Off My Mind: Is Thomas Wayne a Better Batman than Bruce?

  • 91 results
  • 1
  • 2
Posted by G-Man (32556 posts) - - Show Bio

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.

This Batcave is pretty cold and barren.

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.

Staff
#1 Posted by leokearon (1790 posts) - - Show Bio

I do find it hard to believe that a Doctor who be ok with murdering people, still that is alternate realities for you
#2 Posted by insanepayne6 (49 posts) - - Show Bio

Bruce is better, just not as harsh. 

#3 Posted by trekjabber (7 posts) - - Show Bio

Honestly, I think Thomas is the kind of man (or will soon be) that Bruce would try to stop. What Thomas is doing is not very different from the criminals he ends. 

#4 Posted by JonesDeini (3620 posts) - - Show Bio

So the big shocking Batman reveal of Flashpoint is that Thomas Wayne is the Punisher in a Bat suit....glad I spent that 4 bucks on lunch.  
 
As far as this topic goes. I'm an efficiency kind of guy. You know how many lives would be saved had the Joker been put down?

#5 Posted by DoctorTrips (127 posts) - - Show Bio

I think it's just different character and different circumstance. There are endless factors in the Flashpoint timeline that could make Thomas a better Batman. In terms of his methods, it's 'meh' to me. His viciousness could make him more effective but like Two-Face's coin it's 50/50.

#6 Posted by RUSTMAN (183 posts) - - Show Bio
@JonesDeini said:
So the big shocking Batman reveal of Flashpoint is that Thomas Wayne is the Punisher in a Bat suit....
i got that same impression from the article... (haven't read flashpoint)
#7 Posted by Eyz (3095 posts) - - Show Bio

It sures makes an interesting and unique twists!

#8 Posted by JonesDeini (3620 posts) - - Show Bio
@RUSTMAN:  
not reading Flashpoint, way over Johns and event comics, especially those penned by him. I read some of this Batman issue and didn't feel moved at all. 
#9 Posted by GraveSp (318 posts) - - Show Bio

Bruce saves the world.  Thomas worries only about Gotham which is why the world is in such a crappy condition in Flashpoint.  Well one of the reasons its in a crappy condition anyways.

#10 Posted by jcj145 (184 posts) - - Show Bio

In Flashpoint, Thomas Wayne just seems to be a mix of Batman, Punisher, and a senior citizen to me, just my observation/opinion thought

#11 Posted by turoksonofstone (13199 posts) - - Show Bio

A bit soon to make such a comparison. I would guess he needs more showings.

#12 Posted by Txman210 (27 posts) - - Show Bio

Great article

#13 Edited by LB70145 (191 posts) - - Show Bio

A Batman who kills? They tried that with Azrael and no one liked that character either. There is only one Batman...

#14 Posted by tonis (6202 posts) - - Show Bio

you guys have just been all psychological this week haven't you.

yes, there's definitely a different Batman when you talk about a child who grows up festering in revenge versus and adult who turns to it quickly.

It is interesting though to dabble on the ideas introduced in flashpoint, I like that they're crazy enough to try experimenting with some pretty crazy concepts to find where the future origin lies.

That actually shows a LOTTA balls on DC's part :)

#15 Posted by Emperor Gonzo Noir (19714 posts) - - Show Bio

While you could argue he is more effective, he doesn't have the drive or the heart of Bruce.

#16 Posted by NightFang (9985 posts) - - Show Bio
@insanepayne6 said:
Bruce is better, just not as harsh. 
This.
#17 Posted by vincethekid (69 posts) - - Show Bio

@G-Man. This is one of your best OFF MY MIND pieces you've done so far. It's  very insightful, very though out, and very accurate. Thomas Wayne's loss to me is way greater than Bruce's for a couple of reasons. First,  I think a father losing his son and wife is a greater loss, than a son losing his parents.  The reasons why I believe this:  Thomas Wayne has no immediately family now, he can't have another son by the woman he loved, and finally, the legacy he started is now over. He has no heir. That's his drive and motivation. The psychological damage done to Thomas seems greater.  
 
