Subway Shorts – The Button

The next big DC Event that is supposed to give clues to the whole mystery of Rebirth kicked off on Wednesday, as Batman decides to examine THE BUTTON discovered in the Batcave during Rebirth last May. He probably doesn’t like what he finds.

Batman Mask

Batman 21
Written by Tom KIng
Art by Jason Fabok and Jay Leisten 

Batman 21I tried to temper my expectations a bit as I read the issue last night. It was the first book I went to read when I sat down for the subway ride home. THE BUTTON story has been hyped so much since it was announced, finally addressing the Comedian’s button from Watchmen that featured in Rebirth. But after SUPERMAN: REBORN, which was promoted by claims that it would answer questions about Mr. Oz and did nothing of the sort, I was resigned to the fact that “answers” would likely be few and far between. But we’d probably get a good story.

As far as the opening issue goes, though, we got a very intriguing tease, but not much else.

The whole comic takes place over the course of, say, about 5 minutes, framed by a big hockey game between Gotham and Metropolis that turns into a fight. Batman watches hockey? Who knew? When the Dark Knight tosses the button he had been playing with – this is how he handles evidence? – next to the Psycho Pirate’s mask, it sets off a chain reaction that leads to Batman seeing Flashpoint’s Batman, Thomas Wayne, and Eobard Thawne, the Reverse Flash. Thawne was one of the antagonists of Flashpoint, killed by Thomas Wayne, and he decided to try and take it out on the Rebirth Batman.

The end result of the fairly quick fight between the two was… not in Thawne’s favor.

Batman God

Was it God? Or was it a very blue, very likely naked Jon Osterman making sure that he’s left alone? I’m guessing it wasn’t actually God. Will he find out what Thawne saw in next week’s The Flash, when the story picks up? Probably not. DC Comics like to stretch these things out.

The art here is a callback to Dave Gibbons’ work on Watchmen, using a 9-panel grid on his pages and stuffing a whole lot of information on a page and giving the 5 minutes of story a chance to breath in the space provided, though it loses its affect a bit when using the Guided View feature in Comixology on my iPad. But the iPad does give me the opportunity to expand and examine Jason Fabok’s art panel-by-panel, which I couldn’t do on the page, so it’s a trade-off. I’ll likely go back and re-read the issue with Guided View off to get the intended effect.

While I was somewhat disappointed in the first issue overall, the opening of the book was a pleasant surprise. I wasn’t expecting the return of Legion of Superheroes member and Arkham Asylum inmate Saturn Girl, watching the hockey game and getting upset about the game’s ramifications. I’m intrigued as to where this particular plot is going, considering they’ve teased it only 3-4 times over the last 11 months.

I don’t think THE BUTTON is going to be groundbreaking in any way, but I am hoping for an engaging story over the next three issues. The pacing of The Flash has been great, so I’m looking forward to seeing what writer Joshua Williamson does with it next week.