Barry Allen’s connection to the Speed Force has been severed by Gorilla Grodd. The telepathic villain stole the speed from The Flash in an effort to cure himself of a disease that was ravaging his body. He’s not done though as Central City is still frozen in time. Only the speedsters and the members of Black Hole are immune. Barry has to figure out a way to get his speed back if he hopes to stop Grodd from wreaking more havoc.
One frustrating point in The Flash #41 is how Barry has to take everything on himself. Even deprived of his speed, he still feels like he is the only one who can stop Grodd. Meanwhile, you’ve got Kid Flash, Avery (the Flash from the Justice League of China) and the original Wally West on hand to help out. He tries to push them all away so he can tinker with a lightning rod they stole from Black Hole.
Didn’t Barry just learn how he’s not an island and he has to work with others in both his personal and hero life? I understand that he’s lost his powers, but everyone is trying to help him and he’s shutting them all out. This stubbornness leads Barry to make some questionable decisions that will no doubt contribute directly to the upcoming “Flash War” storyline.
While Barry is struggling with what to do next, Wally takes up the role of The Flash of Central City, working tirelessly to rescue the residents trapped in the time freeze. Wally is personally picking up individual people and bringing them outside the city limits. This scene works well to remind us that Wally still has a deep connection to this city. The world may not remember him, but he sure remembers it and everyone around it. Writer Joshua Williamson puts a great line in Wally’s internal narration. “Well, I could tell him the name of the street I’m on just by the feel of the concrete under my boot.” That pretty much sums it up, huh?
I’ve said it a million times by now, but I’m still bummed when artists change in the middle of a story arc. Carlos D’Anda delivers some great artwork, but it’s a departure from the pulsing energy we’ve come to expect from the likes of Carmine Di Giandomenico. My other issue is that Barry looks uncharacteristically young. He’s supposed to be the senior speedster of the bunch and he looks like he just got out of college.
Where D’Anda excels is in facial expressions, particularly those on Team Flash. There’s a youthful vibe to Kid Flash and Avery, showing they’re excited to be part of this adventure and to prove themselves. Barry is frustrated and angry while Wally is cocky and a little annoyed at his mentor. We learn some of this through dialogue, but most of it comes through in looks from the characters.
Shots of Wally bringing people out of the city are interspersed with Barry working on the lightning rod. It shows a great juxtaposition between the two, especially when coupled with Wally’s internal narration. He’s so unsure of his place in the world, but he knows he needs to be here in Central City helping people. Meanwhile, Barry is sure that he has to be a hero, but is holed up in S.T.A.R. Labs working on this project to save himself.
The images of the frozen Central City are differentiated with a blue tone, like the whole place is solidified in blue Jello. Do they make blue Jello? While these people are stuck in time, they appear unharmed. It’s almost peaceful. The only thing disrupting it are the speedsters whizzing around town.
The Flash #41 is serving two purposes. It’s dealing with the fallout of Barry losing his powers and Grodd terrorizing the city, while also planting seeds for the upcoming “Flash War.” You can feel the tensions rising here as relationships are strained. Barry’s actions at the end of this issue are sure to have ripple effects that will last for some time. We’ve already seen The Flash torn down and it looked like he was on his way back up again. Could this be another downturn in the life and times of Barry Allen?