Synopsis for "The Button, Part 3"
In the Flashpoint Timeline, the climax of the war between Aquaman and Wonder Woman rages on. All the while, Thomas Wayne remembers how it all started for him with the death of his son. He remembers the war spreading across the world. He remembers how the Flash came and told him that the reality he knew was a lie. Flash told him that he created Flashpoint in trying to save his mother's life, and that he was meant to die in that alley instead of Bruce. Learning from Flash that his son was meant to live gave him hope for the first time since he died. He put his faith in Flash to make everything right so Bruce could live.
However, something kept Flashpoint on life support, and things kept going. Thomas remembers his time as a doctor, and how when a patient was beyond saving, he would let them pass on rather than cause more pain trying to save them. He explains that the war continued, and millions more died as a result. Thomas berates himself for thinking he could do anything to save Bruce as he waits for what's coming. Aquaman and Wonder Woman actually agreed on something: send soldiers to end the Batman. He recalls that in the original timeline, two bullets took him and Martha away from Bruce. Now, he intends to use the dead man's switch in his hand to go and see his son again.
As he prepares to blow the Batcave up, he hears a flash of light and a sound of thunder. At that moment, Bruce and Barry touch down in Flashpoint. As the two get their bearings, Thomas approaches Bruce, who is shocked to see his father standing before him. Thomas believes that what he sees is a trick, and when Barry tries to tell him otherwise, he grabs him and tries to punch him. Barry speeds away and explains that something has gone wrong. Even though several months have passed since Barry corrected Flashpoint, someone or something kept the timeline intact. He and Bruce were trying to tail whoever is responsible, but they wound up there.
Barry tells both Batmen that even though it seems unreal, whatever is happening has allowed father and son to meet. After scanning the world's vibrational frequency, Barry gets confusing results: even though they're standing in an alternate history that shouldn't exist, they are still in their natural timeline. He theorizes that Flashpoint is being held in place, similar to the other pieces of history they saw, and someone is holding it together to haunt them. As Thomas tries to get Bruce to at least look at him, Barry decides to get started on putting the Cosmic Treadmill back together.
When he hears what Barry plans to do, Thomas explains that he needs to move fast. Barry claims it will only take a minute, but Thomas responds that they don't have a minute. When he asks why, Atlantean and Amazon soldiers storm the cave to kill them. Thomas tells them to leave as he draws his gun to fend them off, but Bruce knocks the gun out of his hand with a Batarang. He declares that they will all leave together, but Thomas only wants Barry and Bruce to leave. As Barry gathers the remains of the Treadmill, Bruce and Thomas prepare to engage the soldiers. Bruce asks if the Cave has a security system, but Thomas never bothered to plan for intruders, as Martha was the planner in the family. In light of that, they resolve to settle things with their fists. Bruce tells him that he has questions about the letter Barry delivered, but Thomas tells him to hold them because it is time to fight.
As they defeat the attackers, Barry manages to get the Treadmill fixed. As Bruce takes out the last Atlantean, he and Thomas talk about the last time they were in the cave together. Thomas asks if Bruce recalls what he told him that day, and he says he barely remembers. Thomas was whispering to avoid scaring the bats. As Bruce finally gets comfortable enough to call Thomas dad, Barry prepares to charge up the Treadmill. At that moment though, all of Flashpoint begins to disintegrate. Barry realizes that whatever was keeping Flashpoint alive just released its grip. Bruce tells his father that the letter he sent was the greatest gift anyone had ever given him. He knew he would never get to respond, but he knew if he had a chance, he wanted to tell him one thing above all else: that he has a grandson. Barry shouts that the Treadmill is charging even though he isn't running and that it will leave whether they're on it or not.
Bruce tries to get Thomas to come with him. In response, Thomas pushes him onto the treadmill, and Barry has to hold Bruce back as the Treadmill reaches full charge. As Wayne Manor begins to disappear, Thomas tells Barry to keep his promise to save his son. Barry tries to convince Thomas to come along, but he stays put. Before leaving, Thomas tells Bruce that he was his world, and the moment he delivered him, he knew every choice he made had been right because they led to him existing. He tells his son that he was the greatest gift life ever gave him. He also tells him something he failed to mention in the letter: to not be Batman, even for his and Martha's sake, and to find happiness and be a father to his son. He implores him to let Batman die with him. Bruce cries out to let them save him, but as they disappear into the timestream, Thomas says to himself that they already have. He then smashes his detonator as Wayne Manor disappears. As he puts his mask on one last time, he remembers the conversation he had with Bruce when he fell into what would become the Batcave. He remembers whispering to his son that even though they fall, Bruce needed to remember that Waynes never stay down...they rise. At that, Thomas charges headfirst into the white void and Flashpoint is erased from existence.
As they travel through time, Bruce tries to think of a way to return, but Barry reminds him that there's no way to return because there's nothing to return to. Flashpoint is gone, and even if it wasn't, Barry notices that time is falling apart . He doesn't know why the button's radiation trail led where it did, but now they can't afford to stop moving. Batman tries to figure out why they were sent to Flashpoint only to have it be destroyed. Barry figures that the entity that stole time to hurt them sent them to Flashpoint for the same reason. As they continue to theorize, something unexpected happens: Reverse-Flash races past them, asking how they managed to track him down. Batman notices that Thawne is still holding the button, meaning that this is Thawne right before he dies. Barry figures that they somehow doubled back in time and ended up in the same place as Thawne. He then tries to warn Eobard of his impending death, but he claims he already knows the source of the button's power. Thawne charges ahead, claiming this being has never met anyone like him.
Appearing in "The Button, Part 3"
- Batman (Bruce Wayne)
- Batman (Thomas Wayne) (Flashback and main story)
- The Flash (Flashback and main story)
- Emperor Aquaman (Dies) (Flashback only)
- Wonder Woman (Flashpoint) (Dies) (Flashback only)
- Cyborg (Flashpoint) (Flashback only)
- Martha Wayne (Flashpoint) (In a photograph only)
- Damian Wayne (Mentioned only)
- Joe Chill (Flashpoint) (Mentioned only)
- Wally West (Mentioned only)
- This is the third chapter of the "The Button" storyline. It takes place after the events of The Flash (Volume 5) #21 and the storyline concludes in The Flash (Volume 5) #22.
- This issue is reprinted in Batman/The Flash: The Button.