Back when Rebirth started over a year ago, the original Wally West returned to the DC Universe after been mysteriously taken away after the Flashpoint event. When he returned, he brought back a mysterious ‘Button’ with him and gave it to Barry and since then he and Batman have spent their time trying to find out what it means.
Part one begins in Batman #21 with the issue starting out in Arkham Asylum as some of the inmates are watching a hockey game and Saturn Girl, who has been imprisoned in Arkham Asylum since the beginning of Rebirth, says that ‘they’re going to kill him’ and ‘Superman won’t come. Our friends will die. The Legion will die’, this could be leading to things that could be happening later in this book or more likely for the Superman books.
In the Batcave, Batman has images of the ‘Button’ over several screens as well as watching the hockey game that is going on. We then get a two-page spread of 18 panels where it cuts between Batman playing with the button in his fingers and the fight that is happening at the hockey game. We get then another two-page with the same number of panels but in this Batman throws the button on the table where he also has Psycho-Pirates mask and a small spark comes off the button and hits the mask and it then a lightning bolt hits Batman knocking him back. Batman then sees an image of his Flashpoint counterpart, who is Thomas Wayne, in that universe. He then contacts Flash and tells him what had just happened and says that he will be there in a minute since that he is dealing with a Samuriod Invasion.
Batman notice a blur and believed that it was Flash but he is wrong and we then get another two-page spread where we see Reverse Flash, Thawne, punching Batman. Thawne then exposits about himself and that a power had called out to him and he was resurrected. Batman goes to punch Thawne but he vibrates out of the way and beats up Batman. HE knocks him around for a few seconds but Thawne’s attention gets drawn away when he notices something, the letter that Thomas Wayne gave to Barry to give to Bruce, and he destroys it inform of him. Batman tells him to get out of his cave but Thawne says that he can’t throw him out since that when he can blur nobody can touch him. But during that time Batman jabs a Batarang in his foot and has him anchored into place and starts punching him. Thawne manages to knock Batman backwards and manages to get free of the Batarang and he tells Batman that he can’t win, but Batman knows that and all he has to do is wait eleven seconds. They exchange punches more and the eleven seconds go by and Thawne punches Batman again. Thawne picks up the Button and teleports away and then is immediately teleported back where it looks like that he has been attacked by something and just he just says ‘I saw God’.
Flash arrives at the Batcave and apologises for being late where he said that he stops off at the hockey match to see if he could have saved the guy but it was too late. And the issue ends with Batman being beaten up and Thawne’s skeletal body.
Part two starts continues in Flash #21. It opens with the another returning character from the Rebirth issue with Johnny Thunder on the rooftop asking where ‘Thunderbolt’ is and he is then dragged back into the hospital/facility by orderlies. We then get back to the story with Flash setting up a crime scene in the Batcave in a two-spread cutting with narration as well as black silhouetted images of Thawne punching Batman. Barry then give some background information for the readers about Eobard Thawne and notes that the person that killed his mother is dead. Flash then explains about how the Speed Force works with different with him and Thawne but the energy that was covered with Thawne wasn’t his own, but with his energy wave and questions if that in the future if he kills Thawne.
Barry runs over to Alfred and asks him if he has had any luck, but he replies that all of the Batcave’s surveillance equipment was damaged and Barry believes that it was due to Thawne’s lightning. Barry questions Bruce on what happened and beings up more information about Thawne including that he may have been killed during travelling through time and space and wonders if he was forced back to the cave. Bruce brings up some questions of his own and Barry answers them truthfully Bruce then brings up that they have had no luck identifying the blood with the different agencies that they have at hand.
Barry brings up of what Bruce saw in the previous issue and he says that it was a ghost but then says that it was his father and he was wearing the cape and cowl. Barry then brings up that it sounds like that he was describing the Flashpoint Batman. Bruce brings up that he felt the same thing as a child when he was with his father with the way that he could carry himself and that they also had the same voice. Barry apologises for this since that Flashpoint was his fault and that it left them vulnerable to the changes that have happened. Bruce tells Barry that this isn’t his fault and that this was going a lot longer than Flashpoint and that there has to be something that they have been missing during their investigation. Barry brings up that there is something that is missing and that is the Button that Thawne took with him, it wasn’t on his body. Bruce brings up that Thawne being drawn to it wasn’t a coincidence. Barry then brings up that with Bruce seeing the ghostly image of Flashpoint Batman he had also been seeing images of Thawne but also saw an image of the Helmet of Mercury, worn by Jay Garrick the Golden Age Flash.
