The Flash #41
The Flash #41, with writer Joshua Williamson, and art by Carlos D’anda, is part three of the Perfect Storm arc, and it is full of tension from start to finish. Grodd has stolen the Flash’s speed and frozen Central City, and unless the other speedsters can evacuate the city in time, everyone is going to die. Of course, with Barry out of commission, that’s a tall order.
There is a lot to like in this issue, especially since the original Wally West is back to fill in for Barry Allen. He’s given the spotlight this leg of the arc, as he is the next senior member of the Flash Family, and Williamson handles Wally with great care, showing the audience that he is every bit as capable with the Speed Force, and as a hero, as Barry. There is a particularly touching scene where Wally is trying to evacuate the City, and he is remembering all of his life experiences with the people he is saving. Sadly, none of these people remember him since coming back from the Speed Force, most importantly of all, his Aunt Iris.
Williamson also gives a little more time to the team of Kid Flash and Avery Ho (the Flash from China’s Justice League). He is building a close-knit friendship between these two, and their chemistry is undeniable. Unhappy with Barry telling them to get out of Central City for their own protection, they decide to go off on their own, and attempt to rescue the Negative Flash from the thrall of Gorilla Grodd. It’s going to be fun to see how this plan of theirs works out, considering they will be entering the lion’s den and risking everything to pull it off.
With the rest of the team firing on all cylinders, Barry Allen seems to be the only one not pulling his weight. Understandably, Barry has lost his powers, and he has had his head messed with by Grodd, but he stumbles through this issue insulting his friends and making questionable decision after questionable decision. It’s probably that this is all part of Williamson’s plan to build towards the upcoming Flash War, but it is still hard to watch the hero of the book so suddenly become this unlikeable. While Wally is out trying to save an entire city, Barry stays behind to try to figure out a way to use Raijin’s stolen lightning wand to get his powers back, saying “me getting the Speed Force back is our only hope of taking Grodd down.” Even Wally had to step back after hearing that ego-loaded statement. He has, after all, taken on Grodd many times by himself. Hopefully, all of Barry’s bad decisions, including a surprise one at the end of the issue, are more due to Williamson’s design of the upcoming conflict, than any supposed character flaws in Flash himself.
Carlos D’anda on art does a fine job with this issue. He may never be considered one of the great Flash artists of all time, but his work is solid, and doesn’t hurt the story in the least. However, he does do amazing work with the facial expressions of each character, which is not necessarily the number one thing you look for in a Flash book, but it’s always a major asset for any artist. Similarly, Luis Guerrero does well providing the colors of the issue, but they seemed dull in comparison to Ivan Plascencia’s recent work on this book, and the bright, electric coloring of a Flash title is extremely important. Hopefully, if Guerrero is sticking around, he will up his game as he goes.
Overall, this was a solid issue, and Williamson has built his story up to this point nicely. Every arc he has been working on since he started The Flash, has seemingly been leading up to this one, and more than likely further into the Flash War. It’s difficult seeing Barry Allen act so far out of character, but there is no doubt that it’s happening for a reason, and he is in good hands with Williamson moving forward.