After months of speculation, it has now been confirmed that it was Jay Garrick whose return was teased on the cover to The Flash #22, the conclusion of "The Button," out today.
The concept of hope, as a thematic idea, has been key to DC -- and particularly to The Flash -- since the return fo the pre-Flashpoint Wally West in DC Universe: Rebirth.
That phrase reappeared when, in The Flash #9, Barry caught a glimpse of Jay's iconic winged "Mercury" helmet in the Speed Force and said, "I don't know what it is -- but it filled me with hope."
Unfortunately for Jay, that helmet wasn't enough to remind Barry who he was, and in today's issue he rescued Batman and The Flash, but couldn't be rescued from the Speed Force himself.
Barry would posit that "I wasn't the lightning rod he needed," a likely reference to Johnny Thunder, who appeared in the first part of "The Button" as well as in DC Universe: Rebirth, where all of this began.
After the first reveal of The Flash #22's cover, there was excitement online about the return of the beloved Golden Age Flash, but that was tempered somewhat by theories that the dark, menacing look he had on both the standard (above) and variant covers suggested that it might not be Jay Garrick returning, but his reverse -- The Rival, Edward Clariss.
As seen today, though, that wasn't the case: as far as we can tell, Garrick is trapped in the Speed Force, just like Wally West was at the start of DC Universe: Rebirth, and he not only helped save Batman and The Flash, but it's likely just a matter of time -- and finding the right "lightning rod" -- before he finds his way out.
You can get The Flash #22 at your local comic shop today, or buy yourself a digital copy on ComiXology, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble.