W: Joshua Williamson A: Howard Porter CA: Jay Fabok
Part 2 of The Button Rebirth opens up with JSA member Johnny Thunder on the ledge of the institution he’s in trying to get hit by lightning and talks about the Justice Society of America. Based on the finale cover of this crossover it appears we may see more of the golden age heroes.
We then go into Barry doing CSI over Eobard Thawne’s body and the rest of the areas where Reverse-Flash and Batman had their fight. A startling discovery by Barry shows that his energy signatures are covering Thawne’s body which pegs Barry’s internal monolog to ask “At some point in the future do I kill Thawne?” This then has Barry go into some dialogue about how The Button (Comedian) disappeared after Reverse Flash interacted with him in the previous issue. Barry also mentions that he doesn’t want to get Wally (Ginger Wally) involved and how he had just gotten him back. The little things like this are why I L-O-V-E Josh Williamson on this book. This is arguably the best thing he has written since his initial “Lightning Strikes Twice” story at the beginning of Rebirth. Williamson has also done some lore building as he reveals a wing of the Watchtower satellite that Hal nicknamed the “Lost and Found” which has SO many easter eggs such as Skeets, J’onn J’onnz outfit, The Bug, and most notable: the golden age costume of golden age Hourman (Rex Tyler) Star-Spangled Kid (Sylvester Pemberton) and Spectre (Jim Corrigan). But that’s not even enough, Williamson brings back the Cosmic Treadmill! I arguably enjoyed the issue 100% once the treadmill came into play.
Something that worried me about The Flash parts of “The Button” was Howard Porter. While he was doing some amazing things twenty years ago on Grant Morrison’s JLA run I thought it would be more “90s-ified” than anything else but boy was I wrong because Porter soars to levels where I actually thought Carmine DiGiandomenico ghost-drew the issue. Also, something Porter does well is drawing Barry and Bruce rather than a certain person who drew Batman to look exactly like Ben Affleck. But shortly after Bruce gets onto the Cosmic Treadmill and they follow the Buttons energy traces and they find some classic moments. This is another moment that I honest to god loved from Williamson. The first classic was the conception of the Justice League, next is the moment in Identity Crisis where Bruce had discovered Barry, Ollie, Hawkman, Zatanna and crew altering the minds of their villains whi8ch at first Bruce asks if they are alternate realities to which Barry echoes Wally from DC Universe Rebirth saying “Years were taken from us”, and the final glimpse of the stolen time was 1986’s Crisis on Infinite Earths where Barry eventually runs into the speed force but mainly his panels with Bruce. The treadmill eventually runs out and they wind up in the Batcave and the second Barry says “Oh no” you all know where he and Bruce are.
The Flash #21 is absolute perfection and succeeds in moving the story along and the easter eggs alone would’ve been enough but the way it was written by Josh Williamson and drawn by Howard Porter makes this issue stand out. Now that we are halfway through the story I am worried Tom King and Josh Williamson won’t be able to hit the highs in this issue.