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The Flash #54 Review

The conclusion to the “Grips of Strength” story is here.

Joshua Williamson
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The Strength Force has taken over Flash and he may not be able to control it. Now as big as Bane (or even bigger) he has to figure out a way to stop a man from killing him and one of his own rogues. Just another day for Flash.

So what’s it about?

The official summary reads:

The Flash is now the strongest man alive thanks to a jolt from one of the new forces! Turning his jacked-up sights to Trickster, the two duke it out inside Iron Heights for utter supremacy. Will anyone stop these two behemoths from beating the hell out of each other…or is this just what Warden Wolfe wants?

Why does this matter?

Joshua Williamson has done an impeccable job with Flash over the years (god, has it been that long?) and this latest story is no different. The character is getting new complexities as the Speed Force is no longer the only Force for Barry Allen to worry about. Especially with a rival force teeming through his body!

Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?

Flash is looking meaty. Credit DC Comics

This is the concluding chapter in the “Grips of Strength” storyline and Flash is in a tight spot. He’s not only attempting to prevent his own death, but also attempting to keep Trickster alive while Trickster attempts to kill him. On top of all this, Flash is attempting to understand the Strength Force that’s now taken over his body. Williamson does a good job keeping the tension up with all these balls in the air while delivering some science on the matter of the Strength Force. By the end of the issue this force is a little more understandable, but also a lot more interesting. It’ll be fun to see it pop up again and to have Flash wielding its power, especially since it gives him a new power. Will Flash someday be able to change his powers on a whim and utilize all the forces? Time will tell, since next issue is all about Sage Force.

This issue also wraps up Commander Cold’s rocky relationship with Barry as well as Trickster’s part in the story too. We’ll be seeing them again I’m sure, but as far as this arc is concerned they’ve been given endings all their own.

The art by Christian Duce continues to be very good, especially if you like ripped muscles on your heroes. Effective use of blur and well timed full page splashes help remind us this is big time superhero storytelling. It’s also quite fun to see Flash so huge since he’s usually so thin and light on his feet.

Flash is in a stand off. Credit: DC Comics

It can’t be perfect can it?

In hindsight there isn’t much of a threat for Flash to combat in this issue. Sure, there are some potential threats, and Warden Wolfe is practically seething over killing Flash for good, but aside from some gritted teeth brawling there is never the feeling Flash could lose. He gets a handle on the Strength Force quite quickly and Trickster ends up standing around letting Flash talk. Even Barry and Commander Cold parting ways is less interesting because we know nothing will come of their jawing.

Is it good?

A good conclusion that puts into focus how cool the Strength Force could be in the right hands. Williamson and Duce have delivered a fun superhero story well worth a look.

The Flash #54
Is it good?
A good conclusion that puts into focus how cool the Strength Force could be in the right hands. Williamson and Duce have delivered a fun superhero story well worth a look.
A good ending that gives us a slightly better understanding of the Strength Force
Great art that exemplifies those ripped muscles
Flash is never really in danger and the stakes are never that high

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