Review: Batman #21

“The Button” storyline begins with Batman #21 and the comic opens with Arkham residents watching the hockey game. In the background, you see a poster with “Arkham is for healing” above a big smiley face, much like the one on the button, sans the bloodstain. From there, the story moves to Batman’s cave, where the rest of the issue plays out. Batman stands surrounded by his wall of screens, the majority of which just have the button pictured. It shows his dedication (and obsession) with figuring out what it means.

Batman calls on the Flash for help with this and before Barry can arrive, Eobard Thawne surprises Batman. He’s from the same world as Thomas Wayne, aka Flashpoint. Thawne shows no mercy on Batman, yet he still manages to survive the attack. What Batman lacks in super powers, he makes up for with his smarts and gadgets. He’s counting down the seconds until Barry arrives, knowing he only has to last a little longer. Despite the brutality of the issue, there’s a nice little moment where the countdown is at 0 and Batman makes the comment, “Hm. Overtime.” You can see the slightest smirk on his face through the blood.

Eobard Thawne is easy to hate and it’s no exception in this issue. However, by the end of it, he suffers an unexplainable death. Now there’s yet another mystery to figure out. Batman is badly beaten, but it is probably safe to guess that he survives. Barry, being the ever-charming hero that he is, runs in just after everything goes down because he stopped to see if he could save the hockey player.

Speaking of the hockey player, one of the Arkham residents at the beginning of the issue makes a comment about the player dying before it even happens. It isn’t until Barry shows that we find out her prediction did indeed come true. It will be interesting to see if she plays a part in the story down the road.

Tom King is a writer who I’ve come to greatly enjoy. He understands how to write an excellent story and this crossover has a lot of people excited. He’s taken the mantle as the writer of Batman with grace. He’s also killed it despite following in the footsteps of the great run from Snyder and Capullo. Jason Fabok on pencils and inks is a fantastic choice. This issue looks outstanding, which of course comes with the help of Brad Anderson on colors. It isn’t the same team for the whole event, so we’ll wait and see how The Flash issues look, but I’m looking forward to it nonetheless.

This is one event you won’t want to miss out on. The story will resume with The Flash #21 next week. As a huge Batman fan, it’s a no brainer to continue reading the series and event to see how this plays out.