Granted loosing your parents isn't easy either but, Bruce has as surrogate father in Alfred.  He has surrogate siblings and/or kids in Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Tim Drake, and Damian Wayne.  Also, Bruce has the ability to start his own family as well if he wanted with Selina Kyle or Talia.   To me Bruce can "heal" from his wounds a little better than his father.  I think we see this in their characters too.  Bruce doesn't kill but, Thomas Wayne does.   Things to live for and things to die for.
 
Thomas Wayne is at the latter part of his life or close to it.  He has nothing to live for, except for seeking revenge. He's not going to start over.  He had a family and it was ripped from him.  He's all about avenging and wiping out the evil that destroyed him.  Thomas Wayne as Batman is awesome as hell.  I think this one of the coolest spins DC has done with a character.  Thomas Wayne as Batman is one the best parts of Flashpoint so far.

#18 Posted by Out_of_Space (720 posts) - - Show Bio

Bruce is the better Batman but if it wasn't Thomas, Bruce wouldn't be Batman.
#19 Posted by TDK_1997 (14704 posts) - - Show Bio

Nah.Bruce is the best.How was said-ther was Azrael and no one liked him
#20 Posted by nobodythere (86 posts) - - Show Bio

A Batman that kills. Been there. Done that. Disliked it then. Dislike it now. Making him more edgy is not the way to go, wish DC would get that. After the AzBat fiasco you'd think they'd get it. Batman is, to me, a hero cos he believes in the justice system. He believes in good. A man that doesn't, one that believes in more "permanent solutions" isn't, I feel, a hero at all. They are just another villain.  

"He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you." - Friedrich Nietzsche.

#21 Edited by VaizD (249 posts) - - Show Bio

I think Bruce is the better Batman almost by default, because he defines what Batman is to us. If Thomas Wayne had been Batman for the past 70 years and Bruce was the strange new Batman in Flashpoint, we'd probably see him as the lesser Batman because of his unwillingness to kill.
 
 But that's getting into alternate universe weirdery right there in real life. Point is, I think it's hard to consider anyone a better Batman than The Batman.
 
Though, I admit, I'd be absolutely all for an ongoing series with Tom Wayne Batman, if only because I'd love to see the Batverse through that cracked mirror in all its complexity.

#22 Posted by AirDave817 (809 posts) - - Show Bio

A Batman that has lost his wife and child and devotes himself to fighting crime and eliminating evil is called The Punisher
 
A darker Batman is not neccesarily a better Batman.   

#23 Posted by Golden Cod (422 posts) - - Show Bio
@GraveSp said:
Bruce saves the world.  Thomas worries only about Gotham which is why the world is in such a crappy condition in Flashpoint.  Well one of the reasons its in a crappy condition anyways.
It's a bit soon to make that comparison.   Given enough screen-time (page-time?), writers would inevitably have Thomas saving the world too.
 
 

@nobodythere said:
A Batman that kills. Been there. Done that. Disliked it then. Dislike it now. Making him more edgy is not the way to go, wish DC would get that. After the AzBat fiasco you'd think they'd get it. Batman is, to me, a hero cos he believes in the justice system. He believes in good. A man that doesn't, one that believes in more "permanent solutions" isn't, I feel, a hero at all. They are just another villain.  "He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you." - Friedrich Nietzsche.
Don't you think that's the point of this whole event?   It's showing a world far from ideal where the Justice League regulars are all divided or missing.   It's like they're deliberately recalling Az-bats as a contrast to Bruce.  
#24 Posted by Omega Ray Jay (7702 posts) - - Show Bio

It would save so many lives where the Joker is concerned but yeah not a great path to go down.

#25 Edited by The Devil Tiger (1263 posts) - - Show Bio

 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.
 
As if they never chased batman before...  C'mon ! Did Joker hasn't kind of a bad obsession about bruce ? And didn't Bane ambushed him to break his back ? Oh yeah, and what about Batman R.I.P. ? Or Hush ? Those people didn't were going for revenge ?
 
Gotham is going crappy anyway : it's the author saving throw at work, here. 
  
