Father of Bruce Wayne, Thomas Wayne inherited the Wayne family fortune and became a gifted surgeon and renowned philanthropist in Gotham City. He once, coincidentally, dressed in a bat-themed costume for a masquerade ball. He and his wife Martha were later tragically murdered by Joe Chill in the area of Gotham City that would be come to be known as Crime Alley. His death happened before Bruce's very eyes.
Thomas Wayne was created by Bob Kane, Bill Finger and Gardner Fox to facilitate the origin of Batman.
During the Golden Age, Thomas Wayne played a less lucrative part in Batman's origin other than the fact that his murder propelled Bruce into becoming Batman. He first appeared in Detective Comics #33 November 1939. In the story,Thomas and Martha were exiting a theater when a mugger named Joe Chill stopped them. Thomas tried to protect his wife and son when the Chill shot him. The shock of seeing her husband die gave Martha Wayne a heart attack and she died with him. Years later, Chill would become a racketeer, transporting wanted criminals across the state lines. Batman reveals his identity to Chill accusing him of murdering his parents. Shocked that he was the one responsible for the creation of Batman, Chill ran to his men in the garage. When they found out that Chill is responsible for the creation of the Batman, they shot him dead.
During the Silver Age, Thomas Wayne's character was further developed and tied to Batman's origins. Dr. Thomas Wayne wore a bat themed costume for a party, where he took first place for the best costume. Shortly thereafter, two gangsters kidnap him and take him to their boss, Lew Moxon, who was shot during a bank heist and wants Thomas to remove the bullet. Thomas knew that if he removed the bullet, Moxon would kill him, so he took the only chance he had and kicked Moxon's chair, causing Moxon to fall to the ground. He then attacked the two remaining thugs, who the police found out cold when they arrived.
Lew Moxon was arrested and, in one of the shortest trials in Gotham's history, sentenced to ten years in prison. Later, Moxon would resurface and vow revenge on Wayne. To accomplish this, he hired Joe Chill to pretend to be a mugger and kill Thomas and his wife Martha so that young Bruce would testify that his parents were killed by a mugger.
Years later, when Bruce was thinking of becoming a symbol to strike terror into the hearts of criminals, a bat flew through his window. Seeing the bat reminded Bruce of his father wearing the bat costume, so he designed a similar costume and became the Batman. Batman would eventually find Joe Chill and, similar to the earlier stories, Chill was killed by his own men when they realized his role in Batman's creation. As Chill died, Batman told him: " It was not Batman that finished you, it was Bruce Wayne". Sometime later, Batman discovers that it was really Lew Moxon who was responsible for his parents murder and tracks him down, but It is revealed that Moxon suffered amnesia due to an accident some time after the Wayne's death. Because Batman's suit was torn during a fight, Robin suggests that he wears his father's bat costume instead. Wearing his father's costume, Batman confronts Moxon, who runs away frightened onto street where a truck hits and kills him.
In the Secret Origins of The Batman, Batman says that he may have trained years to become the World's Greatest Detective and hunted down all those super villains, but he couldn't find a two bit gun man. Batman also says that he hasn't visited his parents grave ever since he captured Chill, but knows they will always be with him in his spirit.
After the Crisis on Infinite Earths, much of the DC universe was retconned. In the new origin, Bruce, then age four, fell down a fissure (or a well) that led to what would one day become the Batcave. Thomas rescued his son, but Bruce was already traumatized by bats that had been living in the cave. Later, when Bruce was eight, his parents took him to see the Mark of Zorro. Unfortunately, when they were returning from the theater, a mugger stops them and kills Thomas and his wife.
Major Story Arcs
The Long Halloween
For further details: Long Halloween
It was revealed that crime boss Vincent came to Thomas Wayne to operate on his son Carmine Falcone, who had been shot during a gang fight. Thomas wanted to take him to a hospital, but Vincent disagreed, so he performed the surgery in a dining room. After the surgery, Thomas was offered a reward for saving Carmine Falcone but refused, saying that "to a doctor, a patient is a patient."
Meanwhile, young Bruce watched all this from behind. After it was revealed that Carmine Falcone was behind the holiday killings, Bruce wonders if Gotham would be better off if Thomas hadn't saved Falcone's life.
