Batman #21 Review: One Minute Too Long


Batman #21 begins “The Button,” a crossover with the Flash that will move the overall story of Rebirth to the next phase.

Batman #21

Written by Tom King

Art and Cover by Jason Fabok

Colored by Brad Anderson

Published by DC Comics

Warning! SPOILERS for Batman #22 follow! Read further at your own risk.

If you have been curious about the whole Rebirth/Watchmen connection and where the story goes next, then Batman #21 is a comic you do not want to miss.

The latest issue of the best-selling Batman features “The Button,” the first part of a crossover with The Flash. The story promises to shed more light on some of the mysteries introduced in DC Rebirth, including the smiley button that appeared out of thin air in the Batcave.

For readers who are hoping for huge reveals and all the answers laid out in front of them, you are going to come away very disappointed.

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On the other hand, for readers who are willing to follow along and wait for the payoff, “The Button” part one is a very enjoyable, if one-dimensional story.

The reason Batman #21 may be considered one-dimensional by some is because, if I’m being honest, not much really happens. For the bulk of the issue Batman fights the returned from the dead Eobard Thawne, aka the Reverse-Flash. And I use the term “fight” very loosely since Batman gets his ass handed to him most of the issue.

Usually if a comic is all fists and punches and that’s pretty much all, I give it a pass and move along. Comics are way to expensive to spend money on two guys beating the snot out of each other. But Batman #21 is not that kind of comic.

The entire fight is told over the course of one minute as Batman waits for the Flash to arrive. Jason Fabok, an artist with few peers, uses nine panel pages, evoking the visual style of Watchmen, to covey the fight with each panel representing a single second. Quite frankly it’s an amazing feat, with the amount of detail packed into each small panel dizzying.

The nine panel pages are used throughout the issue, each time conveying the passage of time. It makes for an issue that reads very quickly, but one that you have to go back and reread several times to really get the full effect.

On the writing side, King does a great job of simply letting Fabok do the heavy lifting to tell the story. There isn’t much in terms of dialogue as Batman #21 is a very visual reading experience. Both Geoff Johns, who wrote Rebirth and Joshua Williamson, writer of The Flash, obviously had a hand in the story so it’s tough to tell how much of what happens in the issue is King’s work.

But sometimes that’s not a bad thing. “The Button” is obviously more of a Flash story than a Batman story, so it makes sense that Johns and Williamson would have more of a hand in the plot and King takes a backseat.

With story elements from not only Rebirth but Flashpoint as well, “The Button” feels like DC Rebirth #2 more than a new issue of Batman.

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The Bottom Line: Batman #21 is a great start to “The Button” and has me very excited to read the next chapter in The Flash #21. The Flash has been a stellar read since issue #1 and this storyline should kick things into the next gear.

Like I said a few paragraphs ago, if you have been following the Rebirth’Watchmen plot line, Batman #21 is a book you cannot miss. But even if you haven’t, there is more than enough in the issue to keep your interest and make it worth your time.