Saturday, May 6, 2017

By: Jerry Montgomery
May 3, 2017

Batman #22
“The Button,  Pt. 3”

Story by: Joshua Williamson and Tom King
Script by: Joshua Williamson
Pencils and inks: Jason Fabok

You're probably wondering why Batman looks so different on the cover of Batman #22. That's because he's not the Batman of our reality. The Batman you see is Thomas Wayne. The father of Bruce Wayne. You see, in his reality, he survived that fateful day in the alleyway along with his wife. It was his son Bruce that was killed, altering his life forever. Taking up the cape and cowl, Dr. Thomas Wayne became Batman, the Knight of Vengeance. The differences don’t end there either. Thomas doesn’t hesitate to kill his enemies. He even armed with guns. This is Flashpoint, the pre-New 52 universe, brought on by…well, I'll get to that in a moment.

Batman isn't the only thing different in this alternate history of Flashpoint.  There is no Superman. Instead the being known as Kal-el is held in a secret underground government laboratory and subjected to awful experiments, used as a lab rat. Cyborg is the premiere superhero of this Earth. A war between the Atlanteans and the Amazons has destroyed and/or sunken Europe and threatens to spill into a world war. Believe me, I'm only scratching the surface here of an intricate alternate reality with characters that were and are much different than the ones we're familiar with. Maybe the most important besides Batman is Barry Allen, but here he is without powers, here there is no Flash He awakens one day without powers,  but he remembers. Barry Allen knows that he was, he is the Flash. He has to convince the only person he can trust of who he really is and the twisted state that the world has become, the Batman. Batman believes him and helps replicate the same event that gave Barry his powers.

 Joining Cyborg and Batman to defeat the Amazons and the Atlanteans, the Flash is then confronted by Eobard Thawne, the Reverse Flash. Thawne then tells Barry that he, Barry Allen, was the cause for the Flashpoint event. You see, Eobard Thawne
traveled back in time to kill Barry's mother, who in turn traveled back in time to stop Thawne.
“This is your fault, Barry. This hell is your creation. You traded the life of your mother for the rest of the world!”
Then Batman kills Thawne.  The Flash then gathers the power of the Speed Force to return reality to what it should be,  a world where Bruce Wayne is the Batman. Filled with hope of a world in which his son is alive, a mortally wounded Thomas gives the Flash a letter he has written to his son Bruce to be brought back with him. It is a loving final gesture from a tormented and saddened man to give a son a final memory of his father.

In part 1 of “The Button”, Batman is trying to decipher the blood spattered button which he found embedded in the walls of the batcave. Getting no closer to it's mystery, he tosses it next to the Psycho Pirate's mask and a violent reaction occurs. If you remember, the Psycho Pirate remembers all universes,  all realities, both past and present. A rip in time and space allows an alive and breathing Reverse Flash to breach our reality and he's pissed. Something called to him from beyond the grave, something powerful

In  The Flash #21 and part 2 of “The Button”, the Flash attempts to solve the death of Eobard Thawne  the best way he knows how, through forensic science. After all, that's  what he is a scientist of. Best of all, he has the best witness to it…Bruce Wayne. If there was any other person that could appreciate and understand the science of forensics,  it's Bruce. Thawne’s corpse yields some strange energy readings that are linked to the Flash but no real clues as to what or who killed him. All that's for certain is that the button is  gone and that Thawne, before he fell dead uttered that he saw God with a capital “G”. Not “a” god but “the” God. Since nothing can be learned from what they have or already know, it is decided that the Flash will follow Thawne’s path with the help of the one thing he swore to never use again, the Cosmic Treadmill. A battered and bruised Batman insists on going as well and the two are off across time and space until the Treadmill breaks up and they find themselves in a sparsely equipped Batcave, just as Bruce had as a boy. Looking around, Batman sees the gun that killed his parents under a glass cover, but Bruce never recovered the pistol. This is a different gun. The one that killed young Bruce Wayne. Bruce Wayne stands before his father, Thomas, the Dark Knight of Vengeance.

Now, in Batman #22 and part 3 of “The Button”, Bruce Wayne is able to fulfill a dream he has always longed for, to see his father again, but is it too late? The Amazons and Atlanteans have a long memory and seek to avenge their defeat and they are coming for blood. The Flash is surprised that the Flashpoint universe still exists, but something is keeping it alive. Realizing that the Cosmic Treadmill must be rebuilt to stay on the trail of the button, Barry needs time, not only from the Amazons and the Atlanteans,  but also from time itself. Father and son, both under the cowl, unite as one to give Barry the time he needs.  The hunt resumes through time and space, once again, raising more questions about the button and who or what has been manipulating its presence. The energies of “The Button” are getting stronger that the Flash can feel but before he and Batman can try to solve it's meanings, a familiar figure steaks past them. Eobard Thawne with the button. Wait a minute, isn't he dead?

The Verdict: It seems the end is right around the corner of “The Button”, so how can you miss this one?! Storytellers Williamson and King are crafting one hell of a potboiler and the scripting of Pt. 3 by Joshua Williamson is building up an anticipation to an awesome ending that will answer that final question. Hopefully, Lol. I really enjoy the pencils and inks of Jason Fabok who provides a great visual compliment to the script. Seeing father and son Batman in action together is worth the price of this book alone! With only one part left in this story arc , you need this essential issue in preparation for the final piece. You know who and what I am talking about when I say the potential for what is coming next, could really change the DC universe forever. It is exciting and awesome! Once again,  this issue was released with several variant covers, including a lenticular cover or “winkie” that is the best thus far, giving you an image of the Flashpoint Batman of Reverse Flash, depending on the angle you view the cover.  Though, it might be a tough one to get as this version seems to be the most popular one. Don't miss this one!

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