DC Drags Out the Tease with The Button

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FLASH 22 concludes "The Button," but it's a conclusion that brings with it little in the way of a conclusion. Flash is still in the dark about everything that has gone on, including the death of Eobard Thawne, and Batman is giving serious consideration to chucking the whole Batman thing on the advice of his Flashpoint reality father. (Show of hands: Who thinks he will do it? Hint: Does DC still have solicitations for Batman, Detective, and half the rest of their publication lineup? Right.)

What the readers get, however, is a plethora of teases, starting with the cover. Oh, you're probably looking at that overwhelming image of Jay Garrick, the original Flash. Yeah, he's certainly in there, popping out of the time stream like Wally West did in REBIRTH #1. Unfortunately, he doesn't get to stick around, because Barry Allen doesn't remember him, so there's not a "lightning rod" to pull Jay out. My suspicion is that the lightning rod Jay needs is Johnny Thunder, who is still in an old folks home crying out for the Justice Society and his Thunderbolt, and being treated for dementia. But no, the tease on the cover is smaller than that -- it's the little circle at the bottom that contains the portrait of Red Robin -- Tim Drake -- who is currently thought to be dead by the bulk of the DC Universe. Get a good look at him -- because that's the only place in this comic where you'll see him. Batman doesn't learn that he's alive, and we don't see him in a cell finding a way to break out or having a cryptic conversation with Mr. Oz. The cover's all he gets.

And there's another special guest apperance in this issue. Because Eobard Thawne gets where he's going in this issue, tracing the power trail of the yellow smiley face button to its point of origin, leaving Flash and Batman in his wake so that he arrives alone, where he converses with a being he thinks he can challenge -- a challenge he loses. And in the end, all we see is a pale blue hand picking up the bloodstained button, with a quote from WATCHMEN on how Doctor Manhattan perceives time. So if you were expecting all the Watchmen hints to be a bluff, this pretty much seals the deal -- plus the fact that Geoff Johns has gone on record stating that this November's DOOMSDAY CLOCK will feature Superman going up against Doctor Manhattan. To tease that, The Button has an epilogue that, in very WATCHMEN-esque style, focuses in on the red-and-yellow of the bloodstained smily button, only to pull back out again to reveal the red-and-yellow of the Superman S-shield -- one that's been battered and worn. What's the meaning behind the age and patina? That's something that's going to be fodder for speculation for the next six months.

Grade: 
4.5 / 5.0