Shades of Infamous Video Game are Seen in The Flash #28

by James Ferguson

Barry Allen is still feeling the effects of Eobard Thawne’s recent attack which decimated his relationship with Iris West and infected him with the Negative Speed Force. Now’s he’s pulsing with this destructive energy as the Flash and this darker nature is starting to affect his personal life. Barry has honed his abilities over the years so he has a perfect control of his speed. The Negative Speed Force is new, different, and volatile, making him more dangerous and reckless.

The design for Negative-Flash is pitch perfect. Artist Carmine Di Giandomenico and colorist Hi-Fi did a tremendous job here. Barry’s face is sunken and dried, like he’s a running corpse. The yellow lightning that once pulsed around him like tangible positivity has been replaced by darkness, swirling nearby like smoke and brimstone. One look at him and you’d think he was a villain, not the happy-go-lucky Barry Allen we know and love.

These new powers are taking a toll on Barry’s body as well. They’re physically draining and not just on his metabolism. It’s like depression. Barry was already down in the dumps since Iris broke up with him. The Negative Speed Force seems to be feeding on that and exasperating it, like a dark cloud is hanging over him. This has affected him so much that he’s actually afraid to use his powers for fear of the damage he might cause as a result.

In many ways, this new Negative-Flash reminds me of the video game Infamous, where Cole MacGrath gains electricity-based super powers and must choose between good and evil. His abilities change based on the path he takes and the decisions he makes. The look and feel of Negative-Flash is reminiscent of the game. Barry is on the dark side right now, surging with uncontrollable and destructive energy.

A good chunk of The Flash #28 is spent with Barry in his street clothes, which is a welcome sight. Every so often we need a reminder that he has a day job that he should be putting time into as well. Di Giandomenico draws Barry as handsome as ever, but there’s a sadness in his eyes, as if he’s more than a little lost.

These scenes with Barry at the police station further inflame my issues with secret identities. I brought this up in a recent review as well. Barry is frustrated with his boss. If only he knew what Barry was really doing with his time and why he was late ALL THE TIME, then he would cut him some slack. But he can’t because somehow that would lead to every super villain attacking the guy to get to the Flash. I still don’t buy it.

The Flash #28 from DC Comics sets Barry Allen down a new path. It’s not on a highway or a path to the stars. Instead, it’s a dark alley full of broken hearts and property damage. He was already pretty low after recent events. Now writer Joshua Williamson is kicking him when he’s down. Going through a gauntlet like this is what makes Barry a hero. Even with all this negativity literally pumping through his veins, he still puts on the suit and jumps into action to save the day and right some wrongs.

The Flash #28 is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.