THE FLASH #27 is a bold new chapter in the life of Barry Allen. Writer Joshua Williamson and artists Paul Pelletier & Howard Porter create a must-read story for all Flash fans.
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While THE FLASH #27 contains an eleven-page fight scene, it’s not all exciting action. The entire issue is filled with deep, personal changes in Barry Allen’s life thanks, in part, to Eobard Thawne (aka the Reverse Flash). Writer Josh Williamson crafts an emotionally rich story about Barry Allen and Iris West’s relationship in the wake of Thawne’s capture and emotional torture of them both. On top of this, he writes an incredibly fun time-travelling action scene packed with pathos. Artists Paul Pelletier and Howard Porter put loads of kinetic energy into their art during the extended brawl. The combo of amazing characterization and exciting artwork make THE FLASH #27 an excellent chapter in the ongoing saga of Barry Allen.

THE FLASH #27 — The Negative Flash

Following the events of the previous issue, THE FLASH #27 opens with Barry attacking Thawne with his new Negative Speed Force powers. Thawne trapped Barry in the Negative Speed Force last issue, hoping to keep him there forever. Barry, however, learned to channel this energy and escape. Unfortunately, as this issue shows, these new powers have a, well, negative effect on Barry. Much like Spider-Man’s symbiote costume, this Speed Force not only amplifies Barry’s powers, it also changes his attitude. It makes Barry angrier and borderline homicidal.

The Flash #27
Image courtesy of DC Entertainment

Williamson expertly shows how Barry’s changed in several ways. He easily transports Thawne and himself back in time. As they fight throughout the centuries to get back to Thawne’s home era, Barry seems completely unfazed by the fact that he could, potentially, be messing up the time stream yet again by brutally attacking Thawne throughout the history of the world. Emotionally, Barry’s changes are even more prominent. Barry screams at Thawne throughout the issue that he’ll snap the villain’s neck. Barry, one of the kindest heroes in comics, resorts to cheap insults to try and hurt Thawne’s feelings. He tells him how forgettable he is, not thinking of the consequences of getting Thawne riled up.

READ: Take a look at our review of THE FLASH #25, an important chapter in this story arc!

Just with Barry’s dialogue, Williamson shows how far Barry went to get out of the Negative Speed Force to save Iris. He sacrificed his entire personality in order to save her. While this could be seen as noble, it also will, almost certainly, hurt him in the long run. Barry may not have killed Thawne this time, but what about the next villain he encounters?

An Emotional Core

The emotional moments in THE FLASH #27 don’t end with the fight. After Thawne’s defeat, Iris looks at Barry and is horrified by what she sees. Two issues ago, Thawne revealed the Flash’s secret identity to Iris. Barry’s lie affected her even more than Barry’s new powers and personality. She loves Barry, but she can’t stand the fact that he kept such a huge secret from her for so long, even when they started dating. After Barry tries to touch her to comfort her, a spark of his Negative Speed Force energy zaps her hand. Now she can’t even touch Barry. She dejectedly tells Barry to take her home.

The Flash #27
Image courtesy of DC Entertainment

With this, Williamson shrewdly ensures that Thawne does, in fact, win this battle. He may not have physically hurt anyone, but he still did enough damage to the Flash’s life. Barry is saddled with dark, new powers that might be slowly overtaking him. On top of this, he may have lost the affection of Iris. As comic readers, we know this damage isn’t irreparable, but Barry doesn’t. For all he knows, Thawne completely ruined his life. He made Barry miserable. Williamson charts a brand new direction in the Flash’s life with THE FLASH #27.

READ: Want more Barry? Here’s our recap of the third season of THE FLASH TV show!

Kinetic Art

In THE FLASH #27, Porter and Pelletier ensure that every fight scene is filled with not only lines of motion, but also the physical result of the use of speed. During Barry and Thawne’s fight, Pelletier and Porter draw the crumbling ground around where the two speedsters have run. As a result of their speed, dust flies everywhere and little jagged pebbles fly up from their wake. You can practically hear the giant sonic boom Barry makes when he travels back in time.

The Flash #27
THE FLASH #27 page 6. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

THE FLASH #27 — Another Commendable Chapter

Flash Fact: If you love the Flash, pick up this book. Williamson changes Barry Allan’s status quo in this issue, and you won’t want to miss it. If you follow the TV series THE FLASH, pick up this entire story arc. You won’t regret it.

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