Spoilers ahead for Batman #60.
Flashpoint Batman, the Thomas Wayne from an alternate universe who was teased 10 issues ago, just showed up in the Batcave at the end of this week’s Batman #60.
And Batman is about to meet his father again, but this time in the DCU.
Batman #60, by Tom King and Mikel Janín, is the latest chapter in a mega-story that has been building in the series since King took over more than two years ago. The villain behind most of the attacks on Batman and his family appears to be Bane, and for some reason, Flashpoint Batman is working for him.
In the Flashpoint universe, Thomas Wayne became Batman after his son died, but he was a brutal Batman who killed. The character became known as “Flashpoint Batman,” and a letter he wrote to his son in the DCU was one of the only things that survived the apparent destruction of the Flashpoint universe.
However, the Flashpoint universe survived in a pocket dimension, and Batman visited it briefly during “The Button” storyline. In that issue, Thomas Wayne urged Batman to give up his life as the Caped Crusader and live a happy life as a regular person. It was this confrontation that made Bruce decide to marry Catwoman, although that marriage fell through.
After that, Flashpoint Batman surprisingly showed up in Batman #50 and Batman #58, where it was revealed that Thomas is working for Bane.
Why? And what’s his part in Bane’s plan? That was never explained.
Several other people who were revealed in Batman #50 to be working with Bane have shown up in previous issues by King, including Riddler, Joker, Skeets, the Ventriloquist, Gotham Girl, Psycho Pirate, and Hugo Strange. Even Holly Robinson, who was involved in the cancelatipn of the wedding between Batman and Catwoman, was working for Bane.
But Batman doesn’t know any of that, and he can’t even prove that Bane is sane, let alone that the villain is working against him.
How did the current meeting between Thomas and Bruce come about? And what do the Penguin and Jim Gordon have to do with it? Let’s take a look at spoilers for Batman #60 to find out.
Out of Answers
For most of the issue, Batman is violently “interrogating” street-level villains who just got out of Arkham Asylum.
He’s asking them who runs Arkham, trying to get evidence against Bane.
But nobody is talking. Their stories all support the story that Bane is “broken” and never leaves his cell.
(Reminder: Batman believes from previous issues - and from Penguin squealing - that Bane is scheming against him, directing other people to attack Batman as part of a plan to “break” him. But every time Batman tries to find evidence to support his beliefs, he’s unable to get corroboration of his suspicions.)
No More Bat Signal
At GCPD, Jim Gordon is looking into the Freeze case (the one from a few issues back that went to trial and Bruce was on the jury). Harvey Bullock tells Gordon about how Batman beat up Freeze. Then he informs Gordon that Batman also attacked the Beast (after he shot Nightwing) a few issues ago.
Jim doesn’t look pleased about Batman beating up people.
Later, Jim Gordon learns about all of Batman’s brutal “interrogations” of Gotham villains. There were 13 in one night, he’s told - all guys who just got out of Arkham, and all had the crap beat out of them.
This is the last straw. Not only did Jim Gordon witness Batman freaking out on Bane in previous issues, but now he’s beating up a bunch of other people in Gotham City.
Jim Gordon grabs a baseball bat and goes to the roof. He destroys the Bat Signal. “No more!” he says.
Caged Bird Sings
Meanwhile, Alfred is talking with Penguin, who’s still in a cage in the Batcave and is now blindfolded. (Remember from last issue that Penguin is there for protection from Bane, who allegedly killed his wife Penny.)
Suddenly, Penguin hears someone else’s voice and freaks out. The readers aren’t shown what happened to Alfred, but the voice tells Penguin that he shouldn’t be afraid because they “knew” what he’d do. “And you’ve done it well,” the voice says. “We are pleased.”
“Whoever you are, Batman is coming!” Penguin yells.
“Don’t you understand?” the voice replies. “Batman isn’t coming. I’m already here.”
Penguin realizes the identity of the voice.
“I didn’t tell them! I didn’t say a word about you!” Penguin says. “Just Bane! Bane was all! It was just Penny, if it hadn’t … if you hadn’t … No!”
When Batman finally arrives home at the Batcave, the lights are out.
He finds Alfred crumpled on the ground, his head bruised. But Alfred has some bad news about who hurt him.
He says it was Bruce’s father.
Behind Batman is Thomas Wayne, the Flashpoint Batman.
The story continues with the upcoming "Knightmares" arc beginning in Batman #61, due out December 19.