What is this all about?
(Spoilers) In this issue, The Flash has an encounter with a speedster, Meena, who he thought was murdered by Godspeed (previously in Rebirth). She reveals to The Flash her motivations for facilitating the “Speed Force Training Center.” Meena explains that she trained metahumans with speedster powers, prior to her death, to experience a sense of control after receiving her speedster powers. However, she reveals a twist that explains her reappearance and informs The Flash the reasons for her return to Central City. This story is about The Flash’s desire for a relationship which leads to an unexpected life-changing encounter.
The story continues. Kid Flash arrives while Meena and Barry are talking. Meena explains to Barry and Kid Flash that the Speed Force absorbed her in rather than Godspeed killing her. She explains that she fought to escape the Speed Force so that she could return and save them. The Flash asks, “From what?” She explains that Barry is dying because of his connection to the negative speed force. Barry asks Meena what she means? Meena shares that Barry’s connection to both the Negative Speed Force and the Speed Force is what’s tearing him apart. Thawne ‘s singular connection to the Negative Speed Force didn’t harm Thawne. Meena explains that her time in the Speed Force gave her the power to sense the Speed Force in people. This power allows her to see what it’s doing to Barry. Meena cautions Barry to trust her, “and I’ll show you.” Barry’s gullible acceptance of Meena’s explanation is understandable given the number of negative things happening in The Flash’s life.
Meena takes Barry to the site of the Central City demolition derby. She intends for Barry to run with a monitor attached to him allowing her to collect data. Kid Flash runs alongside Barry; however, Barry explodes purple lightning showing the impact of his connection to the negative speed force and the Speed Force. The metaphor is clear: the incongruence of being attached to both positive and negative things in his life creates a life-threatening contradiction. He cannot live in secrecy, attached to the negative, while pursuing positive values, the speed force. At least that’s what this reader concluded.
The story continues with an intimate conversation between The Flash and Meena. Barry expresses, “I’ve made so many mistakes and hurt so many people.” Meena consoles him to not be so tough on himself. As a reader, I was a little tired of this when it came up in this story. The Flash’s self-doubt and negative thinking have been the emotional undertow for ten books now. However, Meena coaches Barry to let go of some of the chaos he seems to always invite into his life and Barry agrees. Meena’s statement comforts The Flash causing him to let his guard down.
In a sudden twist, Meena tells Barry that he is very gullible as armed members of the group Black Hole arrive. The “Black Hole” is a group that uses lightning guns to break a speedster’s connection to the Speed Force. Their motivations are unclear. The Black Hole zap Kid Flash and The Flash with lightning guns then tied them up. Barry cries out to Meena who stares at him. Meena runs around The Flash causing a speed tornado. The Flash shouts “if you take the Speed Force from me..” As confusing as this sounds what Meena does is, somehow, remove The Flash’s connection to the negative speed force. The reader learns a valuable lesson. Never trust a speedster who leaves under suspicious circumstances and then reappears without explanation even if they promise to help. Too good, too cheap, too soon
What excites me is that the story has removed the Negative Speed Force from The Flash. How did she do this? Not sure. However, the relief gained by Meena’s separating The Flash from his connection to the Negative Speed Force far out ways the skepticism surrounding how she tricked Barry so easily. While this is far-fetched, I don’t care. Thank you for returning The Flash to his original power set! It interests me to see The Flash moving forward with a connection to only the Speed Force and how he breaks free from Meena’s control!
9 / 10
Reviewed by Tom Zimm The Flash #34 Black Hole Rising part one Written by Joshua Williamson and Michael Moreci Art by: Pop Man; Colors by, Ivan Plascencia; Letters by Steve Wands Published by DC Release Date: 11/8/2017