Gorilla Grodd was behind Black Hole and is now in the process of taking over Central City. He has sapped the speed from the citizens of the city. Only those with access to the Speed Force can move normally. Grodd's master plan is to take the speed away from the Flash to save himself from his affliction. He has Raijen and Negative Flash to help him do it.
Okay, I'm going to start off with what actually works about this comic before I tear into this thing. I didn't like it. It's one of the better issues of Flash that have come out for a while, but it still has so many of the things that drive me nuts about this Flash series. It's like a culmination of the flaws while still somehow being slightly better than most of the run.
Gorilla Grodd is back. That's cool. His New 52 motif about being a divinely chosen being is still bland and less interesting than previous iterations of the rogue, but it's still good to see his furry face. The overall setup is pretty good overall.
Both Wally's are in this comic. That's nice too.
Carmine di Giandomenico is back on the art, and he plays with the lightning and energy of the speedsters very well. Raijin's costume is pretty cool too, even if the helmet looks a tad ridiculous.
The visual design of frozen Central City looks really cool. The city has the pale blue hue thanks to Ivan Plascencia. This is contrasted well by the brightness and intensity of the foreground color of the costumes and the lightning. The art is pretty damn solid overall.
But dammit all is this another painful read. It is beyond hyperactive in everything it tries to establish, yet it still spends four pages going over Barry Allen's backstory for the umpteenth time this series.
No one acts like a human being. Barry just sits and lets Grodd monologue for the first few pages without even trying to do anything to stop this crisis. He offers to help Grodd, which I can buy Barry doing. However, it's just another superhero cliché this comic rides.
People continue to make drastic decisions with little inclination or explanation, this time being primarily done to give the comic a "shocking" ending. The dialogue continues to be quite poor. There is an attempted "breaking" of Barry Allen by Grodd that seems to have succeeded too, but this is the one time the comic decides to be vague with feelings. As such, the context for the ending feels really incomplete.
On top of all this, Flash relies on its holding pattern of adding another Flash (Avery this time) and messing with the Flash's powers.
Also, these stories really need to stop putting so much emphasis on the Speed Force. When performing as intended, the Speed Force is supposed to be a vague explanation for how Barry's powers work. Putting it in focus only shows how it doesn't make sense and has little internal logic as a concept.
Flash #40 is far from the worst of the series, but it's still an overstuffed comic that still pushes the plot forward very slowly and feels the need to pad itself. No one acts like a human being. The premise is cool, but it does very little of interest with it. The art is solid, but it doesn't save the comic from the numerous flaws. Again, I love Barry Allen more than any other DC hero, but I still have to say give this book a pass.