THE FLASH #45 BY JOSHUA WILLIAMSON, CHRISTIAN DUCE AND LUIS GUERRERO
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
THE FLASH #45 by Joshua Williamson and Christian Duce is one of the best issues of the series. While it doesn't feature any action-packed Speed Force thrills, it does get to the core of many of the characters. The best part by far, though, is Barry Allen's lovely talk with Iris West. Duce's art makes that scene just beautiful. It's worth the $2.99 just for that.
94 %
Brings The Emotion

The battle with Gorilla Grodd is over. Central City is safe once again. THE FLASH #45 takes a moment to breathe and rest in-between big story arcs. Writer Joshua Williamson uses this issue to tie up some loose ends and foreshadow future story arcs. Throughout, Williamson does a great job advancing the characterization of our heroes, including Kid Flash and Meena. Plus, Williamson adds a nice continuation to what he started previously with Barry’s letter. Barry and Iris have a conversation about the Flash and their love for each other. This is my favorite part of the issue. Artist Christian Duce’s more realistic art style works well for this installment. It captures the emotions of the characters wonderfully.

Warning, potential spoilers are below!

Flashes Unite in THE FLASH #44

Time to Rebuild in THE FLASH #45

Previously, the combined might of all of the speedsters defeated Grodd and his Speed Force storm. In THE FLASH #45, the various characters deal in the aftermath of the near-destruction of Central City. Flash, Kid Flash, and China’s Flash all pitch in to remove the debris from the battle and rebuild, as best they can, the various businesses and buildings affected. Barry starts to investigate the mysterious disappearance of Godspeed after he tried to sacrifice himself last issue. We then see Godspeed in a dark area while a voice with blue speech bubbles says some pretty ominous things to him.

THE FLASH #45
THE FLASH #45 page 3. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Barry also has a chat with his newly-incarcerated ex-girlfriend Meena Dhawan. We learn that maybe she wasn’t as influenced by Grodd as we thought when she stole Barry’s new powers a few issues ago. This was a great part since it showcased Barry’s patented compassion and “aw shucks” attitude. Instead of being mad at Meena for admitting this, he forgives her and brings in Kid Flash and China’s Flash, two people who cared about her since the beginning of the series. It’s nice to see Barry showing compassion for a semi-villain. It makes me like him all the more as a character.

Iris and Barry in THE FLASH #45

Also in THE FLASH #45, Iris West and Barry meet face to face for the first time since Grodd attacked. In the previous installment, Barry’s letter to Iris was strung throughout the issue and got into why he feels he must be the Flash. In this issue, we get to hear that idea from Iris’ perspective. It’s their first real chat about the Flash since she learned of his identity and killed Eobard Thawne. Just as the letter did in the last issue, Iris’ speech gets to the heart of why Barry is the Flash. She says it’s because he’s infinitely compassionate and wants to help people. He doesn’t do it for glory. That really does encapsulate Barry’s whole mission as the Flash. Williamson really understands the character, more so than some other writers in Barry’s prior series.

The scene with Barry and Iris also serves to get them back together as a couple. I always supported this. I wasn’t a fan of the New 52 mucking up the love lives of our heroes. Superman should be with Lois Lane just as much as the Flash should be with Iris West. It shows them profess their love for each other (and Iris profess her love to Barry specifically, not to his alter ego) in a very tender and heartfelt moment. This scene doesn’t feel shoehorned in just because Rebirth is bringing back a lot of pre-Flashpoint romances. It feels very natural, thanks again to Williamson’s superb writing.

Christian Duce’s More Realistic Art in THE FLASH #45

In the past few arcs, especially the Gorilla Grodd one, the art in this series has been pretty stylized. I think it works very well for action-oriented, fast-paced stories but for this slow, emotional issue, Duce is a better fit. In THE FLASH #45, Duce draws all of the characters expressing real-looking emotions. This is exemplified by the flower shop owner’s bemused, overwhelmed body language (as seen above), which fits the situation of him seeing his shop post-Grodd very well. His look of pure elation when the Flashes come to fix up his store is a great continuation of the thought. Duce continues this throughout the book, which makes scenes like Barry’s talk with Iris even more emotionally resonant.

THE FLASH #45
THE FLASH #45 page 4. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Final Thoughts: THE FLASH #45

The Revolution is Live in AMERICAN WAY: THOSE ABOVE AND THOSE BELOW

I think THE FLASH #45 would be a pretty great jumping on point for new readers before the start of the big “Flash War” arc. For regular readers, it will also be an incredibly satisfying installment, seeing many plot threads, including Barry and Iris’, being addressed. It works as a great breather after the Grodd arc and before the next one kicks off. Williamson doesn’t use this issue to slack off, though, and he brings his A-game for the more emotional moments. Duce makes sure said emotional moments resonate with the reader and, for me, it did. I highly recommend picking up THE FLASH #45.

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