The Flash #42 – Joshua Williamson, Writer; Dan Panosian, Artist; Hi-Fi, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Corrina: Barry, You Dumbass
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: Dan Panosian guest-stars on art Flash #42, and he’s an unusual choice – his stylized art is extremely different from what we normally see on this title, especially when it comes to Grodd. He’s best known for his writer/artist work on indie comics. Still, his work with the speedsters is strong, and it’s surrounded by a compelling main narrative that brings all the players together as “Perfect Storm” approaches its climax. Barry is still powerless and has recruited his former friend Godspeed from Iron Heights to help him get his speed back. Wally West is trying to keep the peace in Central City, with mixed results – the issue opens with Wally fighting Raijin, and the armored villain is exposed as…some dude? Raijin’s been the most puzzling part of this arc, as he’s essentially just a stock villain whose role seems to be to join a team of otherwise dramatic and compelling characters, like Grodd and Meena.
Wally and Avery get some of the best segments this issue, as they try to track down their former ally Meena and break through Grodd’s programming. I’m still not sure why Meena is evil, exactly, or why she switched over to the dark side. However, that ambiguity actually sort of works, as it keeps the heroes off balance for most of the issue. The most compelling segment, though, belongs to Barry and Godspeed, as Barry’s obsession with his powers starts getting out of control. Wally tries to warn him, but Barry only cares about getting his hands on Grodd’s lightning rod. He succeeds – but that opens the door to Grodd and at the end of the issue, Barry winds up against a possessed army of speedsters composed of his former friends. There’s a lot of twists and turns in this issue, and while the story is a little jumbled at times, it’s still easily the best run on Flash we’ve had in a long time. Williamson is finally putting the epic scale back in the Flash’s world.
Corrina: Last issue, I speculated on whether the reader was supposed to disagree with Barry’s actions or see them as heroic. Flash #42 makes it clear that we’re supposed to be appalled by his obsession. Godspeed actually stands-in for the reader as he points out to Barry that he knows he’s doing this all wrong.August, murderer that he is, sees right through Barry and calls him out.
Which leads to Barry’s horrible choice with the lightning rod this issue. I’m still not sure where this is going and if this entire last arc is meant to show Barry Allen’s fall and Wally replacing him or if we’re supposed to want Barry to be redeemed or not. But I’m interested in the answer.
As for Meena, it’s finally more than hinted that Grodd has been controlling her, which might explain her baffling heel turn. We’ll see.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.