THE FLASH #29 isn't the most exciting issue, but it has its engaging moments when it focuses on how Barry Allen's new powers take a toll on his life, work and wellbeing. Some inconsistencies in the art take away a bit from the story, but, for the most part, the art is quite detailed.
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Slow Down

THE FLASH #29 foregoes a bunch of action scenes in order to focus on Barry Allen. All the action happens in flashbacks at the beginning of the issue. Writer Joshua Williamson slows down Barry Allen’s story in order to underline how much his new Negative Speed Force powers affect him. Artists Pop Mahn and Christian Duce show how much these powers take a visual toll on Barry. However, some inconsistencies in the art show up in the issue. Overall, THE FLASH #29 tells an interesting story about how much of a burden Flash’s new powers are.

Red and Gold… Black and Blue

THE FLASH #29 opens with Barry drawing a bath for himself in his apartment. This isn’t some nice, relaxing thing Barry does to unwind, though. No, he fills the tub with as much ice as he can find. Barry jumps in with his half-destroyed costume still on his body. His body sports many bruises and gashes. He ruminates on the different ways he could get hurt in battle, but he never gave it a second thought. His lightning-fast metabolism helped him fix himself up. However, Barry recently received destructive new powers after finding himself in the Negative Speed Force, the source of the Reverse Flash’s powers. Whenever Flash uses these powers, he leaves destruction in his wake. Now, in an attempt to curb his power usage, Barry tries healing from his wounds the old-fashioned way: waiting it out and taking it easy.

THE FLASH #29 page 3. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Williamson’s opening to this issue really drew me in. I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for the “character with powers needs to learn how to cope without them” trope, but Williamson used it quite well here. The Flash’s whole point is that he’s fast in everything he does, including healing. It must be excruciating for him to wait so long for his wounds to heal after years of letting the Speed Force fix it for him. This makes Barry even more relatable and human. This looks very promising for future stories, since Barry still needs to get used to using his powers at an extreme minimum if he wants to avoid wanton destruction.

READ: Here’s a review of another recent issue of THE FLASH! 

Cold Case

THE FLASH #29 also focuses on Barry’s actual job as a forensic scientist. Last issue, his boss put him on an old, long-closed case. Evidence mysteriously disappeared recently, forcing the police chief to reopen it. Barry has to work with another forensic scientist as well as two detectives on this case. This is unusual for Barry, since he usually works alone. On most cases, he uses his super-speed to read files in an instant and travel covertly to crime scenes. Since he’s literally and figuratively slowed down, Barry needs to learn how to solve a case like a non-powered person.

Williamson writes a great situation that tests Barry’s patience and ability to stop himself from using his powers. For one, he can’t use his powers, otherwise he’ll destroy the evidence. On top of that, since he’s working with others, it would be hard to use his powers anyway. This creates an added layer of drama in Barry’s life, on top of his powers and his recent break-up with Iris West. Not to mention that it also creates a new mystery that will unfold throughout the rest of this arc. I’m looking forward to it.

READ: Learn about what we thought of the SDCC trailer for CW’s THE FLASH! 

Art Inconsistencies

Artists Mahn and Duce do an excellent job on the art at the beginning of THE FLASH #29. They portray Barry as a tired, literally broken man. He has a gigantic bruise around his right eye and just has the most miserable facial expressions. I could feel what Barry feels just by looking at the artwork.

The Flash #29
THE FLASH #29 page 9. Courtesy of DC Entertainment.

However, once the issue progresses from Barry’s bathroom to the crime-lab, a seemingly major inconsistency shows up. Barry makes it a point to mention that he isn’t healing at an increased speed. If he heals at a normal pace, he should at least sport some bruises on his face later in the day. However, when Barry first appears at the lab not long after the bathroom scene, his face looks completely unscathed. However, his nose still bleeds and he still feels woozy.

The Flash #29
THE FLASH #29 page 11. Courtesy of DC Entertainment.

This may seem somewhat inconsequential, but because comics are a visual medium, it becomes very obvious. The dialogue even seems to imply that he’s supposed to still look roughed up. All we needed was a thought box that said something like “good thing the Speed Force was working enough to heal my face” or something. Otherwise, it becomes jarring for the reader and takes them out of the story. That being said, inconsistencies notwithstanding, the art was still great to look at. If you can get past that one issue, it still looks great, especially at the beginning of the issue with all the detail put in to Barry’s injuries and demeanor.

THE FLASH #29 – Nonessential, but not Underwhelming.

While THE FLASH #29 doesn’t do much to further the superheroic side of the title, it does focus quite a bit on Barry’s emotional and physical wellbeing. This makes for a fascinating issue, even if nothing of much consequence happens. If you’re picking up each issue of THE FLASH, don’t skip this one, but if you’re just looking for an action-packed read, maybe look elsewhere this week.

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