Death and Maidens
In this storyline, Ra's Al Ghul offers Batman a chance to talk to his parents. Batman, hesitant at first, swallows an elixir and believes that he is speaking to his parents. Surprisingly though, both his parents disapprove of Bruce's costumed crusade, believing that Bruce had sacrificed too much and his chance of happiness by becoming Batman. As they leave, both of them assured him that the lessening of his grief does not mean he (Bruce) no longer cares for them. After his experience, Bruce realizes that he is Batman only because he chooses to be, not because he has to be.
Superman: Red Son
In Red Son, the unnamed parents of Batman are gunned down in their homes by the Russian government for printing anti-communist contraband. This leads their son to grow up determined to overthrow the Russian Government, much like Bruce Wayne's fight against crime.
JLA: Earth 2
In the Anti-Matter Universe, The Wayne's had two sons. Bruce Wayne and Thomas Wayne Jr. When Bruce and Martha were murdered by a crooked cop because Thomas Sr. refused to comply, Thomas Jr. grew up to be Owlman, vowing to get revenge on Earth two's so called justice system. Thomas Sr. became the commissioner of the Gotham City Police department in his quest to stop his son.
For further details: Flashpoint
When the Reverse Flash disrupts the natural flow of the New Earth timeline (The DCU's main continuity) and the initiates the events of Flashpoint, the past is radically changed. Rather than Thomas and Martha Wayne being gunned down by Joe Chill, it was Bruce that died in crime alley that fateful night, leaving Thomas Wayne alive and broken. Dr. Wayne ages into a very bitter, argumentative, and lonely man, who owns a chain of hotels and Wayne Casino. He has taken on the Batman mantle himself, but unlike Bruce has no qualms about killing. Wayne uses his Casino, run by his employee Oswald Cobblepot, as a front to keep and eye on the villains, gangsters, and criminals it attracts. Furthermore, the Gotham City Police Department is privatized and under Thomas' control, with his friend James Gordon being the head of it. Gordon is aware that Wayne is Batman. Operating out of a small Batcave under a ravaged and time worn Wayne Manor, Thomas takes to the city streets at night as a brutal and homicidal Batman. It is noted that The Scarecrow, Hush, and Poison Ivy are all dead in this timeline, more than likely having been killed by Wayne. The Joker is still the Batman's greatest foe, and while on his greatest nemesis' trail in search of DA Harvey Dent's kidnapped twin children, Wayne viciously kills Killer Croc by stabbing him in the head and nearly kills one of the Joker's henchmen, a female named Yo-Yo by dropping her off a skyscraper.
With help from both Gordon and Selina Kyle, the Oracle of this timeline, Wayne vigilantly searches for the whereabouts of the Dent twins before The Joker can harm them. Gordon discovers that the Joker is holding the children hostage in none other than the dilapidated Wayne Manor. Instead of relaying his discovery to Batman, Gordon rushes in to the Manor alone to save the the children. Through the use of a cruel and convincing trap, The Joker tricks Gordon into accidentally shooting one of the kidnapped twins. Upon realizing his terrible mistake Gordon runs to the aide of the devastatingly wounded child, when the Joker appears behind him and slits his throat. With help from Selina, Wayne realizes that he must get to the Manor. He arrives too late to help Gordon or the injured Dent twin, and angrily confronts the Joker who is revealed to be none other than Martha Wayne. After explaining to Martha aka the Joker, that he has learned that Bruce survived in another timeline and that Thomas and Martha were the ones who died, Thomas tries to get Martha to stop her rampage. She asks Thomas what becomes of Bruce in the timeline he survived in. Martha is overwhelmed with despair when Thomas reveals that Bruce becomes Batman. In her despair, Martha runs away from Thomas and accidentally trips and falls into a fissure and falls to her death at the bottom of a cavern. It is important to note that all of these events described above regarding the Joker and the search of Dent's children happen sometime after Barry explains that there is a timeline where Bruce survived. It is never made clear when these events exactly take place.
When Barry Allen (The Flash) awakens and realizes that his speed is gone and that the timeline has been tampered with and discovers that Batman (who he believes to still be Bruce) is still operating out of Gotham City, he immediately decides to go there first in search of help in righting the timeline. Barry arrives and Gotham and makes his way towards the Batcave, however when he arrives he is brutally attacked by Batman demanding to know who he is. Barry is flustered by "Bruce's" inability to recognize him, but after observing objects around the Batcave Barry realizes that Bruce had died that night and that it was in fact Thomas under the cowl. Thomas berates Barry and orders him to explain how he knows anything about Bruce. Barry reveals to Wayne that he is The Flash and that in his timeline it was Thomas Wayne who died in Crime Alley and that Bruce survived and went on to become Batman.
Though Thomas initially sees Barry's rantings as complete nonsense, he comes to believe Barry and is comforted by the idea that his son survived instead of him. Thomas agrees to help Barry with whatever must be done in order to fix the timeline and have it so it was once again Bruce that survived and he who died. Barry explains that before they can do anything he needs his speed back. Outside Wayne Manor during the middle of a vicious thunderstorm, Thomas and Barry attempt to recreate the accident that originally gave Barry his powers by using an electric chair with a lightning rod attached to it surrounded by all of the chemicals that were present during the original explosion. Barry straps himself into the chair and awaits the storm to strike him. Suddenly, a blot of lightning blasts the chair, electrocutes Barry, and douses him the multitude of chemicals. However, rather than giving The Flash back his powers, the experiment leaves Barry near death with nearly all of his skin burnt off. Thomas stands over him in distress and disbelief.
Thomas takes Barry to the cave beneath Wayne Manor. There he treats Barry's injuries and prevents him from dying. It is revealed that Barry has sustained third degree burns to over seventy five percent of his body. Upon waking up Barry reveals to Thomas that he is slowly losing his memories of the previous timeline, and that he is beginning to remember events from the current timeline. Barry convinces a reluctant Thomas to assist him once again in setting up the explosion scenario. This time Barry is struck by a huge bolt of lightning and his powers are activated, which is demonstrated by him quickly saving Thomas who was stunned and knocked off the roof by the lightning blast.
After regaining his powers Barry and Thomas begin to research the existence of other members of what was the Justice League prior to the time shift. Barry intends on gathering is allies together in order to reverse the time shift. Together they discover that Hal Jordan never inherited the Green Lantern Ring and the Superman's arrival resulted in the deaths of thirty five thousand people. Barry asks what happened to Superman and the Rocket, Thomas states that he doesn't know. However he contacts Cyborg, who reveals that Superman and the Rocket were taken by the United States Government. Thomas agrees to help Cyborg's rebellion on the condition that Cyborg help him and Barry free Superman. Cyborg agrees, and the three heroes enter a secret facility in order to release Superman.
After disabling guards and temporarily looping the security systems they find Superman's cell, which is designed to emit what seems to be red sun radiation, which keeps Superman without powers. Cyborg uses a sonic blast to destroy the cell and they retrieve Superman. However the guards are alerted and the four heroes flee. When they arrive outside, the sun's energy instantly powers Superman who blasts a guard with his heat vision and then flies off leaving Flash, Batman, and Cyborg to fight the guards.
The Three fight the guards, defeating several, despite their elite training and advanced weaponry which was designed to take down a powered Superman. Element Woman arrives and helps take down the remaining guards. Suddenly as the group of heroes is about to leave, Barry has a seizure due to the memories of both timelines intersecting and Thomas gives him an injection of phenytoin sodium. Barry passes out and the three remaining heroes plan on taking him to the S.H.A.Z.A.M. kids.
Cyborg, Barry, Element Woman, and Thomas arrive at the house of the the S.H.A.Z.A.M. kids, Thomas thinking that some how the Flash's powers are related to the powers of S.H.A.Z.A.M. requests that Billy Batson use his abilities to fix Barry's degrading memories. This works temporarily, but as a result Billy experiences Barry's memories of the pre-Flashpoint universe. Suddenly the television reports that all out war has broken out between Wonder Woman and Aquaman. Barry grabs Thomas and desperately begs him to help the resistance. Thomas states that either they restore the timeline or he would rather the world burn. Barry tells manages to convince Thomas to come by talking about what Bruce would do. Unfortunately the battle was a disaster with Wonder Woman killing Billy Batson the revelation that Enchantress was a traitor who killed most of the resistance and wounded Thomas in a fit of homicidal glee. Despite his wounds he later manages to save Barry from Professor Zoom by stabbing him in the chest with a stray amazonian sword. Before Aquaman's nuke destroys the earth, Thomas gives Barry a letter to give to Bruce and tells him to change the timeline back.
