Review: The Flash #43

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

Writer: Joshua Williamson

Artist: Carmine Di Giandomenico

 

Summary

“PERFECT STORM” part five! With the Flash Family hot on his heels, Barry takes the fight to Grodd. If he’s going to survive, he’ll need to steal his powers back and stop Grodd by any means necessary!

 

Positives

Barry has regained his powers, but in doing so he has given Grodd control over the Speed Force. This allows Grodd to possess the other speedsters in the Flash Family. So, Barry has to defend himself against Negative Flash, Godspeed, Kid Flash, and the Wally West Flash.

There is a nice moment where Barry briefly manages to break Grodd’s control of Wally by reminding him about Iris. Grodd reasserts control, but it serves to emphasize the importance of Iris to both Barry and his first protégé.

Barry manages to give Grodd full control of the Speed Force for a fraction of a second – long enough to cure Grodd, but cutting him off from the Speed Force entirely. I believe that removing Grodd’s Speed Force powers is for the best. Giving Grodd speed powers created an interesting challenge for Barry, but Barry already has an overabundance of speedster foes, so limiting Grodd to his original mental powers is for the best.

It’s only shown very briefly, but it seems that Negative Flash turning against Barry was due to Grodd’s mental domination after all. Once Grodd’s power over the Speed Force is broken, Meena mutters, “What have I done?”

The most important thing though is Barry finally stops analyzing his situation with his intellect, and listens to his heart. This allows him to realize that. As Barry tells Grodd, “When you took away my powers… my family stepped up… and they showed me that I had my head and my heart long before I had my powers.” Barry has finally come to the realization that his worth doesn’t derive from his powers, but is an integral part of himself.

And then just when it seems that Barry has won, Grodd turns the tables, turning his Speed Force storm into a Negative Speed force, declaring, “I’d rather be dead than live without power! And I will take Central City with me.

 

Negatives

The main issue I had with this storyline was that I found it hard to believe that Barry’s really though that the had no inherent value and that it was only his powers that gave him self worth. However, Barry comes to recognize this as the lie it is.

 

Verdict

After an extended time of seeing Barry struggling with negativity, we finally get a glimpse of Barry’s optimism shining through again. Although it is a fascinating direction to see Barry struggling with a crisis of faith, it’s great to see this finally resolved.

 

 

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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.