What is this all about?
In this issue, the Flash learns that his healing factor is greatly diminished as the destructive aura surrounding him continues due to his connection to the negative speed force. Flash perseveres as he learns how to use his new powers and learns how to accept support from others who see that he needs it. Barry pursues a suspect who has been tampering with evidence at the Central City Police Department. This story is about Barry trusting his forensic skills to make up for his inability to utilize the Flash’s abilities to solve a serious crime at the CCPD.
This story continues to reveal the ways that the Flash’s abilities have changed and diminished. Flash is bruised and battered by Shrapnel during their recent encounter. His healing factor has greatly diminished not allowing him to recover as quickly. Compiling this problem is his inability to utilize his super speed which then makes him late to work. However, his new powers allowed him to destroy Shrapnel simply by running into him, similar to his encounter with the armored truck in the previous issue. While the Flash is surprised by his new ability, he is not encouraged by its destructive qualities. Flash is without super speed, which keeps him from completing his investigative work as quickly. It will be interesting to see how this aspect of The Flash’s character continues to unfold and how far the writers will go.
The encounter with Shrapnel and the aftermath demonstrate the Flash’s ongoing struggle with his new identity. When Shrapnel murders the Road Reapers he blames The Flash. It’s common for abusers and violent people to blame the victims and those who are trying to rescue them. See Thawne in Flashpoint or their most recent encounter for evidence. However, The Flash cannot distinguish the difference between his role, as the rescuer, and Shrapnel’s role, the abuser. The struggle is demonstrated by The Flash’s inner dialogue. For example, he says, “It’s my fault” and “I deserved the beating” at the hands of Shrapnel. Both are untrue and both statements reveal that The Flash is confused about who he is and what he stands for.
Barry transitions back to the CCPD where he is met by a cohort, Kramer, who thinks that he is drunk and ushers him to an autopsy room in the basement. While this encounter reveals Barry’s insecurities about his usefulness to the team he also begins to put his forensic skills to work. It is refreshing to see Barry make the transition to working a case with three of his cohorts. They discuss the possible leads for the internal investigation into missing evidence. Barry shows some confidence deciding to pursue a lead and then report his findings back to the group.
When Barry returns to the CCPD he pursues a lead connected to stolen blood samples from the crime lab. His pursuit leads him to the evidence room which results in Barry stumbling upon several unconscious guards and officers. Barry works to save the people without the use of his superhero powers. This plot turn along with Pop Mhan and Christian Duce’s beautiful art add levity to the story and keeps the reader interested. We see Barry’s true intentions on full display as he saves people at great risk to himself. The story ends with the uncertainty of Barry’s demise but with the encouragement of seeing him act like the hero that he has always been.
Reviewed by Tom Zimm
The Flash #29 Negative Part 2, The Explosive Power of Shrapnel
Written by Joshua Williamson
Art by: Pop Mhan and Christian Duce; Colors by, Hi FI; Letters by, Steve Wands
Published by DC
Release Date: 08/23/2017