Art by Gary Frank and Jon Sibal
|First appearance||Detective Comics #33 (November 1939)|
|Full name||Thomas Wayne|
|Team affiliations||Wayne Enterprises|
|Supporting character of||Batman
|Notable aliases||Batman (Flashpoint & DC Rebirth)
Thomas Wayne, M.D. is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics, commonly in association with the superhero Batman. The character was introduced in Detective Comics #33 (Nov. 1939) in the first exposition of Batman's origin story. He is the father of Bruce Wayne, who is Batman, and husband of Martha Wayne.
A gifted physician and philanthropist to Gotham City, Dr. Thomas Wayne inherited the Wayne family fortune after Patrick Wayne. When Dr. Wayne and his wife are murdered in a street robbery, Bruce Wayne becomes inspired to fight crime as the vigilante Batman.
The character was revived in Geoff Johns' alternate timeline comic Flashpoint (2011), in which he plays a major role as a hardened version of Batman, whose son was killed instead of his wife and himself, and dies again by the end of the storyline. Thomas Wayne returned to the main DC Universe in DC Rebirth, as a revived amalgamation of his original Dr. Thomas Wayne, M.D. self killed by Joe Chill and his Flashpoint Batman self killed by Eobard Thawne in "The Button", a storyline revolving around the "Smiley-face" button from Watchmen.
Thomas Wayne, M.D. is seldom shown outside of Bruce Wayne and Alfred Pennyworth's memories of him, and often through Bruce's dreams and nightmares. He is frequently depicted as looking very much like his son, but with a mustache.
A notable occurrence in Thomas's biography was when Bruce falls through a fissure on the Wayne property, into what would one day become the Batcave (sometimes the fissure is replaced with an abandoned well). Thomas eventually rescues his terrified son from the cave.
Dr. Wayne's role in his son's future vigilante career is expanded upon in The First Batman, a Silver Age tale which reveals that Dr. Wayne attacks and defeats hoodlums while dressed like a "Bat-Man" for a masquerade ball. According to the story, Dr. Wayne's actions result in crime boss Lew Moxon being imprisoned; ten years later, Moxon orders Joe Chill to murder Dr. Wayne. Realizing Moxon ordered his parents killed, Batman confronts Moxon, now suffering from amnesia and thus has no memory of Dr. Wayne. When his costume is torn, Batman wears his father's in order to frighten Moxon. Sure enough, the costume restores Moxon's memory; the former crime boss panics, believing that Thomas's ghost is attacking, and flees into the streets and is struck and killed by a truck. These events were retold in the 1980 miniseries The Untold Legend of the Batman. Following the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Thomas as the "First Batman" was retconned - he instead attends the masquerade ball as Zorro. This was retconned once more in the pages of Superman/Batman, where Superman, hoping to reverse some universe-altering change in the time streams, lands in a version of Gotham City in which Thomas never died, finding him giving out Halloween candy in the original Batman costume.
In many of the modern interpretations of the character, such as those by Frank Miller and Jeph Loeb, Thomas Wayne is portrayed as having been a distant, stern father, bestowing more kindness and generosity on his patients than his own son.
In Batman: The Long Halloween, a flashback reveals that Thomas Wayne saved the life of gangster Carmine Falcone. Falcone's father Vincent Falcone came to Wayne Manor and begged Thomas to save his dying son, who had been shot by rival gangster Luigi Maroni. Thomas wanted to take the younger Falcone to the hospital, but Vincent insisted that nobody know about the shooting; the surgery was thus performed in the dining room with Alfred assisting. After saving Carmine's life, he was offered a reward or favor, but refused to accept any form of payment. Unbeknownst to Thomas, young Bruce watched this all in silence from afar. Years later, Bruce contemplates whether Gotham would have been better off had his father let Falcone die; Alfred replies that Thomas would have helped anyone in need.
In Superman/Batman #50, it is revealed that, while on a drive with a pregnant Martha Wayne, Thomas witnesses a strange object fall to Earth. As he inspects it, Thomas' consciousness is transported to Krypton, and presented in a holographic form. There, he encounters Jor-El, wishing to know what kind of a world Earth is, as it is one of many possible candidates for him to send his son Kal-El to. Thomas tells Jor-El that the people of Earth aren't perfect, but are essentially a good and kind race, who would raise the child right, convincing Jor-El to send Kal-El there. Upon returning to his body, Thomas uses the technology in the Kryptonian probe to revitalize a failing Wayne Enterprises. Years later, the alien technology would be the basis of much of Batman's crimefighting technology. Thomas recorded his encounter in a diary, which was discovered by Bruce in the present day.
