FLASH #29 & #30

Do you know what the difference is between a heavy metal fan and an actual fan? One likes to rock hard while the other is a blow hard, get it? If not, then I suggest you check out the following story created by Joshua Williamson, Neil Googe, Pop Mhan, Christian Duce, and published by DC Comics in September, 2017.

TO QUOTE Charlie Sheen: 'I'm different. I have a different constitution, a different brain, and a different heart. I got tiger blood, man'. 

When this story begins we are presented with a scene where we see Barry Allen lying in a bloodied bathtub, tending to the numerous injuries previously inflicted on him by the villain Shrapnel. From the looks of it, even though Barry was able to defeat his foe, he wasn't able to save Shrapnel's victims from getting killed.  Plus, to make matters even worse, his dark powers are unable to heal his wounds and he still has some more work to do over at the crime lab.

Well, as most of us know, both he and Kristen Kramer were assigned to investigate a case which involves someone stealing evidence from the evidence room, and so far, all they've discovered are a couple of possibilities connected to this case: The first of which is that each piece of stolen evidence is actually biological by nature (like blood for example), coupled with the fact that each sample was associated with an unsolved crime.

Strangely enough, when Barry vocalizes this connection to Burns and Morrow, later the same day, this inspires him to quickly head on over to the records department so he can do a little bit more snooping. But unfortunately for him, as soon as he gets there he notices that the department has been set on fire and most of the employees have been savagely beaten, and to Barry, this can only mean one thing: He has to save most of the people inside, even if doing so will get him reprimanded by Director Singh when he eventually returns to the crime lab.

However, when this happens, Barry is uncharacteristically taken back by his bosses harsh words. So taken back, in fact, that he actually retaliates against him as well as his fellow CSI crime officer's! After all, he does have the negative speed force running through his veins, and this negativity is affecting Barry on an emotional and physical level.

Don't worry, though, because Kirsten carefully manages to calm him down so they can collectively figure out what the hell is going on. And what is that exactly? No. I'm not saying. Otherwise I may spoil how this issue ends. Although what I will say is that a culprit is eventually identified and this results in a battle that flows into next months episodes. In the meantime, please check out the following four reasons as to why I thought these two issues were a really good read, issues 29 and 30.

Reason One) STOLEN STORY:   One of the highlights featured in both of these episodes would have to be the mystery surrounding the stolen evidence. I mean, who doesn't love following a good mystery, especially one that involves a thief stealing blood? Yet who could this person be and why blood? According to Burns and Morrow, Director Singh is the most likely candidate, although from my point of view he doesn't seem like the type of person who would want to steal blood.

I personally feel that one of the four new supporting characters would be a much more likely suspect, and I thought this even before the revelation was finally made. After all, it has been known that new supporting characters can also evolve into new supporting villains (such as in the case of August Heart). I suppose at the end of the day the only thing that matters is that a good mystery is told and a good villain is eventually picked, and I like to think that is what happened here. Correct?

Reason Two) OBJECTIVE VILLAINY:   Yes, correct, which brings me quite nicely onto my opinions about the villain in question! Now at first glance he does look like a hokey 1940s bad guy you'd see in any Universal film made in that particular era. Having said that, though, I did enjoy how Joshua Williamson was able to transform this brand of archetype by giving him a motive and a back-story that was steeped in some sort of realism. Whenever a modicum of reality is placed onto a story it also adds a personal association between the audience and the characters, particularly when this reality involves a real life medical condition that's been perverted in the name of comic book science. Lovely stuff!!

Reason Three) POWER FLUX:   Something else about this series that's starting to grow on me would have to be the evolution of Barry's new powers. Even though I don't think they will last for very long, hopefully a year at best, that's not to say that I'm not enjoying the original way in which Barry's powers are starting to work against him. It's almost as if they're a curse of sorts, stopping him from being a superhero, and for Barry that's something new, which in itself is great fodder for a personal drama. I wonder what else he can do with them though? Seriously, his dark powers can't all be bad! Plus I'm pretty sure he would be able to master them once he can figure out how he can use them to his advantage. 

Another nice byproduct of Barry's condition can also be seen during that sequence where Kristen told him about her sister's suicide (as seen in issue 30). Despite her sad tale not being completely connected with Barry's predicament, in a round about way it did give this book a platform to talk about depression and convey feelings, emotions, and scenarios, which are just as relevant as any superhero battle.

Reason Four) TAG-TEAM ART:   I would like to congratulate Neil GoogePop Mhan, and Christian Duce for providing the atmospheric artwork for both of these issues: Neil for issue 30; and Pop and Christian for issue 29.

Normally I'm not a big fan of two different artists working together on the same book, simply because sometimes their styles can clash and this can cause inconsistencies between the two. Not in this case though. No. Not one little bit. Pop and Christian's artwork jelled so well together that sometimes I didn't even notice the transition. In a nice way, of course, and with all due respect, which I put down to both men really knowing how to draw detail and pace each scene so they can flow in sync with the pace of the story.

The same thing can also be said about Neil's artwork as well. Yet in this case his illustration's felt slightly more modular by design, and was additionally enhanced with a very contrasting color palette provided by Ivan Plascencia. Great job. 

To commemorate Barry's current sullen disposition, I think it would be a jolly good idea to musically match up these two episodes with one of the most depressing f@cking songs I've ever heard. So, get your shotguns out, and let's all listen to 'Something in the Way' by Nirvana. Amen. 

The one thing that both of these episodes have in common is blood. The story is about stolen blood and I'm pretty sure most of the characters suffer from high blood pressure.

Comparison made, and hopefully medical bills paid.

Near the end of issue 30, Barry thinks that he's done something really bad to the bad-guy, now christened Bloodwork. So, out of the following eight options, can you guess what he thinks he's done to him? Could it be...

  • Stripped him naked.
  • Referred to him in the third person.
  • Cut off his dick.
  • Slapped him on the ass.
  • Punched him.
  • Kissed him.
  • Killed him. 
  • Grabbed him by the p@ssy.
Nuff said.

FLASH #29 & #30 FLASH #29 & #30 Reviewed by David Andrews on September 28, 2017 Rating: 5

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