Barry heads out if he finds anymore updates for Bruce but instead he decides to go to The Watchtower instead where we see the Lost and Found that houses the secured artefacts that the League have collected, which seems to have the Beetle that Ted Kord uses in the Blue Beetle series and also what appears to be Martian Manhunters costume. Barry goes on to say that he wishes that he put the Button here when it showed up. We then get a flashback from when Wally returned where he says that when he was outside time he felt a presence and he tried to see what it was but he couldn’t, but he then says that they are waiting to attack for some reason. Barry then narrates more saying that the force that was more powerful than Darkseid was watching them so Barry decides to use his Cosmic Treadmill. Barry plans on using it to follow the radiation that is on the Button but does have some worries about using it since that the last time he used it, he created the Flashpoint timeline.
But before he can do that he is interrupted by Batman who wants to come along with Barry since that it is still also his case. But Barry is concerned for him since that there is a lot of strange things when travelling through the Cosmic Treadmill but Batman says that he is aware of the dangers as he has also travelled through time before. They start travelling throughout time, with Batman attached with a Batclaw, and they start noticing points in alternate timeline with the formation of the Justice League but Flash brings up that he thinks that the images that they are seeing ARE from their timeline. A time-storm appears and Flash starts running faster but they still get hit and are sent into a different timeline.
The two land in a new timeline inside a cave and the Cosmic Treadmill is destroyed. But Batman notices something familiar about the cave, that being it looks like the Batcave. Flash tries to tell Batman about where they are but he gets cut off when he notices a gun in a case. He then asks Barry where they are but instead of Barry responding we get Thomas Wayne. We end on a page of both Batmen and the tears forming in his eyes being able to spend one more moment with his father.
Part three continues in Batman #22. The issue opens up with this time focusing around the Flashpoint timeline with Thomas Wayne’s Batman narrating basically covering what happened in Flashpoint. But since that this universe was meant to disappear when Barry returned to create the New 52 timelines, he came to the assumption that someone had kept their universe on Life support. He then notes that the war between Wonder Woman and Aquaman has still been raging but they had a truce going on as they send their soldiers to take him out. But as he is doing this it then leads him to see Flash and Batman crash into his cave during the end of the last issue. Dr Wayne asks Flash what is going on since that he thinks that having Bruce here is a trick or cruel joke. But Flash says that this isn’t a trick but he grabs Flash by the throat and tries to punch him.
Flash explains to Dr Wayne on what has happened and he too has come to the belief that somebody is behind Flashpoint being still intact. Flash then finds something more distressing and that is that doing a vibration of this Earth it turns out that it is the same timeline that they had come from. Dr Wayne asks Bruce why he won’t look at him but Flash intervenes saying that he needs a minute to re-build the Cosmic Treadmill but Dr Wayne brings up a small problem, that being Aquaman and Wonder Woman’s soldiers are here. Dr Wayne tells them that he is going to hold them off with a gun, but Bruce knocks the gun out of his hand and says that they are all leaving together and asks is he has any precautions but he responds saying that that his mother was the one that thought ahead so they decide to use fists instead. Bruce then brings up the letter that Barry gave him and the end of Flashpoint and says that he has a lot of questions for him and Dr Wayne too has questions.
We then get a two-page spread with the Batmen fighting against the warriors and Barry finishes building the treadmill. Batman beats up the final warrior and Dr Wayne asks if he remembers what he said when he fell down the into the cave as a child and he remembers since that he was whispering so that it didn’t want to scare the bats. The next page we see something similar to the destructions of the multiverse in Crisis on Infinite Earths and Flash realises what is going on. Batman tells Dr Wayne that the letter that he got was the best thing that he had ever got and that he even tells him that he is a Grandfather. Flash warns Batman that the Treadmill is at full power but Batman wants Dr Wayne to come with him, but he pushes Batman onto the Treadmill and Dr Wayne tells Flash to save his son but they both plead for him to join them as the light eclipses Wayne Manor. Dr Wayne delivers a speech basically summed up for Bruce to leave the mantle of Batman and let it die with him. The treadmill disappears and we see the light now eclipsing the Batcave and Dr Wayne running straight to it.
