SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! READ ON AT YOUR OWN CAUTION!
Now that the obligatory “Spoiler Alert” is out-of-the-way, lets delve into DC Comics destructive events that resulted from DC Universe: Rebirth #1. In the one shot comic of Rebirth #1 we see the unraveling of the New 52 universe, that most believe was cause by Dr. Manhattan. Batman discovers the bloody Watchmen button (The button Rorschach picked up off The Comedian‘s pool of blood in The Watchmen graphic Novel) embedded into the Batcave wall.
You can definitely see a lot of parallels between The Watchmen and Batman #21. The opening scene where you have the closeup on center ice of the hockey game, then hockey stick that drops down in the 10 o’clock position is very much indicative of the Watchmen opening panel where you have the clock pointing to 10 o’clock in the novel. You then have Batman in the Batcave standing in-front a set of monitors; like you have from the panels of The Watchmen. Additionally, the Watchmen smiley face is very much prevalent, from the poster in the background in Arkham asylum, to the additional monitors in the batcave displaying the image… the tone is definitely being set that this series will have the “reintroduction” of the Watchmen in some capacity.
You see Batman set the button next to Psycho Pirate‘s mask (Psycho Pirate was a major player in the story line of Crisis on Infinite Earth). As the button is set next to the mask, you see a spark fly between both objects. When this spark occurs you see Flashpoint Batman, Thomas Wayne, appear and talk to Batman calling him by his real name; Thomas Wayne then vanishes. Momentarily taken back, Batman calls the Flash telling him of the new development. The Flash is currently in a fight and tells Batman to give him exactly 1 min and he will be finished and arrive at the batcave; Batman acknowledges and says, “1 min”.
In that 1 min, the Reverse Flash from the Flashpoint story line mysteriously arrives and attacks Batman; taking revenge on Thomas Wayne for killing him in the alternate universe. As the seconds tick by, Reverse Flash begins to thrash Batman all over the Batcave…almost playing with him. Batman knows that he just needs to hold on till the end of that 1 min so that the Flash can arrive. He pins the Reverse Flash foot to the ground with a Bat-a-rang and starts to dish out his own punishment. As the clock ticks to zero, the flash is too late and Reverse Flash delivers the knockout blow. Reverse Flash then picks up the button and he is immediately transported somewhere. When Reverse Flash reappears in the Batcave, he is on fire in a blue frame. The flame consumes his body to the bone and he falls to the ground saying, “I saw God…”. At this point the Flash arrives and sees a motionless Batman and a burned and mutilated Reverse Flash… and so ends issue #21.
This issue was an homage to the past, but inviting the future that will come. Batman #21 was a thrill ride from beginning to end. It conveyed an up tempo/stressed feeling that was emphasized with the countdown clock from panel to panel. The story line was well put together and no panel felt like it was a waist of space. The art work by Jason Fabok was beautifully done. I for one can not wait till issue #22 and see the upcoming developments of “The Button” story line.
My final rating of Batman #21 “The Button”- by Tom King is 9.5 out of 10.
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–The Dull Knight