THE FLASH #44 BY JOSHUA WILLIAMSON, CARMINE DI GIANDOMENICO, AND IVAN PLASCENCIA
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
THE FLASH #44 is a truly enjoyable book. Williamson ramps up the emotion this issue, which makes it very memorable. Barry's letter to Iris is especially touching. Di Giandomenico's art makes the action look just beautiful.
92 %
Emotional Finale

Joshua Williamson and Carmine Di Giandomenico finish up the “Perfect Storm” story arc in THE FLASH #44. In this finale, Williamson ramps up the emotion and highlights Barry Allen’s relationships with his friends and loved ones. He spills his heart out to Iris West and (somewhat) reconciles with Wally West. With this issue, Williamson gets to the heart of why Barry Allen is the Flash. Williamson highlights these ideas with his usual panache. Di Giandomenico’s artwork makes THE FLASH #44’s action scenes pop visually. He sure knows how to draw a fast-paced fight scene. Warning, possible spoilers are below!

Grodd’s Downfall in THE FLASH #44

Last issue, the combined might of all of the speedsters took away Gorilla Grodd’s connection to the Speed Force. It also restored Barry’s powers. However, Grodd almost got the last laugh. He created a Negative Speed Force storm that threatened to engulf Central City. In THE FLASH #44, Barry successfully beats the severely depowered Grodd. However, Gorilla City guards arrived to take him to justice before Barry could incarcerate him in Iron Heights.

THE FLASH #44
THE FLASH #44 page 2. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Meanwhile, the other Flash, Wally West, and Kid Flash, the other Wally West, work with various speedsters to try and find a way to beat the storm. After the guards take Grodd, Barry comes up with the only option: run against the storm and risk losing his connection to the Speed Force forever. He decides to take the risk, but not before all of the speedsters come and ease the burden.

Grodd Reigns Supreme in THE FLASH #40

Barry’s Selflessness

When the speedsters decide to help Barry take care of the storm, older Wally tells Barry that he’s had enough of his attempts at self-sacrifice. He explains that the world needs Barry Allen, so he would be happy to take the risk if it meant his mentor could remain the Flash. This finally seems to get through to Barry, and he realizes the speedsters are faster when they’re together.

This scene was very gratifying for me to read. I like that Williamson finally got Barry to realize this, since it seems like every other arc ends with Barry almost sacrificing himself. It seemed as if he either had some sort of savior complex or was one of the most selfless people alive. To be honest, that storytelling device started to get kind of stale. I really hope that this is the last time it’s used for a while in THE FLASH, because readers deserve a bit more variety.

However, I’m not as much a fan of Wally putting Barry on such a high pedestal. As he says in THE FLASH #44, he was the Flash for a while when Barry was dead. He did just fine on his own. He should have explained that the world would be missing Barry Allen, the person. It would have hit home more effectively that way, I believe.

Barry and Iris

Throughout THE FLASH #44, the story is paired with a letter Barry wrote Iris in the anticipation of his death. It speaks of his love for her and the fact that she’s his motivation for being the Flash. It’s a sweet moment that really gets to Barry’s heart and his true motivations. He does it for his friends and for Iris. Williamson elevates this issue by including this letter. It adds a much-needed emotional backbone to the book. It also makes Barry’s attempted sacrifice all the more tragic and maddening. We all knew Barry wouldn’t die in this story, but it still seemed as such for much of the issue.

Di Giandomenico’s Awesome Art in THE FLASH #44

THE FLASH #44

Di Giandomenico really knows how to draw the Flash in action. I’ve said this before, but his art really captures the kinetic energy of a person fighting someone at super speed. It’s difficult to do that in a still image, but Di Giandomenico pulls it off. He doesn’t just show one static image of Barry punching Grodd. Instead, he shows multiple flashes of him hitting Grodd at different angles, while leaving a trail of red and yellow. Pure energy also practically oozes from Barry’s suit. It makes it look like Barry is so chock full of Speed Force power that it can’t all be contained within himself. Di Giandomenico gets that point across really well with his interpretation of the suit.

Final Thoughts: THE FLASH #44

DC Comics’ THE FLASH: ComicsVerse Essential Reading List

While it almost relies on a trope that I’m not quite a fan of, THE FLASH #44’s emotional impact made me truly love the issue. I hope this installment marks the end of the “Barry Allen almost sacrificing himself” story arc endings, because I think it was subverted quite well in this arc. There’s no going up from here. If you watch THE FLASH show on CW, I highly recommend picking up this issue, or at least the first installment of this arc and make it to here. Williamson truly captures what makes the Flash in this story.

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