A change of pace is good, right?
Infused with the Negative Speed Force, we find Barry Allen no longer quite the optimistic person we have known. His outlook is a bit darker, he experiences unexpected side effects from the Negative Speed force, and his body takes a harder toll, setting up a fall from grace when Barry gets a reassignment. I like what Williamson does in trying to grow the Flash title. He's not afraid to push the character into places that we normally would not expect to see with Barry. Some people may like that, some may not. Change is always hard. Overall, Williamson is good with plot. Sometimes, the dialogue falls a bit flat in scenes where Flash is dealing with villains, whereas Barry-specific scenes land with better effect. This may just be chalked up to hero/bad guy fight scene dialogue, which just isn't the easiest thing to get right.
This volume overall felt a bit uneven to me. The biggest contributing factor is the constant change of artists between issues. The styles are so different that it makes reading the volume a bit jarring. Since this is a title that ships twice a month, the production demands make it hard to keep the same artist on from issue to issue. Other DC titles that ship twice monthly balance this out a bit better, usually having the same artist on for a couple of issues or a story arc before swapping to another.
Even in light of this challenge, the standout work on this book comes from the colorists. Ivan Plascencia and Hi-Fi are able to help keep the book's feel together. What is fascinating is seeing how the same colorist adapts their style to match the different artists, yet retains the through line of how the book should be presented, and how this plays out from issue to issue. If you’re interested in more of the art and craft of comics, that alone is worth looking over this volume.
The Flash, Volume 5 : Negative
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