Before I read Doomsday Clock #1, I figured I should read Batman/Flash: The Button, the crossover that preceded it (and bridged the gap from DC: Rebirth #1). Luckily, it went on sale last week as part of DC’s Black Friday digital sale—some damn good timing there!
What is it? Batman/The Flash: The Button Deluxe Edition
Who did it? Joshua Williamson, Tom King, Jason Fabok and Howard Porter
When did it come out? 2017
What does it collect? Batman (Rebirth) #21-22, The Flash (Rebirth #21-22
Batman/The Flash: The Button is ultimately a disappointing read…
There are some really cool things about this book, that I’ll get to… unfortunately, I’m not sure what the point of this story really is. The Reverse-Flash gets resurrected… only to be killed again. Jay Garrick, the original Flash, returns… only to disappear again. And they lose the titular button, without ever finding out anything about it, other than it has an odd reaction to Psycho Pirate’s mask. I get that they’re trying to save all the good stuff for Doomsday Clock… but give us something!
… and I’m not even sure what relevance this story has to Doomsday Clock
At least not yet. It sure seems like the only thing this story accomplishes is returning the button to the Watchmen universe, or at the very least, the hands of Dr. Manhattan. Which in itself is kinda weird… presumably it was Manhattan who resurrected the Reverse-Flash to retrieve it for him, and kills him after he does? He’s “God,” though—surely he could have just grabbed it himself? And as I said earlier, Batman and Flash learn virtually nothing, and lose the button. So I dunno. Hopefully we’ll learn that the story, or at least the button itself, has more relevance in Doomsday Clock.
Thomas Wayne’s message for Bruce almost makes the story worth it
This is by far the best part of the story—that Bruce Wayne briefly meets his father, the Batman of the Flashpoint universe (and the guy who originally killed the Reverse-Flash). Thomas Wayne has a message for Bruce: To give up being Batman, to live life, to be a father to his son Damian, to be happy. And at the end of the story Bruce is actually considering it. So many people, from Alfred to Leslie Tompkins to Selina Kyle, have implored Bruce to do the same, and he never does… but of course, his father saying it makes him think twice. It’s a moment that really works. And I’m definitely curious to see how it plays out from here.
The Batman vs. Reverse Flash fight is the highlight sequence of the book
The story starts with a bang—Batman examines the button, then the Reverse Flash appears and spends one minute brutally beating Bruce (though Bruce briefly gets the upper hand, because, hey, he’s Batman). It takes up almost the entirety of the first issue and it’s done in the familiar Watchmen-esque nine panel grid. Batman knows he only has to survive the one minute—that’s when The Flash will arrive—and he barely makes it. It’s a brutal sequence, brilliantly choreographed, and a small countdown clock in the corner only heightens the tension.
The art throughout is pretty damn solid
I’ve been a Howard Porter fan since his JLA days, and I know not everyone was a fan back then, but I’m pleased to see how he’s grown and his style evolved over the years. He’s also inking himself now so I feel like this is a more pure Howard Porter experience. and it doesn’t disappoint. That splash page where Jay Garrick returns is wonderful. Meanwhile, Jason Fabok (who handles the Batman side of the crossover) is one of the best artists in the DC stable right now. Batman is one of only two books I’ve been reading since Rebirth (Wonder Woman being the other) and he’s a big part of the reason why.
Having read Doomsday Clock #1 I can say that the button doesn’t feature at all in that first issue, except in a teaser at the end where it appears to be in the hands of Lex Luthor. So its fate remains unknown… for now. As for this story, I recommend it if you’re up for the cool sequences noted above (and can grab it for cheap); but if you’re looking for some deep connective tissue between Rebirth #1 and Doomsday Clock, you’ll probably be disappointed (especially if you have to pay full price for it).