Written by: Tom King
Art by: Jason Fabok
Colouring by: Brad Anderson
Lettering by: Deron Bennett
Cover by: Jason Fabok
Published by: DC Comics
Tom King’s Batman run to date has been one of the highlights of Rebirth. It’s been a little while since I wrote a review of the series, but I’ve been enjoying it month in and month out. Through I Am Bane though, it was very much its own animal, despite being promised as one of the primary lynchpins to Rebirth’s many mysteries. That changes here.
Batman #21 is the beginning of The Button, the beginning of Batman and the Flash’s investigation into the mystery of Rebirth. And what a beginning it is.
King is joined by Jason Fabok, and Fabok’s involvement here makes the story feel special. There are also some amazing artistic choices made that make the issue feel even more Special and more Important.
After a brief Saturn Girl-filled prologue, Batman asks for the Flash’s help as the bloody button uncovered during DC Universe Rebirth reacts to Psycho Pirate’s mask. When Flash promises he’ll be there in a minute, the rest of the issue takes place in that minute as the Reverse Flash attacks Batman.
Fabok does a great thing in the layouts here, setting up the issue on a nine panel grid. With the ticking clock nature of the story, it gives each moment a great beat to land on. It also evokes Watchmen, which was definitely intentional, and King’s Omega Men from last year. It looks great, with Fabok’s line proving he knows how to tell this story to give it the most impact.
King gives every visual the perfect weight as a companion. No line of dialogue is wasted, no bit of narration is unnecessary. He doesn’t over-write, as lesser writers may have been tempted to do. Instead the story is perfectly done.
I won’t spoil the cliffhanger, but in the final pages the story twists in a way I didn’t expect. It’s a perfect shocker, and I can’t wait until Flash #21 to see where the story goes from here.
Pick this issue up. It’s not just an important bit of world building, it’s GOOD. It doesn’t feel disposable like other crossovers sometimes do. It’s thrilling and fun.