Ricky Church reviews The Flash #22…
“THE BUTTON” part four! The cataclysmic events of DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH #1 continue here! The Dark Knight and The Fastest Man Alive, the two greatest detectives on any world, unite to explore the mystery behind a certain blood-stained smiley button embedded in the Batcave wall. What starts as a simple investigation turns deadly when the secrets of the button prove irresistible to an unwelcome third party—and it’s not who anyone suspects! It’s a mystery woven through time, and the ticking clock starts here!
Batman and The Flash’s journey through time concludes in The Flash #22 in an intriguing fashion. While it didn’t have the same emotional stakes as Batman #22, it was cool to see the return of a classic character, however briefly, and get a sense of just how far Batman and Flash’s mysterious enemy will go to protect himself
Joshua Williamson delivers a satisfying conclusion to ‘The Button’ storyline, though not as many answers regarding the mysterious button were given as some readers might have hoped. Rather, part four of ‘Button’ serves as another interesting character piece on Batman, Flash and even Reverse-Flash. The emotional fallout from Batman #22 is shown to have a subtle, but great effect, on Batman and his future as a crime fighter.
The brief return of Jay Garrick, the original Flash, was very cool to see and was a moment that had been built-up ever since DC Universe Rebirth. It’s a shame he had to leave so soon, but his presence once again reminded readers of what DC had lost in the wake of The New 52 and what Jay could offer Barry. While the reunion wasn’t nearly as emotional as Wally and Barry’s in the Rebirth special or Bruce and Thomas’ in the previous issue, it was still a good moment in the story. Hopefully it won’t be too long before we see him again.
The art in The Flash #22 was really nice too with Howard Porter illustrating some great visuals. The full-page spread of Jay breaking out of the Speed Force was appropriately epic, as was his spread of Reverse-Flash meeting his end. Hi-Fi’s colours blended very well with Porter’s art, mixing some crazy colours together when the group was in the Speed Force or even making a certain character’s hand at appear quite ominous at the end. It is definitely quite a visual issue.
Now, before this issue it was all but confirmed Watchmen’s Dr. Manhattan was behind everything, but it was quite something to see his hand reaching for Comedian’s discarded button in the final pages of the issue. His dialogue from the famous graphic novel, about how he can see the puppet strings and knows everything that will happen, served to build up the threat he poses to the DC universe quite well.
The fact that the final page showed a battered Superman shield also raises several questions for the future of the DC universe as we approach November’s Doomsday Clock. It’s safe to say Superman and Manhattan are polar opposites of each other, with one embracing and believing in his humanity while the other has rejected it. Once its all said and done, this trilogy of DC Universe Rebirth, ‘The Button’ and Doomsday Clock should be a very good read.
Overall, The Flash #22 delivered a satisfying conclusion to ‘The Button’ that left a lot of anticipation for what is to come. The art was a visual treat and Williamson again had a good handle on the characters.