The Flash #22 is a rush of speed lines from artist Howard Porter as The Flash and Batman travel through time and the Speed Force and come to the conclusion (with us readers) that “The Button” is a prologue to the upcoming “Doomsday Clock”. Joshua Williamson and his sometimes co-writer Tom King barely scratched the surface on the cause of the rewriting of the history of the DC Universe. It will be up to Geoff Johns and Gary Frank to tell the story the Watchmen characters’ connection to the DC continuity. But “The Button” was still a pretty fun ride, especially with the interactions between Batman and Thomas Wayne, who is Batman in the Flashpoint Universe, and there is even at a glimpse at the Justice Society before Williamson, Porter, and colorist Hi-Fi snatch it away.
“The Button” has been like a cool teaser trailer that has some emotional resonance. The Flash #22 starts with a physical and verbal back and forth between The Flash and Reverse Flash until Reverse Flash dies yet again after boasting about being a constant point in a shifting sea of time and space. This seems like a replay of what happened in the first part of “The Button”, but Williamson and Porter throw in the new wrinkle of the return of Jay Garrick in a powerful splash page that reminded me of the winged helmet showing up in the Season 1 finale of The Flash TV show. It a powerful glimpse of hope that is yanked away and probably yet another plot thread that will be explored in “Doomsday Clock” so hence the fact that The Flash #22 seems like yet another teaser for a bigger, upcoming story. There is a running plot thread between the disappearance of the Justice Society, the death of Reverse Flash, and the Watchmen characters that could be really interesting to see play out in the fall. But, for now, it’s nice to see the DC Universe add even more elements from its past to the DC Rebirth universe as Williamson realizes the intergenerational legacy of heroism is one of its greatest strengths, especially where The Flash is concerned.
But The Flash #22 does have some emotional heft between it as Joshua Williamson realizes the connection between the post-Flashpoint/DC Rebirth versions of Barry Allen and Batman. What sets them apart from the other characters in the DC Universe is that they’ve had an opportunity to speak and interact with people who they’ve loved after they were taken from them thanks to the events of Flashpoint and “The Button”. Barry is kind of the perfect person for Batman to talk to after having an extended conversation with his father in previous issues. They have both seen some crazy things and understand how difficult it is to process. The fact that Thomas Wayne wants Bruce to move on with his life and not be Batman is just a major character beat for Batman in general, and Williamson and Porter leave his reaction to these words ambiguous closing on a moody nine panel grid. Hopefully, either Tom King in Batman, Geoff Johns in “Doomsday Clock”, or yet another writer builds upon this powerful moment.
With art that is constantly in motion by Howard Porter along with some nostalgic imagery, The Flash #22 is a suitable end to a storyline that’s only job was getting readers excited for a storyline down the road. However, Joshua Williamson and Porter make time to show Batman and Barry Allen’s personal reactions to this crazy journey so it’s not all sizzle and no steak. “The Button” crossover also shows the care that the Powers that Be at DC Comics are taking to restore and rebuild their history and continuity via the vehicle of relatively self-contained crossovers and slow burn mystery thrillers instead of making Superman a fascist or something.
Story: Joshua Williamson Art: Howard Porter Colors: Hi-fi
Story: 8.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read