Examining Dr. Wayne Part 2
When I first started to examine the personality of the Thomas Wayne Batman I was convinced he was a broken man with a murderous bent. As evidence, I pointed out the loss of his son and how, as a mature man, this was a trauma that he couldn’t “outgrow.” Unlike Bruce Wayne, who would come to age with this trauma and could at least rationalize his loss and come to terms with it.
Additionally, I cited the ruined Wayne Manor and the spartan accommodations of the Batcave beneath it as illustrative of the broken man that is Thomas Wayne. No souvenirs or trophies of past victories over crime and none of the high tech gadgets a fortune could buy. Souvenirs and trophies mean memories, something Dr. Wayne rejects from his sorrowful past. High tech wizardry is for the spoiled and pampered. Thomas Wayne prefers the harder road with all the attendant pitfalls because that is all he deserves. Then came the below panel from Brian Azzarello’s Knight of Vengeance #1.
Uh-oh, is that a T-Rex souvenir and some high tech gadgetry in the background of Wayne’s Bat-bunker? I was a bit surprised to see this as it certainly didn’t fit into my theory and the evidence it was compiled from. Perhaps I judged Thomas Wayne too hastily.
Our story progressed to the events in “Flashpoint #2” where of Barry Allen and Dr. Wayne come to blows in the Batcave. I always thought it was a bit strange that Thomas Wayne would go from beating the living tar out of Barry Allen to helping him by stories end. He actually stopped beating Allen when Allen spun his story of the Reverse Flash and Dr. Wayne said it was the first thing that made sense. That seemed quite a leap for me! But the real leap and the secret to Thomas Wayne’s innermost self came to us as clues in the following panels.
Little did we know at this point the depths of Thomas Wayne’s despair? Despair so deep he was willing to grasp at the thinnest of straws spun by raving lunatic he nearly just beat to death and now claims to be the fastest man alive. Thomas Wayne put his trust in a man that insisted on being doused with chemicals and be subjected to a lightning strike, not once, but twice.
How fraught with anguish can a man be to go to such lengths?
The answers come in Azzarello’s Knight of Vengeance #2. Commissioner Gordon continues to pursue the trail of Joker and the kidnapping of Harvey Dent’s children. I get my answer to the high tech gadgetry in the depths of the Bat-bunker. Selina Kyle has a new lair and her role is that of Oracle. Here, several more clues are dropped as to the state of mind of Thomas Wayne. Gordon talks to Kyle who is broken not just of body but of spirit as well. Tears flow. Selina speaks of Wayne’s purpose, a purpose that drives him but one that is never stated because the pain is never made right, “Not never.” “Ever.”
Thomas Wayne wants something back, a life. Not his of course. The one that was taken from him that changed everything. But not just the life of his son but the life of his wife that survived that fateful night outside the theater. Now we are faced with the question that has thus far gone unspoken, is Dr. Thomas Wayne responsible for the Jokers continued existence? The horrid events of the night when Bruce Wayne died transformed Martha Wayne into a monster known as the Joker. But in his grief did Thomas Wayne allow Martha’s twisted life to continue owing to the fact that they are man and wife? Is that the guilt Wayne is suffering when he says “Blame me?” Is this what Selina alludes to when she cries things will never change?
By the time this article posts we’ll have our answer and the question at lips of Thomas Wayne may not be, “What have you done this time Martha?!” But, “what have I let you do!?’
Posted Dave Healey