Writer: Tom King / Artist: Jason Fabok / DC Comics

During one of the many casual conversations between the Black Nerd Problems crew earlier, a colleague used the phrase, “I’m like Batman, I need prep time.” No one questioned it because it’s common knowledge among nerd folk that what makes Batman special is that he takes more effort to prepare than anyone he goes up against. Given the events of Batman #21 this week, I found this observation rather timely.

In the latest issue, we pick back up with Batman’s investigation into what appears to be The Comedian’s bloody smiley face button from Watchmen. It appears that we’re learning more about the events that led to Rebirth.

During his investigations, Batman’s suddenly knocked down by a bolt of lightning and shocked to see a vision of his father from Flashpoint. He calls Flash, whose in the middle of a fight of his own, and arranges a meeting so they can look further into what just happened. Flash tells him he’ll be there in a minute’s time and that’s where the story gets even more interesting as Eobard Thawne/Professor Zoom/Reverse Flash shows up.

Most of this issue was drawn using a nine-panel grid, which was used very effectively to show how much damage someone with the Speed Force can do in so little time. In just 60 or so seconds, Reverse Flash and Batman have a fight that would mostly look like a blur to the naked eye. While Thawne enjoyed toying with the much slower Batman, the latter was able to use that same prep time to his advantage.

By the end of the issue, Thawne gives us what may be our biggest clue as Thawne, who doesn’t even know how he came back to life, is transported somewhere. He suddenly reappears after being mostly disintegrated by some blue light and claims he saw God. Yes, DC is still hinting that Doctor Manhattan is responsible for Rebirth. We’ll have to wait until next issue to see.

In other news, the issue also regularly featured a hockey game that connected all of its main characters. Batman was watching it turn into a brutal brawl from the Batcave, Flash was too late to stop it from turning fatal and Saturn Girl was watching from Arkham Asylum – for reasons we’ll surely find out later.

In short, issue #21 gave readers an opportunity to step back into the Rebirth event that may have slipped their minds, but in a BIG way.

8.7 out of 10

Reading Batman? Find BNP’s other reviews of the series here.

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