DC Comics: What You Need To Know About The Button

Abel Loza Abel Loza
Expert Contributor
May 30th, 2017

#TeamBatman

DC Comics: What You Need To Know About The Button
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The Button has been a really exciting and fun read thus far, and with only issue left we will finally learn who was behind the manipulation of time and space in the DC Universe. Tom King and Joshua Williamson have been able to write an all-time great epic in only four issues, which is a throwback to old comic books events and a departure from the modern “9 issue crossover event.” With the last issue coming out this tomorrow, our Abel Loza will try to break down what we have learned and what to expect for the final issue.

The Button: So Far and Whats Ahead

Death of Reverse Flash

Courtesy of DC Comics

“This is a ghost of a world… someone is using it to haunt us.”

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The Button has been a really fun and interesting crossover, which has really gotten me excited for the final issue, more excited than I have been for any other crossover ending issue in recent memory. The combined writing of Joshua Williamson and Tom King has really brought some legitimate intrigue and suspense as to what is going to happen to not only the DC heroes, but how the Watchmen characters will fit into DC continuity.

So instead of doing my usual single issue Batman review (don’t worry though, I’ll still review Batman 23 which is scheduled to come out tomorrow and if you want to check out my previous review for Batman 22 click on the link to check it out!), I wanted to take a look back at the three issues of The Button so far as a whole and try to predict what I think is going to happen in the last issue of The Button which is slated conclude on Flash 22.

In the past 10 years one will be hard-pressed to find a bigger crossover event, in any comic book company, than Flashpoint. Not only was it an important event in comic book history, but it has always resonated with fans. It even created one of the most popular versions of Batman (Thomas Wayne Batman).

Flashpoint Cover

Courtesy of DC Comics

More importantly than that, Flashpoint hit the “reset button” on the universe which gave the DC the chance to create an entirely new continuity for its characters in the New52 universe and try to bring in the beloved Watchmen characters in the DC main continuity. Now that DC launched Rebirth, a combined continuity between the New52 and Pre-Flashpoint universes, Flashpoint is the nexus point for the interjection between the Watchmen and Rebirth. The Button then is the mini-event that is explaining why Dr. Manhattan of the Watchmen, is behind the manipulation of the universes.

With all that being said we learned that in Batman #22, the Flashpoint timeline never actually ended and it was being held together by a larger, more powerful being whose purpose for doing so is still unknown. We can safely assume that that being is Dr. Manhattan. We also learned that since no one died on Flashpoint, Thomas Wayne along with the rest of the Flashpoint versions of the DC characters did not die and have been holding strong for a few months since the departure of Flash.  

This explanation for why the Flashpoint universe didn’t vanish works for me and it emphasizes that there are multiple timelines and realities that exist. We saw this in the panel in Flash #21 where Batman and Flash are traveling on the Cosmic Treadmill to Flashpoint.

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Side Note: Batman hanging on the side of the cosmic treadmill like some sort of rodeo cowboy is amazing. It makes me smile every time.

Cowboy Batman

Courtesy of DC Comics

In the DC UNIVERSE: Rebirth single issue that was released a year ago, Wally West mentioned that there was someone, a powerful being, who stole time from the DC characters and were waiting to attack. When this was written in by Geoff Johns, this will give the creators at DC the capability of making all timelines and events continuity. This is important for a couple reasons: 1) Comic book fans are, by nature, continuity hounds. They want a complete and linear story for all of their favorite characters and 2) this will give all writers and artists more of a “toy chest” to work with. And with introduction of the Watchmen¸ this toy chest just got allot better.

The different timelines of theDC Universe

Courtesy of DC Comics

A cool little reminder of this is the inclusion of Saturn Girl and Johnny Thunder into the story. They are remnants of a timeline that was lost and it seems like they are the only two who remember at this point. I can’t wait to find out what is going to happen to those two characters and see if they are going to get the Justice Society or the Legion back together.

Of course with being a Batman guy, I was intensely interested with how this event was going to change the character of Batman and Bruce Wayne. In The Button, the biggest game changer was the meeting between Bruce and Thomas Wayne. Williamson and King took the concept of the Thomas Wayne’s letter and put it on steroids. They ACTUALLY decided to let Bruce meet Thomas which could have major, lasting effects on the characterization of Batman/Bruce.

The meeting felt very awkward and there was a tension between the two Batmen. One could only image all the thoughts and feeling going through their heads and how they wanted to believe this was true, but being suspicions of the encounter. The tension imminently ended when they had to kick ass together. When the two Batmen work together to beat up the Atlantean and Themyscira, you can feel the bonding between the two and whatever tension that was built between that was gone.

Like Father, Like Son

Courtesy of DC Comics

What this meeting allowed for both Bruce and Thomas was closure. Although Bruce is going to have to live with the fact that he was his father die (for the second time), he was able to tell his dad that he was a grandfather. It only makes sense to kill Thomas as it is a fundamental element of Batman, that his parents are dead. If you mess with that too much, you lose what Batman is.

It was a big jarring to see Thomas tell Bruce that he does not have to continue to be Batman, and that he die with Thomas in Flashpoint. This too me, will/can have some monumental effects on Batman in the upcoming future and can lead to some good storytelling from Tom King. That’s something I’m looking forward to in the immediate future after The Button.

I have honesty been pleasantly surprised of how succinct this massive storyline has been. In just three issues, Tom King and Joshua Williamson have been able to build great tension and have accomplished quite a bit of subtle story telling. Ill be honest when I tell you that I was a bit bummed when I heard this was only going to be four issues long. I was expecting a huge, 8-9 issue series that would have been undoubtedly delayed. But I’m so glad it turned out to be a short series. That is the charm of this series though. It harkens back to a time where there were no massive crossovers and the writers were interested in storytelling instead of the sales (even though this series is selling well.)

Running to the Finish Line

Courtesy of DC Comics

What to expect

I did have some thoughts on how The Button was going to end, but as I was wrapping up this article, big news came out. Doomsday Clock was announced on Monday and this will be a major event in the DC world that will finally delve deep into the appearance of the Watchmen characters in the DC Universe. Doomsday Clock, which is scheduled to come out November of 2017, will be written by Geoff Johns and this will be a continuation on the DC Universe: Rebirth he wrote and will probably finish what The Button started.

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Doomsday Clock announcement

Courtesy of Geoff Johns Twitter

So, with that news being announced, now I think that The Button will finish on a cliffhanger. Perhaps on the last panel of the issue, we will see Dr. Manhattan or another Watchmen character. The end of Flash #22 will probably deal with the death of Reverse Flash more than the intent of Dr. Manhattan…. And I’m ok with that.

I was expecting a big pay off, but because this event is only four issues long, it makes more sense to build up to Doomsday Clock and have us dip our toes in the Watchmen/DC pool. If it even just shows Dr. Manhattan, I think this will be a success for The Button and will get us excited for John’s Doomsday Clock.

Obviously, the big expectation we are all waiting for in Flash #22 is the reveal of a Watchmen character, namely Dr. Manhattan. I know that for many, the Watchmen characters are a sacred institution but if done well, I think this can revive the Watchmen characters to a new generation and make it possible for DC creators to play with these characters and build on their mythos.

We are all really excited for what is to come in not only the last issue of The Button but also what is to come in the wake of this event. Were all hoping it leaves us satisfied and with the announcement of Doomsday Clock we can only hope that this will be a great win for DC.

Before you finish or start The Button, it really does help to reread DC Universe Rebirth and Flashpoint. If not, just watch the animated movie which is also fan-freaking-tastic.

 

Abel Loza is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @st_abel45

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