The Flash continues to figure out his negative speed force powers for the worse in this second part, that has him realizing what it feels like to take a few bruises. Joshua Williamson has flipped this character on its head rather quickly and it’s been exciting to see Barry Allen deal.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
“NEGATIVE” part two! What’s a Rogue to do when The Flash goes bad? Get worse. Operating from behind bars in Iron Heights, the incarcerated Rogues graduate from costumed crooks to true kingpins of crime, unleashing the new villain known as Shrapnel upon the chaotic and unprotected streets of Central City.
Why does this matter?
If you ask me, Flash is an overpowered character. With the speed force not only healing him, but making it easy for him to solve a crime when he’s walking his beat, everything seems to come easy for him. Not anymore. Williamson has given him these new powers that are dangerous, but also harming him negatively when outside the suit.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue opens in a clever way, showing Flash jump into a tub of ice water and reflecting on what it used to be like after a fight. He’d heal, move on, and call it a day. Not anymore. It’s shows the character is well aware he took these little things for granted and it also sets up the lumps he’s going to take in the following scene. That scene takes place where we left off last issue as Flash takes on Shrapnel. These first eight or so pages remind the reader Barry really can’t use his powers until he can get control of them (or at the very least understand them) and set up his police detective work for the remaining issue.
The remaining issue delves deeper into a case Williamson began to reveal last issue. This allows him to weave in supporting cop characters as well as get his partner Kristen to reflect on his current run down state. Is he drunk? On drugs? She doesn’t know, which reminds us Barry is in a bad state physically. Fans of detective yarns will enjoy these scenes as Barry and Kristen start to figure out what is going on.
Artists Pop Mhan and Christian Duce draw a good issue, especially in the opening Flash scenes. There’s a top down full page splash view (see above) of Flash that’s poster worthy and hammers home his current state of mind. The dude doesn’t know what to do and these powers are too dangerous to use willy nilly. The zombie look to Flash’s flesh is a nice touch too–props to colorist Hi-Fi–and the detective piece has a nice darker tone that suits the mystery angle of the story.
He’s got blasters now!
It can’t be perfect can it?
Unfortunately, the detective bit that takes up about 12 or so pages is somewhat of a bore. At one point Barry, Kristen, and two other cops share details about their case and it feels like an exposition dump. Details on the mystery are interesting to a point, but they aren’t weaved into anything interesting. They sit around a table and chat it up for four pages. Yawn I say, yawn!
Is It Good?
Who would have thought when Flash is on the ropes and can’t even use his powers he’s far more interesting? The Flash continues to be an interesting series that looks good when he’s suited up. This issue, however, drags as a mystery unveils itself.
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