The Flash #40, by writer Joshua Williamson, and artist Carmine Di Giandomenico, is part two of the Perfect Storm arc, and it delivers on the wall-to-wall action that the previous issue promised with its cliffhanger. Grodd is back, he’s dying, and he wants to siphon the Speed Force out of Barry Allen and Central City in order to heal himself. Whether that is actually possible, or not, he is on a warpath, and everyone and everything the Flash loves lies between him and his goal.
Williamson does a great job making Grodd seem like a real threat in this issue, and not just because of his formidable mental powers, but because he is one of Flash’s most cunning foes. He has been planning the theft of Barry’s speed for months, using the Black Hole organization as a tool to put Flash in the exact place he wanted him. Barry’s mind is too fast to be controlled by Grodd, but the gorilla has still managed to outthink his speedy nemesis.
Flash, on the other hand is so caught off guard, and unable to recover his footing in time, it almost seems like a flaw in Williamson’s writing. It is a one-sided fight, and Barry is outnumbered, because he sends Kid Flash and Avery Ho (Flash from the Justice League of China) away to protect them, but he gives up so easily. It could be the result of Grodd mentally rattling his brain, but it still seems very out of character for Barry Allen to just roll over, no matter how bad things are. Fortunately, this is but one part of a larger story, and the audience can assume that he is not down for the count.
Williamson also manages a very pleasing moment that will have some fans cheering, when Wally (the original) shows up to save Barry’s life near the end of the book. Barry pretty much bows out and hands the title of the Flash over to Wally in this scene. As stated before, if you grew up with Wally as your Flash, this is a great moment. However, there will be some fans that will probably feel like this passing of the torch makes Barry look extremely weak in comparison to his old sidekick. Whether or not this was Williamson’s intention is hard to say, but there is no doubt that this moment will be key in building to the upcoming Flash War story.
Once again, Di Giandomenico’s art continues to be the best thing about this book. His kinetic pencils really make the speedsters seem like they’re flying across the page, and his almost Kirby-esque take on Grodd makes the villain seem extra creepy. Combined with the electric colors (pun intended) of Ivan Plascencia, DC might have put together one of the best Flash art teams of all time.
Overall, this was an issue that delivered a fast-paced, fun adventure that didn’t stop from the first to final page. Minor character issues from Barry aside, Williamson’s writing was on-point, and he has earned the audience sticking around long enough to see if The Flash will step up to act like the hero we all know he should be.