With Reverse Flash dead and Batman taking a beating, it’s time for The Fastest Man Alive to do some investigation inside the Batcave. What will be uncovered next? Spoilers ahead, skip to the thoughts section to avoid them.
As with the previous issue, we see a tease here about another team that seemingly disappeared in the New 52, the Justice Society. We see an elderly Johnny Thunder, here again, on the rooftop screaming for thunderbolt. Soon after the nurses come to take him back inside the home, with him saying “We lost the Justice Society, it’s all my fault”. I can only hope that in Batman #22 and Flash #22 we begin to see some movement on these two threads from the Rebirth issue. However, this is all we get here.
Flashing back to the Batcave we see Barry Allen setting up the crime scene and doing his investigation. Noticing that Reverse Flash aka Eobard Thawne did not want to kill Batman but rather torture him. Barry also takes a moment and whispers “It’s over Mom” still noting that this wasn’t justice nor does it give him his mother back. He also notices that there are traces of his own speedforce all over Reverse Flash. Posing the question to himself if it was possible that a future version of him came back in time to kill Thawne.
Barry comes back to check in on Bruce and talk over what has happened up until now. Bruce mentions the vision of his father and Barry mentions his vision of Jay Garrick’s helmet earlier. However, Barry leaves out his speedforce being on Thawne’s body and the fact that he was covered in massive amounts of the same radiation they found on the button. Meaning that wherever Thawne went was rich with that very same radiation, possibly leading to where the button came from. Armed with this information Barry heads to the Justice League Watchtower, looking for something we haven’t seen in quite a while…. The Cosmic Treadmill!
Big Spoiler Below
The last time Barry used the Cosmic Treadmill, it lead to the events of the New 52. But with what is on the horizon he decides to risk it. Of course, Batman is not one to be left behind and he will not be told no. With that, they both hop on the Cosmic Treadmill. While on the treadmill they see events from the past, showing how the Justice League originally formed, Barry’s death, and more. At first, thinking that these were alternate realities. Barry recalls that Wally said years had been taken from them and these could be those years. With a storm destroying the Cosmic Treadmill, both Barry and Bruce end up crashing into the world of Flashpoint. Ending with Bruce and Thomas Wayne face to face.
A good portion of this issue is Barry’s inner monologue talking about the events that are unfolding. Some of this serves as a reminder of previous events, with some even giving the appropriate backstory where needed. While it does amount to a lot of dialogue, it allows everyone to understand what is going on here, because there is a lot. There are very minor reveals in this issue as it is setting up the events for Batman #22 part three of The Button. In fact, there are more revelations here. As Bruce and Barry making more discoveries about their past and how much of it was lost.
Howard Porter does an excellent job here on art, while stylistically different from Fabok, it is equally impressive. Yet again we get some Watchmen style coloring from Hi-Fi another nice nod. Finally, I think Steve Wands deserves some credit here, for two reasons. One there is a lot of dialogue in this issue, he manages to fit it all in while never taking away from the art. Two his action words are on point here, really adding to the art and matching the color theory of the panel it is in. While Hi-Fi could do the coloring on the letters I’m not sure, either way, nice touch. Quite impressive Mr. Wands.
As the action continues into part two of the button on Flash #21 there is no reason to not be reading this event. While this is a bit slower than the first issue, there is still so much to unpack and ends on quite a big reveal. With the future and past of DC Comics in the balance, I can’t wait to find out what happens next.
Reviewed by Tim Montoya
The Flash #20
Written by Joshua Williamson
Art by: Howard Porter, Hi-Fi, Steve Wands
Published by DC
Release Date: April 12th, 2017