In the post-flashpoint reality of Earth 2, Thomas Wayne appears as the new Batman somehow alive in as of yet unexplained circumstances six years after his sons death. While Al Pratt is investigating possible Apokolips activity Thomas follows him and saves him from some of Brainwave's goons. Later he tracks down a Spanish terrorist named Mister Icicle and interrogates him about Kanto. Icicle leads him to Hawkgirl before Thomas shoots him in the chest. After Brutaal kills Steppenwolf and terrorizes the World Army, Batman breaks into the what was formerly known as Arkham Asylum and is now a military base with a basement full of stasis pods, with the intent to free some of most dangerous prisoners in order to defeat Superman. He intercepted by Sonia Sato and Red Tornado who do their best to defeat him to no avail as he successfully frees the mysterious Aquawoman and a now technokinetic Jimmy Olsen. When Olsen reveals a Parademon attack the four depart for battle but Batman manages to free one last prisoner by shooting five rounds into the Joker's frozen body. He reveals to Red Tornado that he is in fact, the late Bruce Wayne's father, and was working for the Falcone crime family before having a bad falling-out. In the same murder that inspired Bruce to become Batman from a now hit man Joe Chill, Thomas secretly survived, having a friend cover up his tracks and let everyone know that he was "dead," but he was building up revenge against the Falcones. Stealing the drug Miraclo from Rex Mason (Metamorpho) he obtained superpowers for an hour. When Bruce, growing up, discovered this, he disowned Thomas. After Bruce's death in the Apokoliptian invasion from Darkseid, Thomas again comes out of hiding and with the drug Miraclo, takes up his son's legacy and becomes Batman in his absence.
Powers and Abilities
In both the Pre-Flashpoint, Flashpoint, and Post-Flashpoint timelines, Thomas Wayne is an accomplished physician and skilled surgeon. It is said that he is responsible for saving thousands of lives personally. Bruce speaking of his father states at one point: "My father saved the lives of over four thousand people, one at a time… with his bare hands and his mind." In the Flashpoint timeline, it is shown that he is able to treat and care for deadly injuries, such as Barry's third degree burns over seventy five percent of his body, with minimal medical equipment. Also in the Flashpoint Timeline, Thomas Wayne additionally uses his medical expertise to his advantage for combat purposes. For example in his confrontation with Barry Allen who had previously lost his powers, Thomas is shown capable of applying pressure points and breaking Barry's finger and nearly breaking Barry's arm simply to gain information. Additionally, Thomas coats some of his batarangs with a substance known as Etomidate, a drug used by Medical professionals which has anesthetic and amnestic properties and hypnotic effects.
It is said of Thomas Wayne, in the Flashpoint timeline, that he is the greatest tactician in the world. It is for this reason that Cyborg specifically sought him out to assist in the resistance against Wonder Woman and Aquaman. Cyborg also mentions that Batman is feared and respected among the world's superhumans and criminal elements, and that his legend is so built up that it is believed (falsely) that Thomas is invincible.
Thomas in the Flashpoint timeline, demonstrates peak athletic strength and combat skills. He can effortlessly lift a grown man above his head, which is demonstrated in the confrontation with Barry. Also in that scene, it is shown that Thomas is able to throw Barry with a single arm, with enough force to shatter a wooden table to pieces. Later in the Flashpoint story, Thomas is shown of being very combat proficient by fighting and defeating well armed and elite soldiers trained to fight superhumans such as Superman. He is shown to have the strength to kick down a wooden door, shattering it into pieces and breaking the door frame and closely surrounding walls, all with a single kick. It is also implied in the final battle that he is capable enough to fight against Amazon warriors as well as Atlantian soldiers, though no such scenes are actually shown.
Regarding endurance and pain tolerance, Thomas is shown to be capable of withstanding heavy beatings, such as the prolonged physical assault given to him at the hands of the Joker, who was wielding a hammer. This is all the more impressive as Thomas' batsuit contains no apparent armour or protective qualities. He is also shown being capable of withstanding and recovering from metahuman assaults from Killer Croc and Professor Zoom, and in both cases killing his attacker.
