You can’t keep a good Batman down, and certainly not that of his own father.
His first appearance since the Batman-Flash crossover story called “The Button,” Flashpoint Batman made his presence known to his son, but as an enemy rather than proud parent.
For those who aren’t aware of this version, 2005’s Flashpoint event that preceded DC’s The New 52 saw Barry Allen awaken in an alternate timeline populated by alternate versions of his fellow heroes, including a Batman that was Bruce’s own father, Dr. Thomas Wayne. In that timeline, Bruce had been killed in Crime Alley, which led to Wayne adopting the persona of Batman while his mother Martha fell to insanity, becoming that reality’s Joker. This Batman was ruthless and lethal, using a crooked casino as a bait and hook for Gotham’s underworld connections only to be taken out permanently later. The biggest key difference is that this Batman carried a gun, including the gun that Joe Chill used to kill his son. He aided Flash to return the timeline to normal, even if it meant his reality would be wiped away. However, as revealed in last year’s “The Button,” the timeline survived, allowing for a father-and-son reunion between Thomas and his adult son. They parted ways with Thomas’s urging Bruce to give up being Batman for the sake of his son, Damian, before the timeline seemingly collapsed.
Again, Flashpoint Batman did not die, as he appeared on the final page of Batman #50, now allied with his son’s most deadliest enemy, Bane. Further, Bane has been revealed as the source of much strife in the Dark Knight’s days recently, such as Catwoman leaving him at the altar – influenced by friend Holly Robinson, also under Bane’s influence – and Nightwing being shot in the head by the KGBeast. These events have made Bruce all the more emotional and ruthless in his methods.
The best and most relevant example of this was his following The Penguin’s tip on Bane pretending to be in a state of regression at Arkham as a cover after falling out with his cabal. Bruce proceeded to brutally interrogate Bane to no avail, and even striking longtime friend Jim Gordon when he tried to pull him off. Still, in #60, readers find Batman continuing his assault on Gotham’s underworld for one person to offer testimony that confirms both his suspicions and Cobblepot’s claims. At the same time, the Batcave is breached and both Alfred and Penguin – blindfolded and under guard – are assaulted. Batman gets back to HQ expecting Bane, but instead discovers his father.
Or is it?
If it is Thomas Wayne under that cowl, how far is he willing to go to enforce his wishes for his son to stop being Batman? What is his true motive for allying himself with a man who once crippled his boy? But, if this isn’t Thomas Wayne, and instead an impostor, how could Bane have known about Flashpoint? What is his endgame?
Time will tell as writer Tom King continues Batman’s journey down the rabbit hole and the direction he’s now taking with one of the most controversial versions of The Dark Knight in recent years.