With both Flash and Batman on the heels of Reverse Flash will this event reveal anything that we don’t already know? Having circled back around in the time stream hopefully, we get some answers here. Spoilers are ahead.
So here we are The Button Part four, the finale to this DC Rebirth event and I am here to tell you, prepare to be disappointed. While yes we do get to see where the Reverse Flash ended up, well kind of, and his ultimate fate before he appeared back in the Batcave. Yet neither Batman nor Flash ended up there and saw who was behind all of this. Instead, Jay Garrick ended up saving Batman and Flash as the Cosmic Treadmill fell apart again in the time stream. With the triumphant return of Jay Garrick most would be excited, except that isn’t what really happened here. Instead, they did a Wally moment from Rebirth, in which Barry had to remember him to free him from the speed force. This time, Barry didn’t remember him and he disappeared back into the speed force with another tease that Barry wasn’t his lightening rod. Closing out the issue we see Bruce contemplating what his Father told him, to stop being Batman and find happiness. With a Batsignal in the sky, Alfred asks if Bruce is going to answer that and he just stares off into the distance. The last page reveal FINALLY confirms that Doctor Manhattan is behind this in some way, quoting the Watchmen novel:
Why does my perception of time distress you? Everything is preordained. Even my responses. We’re all puppets, Laurie. I’m just a puppet who can see the strings.
After four issues of The Button and I can easily say that I have more questions about DC Rebirth than I did at the start. The only quantifiable thing obtained from this event was a confirmation that Doctor Manhattan is behind all of this. Other than that we got teased about Jay Garrick, The Justice Society, and Legion. With no real resolve to those threads. We also got some great character moments, like Bruce with his Father Thomas. However, that is not what I wanted from this event. Sure it is compelling stuff, but let’s be honest with each other, Bruce is not going to stop being Batman. Maybe for an arc or so where he questions everything but in reality that’s it. Which I guess is the best way, to sum up, this entire event, superficial.
While I have some major gripes with the story itself, that is not to say that this wasn’t well written. The dialogue here is great, with some banter between Reverse Flash and Barry that is exactly why I love their relationship. Even the moments between Barry and Bruce after this all happened, still trying to dig and figure out what this all means. Williamson has these characters down and I love the way that he portrays them.
Another great thing from this issue is Howard Porter’s art, my god. This issue is beautifully drawn and is a pleasure to read through. From action to dialogue Porter manages to make every scene compelling. From Jay Garrick being ripped back into the speed force or Barry and Bruce talking, all of it stunning. Paired with Hi-Fi’s rich and saturated colors, once again this is one good looking book.
In conclusion, I enjoyed the character building and the stories that happened in this event. But it wasn’t how it was marketed or pitched to us. This was supposed to bring answers and honestly, it brought none. Of course, there is a book being solicited here called Doomsday Clock by Geoff Johns and it will supposedly feature Superman fighting Doctor Manhattan. However, after this event, I’m not really looking forward to much of anything besides Metal.
Reviewed by Tim Montoya
The Flash #22
Written by Joshua Williamson
Art by: Howard Porter, Hi-Fi, Steve Wands
Published by DC
Release Date: May 17th, 2017