Launched in May 2016, DC's "Rebirth" arc has transformed the comic industry. It's refreshed DC's entire line of titles, brought comic book sales to a 20-year peak, and revealed DC's answer to Marvel's 'Legacy Heroes'. But perhaps the most impressive aspect of "Rebirth" is that it's essentially a mystery story that will be told over the course of two years - ultimately revealing who stole time from the DC universe, destroyed countless relationships, and why they did it!
DC's two greatest detectives are playing a major role in the ongoing "Rebirth" arc and now, #DC has revealed that #Batman and #TheFlash will unite to investigate the mystery of "The Button" in April 2017!
Wait, The Button?
During DC Universe - Rebirth #1, the comic that launched this whole new era, the original Wally West was trapped in the timestream. He reached out to Batman, but couldn't get a strong enough foothold in reality, and was lost to the timestream. (Don't worry, by the end of the issue he's rescued by Barry Allen.)
Flash's lightning struck the walls of the Batcave and later, embedded in the wall, Batman found a button. It wasn't one that belonged to Wally West. It was a very distinctive button.
Fans of #Watchmen will recognize that bloody button. It's the pin traditionally associated with the character known as the Comedian, one of the main stars of Watchmen.
Enter the Watchmen
You have to understand that DC's "Rebirth" is perhaps the most self-aware relaunch we've ever seen in comics. Back in the 1980s, Alan Moore's Watchmen transformed the comic book industry. Inspired by Watchmen's dark themes (check out one of the best moments from the movie adaptation in the video above), DC allowed their superheroes to become gods walking among men, distanced from the world. Many of the core relationships - such as #Superman and Lois Lane - were abandoned after the pattern of Doctor Manhattan.
DC Universe - Rebirth #1 was essentially a repudiation of all that had gone before. It revealed that a decade of history was removed from the timeline, and strategically at that; heroes that were legends became novices, bonds were weakened or erased while legacies were destroyed. It was also hinted that the villains of the piece were the characters from Watchmen.
Yes, "Rebirth" has posited characters like Doctor Manhattan as the threats that must eventually be overcome in the current DC Universe. It's a symbolic rejection of Watchmen's legacy.
Solving the Mystery
Right now, the heroes are nowhere near putting the pieces together. But an arc entitled "The Button" appears set to change that. A crossover between Tom King's Batman and Joshua Williamson's Flash, the four-issue story looks set to be a key moment in the "Rebirth" arc.
Here's what we know of the official DC Comics solicitation:
"The two greatest detectives in the DC Universe unite to unravel the mystery behind a certain blood stained smiley face button stuck in the Batcave wall. However, what begins as a simple investigation soon turns deadly when the secrets of the button prove irresistible to an unwelcome third party – and it’s not who anyone suspects! This is a mystery woven throughout time, and the countdown starts here!"
One year into DC's "Rebirth" and it's pretty clear that this crossover event will set up the next arc. We know that great things are in store - Geoff Johns has even teased that he's returning to comics while giving a none-too-subtle hint that this will involve Watchmen.
My bet is that it will all flow from "The Button".
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- The Pros and Cons Of Resurrecting 'The Watchmen' In A Comic Book Run
DC's "Rebirth" has been a wildly successful ride so far, and - given that Geoff Johns seems to have mapped out a the entire arc - we can expect the next year to be just as good. "The Button", which will run through issues #21 and #22 of Batman and The Flash, looks set to be an event that no DC fan can afford to miss.
Are you looking forward to learning the secrets of "The Button"?
(Source: DC Comics; Poll Image Credit: DC Comics)