WARNING: The following article contains SPOILERS for The Flash #54
The latest issue of The Flash comic book sees Barry Allen trading his super-speed for super-strength, temporarily becoming the Strongest Man Alive. While this isn't the first time that The Flash's body has been altered by strange forces or magic, it is only the latest in a series of odd occurrences tied into the continuing breakdown of the laws of physics, as the DC Comics multiverse the DC Universe is slowly dying.
The Flash has been foremost among the comic book series chronicling this decay with Justice League revealing an inertia-based Still Force that balances The Speed Force that empowers all of the multiverse's speedsters and Justice League Dark exploring the death of magic. Recent events in The Flash saw The Speed Force broken, unleashing a host of new powers upon the cosmos. One of these new powers - The Strength Force - was accidentally tapped into by newbie villain Axel "The Trickster" Walker, who promptly began destroying everything around him until his body began suffering from the strain of supporting its own hulking weight.
With the assistance of Commander Cold (a time-displaced cop from the 25th century, who adopted the weapons of 21st century supervillain Captain Cold), The Flash took Walker to Iron Heights Penitentiary, as it had the best available facilities for analyzing a metahuman's powers. Unfortunately, Gregory Wolfe, the warden of Iron Heights, has a grudge against Walker, who had been about to testify as to Wolfe's abuse of the inmates when he became attached to The Strength Force.
When The Flash and Commander Cold's experiments went awry and Walker became a crazed juggernaut once more, that gave Wolfe all the excuse he needed to try and kill Walker for being a danger to his facility. It was then, as The Flash tried to tap into The Speed Force, that he accidentally drew upon The Strength Force.
The battle which followed proved a masterful tribute to The Flash comics of The Silver Age, which were written to teach children basic lessons in science as well as entertain them. One thing that The Flash discovered when analyzing Walker as he used his new powers was that his weight increased in proportion to his strength. Theorizing that The Strength Force might be based around gravity in the same way that The Speed Force enhances velocity, The Flash attempted to use his connection to alter the weight of everything around him rather than using it to make himself bigger. This revolutionary idea gave The Flash everything he needed to trick The Trickster and cause Walker to start burning off the Strength Force energy he had absorbed.
What happens in the next issue of The Flash is anyone's guess. It will likely continue to tie into the cosmic events foretold in Dark Nights Metal and Doomsday Clock, though the precise details of the future are impossible to predict. Particularly since it seems that even the impossible is occurring on a daily basis in the reborn DC Comics' multiverse.
The Flash #54 is now available from DC Comics.