Gorilla Grodd is dying and he’s gotten desperate. He’s decided the only way to cure himself of the disease that’s ravaging his body is by stealing the Speed Force from The Flash. The strength of Black Hole is at his disposal as he unleashes a terrifying attack on Central City, essentially freezing it in a time bubble. The combined forces of The Flash, Kid Flash, and the Justice League of China’s Flash (aka Avery) are all that stand in his way.
There are so many lightning bolts flying through the pages of The Flash #40. The Speedsters are the only ones that can resist this time storm that Black Hole has created. You can feel the energy permeating off all three of them. To Wally and Avery, this is the latest in a long line of adventures. To Barry, this is something far more frightening. He realizes the danger that Grodd poses.
Grodd speaks, but most of his dialogue is delivered in boxes, like an internal narration. He’s speaking directly to Barry, taking him apart mentally before attacking him physically. This is a nice touch from letterer Steve Wands. You can tell that he’s really in Barry’s head and it’s affecting everything around him.
The real attack is a brutal psychological one. Grodd takes Barry down not with his fists, but by forcing the Scarlet Speedster to face a dark truth about himself. This is presented in some gorgeous spreads from artist Carmine Di Giandomenico and colorist Ivan Plascencia. Barry’s memories are swirling above him in a purple cloud as he struggles to take each step forward. The once confident Flash is taken down further and further until he’s on his knees, defeated in front of his foe.
We’ve seen Barry take his share of beatings over writer Joshua Williamson’s run on The Flash. This feels more devastating than most and that’s saying something. Grodd is merciless in his attacks, verbally belittling his enemy. He even spits in the poor guy’s face. This really drives home just how evil this creature is and what horrendous things he’s capable of.
The final pages of The Flash #40 provide the smallest glimmer of hope, like maybe the heroes have a chance to fight back after all. One thing is for sure: I am more excited about this book that I have ever been. This is not to say that it’s been lackluster up until this point. The creators just took it to a new level with a dynamite issue. This is one awesome super hero comic.