The Flash #40 – Joshua Williamson, Writer; Carmine Di Giandomenico, Artist; Ivan Plascencia, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Corrina: New Status Quo?
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: The second chapter of “Perfect Storm” in The Flash #40 brings a trio of deadly villains and a seemingly massive status quo change for the series, as the prelude to Flash War continues to heat up. When we last left off, Gorilla Grodd was revealed as the villain behind the arc, along with his allies Negative Flash (Flash’s former ally Meena) and the mysterious Raijin. Grodd’s desperation is explained this issue – he needs the Speed Force because he’s dying from a mysterious illness that targets the gorilla population, and he believes the Speed Force can save him before it strips him of his powerful mind. Grodd has frozen most of the city, and only the speedsters – Barry, Kid Flash, and guest-star Avery Ho – are able to hold the front against him. Grodd makes for an incredibly compelling villain, with his usual intimidation accented by his intense desperation, but I don’t think his partners in crime quite live up to that standard.
Meena’s motivations have been kind of vague and weak ever since she turned heel, and Raijin feels like a stock villain so far – he’s some sort of masked villain seeking the secrets of the Speed Force, claims to be a former STAR Labs scientist, but I imagine there’s more to him. It’s just not all that compelling so far, and anything that isn’t about Barry and Grodd kind of pales by comparison. There’s a brilliant four-page spread where Grodd breaks Barry down physically and mentally, laying bare his past and his weaknesses, just in time to take the Speed Force from him and send him flying down to the pavement below. He’s only saved from certain death by the older Wally West, who enters the battle just in time – and may now be the only Flash remaining, as Barry seems to be powerless. Another shakeup for Barry’s powers so soon after the Negative Flash arc seems like a bit much, but a great central villain keeps this series at the top of its game.
Corrina: That Grodd is compelling is never in doubt in The Flash #40. I could wish his minions are also as interesting. I’d hoped to see more of Meena since her return and I wish her motivations had been explained as well as Grodd’s. That’s a missed opportunity. I could buy her turn to the dark side if it had anything to back it up but there, the story has failed her.
But with Grodd on the attack, with Kid Flash and Avery in support, and with Barry facing all his bad decisions, this is an excellent issue of The Flash. As for the ending? Well, I couldn’t be happier to see Wally West back and ready to take his place in the Speed Family again. (Though I hope this does not lead to Barry or Wally being trapped in the Speed Force again. Perhaps that’s where Grodd and Meena should go.)
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.