The Unexpected Sacrifice (Flash #81 Review)
Updated: Jan 25, 2020
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Scott Kolins
Colorist: Luis Guerrero
Letterer: Steve Wands
Publisher: DC Comics
FLASH FACT: Joshua Williamson killed it on this issue.
He has once again cemented himself in my top 3 favorite Flash writers. It's still unbelievable to me that more people aren't talking about this book. Maybe they're aren't as many Flash fans out there as I would think. But speaking as a hardcore Flash fan I can't even begin to tell you how happy I've been with Williamson's run. He continues to amaze me and this issue right here is further proof of how great this run is and I'm happy to say that it seems like he has so much left to tell.
At the end of the last issue, we saw Barry stabbed by Black Flash (death personified). Hunter Zolomon is trying to "kill" death, essentially to prove why he is the best Flash and so that he could control time itself. But Barry tries to convince Hunter that there is another way, that what they really need to do is repair the force barrier. If you guys remember, it was Hunter that was responsible for destroying the barrier all the way back in "Flash War". But repairing the barrier won't be as easy as you think, it requires a sacrifice. But which speedster is willing to make it?
While the main story focuses on repairing the Speed Force, Williamson is also setting up the next arc (Rouge's Reign). We see Avery and Wallace chasing after the Rouges, only their powers on the fritz because of the actions of Hunter and Black Flash. The tension builds as we get close to the inevitable encounter with these powered up Rouges in the next arc. I for one have been waiting for them to make their return. Williamson leads in to each arc in such a way that gets you amped for each story and makes you wish he would right this book forever. He clearly is having the time of his life writing these characters and it shows in each issue. I can't wait to see the Rouges take over Central City and how Barry can stop them this time.
It's the conclusion to the Zolomon story that truly made this my favorite book of the week. Williamson tied it all together by giving us a glimpse into Hunter's past that not only reminded us that he was once a "good" guy but also changed an aspect of his past that makes you go "What the F**k?". After learning about this new revelation, Hunter makes the sacrifice need to repair the Force barrier.
It was so fitting to have Scott Kolins on this arc, especially as he is the co-creator of Zolomon. Plus I still say that nobody draws the Speed Force or speed powers the way he does. I instantly get nostalgic every time I read a Flash issue illustrated by him. I wish he and Howard Porter could just switch off between every arc and I would be the happiest Flash fan in the world.
With the stakes being set pretty high, it wil be interesting to see how the Flash family gets out of this one. Williamson seems to be leading up to something epic, perhaps issue 100? But I hope he plans on staying past that. I can't imagine who else could take over this book. Plus he still needs to bring back Max Mercury and maybe redeem Wally West. I for one haven't been this happy with the Flash book since Geoff Johns was writing, so hopefully DC will leave Williamson on the book for as long as he wants.