When exiting a theatre, Thomas and Martha Wayne are murdered by a mugger right in front of their son Bruce Wayne. This tragedy shocks Gotham and leads to Park Row (the street where it occurred) being labeled Crime Alley. Most importantly, it serves as the motivation for Bruce to become Batman.
Due to the many writers who have worked on Batman stories, and constant references due to the central importance of the murder to the Batman mythos, many of the factors concerning the event have varied.
Batman #430 includes a scene in which Thomas Wayne was having trouble with some investments, and is going to sell short. Bruce thinks that he needs some exercise to take his mind off of it and so offers to play catch with him, but Thomas angrily says no, striking him across the face. A hurt and resentful Bruce declares to his mother that he wishes Thomas were dead. Thomas takes the family to a movie to make it up to his son, and in an ironic twist of fate, Bruce's parents would be murdered that night; Bruce is haunted with guilt for years afterward.
Batman: Dark Victory asserts that the Wayne murders were the main cause of much of the corruption and crime in Gotham City; once it became clear that even wealthy, important people could be murdered so easily, citizens began to lose faith in the police, and the police themselves started to lose faith in their importance, leading to corruption within the force.
Consistent elements have included Thomas Wayne being murdered by a pistol, and Martha Wayne's pearl necklace being torn, with the pearls falling into the gutter. The murder takes place at 10:47 p.m. (the Batcave is accessed by Batman through his manor by turning the hands of a grandfather clock to this time.) In comic book continuity, the date of the murder has varied, although the 26th of June and September, the current canonical date, are the most significant examples.
Thomas and Martha Wayne are notable as two comic book characters who have remained dead. Since his death, Thomas has only appeared in the Batman series in flashback and in the occasional out-of-body experience or hallucination. His most significant appearance in this latter category is in the miniseries Batman: Death and the Maidens by Greg Rucka. In this story, Batman ingests an elixir given to him by his enemy Ra's al Ghul, and believes he is having a conversation with his dead parents. In Bruce's hallucination, his parents disapprove of his costumed crusade, wishing that he would put their deaths behind him and move on with his life. As she and Thomas depart, they assure Bruce that just because the passing of time has lessened his grief does not mean that he no longer loves them. As a result, Bruce is able to accept that he is Batman because he chooses to be, not because he has to be.
During Batman R.I.P., it is alleged that Thomas Wayne and Martha Wayne were leading a double life, secretly partaking in criminal endeavors, drug abuse and orgies while presenting a façade of respectability to the outside world. The alleged evidence is revealed to be doctored in the aftermath of the storyline, however.
Doctor Simon Hurt, head of The Black Glove and the mastermind behind Batman R.I.P., actually claims to be Thomas Wayne to both Bruce Wayne and Alfred Pennyworth. Although both of them rebuke him without hesitation, Hurt never explicitly drops the claim.
In the ongoing follow-up series, Batman & Robin, it is suggested that some, if not all, of these allegations have begun to circulate around Gotham; Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne attend a high society function where a few party guests vaguely mention the existence of rumors surrounding the family, and Dick tries to tie Bruce's absence from the public eye with being occupied with clearing his family's reputation. Matters come to a head when Hurt returns to the city, claiming to be Thomas Wayne in order to take control of Wayne Manor and establish himself as the new Batman, but Grayson and Damian outsmart him.
It is hinted at during the course of the Batman and Robin series that Simon Hurt's actual identity is Thomas Wayne, albeit one from the 17th century who was a 'black sheep' of the Wayne family and prolongs his life through occult rituals. The Return of Bruce Wayne miniseries and its fallout Bruce Wayne: The Road Home cements Hurt's status as the elder Thomas Wayne from the Puritan Ages, driven insane by his meeting with Barbatos, the Hyper-Adapter sent through time along with Bruce Wayne to ensure the effectiveness of Darkseid's "Omega Sanction".
