The third chapter of THE BUTTON, in this week’s issue of Batman, packs an emotional punch, but does it answer any of the questions about the the button, or the missing time the planet is experiencing?

Eh. Not really.

Batman - Whiteout

But we did get cool moments like this, as entropy takes all of Gotham City. Well, not the REAL Gotham City. Just an alternate reality of Gotham City, where Bruce Wayne was shot and killed and THOMAS Wayne became Batman. We know this reality as Flashpoint.

Let me explain.

Princess Bride

Batman 22
Written by Joshua Williamson and Tom King
Art by Jason Fabok and Brad Anderson

The last issue of THE BUTTON saw Batman and The Flash travel through the time stream to find a trace of the Reverse Flash and figure out where the button took him, and it dropped them in the Flashpoint universe, which Barry Allen thought had been wiped from reality. Conveniently, Flash and Batman found themselves in Flashpoint Thomas Wayne’s Batcave. Unfortunately, they arrived moments before Atlantis and Themyscira were about to attack.

How many times does Barry Allen have to be told NOT to mess with the time stream?

The heart of the issue is Bruce Wayne and Thomas Wayne – a father and son separated by time and tide, who never got to know each other – finally meeting face to face, but not being able to get to know each other. But Thomas, at least, was able to dispense some fatherly advice to his son.

Batman - Don't Be

While the Batmen of Two Worlds fight off the armies of two warring nation-states, The Flash repairs the Cosmic Treadmill, which activates without Barry running on it, cutting down on the time Bruce and Barry have with Batman Senior. Oh, and the entropy is sweeping over Gotham like it was in the middle of Zero Hour. The time-spanning travelers beg Thomas Wayne to come with them, but he stays to fight instead. Because a Batman with a dad might be weird…

Writers King and Williamson have managed to craft an emotional masterpiece in the middle of a big budget summer blockbuster. The short-lived reunion between Thomas and Bruce Wayne was heart-wrenching, surely fueling Bruce’s desire to find out who was messing with the time stream and, as a result, tearing his father away from him for a second time.

Honestly, I wouldn’t mind a few issues dealing with a new status quo for Batman, a determined hero set on his path by the death of his parents. How would he handle having his father around? Especially if his father disapproved of the Batman persona? Who knows, maybe this was just a teaser for a twist to come. I’d love to see it, and if we’re completely messing with reality, like they are in Superman, this should be a no-brainer.

We have one more issue of the crossover, in next week’s The Flash, and the final pages seem to set up a confrontation with whoever Reverse Flash saw before he died in the first chapter. But I smell a swerve coming. Hopefully this entire crossover doesn’t become a red herring…

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