The Flash #28 Review: A Gritty, Effective Character Study

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Still reeling from his showdown with the Reverse-Flash and his break-up with Iris West, Barry Allen, AKA the Flash, is not in the best of places right now. To make matters worse, Eobard Thawne infected him with the Negative Speed Force, giving Barry new and highly destructive powers he does not yet understand or know how to control. Armored truck thieves known as the Road Reapers are also rampaging through Central City.

Meanwhile, back at his job in the CCPD crime lab, Director Singh informs Barry as well as a pair of detectives and another CSI that evidence has begun disappearing from the CCPD's closed case files. He believes that a member of the police department may be responsible. He also tells Barry that his job may hinge on how well he does on this case.

Barry has to balance this, fixing things with Iris, his new powers, and the ride of the Road Reapers all at once. The Fastest Man Alive may be finding his breaking point.

The Flash #28 is a very well-balanced comic. It is a carefully constructed concoction of character study, action, and intrigue. The future of the Flash is in question as his powers continue to misfire, his job is in jeopardy, and his personal life continues to fall apart. This gives a nice mixture of tension, excitement, and drama that makes for good storytelling. It's not an easy thing to do, and Josh Williamson has really knocked it out of the park on this issue.

It also gives a good recovery issue after the high-concept action and adventure of the previous story with the Reverse-Flash and Barry's trip to the 25th century.

The Road Reapers aren't the best villains, but there is something rather endearing in how corny these characters are in an environment other than a Mad Max film. Shrapnel shows up towards the end, and he's not that great a Flash villain, either. However, a second-stringer like him is a decent choice for a story that needs to focus more on the Flash and his struggle as opposed to someone like Captain Cold or Gorilla Grodd. Plus, Shrapnel's powers and design are still fairly cool. He also hints at a criminal conspiracy that is likely to bubble up in the next couple of issues, and that may turn out to be pretty interesting.

The new powers are pretty damn cool. The black electricity and explosions, though detrimental to the Flash and Central City, do appeal to my base need for unique destruction. They also make for a drama relevant to the damage to Barry's psyche that Thawne caused.

We also get to see Barry get really pissed off again, which is something you don't get to see very often. It may be caused by the Negative Speed Force, but it could also be from the stresses in his life. It's really skillfully articulated.

The art is where some of the weak points begin to set in. Carmine Di Giandomenico's art is unique, and he can depict that high-kinetic motion of the Flash very well. However, the faces and textures look a bit off. Barry himself has a massive chin and a face that looks too long and thin. People's skin appears too smooth and shining than one would think. Some shapes look a bit warped and stretched out at times.

Hi-Fi's color art is mostly good, and some of the darker tones match the mood. That being said, contrast would still be nice. This is still a Flash comic, and the Flash is generally an upbeat and happy character. Some brighter reds would be nice for the costume, and other lighter colors in general would help add some character.

That being said, a good portion of the art, especially the action scenes, still look good. The story itself is very well-constructed, and it is an engaging comic book to read. This one gets a strong recommendation. Check it out.

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About Joshua Davison

Josh is a longtime super hero comic fan and an aspiring comic book and fiction writer himself. He also trades in videogames, Star Wars, and Magic: The Gathering, and he is also a budding film buff. He's always been a huge nerd, and he hopes to contribute something of worth to the wider geek culture conversation. He is also happy to announce that he is the new Reviews Editor for Bleeding Cool. Follow on Twitter @joshdavisonbolt.