"The Button, Part Two": An old man is seen standing on the rooftop of a retirement home, calling out for a thunderbolt, begging for it to come back to him. As the orderlies find him, they complain about how a ninety-year-old can fight so much. As they drag him
Synopsis for "The Button, Part Two"
An old man is seen standing on the rooftop of a retirement home, calling out for a thunderbolt, begging for it to come back to him. As the orderlies find him, they complain about how a ninety-year-old can fight so much. As they drag him back inside, he rants about his thunderbolt telling him to find his friends, and how he was responsible for the loss of the Justice Society.
Meanwhile, Barry has set up the Batcave like a crime scene to study Batman's brawl with Reverse-Flash. As he goes over everything, he thinks about how people cope with loss. He remembers the first crime scene he ever saw: the site of his mother's murder. Barry coped with the loss by dedicating his studies to forensics, and that dedication was why he was in his lab the night he became The Flash. Nowadays, that dedication has given him a gift that wasn't granted by the Speed Force: the ability to process a crime scene before he runs tests. Seeing the scene laid out before him, he can see from the blood that each punch was meant to torture and not to kill. He sees how the melee went all around the Cave, and how it ended with the death of Eobard Thawne, the man who murdered his mother. The man who went back in time to change Barry's entire history, as part of his "Revenge in Reverse," and kept Barry in fear that he would target someone else close to him. Barry pauses for a moment to tell his mother that it's over. However, he knows that Thawne's death won't change the past, and that this death wasn't justice. He also knows that a being capable of murdering Thawne must have incredible power.
As he scans Eobard's remains, he realizes that his Speed Force signature is the same as Barry's, rather than the energy of the Negative Speed Force he is supposed to be reliant on. As he races to check on Alfred's progresses, he wonders if he will kill Thawne in the future. Alfred reports that all of the cameras were killed in the fight, which Barry attributes to Thawne's lightning emission. With that avenue exhausted, he heads into Wayne Manor to talk with the only witness: Bruce.
Barry listens as a brutally injured Bruce recounts his fight with Thawne, ending with his last words about seeing God. As they swap theories, Barry thinks about when he joined the Justice League. That day was the first time he felt like he had real friends. However, Bruce was the only one who understood his forensic scientist side. Bruce tries to find a test Barry may not have run, but they both know there's no test he wouldn't have thought to run. Bruce then talks about the blood on the button, but there's no DNA match in any database they can access. Barry then brings up the button's reaction to Psycho-Pirate's mask. Bruce tells Barry about the vision of his father. Even through the Batsuit, he recognized him by the way he carried himself and by his voice. Barry realizes that it was the Flashpoint version of his father. Barry blames himself for everything because he created the Flashpoint, but Bruce reminds him that whoever altered everything was active long before Flashpoint happened and that they are missing something. Barry then mentions the button: how it appeared when Wally returned, how Thawne was drawn to it, and caused a vision of Flashpoint Thomas. He also mentions that after Wally returned, he had two visions: one of Thawne, and the other of the Helmet of Mercury, and how the latter vision inexplicably filled him with hope. Bruce feels that Barry is hiding something, but he claims that he's been open about the investigation. However, Bruce meant that he may be glad his mother's killer is dead. He claims that he's not, promises to call about any updates, and leaves.
Barry heads to the Watchtower, and thinks to himself about the detail he did hide from Bruce: Thawne's energy signature matching his. Actually, he did hide one other detail: Thawne's corpse contained the same radiation the button emitted, but in quantities too large for it to have come from the button. He theorizes that wherever Thawne went, the place was saturated with the same radiation as the button. He then reaches the League storage room for stray artifacts recovered from missions, dubbed by Hal Jordan The Hall of Lost and Found. He then remembers his conversation with Wally upon his return: how he spoke of a threat greater than Darkseid was watching them, and that it altered their lives to hurt them. Barry worries that Wally will be upset he didn't come to him for help, but he doesn't want to risk losing him again. He then finds what he was looking for in the Hall: the Cosmic Treadmill he and Wally used to wield to travel through time. Though he swore never to use it again, he chose not to destroy it in case a rainy day ever came. However, there is a storm on the horizon, and Barry feels that it is worth breaking his vow over.
Firing up the Treadmill, Barry remembers the last time he used it: when he went back in time and accidentally created Flashpoint. However, he has a slightly less risky goal in mind. He intends to go back in time to find out who killed Eobard and is manipulating time. As he prepares to start running, a voice asks him if he really thought he would let him go alone. It turns out Barry tripped the Hall's alarm and Bruce wanted to see the case through badly enough to come. Barry tries to convince him not to come, as he is badly injured and time-travel is already extremely risky, but Bruce tells him they are wasting time. Accepting the futility of arguing, he starts running and the two enter the Timestream. The first thing Barry notices is there is a literal storm in the timestream. As it becomes turbulent, Bruce points out an alternate version of the Justice League's formation. However, Barry realizes that they are seeing the missing years Wally mentioned. As the storm gets closer, Barry tries to outrun it, but an energy bolt throws them off the Treadmill. They manage to cling to the damaged mill as they are flung into an unknown corner of time.
As they recover, the two notice two things. Barry notices that the Cosmic Treadmill has been destroyed. Bruce notices that they are in the Batcave, albeit in its earlier stages. He then notices a trophy case containing the gun that killed his parents. Bruce asks where they are, but Barry's fears are proven true when Thomas Wayne appears: the two have been flung into the Flashpoint Timeline.
Appearing in "The Button, Part Two"
- The Flash (Flashback and main story)
- Batman (Bruce Wayne) (Flashback and main story)
- Reverse-Flash (Flashback and corpse)
- Alfred Pennyworth
- Batman (Thomas Wayne)
- Joe Chill (Flashback only)
- Johnny Thunder
- Justice League of America (Pre-Crisis) (In a vision)
- Skeets (Cameo)
- Starro (Cameo)
- Kid Flash (Flashback only)
- Bruce Wayne (Flashpoint) (In a photograph only)
- Martha Wayne (Flashpoint) (In a photograph only)
- Martha Wayne (In a photograph only)
- Thomas Wayne (In a photograph only)
- The Joker (In a photograph only)
- A.R.G.U.S. (Mentioned only)
- Darkseid (Mentioned only)
- D.O.E. (Mentioned only)
- Hal Jordan (Mentioned only)
- Iris West (Pre-Flashpoint) (Mentioned only)
- Justice League (Mentioned only)
- Nora Allen (Mentioned only)
- Nora Allen (Flashpoint) (Mentioned only)
- Psycho-Pirate (Mentioned only)
- S.T.A.R. Labs (Mentioned only)
- Earth-One (In a vision)
- Flashpoint Timeline (Flashback and main story)
- Prime Earth (Flashback and main story)
- Justice League Watchtower
- Batman's T-Rex
- Comedian's Button (Flashback only)
- Cosmic Treadmill (Destroyed)
- Giant Joker Card
- Giant Penny
- Medusa Mask (Mentioned only)
- This is the second chapter of the "The Button" storyline. It takes place after the events of Batman (Volume 3) #21 and the storyline continues in Batman (Volume 3) #22.
- This issue is reprinted in Batman/The Flash: The Button.