In the last issue, Flash was sent to the bottom of the ocean by Folding Man in his first meeting with Zoom's acolytes. Here, Flash returns to take on the Acolytes again and Barry confides in Wally and takes him to learn how to build an engine.
FLASH #44 does a fantastic job at continuing to build the battle between the Acolytes and Barry. The stakes are raised here by the end of the issue and the bar keeps raising for Barry as the battle moves forward. The book is plotted out extremely well and has this really nice flow to it from beginning to end that also moves focus to other characters in Central City. Writer Robert Venditti and Van Jensen really make the issue feel full and like the reader is getting more than their money's worth.
Wally West gets a bit more attention in this issue. In #43, Wally was building cars, and now Wally is heading to the CCPD to learn how to work on engines. Wally has really come a long way from a snot-nose teen to someone who is using his intelligence to create. There is a really great moment here where Wally gets blasted by red lightning where he may develop some Speed Force powers. Maybe I'm jumping ahead a bit, but that seems to be the only think that can save Barry in this situation.
On the flip side, the dialogue between Wally and Barry, before Wally heads to work on cop cars, feels off. Barry divulges way too much information to Wally, and while the two characters have a strong relationship, it doesn't feel like a conversation those two should have, especially because Barry's and adult and Wally's a teenager.
Cringeworthy (in a good way) moment of the issue: When Barry punches Block and destroys every bone in his hand and arm. If that shot doesn't send chills up your spine, then there's something seriously wrong with you.
Once again, the art team of Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund, and Andrew Dalhouse do a great job on this book and they work exceptionally well together as a team. There are a couple times, like with the last issue, where Booth's style made characters seem a little too elongated, but the action sequences, on the other hand, look downright brilliant. The color work, from Dalhouse is bright, vivid and fills each page. He doesn't get enough credit for the work he puts into this book.
This arc is turning out to be one heck of a ride. Barry is up against something that seems unstoppable and by the end of the issue, he seems trapped and Central City seems doomed. The creative team on this book is doing a fabulous job and the pacing here is wonderful. There are a couple of moments that don't work here, mainly the dialogue between Wally and Barry, but overall, this was a very solid issue and you should check it out this week when you pick up your books.