Review: The Flash #21

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!

The first part of “The Button” visually was impressive but lacked a true depth of story. An interesting start, it didn’t feel as much a “part one” as it did a prologue to the real first issue. The Flash #21 which picks up directly after that issue is an interesting start which again sees the art outshining the story. This feels more like a real beginning as Bruce and Barry discuss what happened and begin the investigation into who killed the Reverse Flash.

There’s lots of discussion as ideas are thrown around to try to figure out what happened and the highlight is seeing these two detectives go back and forth in a way. I can’t really think to any story I’ve read where these two act more like detectives, using their skills there, instead of being superheroes and relying on powers. Writer Joshua Williamson really focuses things here on the two individuals underneath the masks. And when it comes to detective skills versus powers, this feels much more like the former which leads to the need to use the latter. And that latter is where the story really picks up in a thrown through time sort of way. And that ending? Fans of Flashpoint will be super excited in that last few moments.

Once again, the art by Howard Porter stands out. There’s so much detail in this issue that the visuals tell as much as the story as the dialogue, if not more so. Like the first part of the story, it’s the visuals that really sucked me in from the dissection of opening panels that reminded me of Frank Miller on the Dark Knight to all of the clues scattered around the Batcave that Barry has to dissect. There’s so much here to keep readers busy pouring over every small minute detail that Porter has added to the page.

It might seem like I’m not totally excited by these first two parts, I am, it’s just the visual art definitely outshines the story and out of the two, it’s the art I find myself dissecting panel by panel. There’s been a lot of hype around “The Button” and these two first parts definitely have paid off, just not quite in the way I expected, but what it does have me is excited to see where this is going as we’re clearly seeing the introduction of a lot of new into the DC Rebirth Universe and that new feels like it’s going to be really exciting.

Story: Joshua Williamson Art: Howard Porter Cover Art: Jason Fabok
Story: 8.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review