We Need To Talk About The Bittersweet Button Saga
Credit: DC Comics
Wow. I just read The Button crossover from DC Comics (which collects Batman #21, Flash #21, Batman #22 and Flash #22 in that order). There is a lot to discuss here.
First off, the artwork by Jason Fabok (who I was introduced to via this story) is phenomenal. Seriously, I usually don't go for the hyperrealistic kind of drawing, with Jim Lee being a notable exception, but this guy is definitely is a new favorite of mine. The covers are also done by him and I can see them being considered classic covers one day. Unfortunately, he pencils the first three issues but not the fourth and final one, and it is a very noticeable downgrade.
Thomas Wayne is in this story, another great asset. Thomas Wayne as Batman really shouldn't work, but does, and overwhelmingly so. Originally Thomas Wayne seemed to just be an excuse to give Batman guns and a new costume (which is one of my favorites). Unfortunately, since he only becomes Batman in an alternate reality, this obviously limits his potential appearances. Here Batman and Thomas Wayne's Batman meet face to face for the first time and it is very dramatic and satisfying.
However this story falls short. The opening sequence is illogical. See, in the beginning of the story Batman communicates with Flash directly through some walkie-talkie thing they both have in their masks, and Flash says he will be over to the Batcave in one minute.
Just then Reverse Flash shows up and beats Batman pretty badly. For some reason Batman fights back unprepared at a person with powers and "buys time" until the Flash shows up. Why didn't he just walkie-talkie him for help? There's no way this could've slipped Batman's mind!
Also, there is a timer during these panels counting down when Flash is supposedly going to show up. I hate timers. Much like in movies, they are so grossly off to an irritating extent. Someone will say like three or so bubbles of dialogue, and the other guy will reply with two and only a second will have passed.
Then there is the story itself. Very confusing, which I expected, kind of. Worst of all, there is almost no clarity over the span of the four issues and then we are sent off with an abrupt stop, not an end. When I read that DC plans on tying up the plot points of The Button in the upcoming Doomsday Clock in November, I was not shocked at all.
Unfortunately this kind of tactic is common nowadays for writers to simply buy time because they don't know what's going to happen next. Whether this is because of deadlines or creative difficulties doesn't matter. It is most certainly a bad omen when a writer puts off answering questions.
Despite it's shortcomings. Fabok's art makes it worth a buy just to look at the covers.