Here we are with part 3 of “The Button”, a continuation of the story that began 11 months ago in DC Universe: Rebirth #1.  We’ve already seen an epic battle between Batman and Eobard Thawne in the pages of Batman #21, and Batman and The Flash traveling across the boundaries of time and space to discover the secrets behind the button in Flash #21.  Now, Bruce is brought face to face with his father, the Thomas Wayne from the Flashpoint continuum.  Does Bruce’s father know the secret to the button, or is this merely a sidestep on their way to discovering the truth…

Much in the same way that Flash #21 filled us in on all the details we needed to know in order to follow the story being told, Batman #22 does the same, giving us pertinent details from “Flashpoint”.  But whereas the journey taken by Flash and Batman from last issue was relevant to the overall point of this arc, this story seems largely tertiary to that mission.  That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the ideas presented in this story, but the content is ultimately irrelevant to the overall mission that our heroes set out on.  It’s the kind of thing that, if filmed for a movie, would be left on the cutting room floor to make more time for the “A” plot.  Sure, it would show up in the deleted scenes on the DVD, but it doesn’t really matter to the larger story being told.  And that’s really my biggest take away from this issue.  Cool and poignant, but ultimately irrelevant.

This story also pays homage to the Nolan trilogy.  During the course of the story, Dr. Wayne recounts rescuing Bruce from his fall into the caves beneath Wayne Manor.  But that content isn’t original to “Batman Begins”.  They included that in the film because it was already an element from the comics.  If it had been nothing more than another cave rescue scene, I wouldn’t have thought anything of it.  However…the fact that Dr. Wayne tells Bruce that even though Waynes fall, they always rise, it was definitely an homage to the Nolan Trilogy (for me in any case).  In connecting that scene from the first movie with the title of the third movie, I felt that the writers were trying to create something new while simultaneously using existing material that would resonate with a broader audience.

But there was something from this story that reminded me of “The Dark Knight Rises” even more so than the cave rescue scene and the nod to the 3rd title.  Personally, I though the idea of Bruce running off to Europe to live out his days having brunch with Selina Kyle was super weak.  When I saw the movie for the first time, due to spoilers, I knew that Marion Cotillard was playing Talia.  When her and Bruce had a sex scene, I thought I knew the direction the movie was headed in.  Bruce ends up being exiled to that pit for months.  I was certain he was going to return to Gotham and Talia was going to have had his son.  To me, that was a perfect reason for Bruce to retire.  He would have been able to become the father to his son, that he himself had lost.  So, when I saw Thomas Wayne say this:

It basically mirrored the idea that I expected to present itself at the end of “The Dark Knight Rises”.  Granted, Bruce didn’t retire in the comics after learning he had a son, but to me, there is a big difference between being given a baby that you are then responsible for and being told you have a 10 year old son you were never even aware of.  In any case, this little speech is the greatest thing to come out of this issue.  And it really made me think.  Not only about Bruce’s continued war against crime, but…where is Damian?  I understood that when Bruce “died”, there was no longer any reason for Damian to be in Gotham.  Therefore, I had an acceptable reason for Damian’s worldwide gallivanting.  But at this point, why isn’t a 13 year old boy with his father?

If Damian is really so important to Bruce, why isn’t he around.  I realize that perhaps the writers don’t want to be burdened with fitting Damian into every story, but I find it immensely annoying how limited his presence is.  With characters like Dick, he went off to college.  Or with Jason and Tim, sometimes they wouldn’t patrol with Bruce because it was a school night.  And Tim even had more of a reason later on not to be around as much because he didn’t live with Bruce anymore once his father came out of a coma.  I guess what I am saying is that there are a lot of excuses I am willing to accept as to why Robin isn’t around, but at the moment, I don’t really have a valid one.

It’s also weird to think that the Robins were kind of Bruce’s way of replacing the family that he lost.  But now, Bruce has an actual blood relative and doesn’t spend nearly enough time with him.  Bruce is like a man that donates his free time to community service, helping a bunch of people he doesn’t even know, instead of spending time with the family he actually has.  And who really needs him.  Kinda makes me angry.

I understand that a lot of what I went over in this review isn’t directly connected to the material present.  Much of what I had to say was about the ideas that it indirectly called to mind.  But to me, what a story makes you think about is as valid a reason to enjoy it as what is actually presents to you on the page.

Art for this issue is once again brought to us by Jason Fabok, and really, I don’t feel like I need to say anymore.  It’s Jason Fabok.  The guy can do no wrong.  I could drone on and on about how awesome Fabok’s art is, but at this point, I’m not sure who I need to convince of that.

Odds and Ends:

  • I know that in this story there is an entity out there doing all this, but when I read this passage, I couldn’t help but get all meta with it.  WE are what holds the DC Universe together.  These past events happened.  We read about them.  They are in our memories.  Telling me that things happened in a way different than I remember them is no different to me than someone trying to tell me I celebrated my 12th birthday in London when I know I didn’t.  Because these stories are in our consciousness, they are “real”.  And as long as there are people out there who remember them, they will stay that way.

  • That’s interesting.  The way he is asking, it’s implied that Bruce’s cave DOES have that stuff.  Wonder why he didn’t use any of it against Eobard.  I had considered this during part one, but I ultimately decided Bruce didn’t have the time necessary to done his anti-Flash suit.  But now that they are mentioning this, he surely had time to hit a button.
  • I know that your average Atlantean and Amazonian warriors aren’t as powerful as Wonder Woman or Aquaman, but aren’t they still physically superior to human beings?  Am I mistaken in thinking this?  I mean, they are superhuman, right?  If so, it seemed to me they were defeated a little easily.

Recommended if…

  • You’re a fan of Jason Fabok’s art.
  • You want to see what Bruce and Thomas would say to one another, given the chance.

Overall:

While the story has great art, intense action, and a very poignant and thought-provoking speech delivered by Thomas Wayne…it’s ultimately irrelevant to the larger story being told.  I hate to use the word “filler” because it has such negative connotations, and because the content is actually worthwhile in and of itself, but it does end up feeling like filler since it’s so disconnected and unrelated to the rest of the story.  But really, that’s my only major complaint about this issue.  If this scene had found a better way to integrate itself into the story, or another story for that matter, I’d be quite pleased with it.  But I can’t ignore the fact that it adds little to nothing to the story of “The Button”.

SCORE:  8 / 10