See all reviews of The Flash (2016) (19)

Today in The Flash, readers get a conclusion of sorts when it comes to “The Button” storyline, but given how obtuse it has been thus far I don’t expect a lot of answers. Since Geoff Johns teased earlier this week details about his “Doomsday Clock” storyline we’re sure to get some kind of crumbs to talk about before that story drops in November.

The Flash #22
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Howard Porter
Publisher: DC Comics


So what’s it about? The official summary reads:

“THE BUTTON” part four! The cataclysmic events of DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH #1 continue here! 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!

Why does this book matter?

“The Button” is definitively mixing The Watchmen story into the DC universe, which means if you care about either you probably need to read this! So far Joshua Williamson has been doing a great job harkening back to The Watchmen, which has made the reading experience fun for those who love that graphic novel.

Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?

Opening where we left off, Williamson continues to lay down small details via dialogue suggesting some characters know things that others don’t and those things they know are huge reveals for later. Reverse-Flash is back and he’s got the button, but all the while there’s no definitive answers as to how the button has power or what it all means. That’s part of the joy in reading this issue because it manages to tease you in a fun and interesting way. That includes a major character that pops in to save the day only to be smited just as Reverse-Flash was in the first issue of this story arc. This issue ends up closing the loop started in the first issue and focuses heavily on the fallout of what happened in Batman #22. It’s clear a seed was planted in this story arc that will payoff later.


Back to where we left off!

Howard Porter draws the main story in this issue quite well. His kinetic lines suit Flash and do well to capture the chaos and craziness of the dimension hopping Flash and Batman are doing. Dramatic deaths are ever more so due to the incredible detail Porter instills in the crumbling flesh and shocked faces. It’s truly frightening.

The epilogue is what everyone will be talking about around the watercooler though. In five pages–presumably written by Geoff Johns and drawn by David Frank–the reader is teased as to what is to come. The panel structure is exactly what we’ve come to expect from The Watchmen and a hand that enters the frame is clearly a certain character from that series too. It’s a tease, but it lays down an answer to a question everyone assumed the answer to. They assumed right! The symbolic nature of the end of this epilogue is particularly interesting and should give folks plenty to ponder until November.


This story arc is going to change the character forever.

It can’t be perfect can it?

This issue certainly feels short. Since it wraps up the journey Batman and Flash are going through it’s mostly a short end and some reflection. That includes the reflection you’ll be doing after reading the epilogue. This issue is mostly crumbs to ponder, no big story beats, and a start to something more. That makes it a good issue, but not one that you’ll want to reread any time soon.

Is It Good?

A great issue in that it sets up major elements to ponder later. It’s also filled with dramatic beats that are out of this world.

The Flash #22
Is It Good?
A good issue that's more of a kick starter than a satisfying issue you'll reread over and over.
Some incredibly dramatic moments
Detailed and kinetic art from Porter works very well
The epilogue gives us just enough to ponder until November
Ultimately this is a kickstart to what is to come with a lot of crumbs, but not a lot of answers
8.5
Great