The Flash #39
Joshua Williamson, writer
Carmine Di Giandomenico, art
Ivan Plascencia, colors
Steve Wands, letters
The opening monologue sets the tone for the book: Humans have always been captivated by power, it gives control over life and death. Humans believe that power defines you.
“Power rules the world”
Right now, the rightful owner of power wants that power back.
The issue continues: The Flash tells us about his first crush, Sally Sherman, in the first grade. Sally would tell Barry to just be honest . The story transitions to Barry speaking to Irisat Barry’s mother’s grave. Barry reminds Iris that she told him she missed him. Iris acknowledges that Barry’s teaming with Wally has made Wally happier. This has caused Iris to miss having Barry in her life. However, Iris says that she’s not ready to talk given everything that has happened. Barry tells her that she doesn’t have to talk about Thawne and the lies he told until she’s ready.
Iris says that before she can agree to talk about the lies, she needs to see him as The Flash. Barry does not disappoint. The Flash swoops her up and he takes her on a run. Iris then tells The Flash his origin story, stating “I had it all figured out the moment Thawne ripped the mask off your face.” She acknowledges that the reason he’s always late is because he’s saving the world.
Meanwhile, Kid Flash is running next to a parade of police vehicles that are transporting Dr Karver to trial. Kid Flash is betting that the criminal organization, Black Hole, will try to free Karver. Dr Karver forced The Speed Force into his body, turning him into The Speed Machine. He is also credited with Wally becoming Kid Flash. Avery, another speedster, arrives to support Kid Flash (See New Superman #17-18). Avery and Kid Flash trade jabs and reconnect. While they talk, the vehicle carrying Dr Karver crashed and burst into flames.
Back at the Justice League Watchtower, Iris and The Flash continue their talk. Iris marvels at the construction and history the structure holds. Iris jabs The Flash for information about Batman. The Flash avoids the question; she comments on the secrets heroes keep. Ouch.
The conversation continues. Iris confronts The Flash that his lies are not about protecting her but about protecting himself. Iris asks what more is he holding back?
The story transitions to Barry taking Iris back to Central City while he explains how he’s alerted about crime. Iris states, “I need to know everything.” Although it’s about the tech, it’s about a lot more. What runs through the Flash’s mind is Flashpoint, the chaos in the time stream, and there being two Wally’s. Mostly, if she knows about The Flash, he is afraid she won’t want Barry.
Barry’s mind plays tricks on him. He thinks, “The only thing special about you is The Flash.” However, The Flash’s thoughts are interrupted when he notices that something is impacting time. Time is slowing down for everyone but him. The Flash notices a large lightning rod similar to the one that channeled the energy that caused him to become The Flash. Enemies, dressed in black, enter Central City through the lightning rod, and they have speed. Meena has returned with her group! Raijin, master of lightning, is with her. Raijin claims to be the owner of the source of The Flash’s speed. At the end of the issue, Grodd enters Central City.
This was the most enjoyable Flash book since Rebirth started. Carmine Di Giandomenico’s art is beautiful. The way he shows the lightning in contrast with The Flash’s suit and the environment is second to none. In addition, the way the art portrays The Flash’s use of the Speed Force makes the reader feel like they are running with the speedster.
The most emotionally satisfying portion of the book was Barry’s attempts to reconcile with his love, Iris. She rejects his initial attempts because she is not ready to discuss the pain of him lying to her. However, when she asks to see The Flash, it opens a ray of hope for Barry. However, it also reveals Barry’s biggest fear: Iris will love The Flash more than him. In other words, Barry has been hiding The Flash because of his insecurities, not as a way of protecting Iris.. After seeing The Flash, Iris says she wants to know everything. This is a test for Barry. Can he trust her? Can he trust? We will see as this wonderful story arc continues.