The Flash #43 – Joshua Williamson, Writer; Carmine Di Giandomenico, Artist; Ivan Plascencia, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Corrina: Barry Redeemed Too Quickly?
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: After several chapters building up to this moment, this issue is almost entirely a showdown between Barry and Grodd. Thanks to Barry’s single-minded fixation on getting his powers back, he opened the door to Grodd gaining in power and now the evil ape has taken control of Barry’s fellow speedsters, turning them against him. In some ways, Barry is being confronted with his own sins here, as Grodd plumbs the minds of his allies and turns every mistake Barry has made against him. But it’s not actually him being confronted by his allies, it’s twisted versions of them being puppeted by Grodd. That takes a bit of the sting out of it, but this is still a very intense issue. Barry, normally the fastest man alive, is now faced with five other former heroes who can run as fast as him, in the hands of a sadistic maniac who knows the Speed Force inside and out. For the first time in a long time for Barry, there’s nowhere left to run.
Grodd is a particularly cruel villain, and he seems to enjoy toying with Barry for much of the issue, nearly letting speedsters go and letting their true personalities breakthrough before pulling them back and using Barry’s emotions against him. However, Barry’s moral core means he’ll put his friends above his own well-being, which leads him to surrender to Grodd. This drives Grodd even more off the deep end – and lures him directly into Barry’s trap. Williamson does a great job with Grodd here, combining the enraged animal with a highly intelligent being with a genuine story of rejection that’s twisted him into a monster. You almost feel a flash of pity for him – but you still cheer when Barry is able to get the upper hand on him and deal him an appropriate punishment for his crimes. This is only the penultimate issue of the arc, though, so Grodd has one more card to play. It feels like Barry’s sins in this arc and others are about to come due, though, as Flash War is just around the corner.
Corrina: It makes sense there is more to Barry’s win than his defeat of Grodd this issue, especially since Barry’s victory doesn’t feel earned. Barry is guilty of all the things the possessed speedsters claim he’s done. Yes, he does believe Godspeed an unrepentant killer, no, he didn’t trust the others with his plan, and I’m not sure what Meena’s so angry about but Barry has a long track record of not being honest with people he loves, so she certainly has a point on that.
Therefore, Barry refusing to fight the other speedsters came as a surprise to me because he’s been so willing to push the envelope in other areas, so much so that this decision seemed not in keeping with Barry’s current character. (Or maybe I’ve just come to have a low opinion of Barry.) Basically, I think Williamson did too good a job with Barry’s dark side. 🙂
In order to be redeemed, Barry is certainly going to have to do something more, and I’m not sure how much trust he’ll receive in the end from his friends. I guess those are the reasons for ‘Flash War?’
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.