The Flash #57 Continues To Forge New DCU Mythology

by Tony Thornley

One of the best things Joshua Williamson’s Flash run has done is slowly breaking down the walls that have been built across DC Comics continuity for the past seven decades. While editorial has basically said the Rebirth era makes everything count, Williamson’s story has shown how while also building a new mythology around Barry Allen.

Honestly, I could probably leave this review at that, but there’s so much more to The Flash #57. That’s a testament to the work done by Williamson, Scott Kolins, Luis Guerrero and Steve Wands, wrapped in a great cover by Dan Mora. This issue concludes the storyline introducing us to the Sage Force, as well as laying foundational bricks for the Flash and the entire DCU moving forward.
The Flash and Detective Burns are still trapped within Heat Wave’s mind, as the Sage Force is egging him on. On the outside, Iris and Commander Cold are trying to stop Mick from exploding. After saving the day, Barry leaves Central City under Cold’s protection and sets out with Iris to figure out more about the foundational forces.

It’s a testament to how good a writer Williamson is when he can fit so much into an issue. He writes more of the progression of Barry and Iris’s relationship. He completes a character study of one of the most popular Rogues and somewhat clears the slate for his future. Lastly, he sets up a massive mythology shift akin to what Geoff Johns did with Green Lantern. To see a story arc do so much in three issues is huge, and it’s even better that it all works.
I’ve sung Kolins’ praises as I’ve reviewed the previous two issues, but he steps it up even more here. On the superheroic side, Heat Wave’s mindscape is a terrifying world full of great design work. Barry looks great throughout–both in fighting the mental flames, and his multiversal hijinks.
He also sells the emotional moments well too. Cold impersonates his villainous counterpart for part of the issue, and Kolins sells the bond between Captain Cold and Heat Wave wonderfully. And Williamson’s great work with Iris and Barry is absolutely SOLD by what Kolins does with them.
Guerrero’s work is superb. This issue is FULL of effect work, from fire to lightning to a racing superheroic blur. He’s able to make them all look exactly how they should, without overpowering Kolins’ linework.

The issue’s biggest misstep is in the lettering. Wands is generally very good letterer, with the ability to emphasize the strengths of the script without distracting from what’s happening on the page. However, he uses a flame-like font for Heat Wave that unfortunately blends into the background several times, making it difficult to read, and requiring too close of an inspection. It’s a minor bump in the overall issue that quickly disappears from the story.
I continue to enjoy this run, which is starting to be on par with greats like Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo, and Geoff Johns and Kolins. It’s that good.
The Flash #57 is available now from DC Comics.

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