The Flash #45 // Review
The Flash #45, by writer Joshua Williamson and artist Christian Duce, serves as a bridge between the Perfect Storm arc and the upcoming Flash War story, and you couldn’t hope for a better execution of storytelling. As Central City recovers from Gorilla Grodd’s attack, the Flash Family tries to pick up where it left off before all of the chaos with varying degrees of success.
This is not an action-packed issue in the least, but the character work is spot on, especially when it comes to Wally West. This issue starts off with him leading Kid Flash and Avery Ho (China’s Flash) in helping to clean up the city, putting his eternal optimism in the face of tragedy on display. Williamson reminds us how much this character has been through since his return from the Speed Force as he meets Iris for the first time since his since coming back, and it is no small amount. Most people would have given up by now if their lives had seemingly been irrevocably altered for the worst, but Wally runs full speed ahead, continuing to be the hero everybody needs him to be.
Barry Allen, on the other hand, continues to not measure up to the standards of a hero. In one of the best scenes this issue, Barry visits Iron Heights to see Meena Dhawan, also known as the Negative Flash. She is in prison for her participation in Gorilla Grodd’s attack on the city, but Barry is trying to convince her to fight in court, because he believes she was mentally coerced into helping Grodd. She tells him that having her powers suppressed by the inhibitor collar she wears is a good thing and that she still believes the Speed Force is dangerous, so she thinks prison might be the best place for her. Then, in a sobering moment for Barry, she forces him to admit that he may not be the best person to be guarding the Speed Force, considering the recent actions he took out of desperation to get his powers back, including alienating his friends, releasing Godspeed from jail, and being generally reckless in his attempt to take down Grodd. Williamson continues to set up for the upcoming clash between Barry and Wally, but it really doesn’t seem like Barry is going to come out looking good in that confrontation, given his poor decisions lately.
The art by Christian Duce in this issue is some of the best this book has seen in months, and that’s saying a lot, because this book generally doesn’t slack in the art department. Duce doesn’t handle the superspeed scenes quite as well as others, but he makes up for it in every other department. Each character has a distinct look with a range of facial expressions, and the emotional moments in this book hit hard, thanks largely to his work. Luis Guerrero’s colors also lend that electric spark that any Flash book needs, perfectly complimenting Duce’s art. This team could easily take over a Justice League or Superman book tomorrow and absolutely kill on a bigger stage.
Overall, this was one of the best issues of the Flash for the fact that it slowed down after an exciting arc and just let the characters breathe. That momentary rest doesn’t last for long, though, because this book ends on a revelation that could not only have long-lasting effects on the Flashes, but the entire DC universe. This moment will not be spoiled here, but after you read it, you will be extremely frustrated that you have to wait for the next issue to see what happens.