In Infinite Frontier #4, the Batman created by Flashpoint finally realized that his opinion of and campaign against Bruce Wayne was misguided.
Warning: The following contains spoilers for Infinite Frontier #4, on sale now from Marvel Comics.
Infinite Frontier, the DC Comics miniseries exploring the new Multiverse after the events of Dark Nights: Death Metal, has put the spotlight on a fan-favorite character in a new way, leading the twisted version of Batman from the Flashpoint universe through a slow journey of redemption and self-healing. Written by Joshua Williamson with art by the team of Paul Pelletier, Jesus Merino, Xermanico, Norm Rapmund, Raul Fernandez and Hi-Fi, Infinite Frontier #4 brings Thomas Wayne to the realization that his crusade to sway Bruce Wayne away from his mission as Batman was misguided.
Originally introduced in the DC Comics event Flashpoint, where Barry Allen accidentally rewrote reality after saving his mother’s life, this version of Batman is actually Bruce Wayne’s father. In that reality, Thomas and Martha Wayne survived the murder of their son, which drove Martha into madness as the Joker and resulted in Thomas becoming a much more violent Batman.
The Flashpoint universe came to an end when Barry Allen seemingly set things right. However, Thomas Wayne somehow survived and came back to haunt his son during Tom King’s Batman run, culminating in the “City of Bane” storyline. In that story, Thomas oversaw the death of Alfred Pennyworth and attempted to strip Bruce of his support structure and extended Bat-Family. As explained in Infinite Frontier, Thomas believed that by doing this he had a second chance at rescuing the son he lost in his universe. Viewing the mantle of Batman as a curse, Thomas wanted to isolate Bruce to make him realize that his life could be fuller without the cape and cowl. Although his methods were brutal, Thomas saw his actions as an attempt at redemption.
Paired with President Superman of Earth-23 after mysteriously arriving in his universe, Thomas admits he ruined his chance to regain his family, and that he had hurt his son and has no interest in seeing the damage he might have caused. This moment of clarity, coming after being isolated and lost in the Multiverse, is a defining beat for the dark reflection of Batman, where he seems to turn away from his grim and vengeful image somewhat.
After investigating the death of his world’s Lex Luthor, President Superman offhandedly refers to Batman as a “great hero.” When they return to the headquarters of the Multiverse-defending Justice Incarnate, Thomas asks the sentient computer Harbinger to bring up its files on Bruce Wayne. Thomas sees a vast array of alternate versions of Batman from across many different worlds. Looking at this, he realizes that his experience in the Flashpoint universe was unique, where Batman meant a doomed existence, cursed to be isolated and suffer tragedy. But seeing the many versions of his son turn his trauma into selflessness, Flashpoint Batman realizes that Bruce has surpassed him. Looking at Earth 0, the main DC Universe, Thomas also realizes he failed. Instead of destroying the Batman, he came back even stronger, with a family that is more cohesive than it has been in years.
The emotional moment gives Thomas a new understanding of the hope that Batman represents in the darkened alleys of Gotham City and the Multiverse at large. Batman is a symbol of the human potential to overcome great pain, inspiring and bringing together broken people into a family unit of their own. As he sees the assembled Bat-Family on Earth 0 Thomas begins to understand that Bruce was always Batman, and he was nothing but a “foolish and scared man.”
Just as Thomas began to realize the error of his ways and stood on the precipice of treading a path of righteousness inspired by the example of his son and his experience with President Superman, his life is potentially cut short. Machine Head, a traitorous member of Justice Incarnate, shoots him in the back. With the news of the upcoming Justice League Incarnate series, Flashpoint Batman is poised to recover from these injuries with a new lease on life, and a renewed commitment to atone for his failures and misdeeds.
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