During Flashpoint, an alternate reality version of Thomas Wayne appears as Batman. In this continuity, Thomas turns into a crime-fighting vigilante after he and Martha Wayne witness their son Bruce Wayne murdered by a gunman. When Barry Allen enters the Batcave, Batman attacks Allen, but is surprised to hear Barry call him Bruce, with the revelation that Bruce died years ago allowing Barry to deduce that he is facing Thomas Wayne rather than his son. Allen reveals to the alternate Batman that the timeline has been altered. Batman stops fighting and asks Barry the details of his son's life after his mainstream counterpart's own death. Willing to change history and ready to sacrifice his own life to restore his son's, Batman helps Barry build a device to recreate the accident that gave Barry speed powers.
This iteration of Batman is the subject of the mini-series Flashpoint: Batman - Knight of Vengeance, written by Brian Azzarello and drawn by Eduardo Risso, in a story set in after his first attempt to restore the Flash's powers. Azzarello stated that Wayne does not care about crime outside Gotham City and that he funds his war on crime with his successful casinos. Batman works with James Gordon, the chief of Gotham's privatized police who appears to be aware of his identity. Oswald Cobbelpot is his security chief, mainly handling the casinos while Batman fights crime. The local judge Harvey Dent is distressed when the judge's twin children are kidnapped by the Joker, threatening Wayne with legal action.[clarification needed] Gordon calls Batman and tries to convince him that he does not have to fight villains alone. Without Batman's help, Gordon tries to stop the Joker once and for all but is trapped and killed. The Joker is then revealed to be none other than Martha driven insane by grief following their son's murder. Batman can't bring himself to kill the Joker, and so he feels responsible for the Joker's crimes. After Batman saves one of Dent's children who had accidentally been shot by Gordon during a rescue attempt, Batman resumes pursuing the Joker. During a showdown, Batman reveals his recent discovery that they were supposed to die that night at Crime Alley and how they are alive now. Batman promises the Joker that he will do whatever it takes to bring their son back, even if it costs their lives. The revelations apparently restores Martha's sanity and seemingly reconciles. But when Martha asks what their son turns into after their counterparts' deaths and Batman reveals, Martha hysterically flees from Batman and falls to her death through the same hole that their son once fell into as a child.
After a second attempt successfully restores Barry's powers, Batman works with the Flash to rally a team to oppose Eobard Thawne's changes to history. Batman contacts Cyborg for help in tracking down the government branch "Project: Superman", only to be disappointed at Kal-El's frail appearance. Kal-El's powers manifest after being exposed to sunlight and flies away. After escaping Project Superman with the help of Element Woman, the Flash's memories change more drastically, forcing Batman to attempt to prevent the speedster's memories from altering. Batman injects the Flash with a drug that slows down electrical activity in the brain. After Hal Jordan's death during an attempt to stop the World War, the Flash elects to try to save this altered world, to which Batman joins the Flash as the group heads to New Themyscira in Batman's plane and are joined by Enchantress. During the final battle with both Wonder Woman and Aquaman, the battle seems to be in their favor until Billy Batson's death and Eobard finally appears. Batman stabs Thawne in the back using an Amazonian sword and learns that altered timeline was actually created by the Flash as part of an attempt to save his own mother. Before acting on this new information, Batman is fatally wounded by a traitorous Enchantress. Before the Flash leaves to try and restore the old world, Batman thanks and gives the Flash a letter to his son, expressing his confidence that Barry will recreate the better world the Flash has spoken of and expressing his regret for what will happen to Barry's mother. Despite Pandora's actions resulting in the Flash's failure of restoring the original continuum, Thomas’s will is done regardless as his son is alive and still is Batman in another alternate timeline. Barry gives Thomas's letter to Bruce Wayne and that the timeline could not have been restored without Thomas's help.
His father's letter encourages Bruce Wayne to accept their deaths and move on, as well as motivating Batman to pursue a closer relationship with his own son, and keeps the letter as a part of the Batcave's display dedicated to his parents' memory.
In the Convergence crossover, when the alternate Brainiac miniaturized the reality of the Flashpoint universe, Thomas Wayne had returned alongside Captain Thunder, Kal-El, Abin Sur and Cyborg. Thomas prepares for war against the Pre-Flashpoint Gotham City. He ponders if this Gotham City belongs to the same world that both Flash comes from and where Bruce is alive. Thomas also mentioned that he is unsure of his being "dead" in battle and forced to fight their opposite Superman by the voice of Telos. While he watched digital renderings in the Batcave of the Pre-Flashpoint heroes against Superman, he was confronted by Kal-El, who ask to help the other-reality Lois Lane's pregnancy and convinces him that the other-reality heroes are not enemies. Superman arrives and pulls his counterpart elsewhere. Thomas is willing to help and successfully helps Lois give birth to their son. While leaving them pleasurable, Thomas then tells Superman that he has to protect his newborn child which Superman agrees. Following the conclusion of the Convergence, all parallel universes and alternate timelines are restored and composed as the new multiverse, including the Flashpoint reality and thus Thomas remain exist as the result.
