The Button Takes Flash and Batman Back to Where it All Began in Flash 21

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Flash 21 The Button continues

FLASH #21 is a continuation -- and a departure -- from the story that began in BATMAN #21. Geoff Johns and Tom King are still driving, but even when multiple writers (and artists) are on the same page, you can sense the shift. Where BATMAN #21 opened "The Button" in a fashion that was very WATCHMEN-like in its structure, FLASH #21 shows some glimpses of that at first but for the most part sticks to the basic format for telling a comics story. Which isn't to say that Joshua Williamson and Howard Porter told a bad story -- far from it. It's just to say that, the gears have shifted, and you can feel the shift.

With Batman bruised and bloodied by Eobard Thawne, the Reverse-Flash, Barry Allen must perform the forensic analysis on the crime scene left behind -- that being the corpse of Eobard Thawne, who took the yellow smiley button, disappeared, then reappeared, claiming to have seen God before falling over dead. This would be a great time to showcase Barry Allen's own detective skills, but rather than seeing them, we're just told how good they are, and then get the forensic evidence of things like "Speed Force energy." That's because Thawne's body is emanating that particular energy -- not his Negative Speed Force energy that he himself created. It's like a fingerprint on the body, and that fingerprint might belong to The Flash -- at least a future version of him.

Thawne also emits radiation similar to that given off by the mysterious button found in the Batcave when Wally West returned. But the amount is much more than the button gave off, so Barry is off to retrace the radiation to wherever it was Thawne went last -- and he's going to need his Cosmic Treadmill to do it. But he won't be going alone. Batman insists on the ride-along, and the journey shows them sights they've never seen before -- including the formation of the Justice League in a fashion far different than what they remember. Flash theorizes these are from the stolen years Wally told him about, but he doesn't theorize for long. Timestream turbulence starts to tear the treadmill apart, and when Flash and Batman both emerge in what they think may be the past, they find themselves once again in the Batcave -- and greeted by Batman!

But...which Batman?

You'll have to pick up FLASH #21 to find out, then be sure to get BATMAN #22 next month to continue this journey that we hope unravels the tangled mystery of The New 52 and Rebirth.

4.0 / 5.0