The Flash #40
Written by, Joshua Williamson
Art by, Carmine Di Giandomenico
Colors by, Ivan Plascencia
Letters by, Steve Wands
(Spoilers ahead) The issue begins with a large image of Grodd, then of him sitting on a thrown demanding that The Flash give him The Speed Force. The Flash won’t give Grodd what he wants and asks why Grodd’s dying. Grodd informs The Flash that a mysterious disease has surrounded Gorilla City that causes the gorillas to lose their minds. The Flash promises Grodd that he will help solve their problem but not the way Grodd is going about it.
The Flash confronts Raijin, The lightning king, who has been firing a weapon at The Flash while he was speaking with Grodd. Raijin plans to use the lightning rod to steal The Speed Force. The effect of the lighting rod has left Central City devoid of The Speed Force placing every human being in the city at risk. Kid Flash jumps into to save The Flash just as Raijin was about to drive the lightning rod through The Flash. Avery and Kid Flash grab the lightning rod and run away.
Grodd uses telepathy to peer into The Flash’s thoughts and confronts The Flash with his deepest darkest fears: the boy who couldn’t save his mother or spare his father from prison; a man who was unloved and who felt worthless until The Speed Force gave him meaning. Meena, along with the Black Hole drag The Flash away as Grodd confronts him. Together they steal The Speed Force from Barry Allen leaving him with nothing.
However, Grodd is not healed, even after possessing The Speed Force. He commands his followers to capture the other speedsters, Kid Flash and Avery. Grodd grabs Barry, taunts and humiliates him before dropping him. Wally West, jumps in and catches Barry when it appears that he is dead. Wally runs to safety; Kid Flash and Avery meet them. Barry tells the group that Grodd has defeated him. However, Grodd has not defeated The Flash because Wally West is the new Flash of Central City.
This is an entertaining, fast-paced and meaningful story. We are left with several cliffhangers. Has Barry lost his powers for good? Is Wall West set up as the new Flash? What will happen with the pairing between Kid Flash and Avery as they are positioned to be part of a new speedster team servicing Central City? The issues starts with the battle between Grodd and The Flash and doesn’t slow down until Wally West is installed as the new Flash at the end of the issue.
The art is gorgeous but muddy in spots. There are times when The Flash and Grodd are locked in conflict when the volume of lightning bolts mixes with explosions making the panel wash out with color. However, I love the way Di Giandomenico draws the Flash, lightning bolts are normally crisp and the speed is depicted clearly. The image of Grodd at the beginning is no less than epic.
I highly recommend this book.