Batman #22 – The Button part 3
Written by: Joshua Williamson & Tom King
Art by: Jason Fabok
Batman #22 is the third entry in he four-part crossover event, “The Button”. Following the events of Flash #21, Batman and The Flash have arrived in a different timeline after a trip through the time stream on the cosmic treadmill. Batman is able to identify their location almost immediately as the cave his father rescued him from as a child. The Flash also recognizes the cave, but he knows it to be the batcave of Flashpoint’s Batman: Thomas Wayne. With the cosmic treadmill broken leaving Batman and The Flash stranded, their soon ambushed and thrust into battle alongside a surprising ally.
– Spoilers Ahead –
Let me start off by saying this: if you loved Flashpoint, and especially Thomas Wayne as Batman, then this issue will be a treat for you. If you didn’t care for Flashpoint and want some new major plot advancements in The Button story arc, then you will be disappointed by this issue.
At the start of the issue, we get a one-page crash course of the events of Flashpoint from Thomas Wayne’s perspective. Thomas then explains that after his world should have ended, something kept it alive. He’s being hunted by the Atlantean and Amazons, and is ready to blow up Wayne Manor, the batcave, and himself to stop them – until suddenly Barry and Bruce appear in the cave.
Thomas is a bit skeptical at first, which is understandable, but Barry explains to him that it’s all real, and that it really is Bruce with him. Something that confused me in this exchange is that Barry says “it’s been months since the timeline was repaired”. Is his just understating the time, or are they really trying to say that Flashpoint and Rebirth are only months apart? Am I missing something? If so, let me know in the comments.
Anyways, the Wayne family reunion is cut short as soldiers are closing in on the batcave. The Flash needs to fix the cosmic treadmill, so the two Batmen prepare for battle. Thomas pulls out his trusty ole gun, which is quickly hit by a Batarang from Bruce. In my first read through I was a bit surprised that Bruce doesn’t directly address Thomas’ use of guns. But in later reads, I’ve come to see that this Batarang is sufficient for the situation. It’s obviously not cool with Bruce that his dad is using lethal force, but this isn’t the right time or place to have a moral debate with his deceased father.
The Batmen make quick work of the soldiers, and Barry fixes the cosmic treadmill leaving enough time for Bruce and Thomas to share their memory of when Bruce first fell into this cave. The Flashpoint world begins falling apart (again), and once more time is of the essence. Bruce pleads with his father to come with, but he declines and pushes Bruce onto the treadmill. In his final words he pleads with Bruce not to be Batman, but to be a father to his son. If you’re even somewhat of a fan of Batman, this is a very emotional scene. Bruce has to leave his father, who he was just reunited with, to vanish along with the Flashpoint world.
Batman and The Flash are back in the time stream, trying to make sense of what happened and where they need to go next, when all of a sudden Reverse Flash passes them in the time stream. This can be a little confusing (when is dealing with time travel not confusing?), but basically they are seeing Reverse Flash on his way to whatever it was that killed him in Batman #21. So, undoubtedly, the next issue will explain how the Reverse Flash died and, if we’re lucky, how the button arrived in the batcave in the first place.
Both Tom King and Joshua Williamson are credited writers for this issue, so I’m not sure which of them had the larger influence in the story. If this issue was separate from “The Button” story arc, or even if “The Button” was a five or six issue event, then I might have been more in favor of this story. But since it answered so little questions, barely mentioned the button at all, and leaves only one more issue to tie everything up, it felt like this story was sort of irrelevant.
Jason Fabok’s art was mostly great; however, I didn’t see as much emotion in the characters as I though I might have. Perhaps he was trying to play on the stoic nature of the Bruce and Thomas, but their reunion didn’t merit much facial expression. That’s really just one small problem in an otherwise very detailed and well done issue by Fabok.
SUMMARY: Batman #22 is an emotional and compelling Batman story, but ends up feeling irrelevant to “The Button” crossover and leaves a lot of open-ended questions for Flash #22 to have to answer.