Comic readers often have discussion on who the better hero is or what would it be like if one little event happened differently. With the current Flashpoint storyline, we are getting a little of both. Of all the different versions and incarnations of the DC heroes we're seeing, it's Batman's story that intrigues me the most.
Of course we all know Batman's origin. Young Bruce Wayne went to the theater with his parents, Thomas and Martha Wayne. Afterwards, they cut across what would later be known as Crime Alley and were held up by a mugger. When the thug grabbed for Martha's pearl necklace, Thomas made his move and they were both shot and killed. Witnessing the murder of his parents, young Bruce would dedicate the rest of his life trying to rid the world of evil.
But what if things happened differently? What if instead, it was Martha and Bruce that were killed. What would Thomas do to recover from this horrific event? Making the assumption that he too would make a vow against evil and become a vigilante himself, there's a good chance he would also create a Batman persona. Like father, like son, right? Who would make a better Batman, Bruce or Thomas?== TEASER ==
Thomas had worn a Batman-type costume before and the caves beneath Wayne Manor (along with all the bats) would give him the inspiration to become Batman just like Bruce. We know how losing his parents affected Bruce and how dedicated he became afterwards. I think it could be different for Thomas. A father losing his wife and child would be more than enough to push someone over the edge. Clearly this would result in a different kind of Batman.
The disadvantage Thomas would have is he wouldn't have the opportunity of training during his youth. He was a rich doctor and business man. Bruce had his teen years and early adulthood to study and travel the world to become the world's greatest detective. Thomas might have a harder time explaining his worldly travels.
Once he became Batman, Thomas would handle things differently. Even though Bruce was completely focused, he still had a softer side to him. While seeing and knowing the pain Dick Grayson would go through, he wanted to help him through it as well as have a partner in fighting crime. From what we've seen of Thomas, I can't really see him taking a kid sidekick. It would almost be like trying to replace his lost son. That in itself makes you wonder what would happen to Dick Grayson in a world like this? It's the whole Butterfly Affect. One little event could result in drastic changes.
Bruce has shown a violent side on occasion but Thomas would not hold back. We saw in Flashpoint #1 when a costumed criminal he was questioning didn't have the answers he was looking for, he allowed her to accidentally slip from the rooftop. Thomas would see that the idea of locking up the criminal insane is not an efficient solution. They would just escape and ruin more lives. Thomas as Batman would believe in more permanent solutions.
Bruce played the playboy to hide his alter ego. He made sure Wayne Enterprises was successful to further provide his cover as well as provide the means to build the technology and gadgets he would need to wage his war against crime.
Thomas' solution was to open and run a casino in Gotham. The casino would be a way to draw the criminal element to him. You know the saying about keeping your enemies closer.
If Thomas is willing to go to more drastic and permanent means, does that make him a better crimefighter? Would becoming a judge, jury and executioner be a way to keep the criminal scum off the streets and prevent them from escaping custody and starting all over again? Bruce is against killing but Thomas is a man that has lost his family. Bruce wants to be a good man fighting evil. Thomas seems to only be concerned with wiping out evil. If he has to get his hands dirty, I wouldn't see him losing sleep over it.
Thomas might get stronger results but with each life he allows to slip away, regardless of their evil nature, he drifts further and further away from the loving husband and father he used to be. Bruce often works alone but he does have close associates that have become his family. He still has a touch with being human. That connection is what reminds him and drives him to doing everything possible to protect the innocent.
Both Batmen would be successful crimefighters in their own way. Thomas may put a permanent end to some of the criminals he faces but there will always be more. Criminals may be a superstitious and cowardly lot but they are also obsessed with revenge. Killing the associates of criminals will only make them want to get the person responsible and would try doing so with greater numbers. Bruce is able to work with others. He might be obsessed but he has allowed himself to remain some of his humanity. His Bruce Wayne persona may be an act but he is able to pull off the human interaction. Thomas doesn't appear to be able to or want to bother.
Thomas may believe in trying to get harder and quicker results but all he's managed to do is turn Gotham City into a bigger cesspool. Bruce Wayne's Gotham at least has it's shining spots. Thomas may believe in showing no mercy towards the criminals but there's only a thin line that separates him from those he's hunting down. It's great seeing this completely badass Batman take on the criminals but Bruce Wayne is clearly the better Batman.