Marvel and DC Comics writer Tom King has certainly made a name for himself by penning some excellent story arcs. Among them, and perhaps most notable, is the Batman story arc ‘City of Bane’. As the title of the arc suggests, Bane is involved and up to some good old fashion crime, but the real threat of this arc isn’t actually Bane, but a Batman from an alternate timeline and the father of Batman, Thomas Wayne.
You probably recognize Thomas Wayne’s version of Batman as the one from Flashpoint, but that isn’t the only arc involving the character. Despite Bruce’s parents dying, Thomas still very much lived on in Flashpoint and another story arc called ‘The Button’ where we, as readers, were under the impression that the paradox of those events had been closed off and Thomas Wayne’s life as Batman was no more. However, that turns out isn’t the case at all.
In an interesting twist of fate, readers get what they believed was the final glimpse of Thomas Wayne/Batman where he tells his son Bruce not to be Batman. Thomas, recognizing the pain and suffering of losing those closest, advises Bruce to give up the cape and cowl and live a normal life. He pleads with Bruce to let Batman die with him and to raise a son of his own, suggesting that Thomas and the late Martha do not need Bruce to become Batman as a form of revenge or justice. They would much rather have their son live on happily than continue to live a life of agony. It is at that point that Thomas is seemingly no more and disregarding his father’s dying words, Bruce continues on to be Batman anyway. And that is the end of that. Or so we thought…
In Batman no.84, Thomas Wayne is kidnapped by Reverse Flash, where Thomas is brought to the main continuity and timeline that our Bruce Wayne/Batman exists. It is here that Thomas Wayne sees the very same Bruce Wayne that he begged to give up being Batman doing just the opposite of his dying requests. From here, Thomas makes a very unusual decision to work with Bane and cause more suffering to his son as an attempt to prove that being Batman is not worth giving up a normal life.
Thomas, once more pleading with his son, begs Bruce to give up the painful life of Batman and ‘take off the mask’ and ‘marry the girl’, adding that Bruce needs to live the life that Thomas himself regrets not living. If nothing else, this moment between father and son is one where the latter tries to inform the former that a life of peace outweighs whatever being Batman brings. Otherwise, Thomas will continue to cause Bruce pain until he comes around to see things as his father does.
Clearly Bruce would never do this, and as a result, Thomas Wayne will be bringing the consequences, in a merciless attempt to teach his son a valuable lesson. This turns out to be the most severe case of ‘do as I say and not as I do’ that we have ever seen, but hey, that’s comic books.
Tom King will return with a new comic series ‘Batman/Catwoman’, after his previous arc ended with Batman no.85.