June 18, 2012

Why the Revelation in Batman #10 Doesn't Work

If you haven't already read Batman #10, I highly suggest you run, don't walk, to your nearest local comic book shop and do so. The latest chapter in Scott Snyder's Night of the Owls arc is definitely a game changer, and a huge turning point for the entire Batman mythos. The issue's revelation has also already spurred some intense controversy amongst Batman purists and casual comic book readers. Yep, it's one of those issues, boys and girls.

Spoilers ahead. You have been warned. SPOILERS. AHEAD.

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Yep, they just went there.
All throughout Snyder's run on Batman, he's put the Dark Knight to the test both physically and mentally. It's arguable that the Court of the Owls has pushed Batman to his limits, and IMHO will be long remembered wholly as one of the all time great Batman villains. The Court's origins have been somewhat of a secret up until the current Night of the Owls arc. All of that mystery and intrigue culminates in this issue, as it's revealed in Batman #10 that Bruce Wayne has a long lost younger brother: Thomas Wayne, Junior. (I know, right??)
JLA: Earth 2
I won't delve into the details of how or what - just read the issue! It's another spectacularly done piece by both Snyder and Greg Capullo, and it goes without saying that you should definitely pick it up. Despite this however, I can't say that I agree with the idea of Batman having a brother. I admit, it's definitely a shock, but let's not forget that the idea has already been somewhat established, as early as the 70s and as recent as Grant Morrison's JLA: Earth 2. It was even hinted that BANE (yep, the dude that broke Batman's back) was Bruce Wayne's half-brother, in a long forgotten arc of Batman: Gotham Knights. Again, I'll save you the details - read the trades or collect the back issues!

Kudos to Snyder for taking the huge leap and making it "official". It's a ballsy move and one that will likely change all the Batman family books for years to come - imagine the possibilities! But the reason it was probably never actually made "official" until now is because, in my opinion, it conflicts too much with the already well hardened and established perception of Batman and the tragedy of Bruce Wayne.
Batman/Bruce Wayne's parents were gunned down in front of his eyes. When that happened he had no family to share the grief with - no uncles, aunts, cousins, etc. Aside from Alfred, the pain that Bruce felt was HIS and his ALONE. It's debatable that Dick Grayson and Tim Drake could relate to Bruce's situation, but only in the sense that they had similar circumstances. Now that Bruce has a brother, it almost cheapens/lightens that original origin. It's obvious that Thomas Jr. is a crazed villain, but the mere fact that someone can relate entirely and share Bruce's pain makes it less tragic of a story. Yes, he's surrounded by a surrogate family and even a biological son, but Bruce is supposed to be ALONE. It's part of what makes Batman so unique.

Aside from all the hubbub, let's not forget that this current arc of Batman, as well as Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's entire RUN on the title, has been flawless since issue #1. Do yourself a favor and check it out. This reveal has been well worth reading the entire 10 issue arc since the DC New 52 reboot first began. It's very contradicting for me to say, but I'm not happy with how its panning out. Although, who knows? Perhaps Scott Snyder is playing us all and the revelation will be undone as early as next issue. Thomas could be bluffing. He could even be killed off (despite the regenerative Talon's abilities). Heck, this could just be part of the effects of Flashpoint. Any casual comic book reader will agree, whether it's a death, marriage, revival - nothing is permanent in comic books. Thankfully. :)

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