One of Rebirth's biggest mysteries has been who stole time from the DC Universe, a mystery linked to several characters from DC's iconic Watchmen. Those strands are being picked up in a bigger way starting in Batman #21, and the result is a reunion between father and son that many have wanted for some time.
Spoilers for Batman #21 incoming, so you've been warned.
In this week's Batman #21, Bruce is researching the mysterious smiley face button that he found stuck in his cave wall, a button that is the calling card of the Watchmen. He's been seemingly analyzing it for weeks, but upon coming in contact with Psycho Pirate's mask (recently obtained in the "I Am Bane" storyline), it reacts and a figure appears in front of him. That figure is Thomas Wayne, Bruce's father, but it's the Thomas Wayne from the Flashpoint universe, who took on the cowl after the loss of his son. He appears and asks "Bruce?". Bruce reaches out to grab his hand while saying "Father?", though it phases through as the figure disappears.
He goes on to tell Flash his theory, that the radiation on the button triggered at the contact with Psycho Pirate's mask and opened a hole in the speed force. Since the Flashpoint event was the reason Thomas Wayne's Batman exists in the first place, perhaps that is why Bruce saw his father there. It could also be the mask itself that is allowing Bruce to see his father in another universe, but only time will tell.
Regardless, Bruce doesn't have much time to dwell on it though, as he's quickly fighting for his life when an intruder enters the cave. The intruder? Someone who's well acquainted with Thomas Wayne, the Reverse Flash. He was killed at the hands of Thomas in at the end of Flashpoint, and it does seem he's still a bit bitter about it.
You can view the spoiler images in the gallery. Batman #21 is in stores now, which acts as part one of "The Button". Part two can be found in The Flash #21, which is in stores next Wednesday. The description can be found below.
"THE BUTTON" part two! The cataclysmic events of DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH #1 continue here! The Dark Knight and The Fastest Man Alive, the two greatest detectives on any world, unite to explore the mystery behind a certain blood-stained smiley button embedded in the Batcave wall. What starts as a simple investigation turns deadly when the secrets of the button prove irresistible to an unwelcome third party—and it's not who anyone suspects! It's a mystery woven through time, and the ticking clock starts here!