Subsequently, in DC Rebirth, Flashpoint Thomas Wayne is mentioned by Wally West as he appears in the Batcave from the Speed Force to tell Batman about Thomas's letter saying how it all started and warned the Flash before the Speed Force pulled Wally away. Before Batman specified, he discovered a button embeddeed to the Batcave wall and pryes it out. mysterious button. Later, Batman and the Flash agree to keep their investigation to themselves until they knew who or what against an impending threat after the evidence of the button from outside force.
While Batman still puzzled about the button, it reaction to Psycho-Pirate's mask summons the Thomas Wayne Flashpoint Batman, his son slowly reaches out his hand to him, only for the Flashpoint Batman to vanish as Batman makes contact. Batman contacted the Flash about the button, but Eobard Thawne attacks Batman in the Batcave while Flash is busy. He nearly kills Batman and destroys Thomas's letter as revenge for Thomas killing him, provoking Batman to try and attack him only to be outpaced by Thawne's speed. When Thawne picks up the button, he is briefly teleported away, returning with his entire body mutilated by an impending threat that he vaguely identifies as "God" before he seemingly dies.
After travelling on the Cosmic treadmill, the Flash and Batman find themselves in the presence of Batman's Flashpoint father, Thomas. Prior to their arrival and after the Flash left to undo the events of Flashpoint, Thomas found that the Flashpoint timeline was not erased yet as the Flash intended, and instead, was forced to live out the remainder of Aquaman and Wonder Woman's war. Left to ponder in the Batcave, Thomas waited for the joint Atlantean and Amazonian hit squad to arrive so he may sacrifice himself and them with explosives, until he encounters the Flash and Batman. He believes the two are hallucinations until the Flash briefs him on their situation.
Thomas teams up with his son to hold off the Atlantean-Amazonian hit squad to give the Flash time to fix the Cosmic treadmill. The two Batmen reminisce about their first visit to the cave, and Thomas learns from Batman that he has a grandson. As soon as the Flash finished the repairs, Batman pleads with Thomas to come with him. Thomas pushes Batman onto the Cosmic treadmill, imploring the latter to find happiness and be the father to son that Thomas could never be for him, and to let 'the Batman' die with him. As the Flash and Batman disappear, Thomas is satisfied of seeing his son alive and accepts his fate; he hopes that Bruce would move on from the past. He throws his explosive trigger away and puts his cowl back on, reminiscing about the inspiring words he gave to Bruce as a child, and jumping into the white void that is erasing the Flashpoint universe with his last words being "We rise".
In Batman: Castle of the Bat, Doctor Bruce Wayne discovers the preserved brain of his father deep below the research university where he works. He steals this and other body parts in a desperate attempt to revive his beloved father from death. This doesn't work out well due to various factors outside his control, but the part of the creature that still recognizes and loves his son does its best to help Bruce escape his enemies and expose the person responsible for the Waynes' murders; Thomas had discovered that one of his colleagues was killing people to perfect the preservation fluid used to store organs (Including Thomas's own brain, claimed by his killer after his death).
In Batman: Dark Knight Dynasty, Thomas Wayne and Martha Wayne are saved from death when Valentin Sinclair- really Vandal Savage, a man who has a long-standing interest and admiration for the Wayne family despite the fact that they often end up opposing him when they learn about his plans- scares off Joe Chill. Sinclair then becomes a partner in Wayne Enterprises, only to have the Waynes killed when they threaten to expose his plan to divert the meteor that gave him his powers back to Earth in order to study it. Their deaths come at the hands of Sinclair's fear-inducing henchman Scarecrone who causes them to remember the mugging, which drives them to flee Chill by running off their balcony. This prompts Bruce to become Batman to investigate.
