THE FLASH #40 BY JOSHUA WILLIAMSON, CARMINE DI GIANDOMENICO AND IVAN PLASCENCIA
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
THE FLASH #40 features our hero fighting a preening, hyper-intelligent ape. It's the right kind of ridiculous which makes this issue a must read for Flash fans.
86 %
Over The Top Fun

Ever since Iris West left him this summer, Barry Allen has constantly beat himself up over his crumbling social life. All of this personal and professional turmoil finally came to a head in THE FLASH #40. This issue contains nearly nonstop action as well as a legitimately surprising reveal near the end of the issue. Writer Joshua Williamson relishes in writing Gorilla Grodd in a way that makes nearly all of his dialogue over-the-top villainous. It fits his character to a T. Meanwhile, artists Carmine Di Giandomenico and Ivan Plascencia create a genuinely scary looking Grodd to go with his Machiavellian grandeur. Find out why this chapter of the “Perfect Storm” story arc lives up to the hype.

Plotlines Converge in THE FLASH #40

Previously, the Flash learned that Gorilla Grodd has been reading his mind since the first issue of the series. In doing so, he caught a glimpse of every single aspect of Barry’s life. His secret identity, his troubles at work, his love life, and, most importantly, his crippling self-doubt. In THE FLASH #40, Grodd uses this knowledge to torture and, eventually, defeat Barry. It turns out that Grodd contracted a rare disease which plagues the residents of his native Gorilla City. He’s dying, and the only thing that can save him is the Flash’s Speed Force. Grodd decides to take it for himself, with help from his mind-controlled minions.

The Flash #40
THE FLASH #40 page 5. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

These revelations gave me a satisfying feeling, since it was the culmination of one of Williamson’s plot threads that ran through the entirety of the series’ run. Flash first encountered Black Hole in the first story arc of this series, and each subsequent time he encountered them, there was a shroud of mystery to who their real leader was. When they finally revealed it to be Grodd, I breathed a sigh of relief because, frankly, the mystery was being drawn out for a bit too long. I wanted the series to go in a new direction. So far, THE FLASH #40 is heading on the right track.

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Kneel Before Grodd in THE FLASH #40

Easily the best part of this issue for me was Williamson’s take on Gorilla Grodd. Grodd is an inherently ridiculous character. He’s an evil, super-intelligent, telepathic gorilla from a secret city filled with other sentient gorillas. Some villains should be taken seriously in comics, but not Grodd. Williamson knows this, as shown in this issue. While Grodd’s actions prove threatening, his preening dialogue conveys his inherently over-the-top nature. He brags about his plan and complains about how much he hates humanity. You can practically hear the condescension whenever he says the word “human.”

However, Grodd truly does follow through with nearly all the threats he makes in this issue. As ridiculous and overly dramatic as he is, he proves himself to be a legitimate threat. I’m a sucker for over-the-top villains that aren’t just used for a punchline, so I loved this version of Grodd. Williamson knocked that aspect of THE FLASH #40 out of the park.

The Look Of Grodd in THE FLASH #40

One thing about Grodd that’s genuinely menacing is Di Giandomenico and Plascencia’s interpretation of him. They make Grodd look legitimately off-putting. A gigantic, angry gorilla with a rough, battle-worn face and red, glowing eyes emitting crackling, red energy just looks scary. While the idea of an angry, megalomaniacal telepathic gorilla sounds ridiculous, he doesn’t look the part, which makes him feel like a more credible threat.

The Flash #40
THE FLASH #40 page 1. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

In the past, Grodd has worn ridiculous hats and capes which made him look almost adorable. In THE FLASH #40, Di Giandomenico and Plascencia eschew that in favor of a (literally) stripped down design. He’s just an angry, naked ape.

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Final Thoughts: THE FLASH #40

THE FLASH #40 is a fun romp, however, don’t expect an overly emotional issue. The Flash fights a hyper-intelligent ape and other Speed Force-infused goons. If that strikes your fancy, pick this issue up. If you’ve been following THE FLASH series already, definitely pick up THE FLASH #40. Overall, I recommend this issue to anyone who loves when comics embrace their ridiculous side. Williamson, Di Giandomenico, and Plascencia have crafted a perfectly enjoyable issue.

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