The Flash #35 – Joshua Williamson, Michael Moreci, Writers; Pop Mhan, Artist; Ivan Plascencia, Colorist
Ray – 6/10
Ray: Michael Moreci concludes his brief co-writing stint on Flash with an issue that unfortunately doesn’t live up to the previous one, taking a promising new character and turning them into a villainous caricature. That character would be new speedster Meena, who last issue stole the Negative Speed Force from Barry. The issue opens with a flashback showing her being saved from the Speed Force by the evil agents of Black Hole. At the end of the last issue, I thought she might be stealing the Speed Force to protect Barry, but the opening of the issue puts that to rest – she’s got dark plans for it, and as soon as she has her new powers she wastes no time taunting Barry about his mommy issues and making plans to master the Speed Force with her new shadow powers.
What saves this issue, at least partially, is the young Wally West. Unlike Barry, who’s too shellshocked by the betrayal of his friend to do much, Wally immediately realizes that Meena needs to be stopped. Although Meena manages to get away, Barry and Wally are able to work together, combining their powers to neutralize the weapons of the Black Hole goons backing Meena up. Meena escapes, and goes to commune with her new master – Raijin, the God of Lightning, a murderous armored being that reminds me way too much of the terrible Savitar from the TV series. Then there’s the seeming murder of Kristen, Barry’s partner, at Iron Heights (although it’s not clear that it’s her who’s killed, but we’re definitely supposed to believe it is). It seems like this issue spends a lot of time dropping buses on interesting characters, and as such a lot of promise gets lost in the shuffle.
Corrina: Meena had such potential but, alas, she’s just become yet another in a long line of murderous speedsters–and with little motivation, no less. Add in Iris, who is still giving Barry a hard time (though with some cause), and what happens to Kristen (or what appears to happen to her) and that’s three women in one comic who aren’t portrayed with much depth and whose main job is to cause Barry problems. Given the recent firing of editor Eddie Berganza and the tolerance of his bosses at DC Comics for his sexual harassment of employees and others, I have to side-eye a comic like this that does not, to say the least, show any but two dimensions to its female characters.
At least Wally remembered that Meena used to be important to him.
There is room for improvement. Maybe Kristen isn’t dead. Maybe Meena is simply been driven mad/impulsive/angry by the Negative Speed Force. But the God of Lightning? Yeah, way too much like the terrible Savitar in the television show.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.