The Weekly Pull (1/30/13) – THE FLASH #16

TheFlash16Cover

Gorilla invasions are never pleasant, especially when their leader can use the Speed Force and his massive strength to his advantage. How can the world’s fastest man win against an ape who matches his powers? Find out in THE FLASH #16.

During his superpowered coma, the Flash ran the numbers and deduced that any direct confrontation between himself and Grodd would result in disaster. This of course in spite of the fact that his Speed Force enhanced brain gives him prediction by analysis, not outright precognition. I don’t care how long you set him working on the problem, he still needs a lot of data he did not have while in his coma, and therefore any predictions he had would be loose extrapolations from his limited preexisting knowledge of the situation outside his own head. And even if he did have all the knowledge of what their battlefields would be, what every single person on both sides would do in any given situation, and what the exact powers at work would do, why couldn’t he just modify his plans to account for what he obviously predicted would go wrong? Then entire point of his super thinking powers is to find the exactly optimal course of action in a situation.

Just look at how any given scenario would go south, and tweak the plan so it doesn’t happen!

But no, Barry comes to the conclusion that he must give himself over to Grodd in order to avoid disaster. Granted, he has a plan, and it’s actually a pretty good plan, but it seems more like the Flash just gave up trying to find a solution where he wins in an open fight.

Let’s talk about the Flash’s love interests for a moment. Patty Spivot is there when Barry wakes up, and despite the fact that she finally has him back after thinking he was dead for months (and he nearly died right in front of her recently), she offers no resistance to Barry’s suicidal surrender plan. We could easily have spent half an issue exploring what an actual woman would do in the face of a loved one willingly throwing himself at danger even more than he normally would. Instead, the matter is resolved entirely with her just accepting it in the space of a single page.

Let me remind you, this was the woman singing nursery rhymes to Barry’s comatose body only last issue.

On the other hand, we’re given more scenes of Iris West, the other potential love of Barry Allen’s life and the woman he married in the pre-Flashpoint continuity. We’re shown in flashbacks why their potential relationship never got off the ground, mostly involving her brother Daniel. Daniel West is a subplot I’ve neglected to mention at all up until now, mostly because he hasn’t contributed to the plot at all yet, and doesn’t contribute here either. Oh he’s hanging around, but only so far as he’s one of many people being herded by gorillas and saved by the Rogues. Iris, on the other hand, is still in the Speed Force proper, alongside a couple other people. They’re holed up in a Russian tank, being attacked by a mammoth. Because the Speed Force is wacky like that.

Very wacky, in fact, and prone to forcing superpowers on people, as this group discovers.

Let me state for the record that this issue isn’t bad. I love THE FLASH. Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato are doing a great job. But we’ve got a whole mess of subplots all vying for attention, so ironically the book about the world’s fastest man is moving very slowly. And one of the running threads, the Flash’s super thinking, is really cool, and used to great effect, but also creates just a few plot holes in the road.

How many speed puns can I fit into one paragraph? Many, I hope, and rapidly.

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