Back in the Cosmic Timestream Batman asks if there is a way back but Flash says that there is no way back to that universe. Barry then says that he doesn’t know why the Button’s trail lead them there but all he knows is that they need to keep on moving. Batman brings up that the Button appeared in his cave and brought his father to him as well as wondering who sent it and why they sent them to the Flashpoint Universe. Flash then says that he doesn’t know but that Wally told him that somebody had stolen time from them to hurt them and that they sent them to the Flashpoint Universe to hurt them even more. But before Flash can continue Thawne speeds past them and Flash seems surprised but Batman notes that Thawne still has the Button so that this is Thawne before he dies. Barry tells him to stop and that if he doesn’t he will die. However, Thawne doesn’t stop and he now knows who the power of the Button belongs to and it ends with him saying ‘They’ve never faced someone like me’ ending the issue.
Part four continues in Flash #22. The issue starts off with Flash and Batman chasing down Reverse Flash whilst a mysterious person narrates on watching what is happening and hopes that Barry can save them like what he did with Wally. Flash tells Thawne to stop but he ignores him and heads forwards from them. Thawne then says that he is going to do something more worse to Barry bit Batman tells him that he can hear somebody call Flash’s name but Barry passes it off as just the Speed Force distracting, but Batman says that the vision of his father was real. Thawne then intervenes saying that he has a new plan and that was that he is going to make Barry his son. But then something happens and then the Cosmic Treadmill starts breaking up and Batman tells him that they need to land somewhere. Flash tries to get Thawne but a rip opens and Thawne arrives in a new reality.
Thawne calls out the entity that drew him there and says that he cannot be erased by anyone, but then the figure appears and starts to attack Thawne causing what happened to him in the events of Batman #21. Back to Batman and Flash they are slightly adrift in the Speed Force and Flash can’t speed up, but Batman tells him to listen to the voice. Flash seems hesitant about it since that he doesn’t know where it can take them but Batman says that they have no other choice. The voice then says that his name is Jay and a large sound happens where the voice narrates ‘at last, I’m free’ and we see jay Garrick return and he manages to rescue Batman and Flash from the Speed Force.
They arrive back on their Earth and Flash asks if Jay was the one that killed Thawne but Jay says that he didn’t and reiterates his name and that he is a friend of Barry’s. Flash questions him and Jay replies saying that they had took everything from and that he doesn’t know how or why they did it and he tries to get Barry to remember his name. But unfortunately, Jay disappears in a blue light with Batman saying that he is not here.
They then head to a graveyard with Bruce talking about how that Barry was the only other person that he knows that has suffered losses the same way he has. Barry then brings up if that this whole problem was a plan of Thawne’s by creating time ruptures and having people taken out of realities. But Bruce brings up that he is dead but Barry brings up that maybe his death was the start of it. But even though that Thawne is dead, it does mean that the case is still open and that they are still going to be pursuing it. Barry says that he is going to do another autopsy on Thawne to try and find more evidence and Bruce brings up that what has happened to them can’t have been an accident.
Later that night Bruce is staring out of the window where the Bat-Signal appears but he seems to be more distracted about the words that his father said to him and it seems that he doesn’t want to answer the call. Back to the different world, we see The Button being picked up by a mysterious figure who starts narrating about why his ‘perception of time distress them’ and finishes saying that ‘we’re all puppets Laurie’ and that ‘he is a puppet that can see the strings’. The issue ends with an epilogue that features the button with it slowly being zoomed in but then when we zoom out and see Superman’s symbol and ends with a quote: there are poisons that blind you and poisons that can open your eye’s- August Strindberg. This then teases the possible next part of the story: Doomsday Clock that happens this November.
Overall I like this four-part series. I like that we finally got a bit more story from the events of the Rebirth one-shot and building more of the Watchmen being incorporated into the DCU. I am looking forward to see what happens in the Doomsday Clock and I think that I may pick up the first issue up when it comes out.