[Editor’s note: This review contains spoilers.]
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Howard Porter
I debated on whether to avoid spoilers or not, but if I didn’t spoil anything, the entire review would have been: “Stuff happened. Mind Blown. Buy it.” So, I am going into full spoiler mode. I strongly suggest that you read the issue first if you don’t like having the story spoiled.
Picking up from last issue, The Flash and Batman are chasing Eobard Thawne, also known as Zoom, through the time stream. Thawne is rushing to confront an unknown power. Barry tries to warn Thawne that he will die if he doesn’t turn back, but Thawne just mocks and threatens Barry.
Thawne, believing himself incapable of being erased from the time stream is instead killed in a blast of blue energy.
Meanwhile, The Flash and Batman are stuck with no way to break free of the time stream and return to their own era. The mysterious voice belongs to Jay Garrick, who carries them back to the Batcave in the present.
However, Jay quickly disappears, leaving Barry and Bruce to wonder if he was the echo from another timeline or if he needs to find someone other than Barry to effect his restoration to reality.
Reflecting on their experience, Bruce and Barry decide to carry on their investigation. However, Bruce is left wondering whether he should continue his career as Batman.
We then see a familiar blue hand picking up the smiley face button. And finally an epilogue teases Doomsday Clock, coming in November.
Okay, it’s now a sure thing that Doctor Manhattan is involved in the underlying mystery of Rebirth. However, exactly how he’s involved is still unclear. Is he the villain or will he be an ally? Zoom’s death is heavily implied to be at the hands of Manhattan, but we don’t actually see that it is him that kills Zoom.
Plus the narration quotes Manhattan’s words from Watchmen, “I’m just a puppet who can see the strings.” Is this a hint that someone else is manipulating events? Someone who is even beyond Doctor Manhattan?
And Batman is left with some serious doubts about his life as The Dark Knight. It will be fascinating to see how these doubts affect his life as the Rebirth story continues to unfold. Will he consider retirement or re-affirm his commitment to being the Batman?
Hooray, Jay’s back! But…only for a few pages. And we still aren’t sure if he’s going to be reintegrated into the DCU. We are told that he might be from an alternate timeline – which could be a hint that the original Earth 2 might make a comeback. Or he could need someone to anchor him to reality before he can fully return. If so, who would this be? His wife Joan? A teammate from the Justice Society like Alan Scott or Johnny Thunder?
I was hoping that the issue would end with Jay back to stay, but it looks like we’re going to have to wait for that. But for how long? I hope we don’t have to wait all the way until Doomsday Clock in November for the return of Jay and the rest of the JSA. I’m sure it’s coming, but I would have appreciated a hint about whether it’s imminent or a long way off.
My mind was blown by this issue. After I read it, I just had to sit and absorb it for about an hour before I could even start reviewing it. If this is indicative of where the Rebirth and Doomsday Clock storylines are headed, then I am reassured that the DCU is in good hands.