The biggest story DC has been putting on the slow burn since DC Rebirth began has been the mystery surrounding the person who created The New 52 and a certain bloody button found in the Batcave. The involvement of Watchmen characters in this story has created many theories, but DC has been slow to reveal answers. After a year of some great Rebirth stories, it looks like we’re finally in for a few more answers in a crossover between Batman and The Flash.
Batman #21 may not be quite the bang anyone expected it to be, but part one of ‘The Button’ is still a great introduction to the crossover. Tom King employs more of that slow burn in this issue, but the irony is the majority of the issue takes place within a single minute as Batman fights for his life against an unexpected enemy.
In hindsight, it shouldn’t be that surprising Flashpoint is so heavily referenced in this issue. Flashpoint was what really started all of this and played a heavy role in last year’s DC Universe Rebirth special. The inclusion of Reverse Flash and even the brief Flashpoint Batman was great to see. Though Reverse Flash seems out of commission right now, hopefully we’ll get some more Flashpoint Batman as the story progresses.
What was also a surprising addition was just how much this builds off of Tom King’s run on Batman. The inciting incident is because the Comedian’s button comes into brief contact with Psycho Pirate’s mask, implying that everything King has been doing in the title has been leading to this point. It’s an interesting payoff that rewards fans who have read King’s story from the beginning and makes one wonder how much of Joshua Williamson’s Flash will also play a part.
Jason Fabok’s artwork in this issue is a pleasure to look at it. While it’s obviously not as grandiose as his work on Justice League during ‘The Darkseid War’, he still creates a lot of tension for such an intimate affair. Its not easy to pull off a single minute in comic form, but he makes it seem very real as Reverse-Flash boasts to Batman and deals him some painful punches, making the minute seem like a lifetime.
Fabok’s splash page of Revese-Flash knocking Batman is probably the issue’s highlight and his mirroring of Watchmen’s 9-panel grid works to great effect. Brad Anderson’s colours also help the issue pop, particularly in the silhouetted shots of the fight or how Reverse-Flash is constantly vibrating. Combined with Fabok’s pencil and ink work, Batman #21 is a gorgeous-looking book.
Batman #21 is a good opening introduction to ‘The Button’ which raises some intriguing questions surrounding Flashpoint and DC Universe Rebirth. The fight between Batman and Reverse-Flash was well done with Fabok having a keen eye on how to depict it in a single minute. Based on this, next week’s The Flash #21 should be a very exciting follow up to this issue and the biggest mystery Batman and Flash have ever faced.