For the last few months, since Tom Taylor took over as writer of Earth 2, one central mystery has risen above the rest: Who is the new Batman of Earth 2? The character clearly had some ties to Bruce Wayne, had superpowers - strength, speed, invulnerability, but also didn't know that much about the former wearer of the suit.
Today, that mystery is solved in Earth 2 Annual #2, and while some may have been spoiled by a toy listing, the how and why is as big a revelation as the who.
SPOILERS ON, Kiddos!
Apparently, when Bruce and his parents were standing in Crime Alley on Earth 2, it was all arranged, and Joe Chill? Well he was a hitman for Francesco Falcone (Newsarama Note: The initial digital version said "Francavilla" as a nod to the popular artist, but was later updated to Falcone to match the print edition. Seems like someone didn't get likeness clearance). But here's the doozy: Thomas Wayne had been working with and for the Falcone crime family, and when he quit, the relationship was ended poorly.
And of course, so did the hit: Thomas Wayne survived. With the help of a friend at the hospital, he was declared dead, got off the grid, and disappeared, only to come back years later and begin to exact his revenge. After stealing Miraclo from his friend Rex Mason (Yes, Mason, who DC Comics fans will know better as Metamorpho, not Rex Tyler who was the user of Miraclo as Hourman in the old universe), he was able to give himself superpowers for an hour at a time. We won't go into the details of his rampage, but Bruce discovered him (as he always does), and essentially disowned his father.
And now, with Bruce dead, Thomas has taken up the mantle of the Bat, and the Miraclo once more, to honor his son's legacy in a little subversion of the usual family dynamic.
The revelation came as Thomas told his full story to Lois "Red Tornado" Lane and Hawkgirl in the Annual. But what does this all mean for the character and for Earth 2? Well for one, overall Earth 2 and its initial batch of "Wonders" has been painted with an idyllic brush so far. Everyone loved the Trinity, and Batman found happiness with Catwoman, their daughter Helena, and a better life than he'd achieved on the main DC Earth. Of course this changes all of that, with a darkness and a sinister nature to this Earth that was heretofor unseen. As for Thomas/Batman's future with the makeshift alliance of heroes (can't quite call them a team yet), there will of course be further trust issues; while those were there when his identity was hidden, they could be even moreso knowing who and what he is.
We also now have a world where Batman is essentially Hourman, and that also begs the question of whether Rex Mason was namedropped just for a little nod, or for a hint at a future for that character on this Earth.
We'll have more on the new Thomas Wayne Batman with Tom Taylor later.