At this point, fans have seen the lenticular covers for all four parts of the upcoming crossover "The Button" in which The Flash and Batman will contribute two issues each to a month-long story following an attempt to discover the origin of a bloodied smiley face button that appeared mysteriously in the Batcave alongside Wally West in DC Universe: Rebirth #1.
Fans have seen the full lenticular effect in GIF format for Batman #21 and 22, and The Flash #21.
So far, The Flash #22 has just one image -- apparently the "after" image of a before/after where a cover is burned away to reveal the return of a major character.
The "before," by the way, is pretty clearly an update of Flash Comics #1, which featured the first appeareance of Jay Garrick, the character in question. You can see the two covers compared side by side above.
What is it on the "before" image that's so intriguing DC appears to be saving it for later? We first assumed it was just a matter of getting the art completed, but upon closer scrutiny of the cover, we've decided that there are actually quite a few things that we overlooked in our excitement to see Jay Garrick back in action.
So we figured that we would take our readers on a quick tour of the cover to The Flash #22, and try to suss out just what might be going on with this cover.
WHERE IS JOAN?
The woman he's saving there? While not directly stated, we've always assumed that to be Joan Williams, who would eventually marry him and become Joan Garrick, one of the longest-lasting superhero spouses.
...So where is she in the Rebirth version of the cover?
Could it be that, like Wally West, Jay will return to a world where his personal life has been stolen away from him and a big part of what makes him more than just a one-dimensional superhero has to be rebuilt from the ground up?prevnext
WHO IS IN THE "CIRCLES?"
At the bottom of the cover, on the left, you can see that "Red Robin" appears in one of the four circles originally occupied by various charactes who had backup stories in Flash Comics #1.
That spot wasn't always Red Robin: in 1940, it was Cliff Cornwall, an FBI Agent who worked with the U.S. military to track spies and saboteurs.
The presence of Red Robin where previously he didn't exist, then, begs the question: who else might be in those circles if, as one would assume, the second half of this lenticular cover is the "complete," "unburned" version?
Johnny Thunder, who appears in one of them on the original cover, appeared briefly in DC Universe: Rebirth #1 -- now an old man who is no longer in command of the magic that once granted him powers. He's also got ties to Jay Garrick through their shared time together in the Justice Society, so he seems like a likely candidate.
There are two basic groups here, then:
- "Missing" characters from DC Universe: Rebirth, like Saturn Girl and Ray Palmer, who have been hinted at but not really dealt with in the post-Rebirth DC Universe. Those characters would pair nicely with Thunder.
- Characters who, like Red Robin, are currently prisoners of Mr. Oz. This is an attractive option because we already know that there will be at least one escapee during the upcoming "Superman Reborn" storyline, which runs through the Superman and Action Comics issues in March, starting on Wednesday. People we know to be captured by Mr. Oz include the pre-Flashpoint Doomsday and another Superman villain named Prophecy.
There's also the possibility, of course, that the names besides Tim Drake might prove to be the speedsters (the pre-Flashpoint Reverse Flash and Jay Garrick) who have reappeared from the Speed Force during the story or other tangential characters such as Flashpoint's Batman or characters featured in Watchmen.prevnext
MEN IN SUITS
Regarding the criminals in shadows: why are they now completely obscured?
I mean, you could say it's because of the "burned-up" cover, but they've been moved up. You see more of their body, and it's possible that if they were oriented as they were on the original cover, they might be visible.
You could argue that given the different dimensions of Golden Age and current-day comics, the orientation of the criminals was changed to suit the format of the cover...which could be the case.
Here's our alternative, and frankly more exciting, possibility:
Notice how one of them is wearing purple? We're guessing those might turn out to be Ozymandias (purple, since he's always wearing it) and Doc Manhattan (in his suit from Comedian's funeral) on the other side of the lenticular.
You can see an image of the pair in their suits above (which frankly kind of burned some of the build-up we were going for here, but roll with it).prevnext
One of the more obvious things on the cover is the fact that the returned Jay Garrick is wearing slightly different clothes. You see a modernized look to his sleeves and footwear that begs the question:
Where did he get a wardrobe update?
If Jay has been trapped in the Speed Force since the last time we saw him, it doesn't track that he would come out of it looking markedly different, unless there was an external force at play.
That same external force could plausibly be responsible for kicking Wally West out of the Speed Force in his Kid Flash uniform instead of the one he had been wearing shortly before the Flashpoint reboot.prevnext
WHAT IF IT ISN'T JAY?
Yes, that seems like it's very obviously Jay Garrick -- and if you're a longtime DC Comics fan, your heart probably grew three sizes yesterday when you discovered that the orginal Flash was coming back...
...but let's not get too carried away just yet.
Notice how he's got shadows across his face, and his eyes are glowing? How he looks...angry?
There's another character out there who looks just like Jay Garrick, except usually has his face hidden in shadows, has glowing eyes and a generally darker aesthetic.0comments
That would be Edward Clariss, The Rival. And while he was from the world of Flashpoint when he briefly appeared on The CW's The Flash, The Rival has a long history in the comics as, basically, the Reverse-Flash of Earth-2. He's Jay's evil doppelganger, and has harassed Jay and the Justice Society on and off for decades.
In all likelihood, Jay's pose and the lighting and coloring choices are just meant to be a cool nod to the cover of The Flash: Rebirth #1, in which Barry Allen's return to greatness really started, but let's face it: you can't rule out a character who proved to be one of Geoff Johns's favorites emerging from the Speed Force in a story that's playing with concepts Johns himself set up.prev