Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Batman #22 Review

Story: Joshua Williamson & Tom King
Art: Jason Fabok

Previously in “The Button”: Batman and Flash are investigating the mysterious energy surrounding the Watchmen’s bloody smiley-face button and its connection to the death of Eobard Thawne, the Reverse Flash.  The Flash and Batman use the cosmic treadmill to travel back in time only to find themselves face-to-face with Thomas Wayne Batman in the Flashpoint Universe.

Flashbacks of Flashpoint

In an instant twist, we discover that the Flashpoint Universe did NOT cease to exist after Barry restored the timeline. Thomas Wayne narrates that the wars continued, the fights, the floods, and the deaths of millions.  Now, his enemies come for him as Atlantean and Amazonian assassins descend on Wayne Manor.  Thomas Wayne has the manor rigged with explosives, but the moment before he reunites himself with his son in the afterlife, Batman and the Flash arrive via the cosmic treadmill and father and son meet again for the first time.

Flash Forward, Fall Backward

In our second twist, Barry reveals that this is not an alternate timeline.  He can tell from the vibrational frequencies that they are in the here-and-now.  Flashpoint was never an alternate world, it was an alternate history… a history that shouldn’t exist anymore.  Something is holding this ghost of a world together, much like visions of the past Justice League and Crisis timelines they saw in the time stream.

But Barry Can Fix It … Again

In a phrase uttered WAY to often by Barry Allen, he says, “I need to fix this”.  Did he forget that he caused all of this (twice?) by trying to “fix things”?  Nevertheless, he begins to rebuild the cosmic treadmill as the Amazon and Atlantean assassins attack.  The father and son duo of Batman and Batman bond as they battle the attackers and when the cosmic treadmill is complete, whatever was holding the Flashpoint timeline together suddenly let go. 

Unlike Father, Unlike Son

Bruce begs Thomas to come with them, revealing to him that Thomas is a grandfather.  Thomas delivers a heart-wrenching message to Bruce:  Don’t be Batman. Give up the cowl.  Be a father to your son.  Let the Batman die with him.  And with that, he pushes Bruce onto the cosmic treadmill as he and Barry vanish into the time stream.

Reverse Flash is Back

As Batman and Flash hurl through the time stream, they are swiftly passed by Eobard Thawne, the Reverse Flash!  He is very much alive and has the button, meaning at this point in the time line, or perhaps time stream, it is BEFORE he was killed in Batman #21.  For whatever reason, the time stream doubled back to this location.  They plead with Thawne to stop or he will die. He refuses, instead revealing that he knows who the power of the button belongs to, and they’ve never faced someone like him.

Next: The Button Part 3 – The Hand of a God

The Verdict: The Button: Part 3 continues the story exactly where Part 2 ended, which continued the story exactly where Part 1 ended, providing a cohesive and well-written story.  We learn more about what happened to the Flashpoint timeline after Barry supposedly restored everything to normal.  The Thomas Wayne Batman/ Martha Wayne Joker twist was my favorite thing about Flashpoint (but if I see another blood-thirsty Amazon it will be too soon), and showing Batman with complex emotions is a side we don’t see too often from him, and I wish we saw that more.  As expected, the art is pristine, detailed, and colorful. However, I’m not a fan of the cover with the dead woman and child, their eyes wide open, and the cliché string of broken pearls in a pool of blood around them.  That notwithstanding, Joshua Williamson and Tom King crafted a story I’m actually interested to read.  Not a lot of questions were answered here, but the plot was furthered and I can’t wait to discover they mystery behind the button.

8 / 10 

Noah O'Toole | NCR

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