Review: The Flash #44

[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]

Writer: Joshua Williamson

Artist: Carmine Di Giandomenico

 

Summary

“PERFECT STORM” part six! Grodd rains lightning down on Central City to burn it to the ground. The Flash is as fast as a bolt of lightning, but is he as fast as a thousand?

 

Positives

The Flash and the rest of the Flash family have defeated Grodd, but they still have to save Central City from Grodd’s Negative Speed Force storm. But to end the storm, Barry has to counteract it with the Speed Force. Which will likely remove his powers.

But Barry has finally realized that he has intrinsic value that does not derive from his powers. As he puts it, “I fought so hard to get my powers back because I thought they were the only thing that made me… me. But I was wrong. …I don’t need them.”

The usual narration by Barry is replaced by excerpts from a letter he wrote for Iris in case of his death, which gives a sense of impending doom. Also, the method of dealing with the is very reminiscent of how he dealt with the Anti-Monitor’s antimatter cannon. This leads to a feeling of impending doom. Could this be the end of Barry, or his career as the Flash?

But, the rest of the Flash Family refuse to let Barry face this threat alone. Even Negative Flash and Godspeed join Barry in destroying the Negative Speed Force storm.

This leads to Barry’s official answer to the question of which Flash is faster – Barry or Wally? “The truth is that we’re at our fastest… when we run together.” Of course, this is something of an evasion, but perhaps the upcoming Flash War story will give a definitive answer to the question.

And Iris finally faces Iris – but very briefly. But the encounter is long enough for us to see a glimmer of confused recognition from Iris. But the closing tagline promises a proper reunion, but teases that she might not remember him: “Iris meets Wally… for the first time?!” But we do get a very touching reunion between Barry and Iris – so touching that it is immortalized in statue form in the 25th Century’s Flash Museum.

Since Barry’s letter once again refers to the new Kid Flash as Wallace and to the original as Wally, I think we can conclude that DC has finally settled on this as the way to distinguish the identically named characters. Frankly, this is a relief, as I can now use their names instead of referring to them as the “older Wally” and the “younger Wally”.

Godspeed makes his escape before Barry can return him to jail, but before he goes he makes a cryptic statement. He tells Barry, “You were right about me.” But is this a declaration that he is on the path to redemption or an admission that he is irredeemable.

Finally, we get a tease of Hunter Zolomon, a.k.a. Zoom as a looming threat. He is yet another variation of the Reverse Flash motif. I especially like his comment that Barry was never his Flash. As longtime Flash fans will remember, Zoom was one of Wally’s villains.

 

Negatives

The only fault I can find with this issue is that I have to wait two whole weeks for the next issue. It makes me sympathize with Wally’s notorious impatience. Two weeks is not a long time, unless you’re the Flash – or if you’re waiting for the next issue of the Flash.

 

Verdict

Finally, after months of battling with negativity, Barry seems to be getting back to his normal optimistic self. But if the hints about the Flash War are true, it may be Wally that’s about to have a crisis of faith. That promises a powerful story, as it hearkens back to how he grew into the role of the Flash in his own title.

 

 

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Derek McNeil

I have been an avid reader of DC Comics since the early 70s. My earliest exposure was to Batman and Superman comics, Batman (Adam West) reruns, and watching the Super-Friends every Saturday morning.