That’s not a typo. I honestly did purchase a Batman comic on purpose for the first time since the Death of the Batfamily crossover arc in the New 52. My reason for picking up this issue is very similar—the Button crossover arc. The world’s greatest detective (Batman) and the world’s greatest forensic scientist (Flash) are teaming up to sort out the mysterious button Batman found in the Batcave. Wally the Younger told Batman back in DC Universe Rebirth #1 that the letter Flash gave him was key to what was going on. That particular letter was from Thomas Wayne during Flashpoint. Thomas became Batman after his son Bruce was brutally murdered in front of him. Flash told Thomas that in the timeline he remembered, it was Thomas who died and Bruce was Batman. Thomas then wrote a note for the son he would never see grow up. It is this note that ties the two timelines together.
Hence, it’s only fitting that Batman find the Comedian’s Button in the Batcave. It’s even more fitting that Flash helps him decipher the meaning behind it, since Flash caused Flashpoint in the first place and brought Bruce the letter from his father. With the Superman Reborn story arc, DC Comics started to slowly unveil what is going on between the pre-52 and new 52 story merges. In The Button Part 1, another character merge occurs quite unexpectedly.
At the end of the last issue of The Flash, Eobard Thawn, a/k/a Reverse Flash from the pre-52 suddenly revives in a lab, remembering everything from before Flashpoint and during. He does live outside of time, so that makes a bit of sense. Although, it is weird that he remembers Thomas Wayne killing him in Flashpoint, but it explains his next move.
As Batman decides to study the Button, it reacts with the Psycho Pirate’s gold mask. Bruce calls Flash to come in and help analyze, to which Flash says he’ll be there in one minute. Gloriously, each panel ticks down the seconds after Batman hangs up. That minute is all Reverse Flash needs to beat Batman to a bloody pulp. Why Batman? Well, you know, sins of the father and all that usual schtick. Batman really does a phenomenal job fighting back and holding Eobard off as long as he can. He tries to hold out for the full minute for backup, but wouldn’t you know it; the Flash is late.
When Flash does show up (he was distracted by the worst hockey game in history), he finds a very bloody Batman, the remains of someone wearing a yellow Flash costume, and the Button on the ground. Next week’s Flash is gonna be a doozy.
All of that above is exactly why I picked up Batman #21 out of the blue. I have no idea how much recap the next issue of Flash will have, if any. It could totally begin with Flash walking into the Batcave and seeing the carnage laid out before him. I also had to bug our friend Larry numerous times, asking if any of the other characters in the comic were significant, specifically the Psycho Pirate. While he is a significant character, there is no sign as to why his mask would react with the Comedian’s Button. At least, no explanation yet. I was relieved to hear I wasn’t too ignorant in regards to Batman comics and lore. Hopefully Flash will present the same kindness to newcomers following this arc from Batman.
It was so great to read Tom King again. He’s another favorite writer of mine, and he has stepped into the Batman-writing shoes like he’s done it all along. It’s not enough to make me want to subscribe to Batman, but this brief stint is certainly enjoyable.
Our Rating: YUS
Author: Tom King
Artists: Jason Fabok and Brad Anderson
Publisher: DC Comics
Publish Date: 04/19/2017
Acquired via Purchase