The Flash issue twenty-two begins where Batman #22 ended with Bruce and Barry on the rebuilt Cosmic Treadmill chasing Eobard Thawne; The Reverse Flash who is in the possession of The Comedian’s blood stained Button.
All the while, a mystery character not only calls to Barry Allen. But knows what he did in saving Wally West. The mystery narrator then says: “This time it’s my turn”. The only plausible explanation for this is that it is a fellow speedster who is trapped in the Speed Force. So who could it be? Max Mercury, Jesse Quick, Bart Allen?
Now back to Eobard who has arrived at his destination and goes from arrogant to terrified almost instantly. It says a LOT when Eobard Thawne is scared of something. Almost instantly Eobard Thawne goes from the big dog, down to a charred skeleton in a suit. Meanwhile, this mysterious voice keeps calling out to Barry simply asking him to say his name: Jay. Once Barry says the name Jay there is a krakoom of thunder and turn the page to see the Golden Age Flash Jay Garrick. Not New 52 Jay Garrick but the Golden Age Flash who was most recently seen on The Flash television series. He says with a grin on his face “I’m Free”.
As I said in my Flash #21 review Howard Porter is on point in fact possibly doing better than he did two decades ago on JLA. His art of all four characters in this issue: Bruce, Barry, Eobard and Jay is immaculate. At times it’s difficult to tell Porter and Giandomenico apart.
Once Jay gets Bruce and Barry back to the Bat-Cave right where the events of Batman #21 took place with the deceased Eobard Thawne. At first, Barry suspects Jay of being Reverse Flash’s killer but Jay quickly explains things. When Barry is about to bring Jay back into the timeline he is quickly taken away in a blue light. (Hmmm, I wonder who that could be?) Barry then says that he must not have been the lightning rod Jay needed. Maybe it could be Johnny Thunder? It would make sense given that a new JSA series is coming in the next year or two.
After Bruce and Barry converse at the graves of Bruce’s parents, Bruce returns to Wayne Manor and sees the bat signal in the night’s sky and when Alfred asks Bruce if he is going to go to go to the location he remember what Thomas said to him in Batman #22 “Let the Batman die with me, find happiness”. Bruce then looks down and doesn’t answer the call.
We then go to The Button which is then picked up by someone with BLUE HANDS! GEE, I WONDER WHO THAT CAN BE! Some word squares appear and then we get the reveal of who it is through the lines “We’re all puppets, Laurie.” “I’m just a puppet who can see the strings.” This is it, folks. Doctor Manhattan is in the DC Universe proper. We once again go back to the Button which focuses on different spots on the Button and it turns into the chest of Superman’s suit. We then get a quote from August Strindberg: “There are poisons that blind you, and poisons that open your eyes.”
Then we get THIS:
The series will follow a number of DC characters but the main two characters focused upon will be Superman and Doctor Manhattan.
Score: 10/10 MUST READ!