It’s been a minute since I have read Flash. I was eager to jump back into the title after my last issue involved “The Button” storyline. A lot has happened to Barry since then; new power, new problems, and it’s all building up to a new villain.
Barry is still reeling from the emergence of his new-found powers – Barry builds up a “destructive aura” that can be shot like a blast from his hands or be set off on impact, like the villain Shrapnel finds out about as he repeatedly punches Barry at the beginning of this issue. Another change in Flash’s power-set is the loss of his ability to quickly heal with the help of his speedy metabolism. This is thanks to events in Flash #27; where Barry was infected by the negative speed force. Now Barry feels all of his aches and pains.
These new powers bring with them new problems to Barry’s life. Barry can no longer zip around the office without destroying the objects that he is interacting with, there is also the concern of using his speed powers as normal, now the Flash has to be careful not to inadvertently causing destruction to by-standers and enemies… well, more destruction to enemies than Barry intends.
All of these new plot devices bring a new side of Barry to light. We watch as Barry prepares an ice bath after his battle with Shrapnel, as he tries to get his body to heal the bumps and bruises which never used to last when his metabolism was fully functional. This added story element makes Barry more relatable. We may not be able to move faster than the speed of sound, but most readers know what it’s like to sit in the bathtub at the end of a long, hard day of work, praying that your body will revert back to normal, Sans aches and pains.
Williamson has brought Barry Allen back to being a more relatable character, not just the jokester of the Justice League, and Allen is a better character for it. With this added depth it makes the stakes greater for The Flash- who can no longer just buzz his way through the hum-drum parts of life, but now must actually take the time to do his job as a criminal scientist. Williamson takes the focus of Allen’s civilian life and places the spotlight back on a much neglected area of Barry Allen… the detective.
Pop Mhan and the art team hold up the artistic expectations that fans of the Flash have come to enjoy. Mhan is a skilled artist that gives the book a sense of movement and energy; when you’re illustrating a book based on a speedster like Allen, having an artist that conveys movement is essential.
While I will not spoil any other moments in the plot of this issue, it needs to be said that this is a chapter in The Flash that does more to flesh out the character and move the storyline forward, building up to a new unseen villain.
All-in-all a solid effort from a solid team. Final Score- 3 ½ out of 5 speeding tickets.
The Flash #29
Story: Joshua Williamson
Art: Pop Mhan and Christian Duce
Letters: Steve Wanos
Publisher: DC Comics