and Iris are married happily together in the future.
- The End... Or Is It?: The very last panel of the story foreshadows Barry's fate in the Crisis.And they lived happily ever after... for a while.
- History Repeats: Reverse-Flash invokes this by planning to kill Fiona in the same way he killed Iris.
- Neck Snap: The Flash puts Reverse-Flash in a chokehold that breaks his neck.
- Put on a Bus: Fiona Webb, Barry's fiance and Thawne's intended victim, had a mental breakdown due to Barry not showing up at the wedding and hasn't been mentioned since this storyline. The story as a whole ended this way for Barry, but for him The Bus Came Back several times.
- This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: When he learns that the Reverse-Flash is free, Barry asks the Guardians of the Universe to make sure that no one else will interfere, because It's Personal. Wally West is specifically warned off by the Guardians.
- Trauma Conga Line: The Rogues' Gallery and corrupt lawyer N.D. Redik make the Flash's life miserable. Redik arranges for Flash's lawyers to be killed, and while they're rescued, he's very shaken up by it, and the Pied Piper mind controls the mayor and innocent civilians to hate the Flash.
- Whole Episode Flashback: One issue is almost entirely composed of excerpts from Kid Flash stories.