Barry Allen is still reeling from the epic takedown at the hands of the Reverse-Flash. Infused with the Negative Speed Force, he’s been lashing out both in and out of costume with uncontrollable new powers and a bad attitude. To make matters worse, someone has been stealing evidence from the Central City Police Department and the signs point to an all new villain that you might have noticed from the cover of this issue.
You know that Barry is not himself when he raises his voice to his friends and co-workers. He’s always been the lovable, happy-go-lucky guy in the office. Now he’s like an exposed nerve, snapping at anyone that looks at him the wrong way. At this point, the crime lab is all Barry really has. Iris has left him. He can’t trust his own powers. If he loses this connection, he’s completely isolated which is not good for his current state of mind. He’s currently a very unlikable person.
Barry needs help and there is no one he can turn to. Unlike some other characters, no one really knows that he’s the Flash. Even Kid Flash only just learned his secret identity. This was the reason Iris broke up with him in the first place. I’ve been rallying against the idea of a secret identity for some time and this is another perfect example of why it’s detrimental to a character. Of course, we’ll see where this goes in writer Joshua Williamson’s capable hands. In the scheme of things, Barry could have mitigated if he had some supporting characters that he held in confidence.
The crime lab evidence tampering forces Barry to slow down which is something he’s not used to doing. If he’s going to figure this out, he needs to take his time and look at all the evidence. Rushing in is only going to make things worse. Granted, that’s exactly what he does once he finds some answers which leads to the appearance of Bloodwork.
This character has some great potential. After he takes some time to explain his entire origin story as only bad guys can do, he shows how deadly he can be. It will be easy to compare his appearance to that of Carnage as there are some definite similarities with spiraling red tendrils. What sets Bloodwork apart is the chip on his shoulder and his additional abilities, specifically in controlling and manipulating blood. It opens up a lot of possibilities for some pretty gruesome kills.
Bloodwork’s history lesson is beautifully illustrated by artist Neil Googe. It’s framed as spilled blood from vials, swirling around the drain. Each image is captured in a pool of crimson. As the blood flows downward, his story gets worse and worse.
This man’s transformation into Bloodwork is also well rendered. As a normal human, he’s cold and dark which makes him possibly more frightening than his later appearance as the villain. He has a chilling, matter-of-fact look on his face, like explaining anything to you is beneath him. His face is a slimy palette of condescension.
The Flash has a lot riding on this battle. If he can stop Bloodwork, Barry might be able to keep his life from spiraling completely out of control. There’s no telling what could happen if he loses this fight with the Negative Speed Force pumping through his veins.