If there is a trademark for the demise of Tom King’s Batman Run, it may be that whatever you think is going to happen, it is not. For example, his last part of the series is called “City of Bane,” but it’s becoming increasingly clear that the real villain of the whole is not Bane at all. It’s Thomas Wayne, Bruce Wayne’s dad.
Thomas has been a recurrent character in Kings Run since 2017, and his recent appearances reveal his dangerous aversion to Bruce and the rest of the Bat family. In Batman # 84, the penultimate Batman edition of King, King and artist Jorge Fornes have launched a final showdown between father and son, giving Thomas an expanded genesis that reveals much more about his twisted idea of how he can help his son happy.
(Ed. Note: This piece contains spoilers for Batman # 84.)
Thomas Wayne is dead, but not dead
The first thing anyone knows about Batman is that his parents are dead. That’s still true: The Thomas Wayne, shown in Batman # 84, is the Thomas Wayne on another timeline, in which the young Bruce was killed in an alley while his parents watched, and not the other way around.
During that time Martha Wayne had a nervous breakdown, a smile on her face and, well – you can probably guess how it turned out. In the meantime, Thomas Wayne put on the cape and a red-eyed hood to avenge his son, and blew away the criminals with double pistols.
It was assumed that this alternative story ended up being properly tuned, but it turned out that it had lasted long enough for Batman and Flash to visit her in the Batman / Flash crossover story The Button 2017, written by Tom King and Joshua Williamson and drawn by Jason Fabok and Howard Porter. And even then, it looked like the whole thing, including Thomas Wayne, was hidden in the multiversal ether, never to be seen again.
Until then, Thomas Wayne inexplicably re-emerged as one of Bane’s allies in the Batman # 50 of 2018. Now Batman reveals # 84 how he survived the death of his chronicle and why he’s so intent on destroying Bruce’s life.
It’s for the best, son
To this end, Batman # 84 tells the story of Thomas Wayne backwards, starting with his last confrontation with Bruce and ending with a night of kneeling over his little son’s bed and – parallel to Bruce’s oath on the war against criminals – He swore “to spend the rest of my life fighting anything that could hurt you.” In between, we see the murder of Bruce, Martha’s descent, and Thomas’s first actions as the deadly mirror of Batman.
We also get a new twist: Thomas meets the Catwoman of his timeline and she became his “Robin”. She fought the crime together, she moved into the mansion and she convinced him to cheer up a bit, ie to stop killing people. Of course Martha / Joker finally killed her.
Selina’s death seems to have been a last straw for Thomas. At that point, he began to regard Batman as a curse. The issue rewrites a scene from The Button, in which Thomas uses his last words to tell Bruce, “Do not be Batman.”
Tom King, Jorge Fornes / DC Comics
Batman # 84 reveals that the reverse flash abducted Thomas and deposed him for perverted revenge in the DC universe rather than quit his dying chronicle. There, Thomas noticed that his son was still Batman and here began the real problems. Senior Wayne teamed with Bane to make Bruce’s life as Batman so miserable that he realized it was better to stop.
“Alfred is dead. And you’re not,” he tells Bruce at the end of Batman # 84. “Bane is broken and in a coma in Arkham Take off the mask Marry the girl Treat yourself to a life of warmth and peace. (…) Do what I should have done. ”
Or the message is clear, face the consequences.
Batman # 85 is Tom Kings latest release, though his story is continued in the upcoming miniseries Batman / Catwoman by Clay Mann. Beginning in January, writer James Tynion IV (Detective Comics) and artist Tony S. Daniel (Deathstroke) will direct Batman with a new story about the assassin Deathstroke.