In Batman: Holy Terror, depicting an alternate timeline where Oliver Cromwell established a theocratic government across the globe, Thomas Wayne is the chief physician of the Privy Council, but when it is discovered that he is treating various 'enemies of the state' such as Jews or homosexuals, the Star Chamber votes by secret ballot to have him and Martha executed and make it look like a random mugging.
In the graphic novel written by Geoff Johns and with art by Gary Frank, Batman: Earth One, Thomas Wayne was a physician who had run for mayor against Oswald Cobblepot. Cobblepot had attempted to arrange his opponent's murder during the latter's outing to a movie with his family, but a mugger got to them first and killed Thomas and his wife. It is also implied that both he and Alfred are keeping a traumatic secret.
In JLA: Earth 2 by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely, the Thomas Wayne of the antimatter universe is the father of the supervillain Owlman. Like his original counterpart, he married Martha Kane and fathered Bruce Wayne. However, this version also had a second child, Thomas Wayne Jr. After Martha and Bruce are gunned down by a crooked policeman when Thomas Sr. refused to accompany him for questioning (when Thomas Wayne performed an "illegal medical operation"), Thomas Jr. becomes Owlman to get revenge on the justice system. It is later revealed that Thomas Wayne Sr. is currently acting as commissioner of the Gotham City Police Department, seeking to bring his son to justice with the help of a cadre of idealistic officers. Owlman finds it his goal to "punish" his father for letting his mother and brother die.
In Mark Millar's Superman: Red Son, Batman's (unnamed) parents are anti-communist protesters in the Soviet Union. They are executed in their home by NKVD Commissar Pyotr Roslov for printing and distributing anti-communist pamphlets. Their son witnesses the murders and attempts to overthrow the Communist Party of the Soviet Union when he is an adult.
The fifth issue of the comic book continuation of the television series Smallville, written by executive story editor Bryan Q. Miller, reveals that Lionel Luthor invited Thomas to join the secret society Veritas with Virgil Swann, which Thomas declined.
In the revised Earth-Two alternate universe of "The New 52", Thomas Wayne is revealed to be the second version of Batman, having succeeded his son as the incumbent through use of the Miraclo pill of Hourman (Rex Tyler) which enhances his strength and agility. He states that he is 65 years old. In contrast to his depiction on the Prime Earth, he and Martha Wayne are targeted for assassination due to Thomas's Mafia connections and subsequent efforts to "straighten out" when Bruce was born. Thomas hides the fact that he survived for many years in order to keep Bruce safe. Eventually, when the first version of Batman tracks Thomas down, he learns the truth and rejects Thomas's reason for being "dead" for most of Bruce's life, thus discouraging him from ever having any future relationship with his son, and by extension Bruce and the former Catwoman Selina Kyle Wayne's family, however he watched them from afar and tried to be as involved as he could, particularly with their daughter Helena. After Bruce's death saving Earth 2 from an Apokoliptan invasion, Thomas honors him by taking up the "mantle of the Bat".
After Earth-2's destruction in the war with Apokolips as seen in the Convergence storyline, Thomas Wayne is one of the few survivors transferred to Telos's world, along with Dick Grayson and other heroes. While investigating this world, Thomas travels with Dick into a variation of the pre-Flashpoint Gotham City where he has an unknown conversation with Bruce before he departs with Dick in a flying Batmobile. When they are cornered by the Club of Villains, who pursued them out of the city, Thomas sacrifices himself in a suicide bomb blast, destroying most of the Club of Villains in the process, his last words being to inform the Club of Villains that they will never hurt another Batman.
In the revised Earth-Three alternate universe of "The New 52", Thomas Wayne Sr. is featured in Owlman's origin story. In stark contrast to Batman's father who was a highly skilled surgeon and philanthropist who had saved countless lives during his time, Earth-Three Thomas Wayne is a sociopathic doctor who often kills his patients (Martha claims that this is due to a "surgical fetish") and spends his money on lawyers to cover up his patients' deaths as accidents. Alfred kills him along with Martha and Bruce Wayne as per Thomas Wayne Jr.'s orders. Owlman later states that his father was a weak man and wonders why Batman would devote his life to the memory of Thomas Wayne of Prime Earth.
In the opening of the first issue of the comics DC Comics Bombshells, set in an alternate history 1940, Thomas and Martha Wayne's lives are saved by an already-existing Batwoman, implying that Bruce Wayne will never grow up to become Batman.
Thomas Wayne is featured in the Batman Arkham series where Kevin Conroy reprises the role.
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