Jay Garrick is back!
Well, not yet, but DC Comics' original Fastest Man Alive appears to be the star of Jason Fabok's lenticular cover for May's "The Flash" #22, the final chapter of the series' anticipated crossover with "Batman," titled "The Button." The four-part event kicks off in April's "Batman" #21 and finds the Dark Knight teaming with the Flash to unravel the puzzle of a mysterious blood-splattered smiley face button found by Batman in the wall of the Batcave in last May's "DC Universe: Rebirth" one-shot.
Of course, readers know that the button belongs to the murdered hero known as The Comedian, as depicted in Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' seminal series, "Watchmen." For decades, the Watchmen universe existed as its own reality completely separate from the DC Universe, so to see the iconic symbol appear embedded in the Batcave's wall was a surprise, to say the least, for readers as well as the caped hero.
In "The Button," Batman and the Flash will pull on the Watchmen string, as the pair begin to dig deep into what the smiley face means to them, how it ties into Wally West's return and how exactly the Watchmen's Doctor Manhattan has manipulated the reality of the DC Universe. That's been the big question of the DCU since the "DC Universe: Rebirth" one-shot, and DC has made it clear that "The Button" is the next piece of the ongoing mystery.
So with the Watchmen button as the storyline's main focus, it raises the question, what does Jay Garrick have to do with, well, any of this?
Garrick's Rebirth debut was first teased on the final page of "The Flash" #9 back in October 2016, when the Golden Age hero's iconic winged helmet was revealed to be adrift in the Speed Force. Jay Garrick is DC's first-ever Flash, and first appeared in 1940's "Flash Comics" #1, by Gardner Fox and Harry Lampert.
A version of the character, and of the rest of his teammates in the Justice Society of America, has starred in "Earth 2" and Earth-2: Society," a re-imagined version of the classic superteam. The current series is scheduled to come to a close in March, presumably clearing the way for the original JSA's return to DC's main continuity, where they've been mostly absent since the dawn of the New 52 in 2011. What role the rebooted incarnation may play in the ongoing Watchmen mystery remains to be seen.
"The Flash" #22 is scheduled for release on May 10.