All-Flash and No Substance (Batman/The Flash: The Button Crossover Deluxe Edition Trade Paperback ADVANCED Review)

DC Rebirth Presents: Batman/The Flash The Button Deluxe Edition

Written By: Joshua Williamson and Tom King

Art By: Jason Fabok and Howard Porter

Release Date: October 11th 2017

 

What is the mystery of the button?

What happened:

In the groundbreaking DC Universe Rebirth #1, the Comedian’s button from the Watchmen universe made it into the Batcave, and ended hints of Doctor Manhattan having his hands in the continuity pie.

What happens:

The Button is a story that starts with Batman investigating the mysterious button that landed in the Batcave after Wally West emerged, both in the universe and literally back into everyone’s memories. His investigation is interrupted by the Reverse Flash, and the post-Crisis Reverse Flash at that. While Bruce puts up the best fight he can, which is pretty scrappy, the Reverse Flash manages to add insult to injury by shredding a letter Bruce got from his father as a result of Flashpoint, the alternate timeline where Thomas Wayne was the survivor of the Wayne Family shootings, and became Batman himself. After destroying the letter, Reverse Flash takes the button itself, and in a few seconds returns nearly burnt to a bony husk, with the last words, “I saw…God.” When The Flash returns from an earlier visit, him and Bruce have got quite the mess to investigate. Their search eventually leads them to take stride, literally, to the cosmic treadmill, the device the Flashes have used for decades to travel through time and space. With Bruce tagging along, they end up taking the treadmill to the Flashpoint universe, where Bruce meets his father, Flashpoint Batman, for the first time.*

Through a brief fight with the Amazons, Thomas tells Bruce as he does the Batman way, sacrificing himself for the benefit of others, to let Batman die with him. Bruce and Barry rush back into the time stream with the cosmic treadmill, finding the Reverse Flash before he met his deadly fate. As they chase after him, they see his death first hands as he brags having caught the button, only to be obliterated by a blue force on the spot. After a brief encounter with Jay Garrick, the original Flash, the crimson comet manages to toss Bruce and Barry back out of the timestream into the Batcave, vanishing still forgotten as Barry doesn’t recognize the man who saved them both. Bruce and Barry reconvene at the gravesite of the Waynes, wondering why this all happened and if it could have been a strange gift. At Stately Wayne Manor, a tired Bruce considers his father’s wishes as he stands in inaction at a batsignal in the city. Back somewhere perhaps past time, past space, we close as a blue, glowing hand retrieves the Comedian’s button.

*Did Convergence count? I don’t know anymore.

Reed Strong’s Weak Read:

This story is kind of a mess. It starts off as a Watchmen riff, going down to the famous 9 panel grid, but even when it’s trying to homage the source material it doesn’t use them to the full advantage of the comic, often stretching a single action over several panels to a much higher degree than anything Watchmen did. This really cuts to the point of the problem with the Button; the story doesn’t have any focus. After being a Watchmen riff for one issues, it turns into a Flashpoint riff, which is a little counter-productive given Bruce’s meetings with his father in Convergence, but as previously stated I still don’t know if Convergence mattered or to what degree characters remembered what happened. Throughout the story there are drops of the big Rebirth plots that haven’t been resolved; we see a bit of Johnny Thunder with the Justice Society, we get a glimpse in the opening moments of Saturn Girl of the Legion of Superheroes, and even a somewhat strange bit with Jay Garrick near the end. The story doesn’t work as an end to Eobard Thawne, who immediately comes back for an absolutely stunning arc in Joshua Williamson’s Flash, it doesn’t have much time to establish if Batman is going to stop being Batman, and it also ends up doing little with the button in terms of the whole Watchmen mystery itself. In terms of what’s coming up, Doomsday Clock looks like the gigantic event that this story was going to setup, and even as a stand-alone piece this book just doesn’t do much of anything. If you like the Flashpoint timeline that’s something that’s interesting to visit, and both Williamson and Tom King have and are currently doing some absolutely amazing stories. But when it comes to the mystery of the button, we still don’t know what it is, and you aren’t missing much by skipping out on this one.

Rating: 3/10

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