In the post-flasphpoint reality of Earth 2 Thomas's abilities seem to be equivalent to those of his Flashpoint/Prime Earth counterpart.
Equipment and Vehicles
In the Flashpoint timeline, Thomas Wayne wears a Batsuit which appears to simply be a costume worn for intimidation purposes and to conceal his identity. The Batsuit is not shown to have any specific defensive purpose or capabilities. However the cowl has a feature which causes the eyes to glow red in all light conditions, but the purpose for this is not made clear and could perhaps simply be designed to invoke fear and dread in his enemies.
Along with his Batsuit, Thomas Wayne in the Flashpoint timeline, wears a utility belt very similar to Bruce Wayne's belt. Not a large array of items are used in Flashpoint. The items used are flashlight, various batarangs, grapple line, and a syringe containing phenytoin sodium, which is a antiepileptic, which slows brain activity. It can be assumed that he carries or has access to many more medicinal chemicals and drugs that can be injected via syringe.
In the World of Flashpoint, featuring Batman, it is revealed that Batman has access to a larger computer, very similar to the one used by Bruce Wayne which is usually found in the Batcave. However this large computer is not found in the Batcave under Wayne Manor, but elsewhere in a unknown location. In fact the Batcave in Wayne Manor is very spartan in nature, containing a few tables, and upstairs a single desktop basic PC computer system.
Thomas Wayne is shown as having at least two vehicles which he uses as Batman in the Flashpoint timeline. These are the Batmobile and a Batplane. The Batmobile is shown to have a direct link to the Oracle via video communication and the Batplane has stealth capability and features global holographic communication systems.
On Earth-2 Thomas as Batman is shown to be a little bit more high tech, demonstrating a computer built into his Cowl in addition to a wrist mounted gun similiar to that of Deadshot's that are seen firing explosive pellets and a grappling hook. His batsuit also appears to be more armored as he is shown as being able to withstand a gunshot to the head and seems to be able to match the super strength of Red Tornado, much to her astonisment.
Flashbacks and hallucinations of Thomas Wayne have appeared in numerous Batman related media, usually depicting the Wayne murders. The first was a flashback in the Super Friends episode "The Fear". He also made appearances in the DC Animated Universe in several episodes of Batman: The Animated Series and Justice League, usually voiced by Kevin Conroy. Others include The Batman, Batman: The Brave and the Bold (where he was voiced by Adam West) and Beware the Batman.
Flashbacks are also features in Batman (1989) and Batman Forever. Animated films that have featured Thomas Wayne include The Batman Vs Dracula, The Dark Knight Returns, Son of Batman and Batman: Gotham Knight.
The Arkham Series video games feature Thomas Wayne and make several references to him. His Earth 2/Flashpoint version is often an alternative costume for Batman in games such as Injustice and Batman: Arkham Origins.
Batman Begins (2005)
In the first film of The Dark Knight Trilogy by director Christopher Nolan, Thomas Wayne is portrayed by actor Linus Roache. In this adaptation, Thomas is a successful doctor and influential CEO in Gotham City creating great progress as well as being a caring father. Thomas truly loves his son Bruce and teaches him that people fall, so that they can pick themselves back up. Bruce idolizes Thomas and sees his father as his greatest hero. One fateful night, Thomas, his wife Martha, and Bruce attend an Opera, but when Bruce becomes frightened by the "bat" actors, Thomas makes the decision to leave the show early through a back alley. The trio is approached by a mugger named Joe Chill who goes on to gun down Thomas and Martha in front of their son. Bruce is devastated by his parents death and everything is set into motion for him to eventually become The Batman.
Justice League: Flashpoint Paradox
This DC Animated Movie is based off of the Flashpoint storyline. Here, Thomas Wayne's backstory is the same. A major difference between the movie and the comic is that in the movie, Thomas Wayne shoots Reverse Flash rather than stabbing him with an Amazonian sword as in the comics.
Grayson McCouch plays Thomas Wayne in the pilot episode for the FOX TV series. The aftermath of his murder drives much of the plot for the rest of the series.