**Warning the following article contains spoilers for Batman, ranging from Batman #50 to Batman #60, give or take. Please be advised that if you’re trade waiting, this isn’t the article for you. Seriously, I don’t want to hear it, you’ve been warned.**
After the most recent issue of Batman, Batman #60, I thought it might be time to catch anyone not reading Batman by Tom King up to speed because, as the kids say, it’s going down for real. Seriously, this is a title that you ought to be checking out, so let me catch you up:
Batman and Catwoman were supposed to get married but it wasn’t to be, and at the end of issue fifty we find out that Bane has orchestrated the entire destruction of Selina Kyle and Bruce Wayne’s nuptials with the help of Catwoman’s best friend, Holly Robinson. When Robinson reports to Bane that the wedding didn’t happen, we see Bane flanked by several A-list Batman villains including Joker and Riddler as well as several other villains like Psycho-Pirate, Ventriloquist and Hugo Strange not to mention two very ominous characters in Gotham Girl and the Flashpoint Batman.
For those unaware, the Flashpoint Batman is actually Dr. Thomas Wayne, who became the Batman after Bruce was murdered as a boy in an alternate timeline called Flashpoint. Thomas Wayne’s Batman is fine with killing and was last seen during the Batman/Flash crossover telling Bruce to quit being Batman. How he got here is anyone’s guess, and I’m not sure if that is actually Thomas Wayne or someone else dressed up as him when we see him in Batman #50.
Fast forward to issue #55: The KGBeast has shot Nightwing in the head. Nightwing lives but doesn’t remember who he is and Batman is beside himself with rage. He eventually tracks down the Beast in Russia and breaks his neck, leaving him in the freezing weather to die. There’s something about the Beast that seems to drive Batman to his “I won’t kill you but I don’t have to save you” mentality, but it’s later revealed that some spy types were watching the whole time and the Beast didn’t die.
Upon his return to Gotham, the Penguin is released from Arkham and calls for a meet with Batman. He tells him that Bane has been running Arkham and is responsible for everything going on in Gotham including framing Mr. Freeze, Nightwing’s shooting, and the death of Penguin’s wife (who knew?!), which is why Penguin isn’t playing ball.
Batman grants Penguin sanctuary in the Batcave and begins punching the crap out of everything and everyone in Gotham, including Bane in Arkham. Bane plays dumb and gets Batman to punch Commissioner Gordao, effectively destroying the Batrman/GCPD relationship. Every low-level bad guy tells Batman the same thing as well: Bane is a broken nobody.
Upon his return to the Batcave after beating up the D-listers, the lights don’t work, and Penguin seems to be gone. Batman finds Alfred bloodied and battered and when he asks him who did it, Alfred tells him something very chilling: “Your father.”
Standing behind Bruce is the Flashpoint Batman, Thomas Wayne. I believe it’s Thomas Wayne because Alfred would know Bruce’s father if he saw him.
Why is Thomas Wayne working for Bane? How much of Bruce’s life has Bane touched without him knowing? There are a lot of things going on in this title and things look pretty terrible for the Batman.
According to Tom King, issues 61-69 are all about the “scraping the soul” of Batman called “Knightmares.” This feels like the Batman version of the “Born Again” story line in Daredevil, and I’m excited to see what happens next.