Review: The Flash #40

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

Writer: Joshua Williamson

Artist: Carmine Di Giandomenico

 

Summary

“PERFECT STORM” part two! Gorilla Grodd is after Central City’s Speed Force, and The Flash is on the run! But the one thing Barry Allen can’t outrun is the truth…and his nemesis knows a terrible secret about the Fastest Man Alive.

 

Positives

Grodd has always been one of Barry’s deadliest enemies, but now Grodd is even more motivated to defeat Barry. He has been infected with a terminal disease that can only be cured by the Speed Force. As silly as the idea of a gorilla villain seems nowadays, Grodd has been one of Barry’s hardest foes to defeat due to his ability to attack Barry on the mental plane, where his speed powers are of little help.

Grodd’s mental attack on Barry reveals what he claims is Barry’s deepest secret. He uncovers Barry’s deep-seated insecurity that Barry is nothing without his powers – that Barry’s Speed Force abilities are the only thing that allowed Barry to add meaning to his empty life.

Then Grodd steals those powers, robbing Barry of the very thing that he believes give his life meaning – which leaves him completely desolate. This puts Barry at his lowest point yet, but leaves him perfectly poised to realize his true value and confidently reclaim his spot as one of the DCU’s foremost heroes.

The Flash of China makes a welcome guest appearance and we once again have two Wally Wests assisting Barry. However, with Barry’s Speed Force proving insufficient to cure Grodd, this puts all three in danger of the same fate that befalls Barry.

And speaking of the original Wally: Wally is once again the one true Flash. A depowered and defeated Barry proclaims Wally “the Flash of Central City”, handing the mantle over completely to his former protégé. I am certain this is only temporary but as a Wally fan, I can’t help enjoying seeing Wally back in the number one spot.

 

Negatives

I am not completely sure I buy that Barry truly has a deep insecurity about his own inherent worth apart from his powers. He has always been the epitome of optimism in the DCU. Of course, Williamson’s run has put Barry’s optimism through the wringer over his run, making Barry deal with a lot of negativity, both emotionally and physically manifested as the Negative Speed Force.

If Williamson can make us believe that Barry has this deepest, darkest fear, then his overcoming of it will mark Barry’s final and complete victory over the negativity he has been facing. So, hopefully the upcoming issues will do more to make this secret more believable.

 

Verdict

Regardless of whether you prefer Barry or Wally as the Flash (or like both), you should read this issue. Wally regains a lot of his former prominence, while Barry is brought to a low point that if he overcomes, could propel him to his greatest heights. Either way, this issue is making me eager for the upcoming The Flash War storyline.

 

 

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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.