Barry has a whole new set of powers with this Negative Speed Force, and he’s just starting to learn the impact of that change. This is not a change for the better. Even his protective aura has changed in its basic nature, and when he tries to stop a robbery everything goes wrong. No, the bad guys didn’t get what they wanted, but the target wasn’t exactly “saved” from danger. Barry loses faith in his ability to help, at least until he can figure out how to use this new set of powers. Looks like Thawne is able to hurt Barry even from beyond the grave.
Things aren’t much better at work or in his personal life. Iris has been talking with Hartley, though about what we aren’t sure. What we do know is that she isn’t talking to Barry right now. Meanwhile, the CSI lab at CCPD is losing critical pieces of evidence, and Barry is put on a task force to find out what, or who, is at the bottom of this. He even finds out that the cops on the beat have a nickname for him that…isn’t flattering, though it may ring a bell for Flash fans.
All this leads up to a confrontation with Shrapnel – and no, Shrapnel isn’t the main bad guy here, but we still don’t have a full confirmation as to who is pulling the strings (though you may have a good guess when reading this issue). This battle doesn’t end well…and it sets the tone for this arc in a very…*ahem*…”Negative” way. (sorry for the pun).
SUMMARY: When I was a kid back in the Silver Age, this kind of story would have been a one-shot “Imaginary” Story (yes, that’s what they called “Elseworld” type things back then). And, at the end of one issue we would be back to everything being hunky-dory. I’m glad that this isn’t the case here. We continue to see Barry being torn down to his core, to see what is truly important to him as a hero and as a person, while his world falls apart around him. But, I trust Joshua Williamson’s sense of who Barry is, and I’m looking forward to how this arc pans out. One fun note here is that artist Carmine Di Giandomenico (with colors by Hi-Fi) get to play with the Flash’s look – and it works. The Negative Speed Force effect on Flash’s costume gives off all the right vibes for this arc. I’ll give this a 9/10 – what do YOU think? Leave your comments below!