The Flash #21 review

The Flash 21

It’s been 11 long months, and I’m sure that many of us have been patiently waiting for DC to continue the story that began in their epic DC Universe: Rebirth #1 which premiered last May and kicked off the entire Rebirth label.  Last week, we finally got a glimpse back into this narrative in the pages of Batman #21.  While very enjoyable, part-one seemed little more than a warm-up to get people stoked for the coming storm.  So, is part-two of “The Button” going to give us any meat and potatoes to chow down on, or is DC going to keep dangling a carrot just out of our reach?

Much in the same way that Batman #21 started off with Saturn Girl, Flash #21 starts off with Johnny Thunder.  Both of whom had cameos in DC Universe Rebirth #1.  For those of you unfamiliar with Johnny Thunder, he was one of the members of the Justice Society of America way back in the day (even before my time).

He’s the one in the back row telling Mr. Terrific that Starman passed gas.

There’s nothing too relevant that can be gleamed from his scene at this time, but it’s a nice reminder that several tertiary characters in the DC Universe are going to play some part in the upcoming tale.

From there, we jump to the Batcave where Barry is examining the scene of the crime.  And while I totally understand placing numbered forensic markers around the cave so he can keep track of the evidence as he categorizes it, I don’t really get the need for all the police-line strung up all over the place.  I mean, I don’t think there are that many civilians wandering around the Batcave that Barry needs to make sure they don’t contaminate the scene.

Anywho, over the next several pages Flash fills us in on all the details.  And I don’t necessarily mean about the crime scene.  We get info on him, his mother, how he became Flash, who Eobard Thawne is, Eobard’s connection with the Flash, and the Speed Force.  I didn’t personally need any of that explained as I was already aware of it all, but it actually makes a lot of sense to include it.  Seeing as how this story began in Batman, and not everybody reads every title in DC’s lineup, it’s possible that some of the people who came here for part-two of “The Button” are avid Batman fans but don’t know anything about Flash.  And even if you do know Flash, it’s a well written and concise refresher of everything you’ll probably need to know in order to enjoy the rest of the story.

By far, my favorite part of the whole story is the interaction between Flash and Batman.  To kick-start their scenes together, we’re given this wonderful little morsel:

And it perfectly sets the stage for everything that transpires.  Batman and Flash actually have a conversation where they analyze everything that they know and try to come up with valid hypotheses.  Man oh man, I can’t remember the last time I saw something like this in a Batman book.  We are given a mystery, and an attempt at solving it through intellect and deductive reasoning actually commences.  This is the kind of detective work that I’ve been missing from my Batman books.  Who knew, it was hiding in the pages of The Flash.

During their exchange, Flash mentions having visions of the Helmet of Mercury.  Being that I’m not as familiar with The Flashverse as I am with the Batverse, I’ll need some help from you readers.  Much in the way that Wally West was forgotten in the current continuity until DC Universe: Rebirth #1 brought him back, is Jay Garrick also someone that people don’t currently remember.  Cause the way Flash is talking, it seems like he isn’t aware of who wore that snappy piece of headgear.

From here on out, the comic is all time-travel and references, so I’ll turn this over to the “Interesting Facts” section.  Or for this issue, what I’m calling (at the beseechment of a colleague) FLASH FACTS.

SHOW SPOILER ▼

FLASH FACTS:

  • During the course of the story, Flash visits The Hall of Lost and Found located on The Justice League Watchtower.  This is where The League keeps all their memorabilia from past cases.  Can I just say…WOW!  I don’t even know where to begin.  I see the Rocket Red suit, Starro Spores, Star-Spangled Kid’s suit, Hourman’s suit, Dr.Fate’s helmet, Blue Beetle’s Bug, Sargon the Sorcerer’s costume, the escape pod that brought Superman to earth, Lobo’s chain, Martian Manhunter’s costume, Wonder Woman’s shield, and the Fat Man Nuclear Bomb!
  • There are also countless other things I visually recognize but can’t put a name to.  So, help me out.  Sound off in the comments if you know what some of the stuff is that I didn’t already mention.

  • Whoa whoa whoa.  Is he talking about “The Return of Bruce Wayne” storyline.  Because, I thought that wasn’t cannon anymore.  Geez, continuity can be sooooo confusing.

  • Aww Yeah!  A little bit of Crisis on Infinite Earths.

  • That’s funny.  I seem to clearly remember a story where you did recover it.  Oh shoot.  Stupid timeline continuity crap again.  Oh well.
  • If you’re wondering what story I’m referring to, it’s this one right here:
Well whaddya know. That little ad on the cover mentions Watchmen. I swear, that wasn’t intentional. Just a happy accident on my part.

Recommended if…

  • You love actual detective work!
  • You have a thing for nostalgia.
  • You wanna see a straightforward conversation between two characters that doesn’t devolve into a convoluted mess.
  • You love references!

Overall:

I actually enjoyed this quite a bit.  While a large portion of this story is consigned to recapping things we already know, it’s still done in a very entertaining manner.  On top of that, I simply loved Batman and Flash’s interactions with one another, and the fact that the two of them engaged in actual detective work is nothing to be taken lightly.  The cherry on top of this delectable treat were the dozens upon dozens of awesome reference from a time gone by.  If you guys know me, and I think you do, then you can see how this comic would be right up my alley.

SCORE: 8.5 / 10

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