Batman #21 sees the mystery of DC Rebirth begin to unfold…

When the DC Universe rebooted last year with Rebirth, the rumour was that it all had to do with Doctor Manhattan from Watchmen. Now, we’re beginning to see the ramifications of that revelation as Batman teams up with The Flash to discover what the mysterious, but iconic, smiley face button has to do with everything. What follows is a world shattering storyline, that still manages to develop well established characters further than we thought. And that’s where the issue really begins to take off.

Having the Caped Crusader and the Scarlet Speedster team up means we also get something of a crossover with the villains. Specifically, Professor Zoom. And his role in this issue is nothing short of brutal. In terms of time, the issue lasts all of 60 seconds – but it’s a minute that nearly kills Bruce. Seeing Batman face off against a speedster is thoroughly thrilling, as Zoom isn’t a villain we see him go up against regularly. And it even pulls the emotional punches when Zoom rips up the letter sent to him through Flashpoint from Thomas Wayne.

But as Batman #21 draws to a close and we see what happens to Zoom, the mystery goes further. Especially when you consider that Doctor Manhattan has powers very similar to what we witness. It’s obvious Manhattan has something to do with Flashpoint and then the subsequent Rebirth continuity. But it’s fascinating to see it all come to fruition. The issue ends on something of a cliffhanger, as The Flash arrives to a scene of destruction and carnage. We do have to take a second to talk about the artwork of the issue. There’s some brilliant moments that really echo back to Watchmen in a visual way. It utilises the yellow, black and red colour scheme of the button and the costume of the Reverse Flash to create some hugely dynamic panels. It looks fantastically brutal.

Our only problem with the first issue of the story, is that it just dangles the answers right in front of our faces, and snatches them away right when they could be revealed. It still works brilliantly as an introduction to the story, but it’s frustrating being so close to seeing Doctor Manhattan again. Are we hugely excited for the next part of the story? You bet.

9.0 Incredible start

Batman #21 strives to start a world shattering storyline that delivers in every aspect, and succeeds.

  • Character Development 9.4
  • Plot 9.5
  • Colours 10
  • Dangling the answers 7
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