The Flash #39 – Joshua Williamson, Writer; Carmine Di Giandomenico, Artist; Ivan Plascencia, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Corrina: Best Recent Issue
Ray: I will once again repeat my biggest DC pet peeve that doesn’t involve Wonder Woman at the moment – which is that DC needs to stop revealing the cliffhangers of an issue on the cover because it frequently spoils great moments. And one of those great moments ends The Flash #39, which is both an excellent character-driven spotlight and an action-packed thrill ride. Sometimes a genuinely great run just makes a misstep, and the recent Negative Flash arc was one, but it’s back on track now, as Barry tries to make amends for his lies to Iris. However, the issue begins with a segment that goes back to the beginning of the Speed force, as an unseen force watches him, an unseen force that believes the Speed Force belongs to him. These segments are suspenseful, and Di Giandomenico is quickly establishing himself as one of the Flash’s most iconic artists.
But this issue wouldn’t work without the character work that Williamson puts into it. The segments between Barry and Iris, where her natural investigator makes her want to know exactly how the Flash operates, are the issue’s strongest. Williamson does a great job of not papering over the conflict between the two of them while also showing some organic progress as she slowly begins to trust him again. In a lighter subplot, I was really happy to see Avery Ho – one of Williamson’s original creations, before she migrated over to New Super-Man – show up for a second team-up with the young Wally West. These two have a great dynamic that I’d love to see more of. But this issue gets serious at the end, as multiple major adversaries return, in the service of one of the Flash’s greatest villains. With this plot, and Flash War around the corner, it feels like this is becoming one of DC’s premiere books.
Corrina: Yes, this feels much more like the Flash that I enjoyed when Williamson first took over the book. I know the Negative Flash storyline was to send Barry spiraling down but that spiral was never quite defined enough emotionally for it to work. It’s good to be past this.
Flash #39 is the best issue of the series in some time. Perhaps the 700-issue celebration brought out the best in the creative team or perhaps they stretched out earlier plotlines in order to start this one with Grodd. Whatever the reason, everything works in this issue, especially the narration. For some reason, narration has always worked well for Flashes (“I’m Wally West and I’m the fastest man alive.”) and it provides terrific insight into Barry in this issue. The scenes between Iris and Barry are a great give-and-take except I do wonder at the wisdom of taking Iris to the graveyard rather than a scene of one of his triumphs but perhaps Barry wanted to show why he’s so careful about his identity. (Though Iris was targeted before she knew his identity, which is why Iris is still angry with him because lying to her accomplished nothing but wrecking her trust in him.)
As for the reveal at the end that DC spoils on the cover? Yes, that is annoying. On the other hand, perhaps they wanted to signal to readers who aren’t reading Flash that they should be. Because Grodd has been and always will be a terrific Big Bad, a force of nature who can beat you physically or mentally.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.