That's Gotham that's corrupt and ill ruled, not batman : how many times Joker has been mass murdering people ? What do they do about him ? Lock him in that cardboard prison named Arkham Asylum...each time ! Hell ! Those people are so dumb they really deserve their pain. 
 
But I like a batman that kill, the idea is not as bad as it seems : the problem is, in DC universe, it just doesn't work more than to put criminal in prison, so go for it Thomas ! KILL ! KILL ! KILL !

#26 Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus (6885 posts) - - Show Bio

It almost seems to me the Thomas Wayne Batman here is the type of Batman Bruce struggles with not wanting to become, a potential future of bad things to come.  A whole other reason why I do not understand they append an Elseworlds seal to this event. ::shrugs::

#27 Posted by MrUnknown (1700 posts) - - Show Bio
@Omega Ray Jay: Actually if Thomas was Batman there would be no Joker. More of that butterfly  effect and we how horrible that would be. Bruce is way better as Batman!
#28 Posted by Migz13 (169 posts) - - Show Bio

I think it's interesting to see Bats get the "punisher origin". Dead family.. vengeance here we come right? But I still think Bruce as the better version since he treads that fine line between vengeance and justice like a professional tight rope walker with a blindfold. Thomas' version is just the uncaged beast Bruce might become if he chose to abandon all morality and do all things the 'easy way'.

#29 Posted by Doctor!!!!! (2055 posts) - - Show Bio

I f you think about it....... Bruce is a better business man, which gets him better tech, to fight crime!

#30 Posted by Samimista (20686 posts) - - Show Bio

Interesting article haven't read the Flashpoint story arc so don't know much about it

#31 Posted by InnerVenom123 (29499 posts) - - Show Bio

Bat-Punisher. 

#32 Edited by FadeToBlackBolt (23334 posts) - - Show Bio

I don't see the point of this thread. Anyone who thinks any character is a better Batman than the Batman (Bruce Wayne) is just an imbecile.

#33 Posted by perry_411 (428 posts) - - Show Bio
Thomas Wayne is the better Batman. The world he lives in is without hope. The world he lives in is without Superman. The world he lives in is filled with devastating war.
Thomas Wayne did not waste most of his adult life fighting crime without help. He identified the problems with acting only at night or only alone and solved the issue. In the world he's created, his company polices the city. This Batman cannot go undercover, so his casino's multitude of cameras and his police force gather intel. Bruce is now trying something similar with Batman Inc. 
There are many familiar characters involved, and to his credit, many of the rogues in Batman's gallery are not part of this world.  Scarecrow, Hush, Killer Croc, and Ivy have already been eliminated from this world. Two-Face does not exist, and many mobster families are headless. Thomas Wayne has already saved countless lives. These rogues cannot poison, destroy, or infect the world with their malevolence. In the Knights of Vengence story, we learn that Arkham exists, the Joker is alive, and the Joker is a child-rapist. We also learn that the Joker is only alive due to the security force finding him instead of Wayne.
We also see that despite his years of tormented pain over the loss of his family, he is still redeemable. He is not an out-of-control monster, but righteous. He is the man who believes the world can be a better place. He is going to help The Flash exist again to return his family to life, despite the reality that his life will end. 
#34 Posted by FadeToBlackBolt (23334 posts) - - Show Bio
@Omega Ray Jay said:
It would save so many lives where the Joker is concerned but yeah not a great path to go down.
No...The Justice System would have saved so many lives. It's not up to Bruce to kill them, the State is fully capable of that. They don't though, because they're inept and corrupt.
#35 Posted by Jake Fury (18404 posts) - - Show Bio

when Bruce starts doing what Thomas Wayne has been doing then he's not Batman anymore.
#36 Posted by Omega Ray Jay (7702 posts) - - Show Bio
@FadeToBlackBolt said:
@Omega Ray Jay said:
It would save so many lives where the Joker is concerned but yeah not a great path to go down.
No...The Justice System would have saved so many lives. It's not up to Bruce to kill them, the State is fully capable of that. They don't though, because they're inept and corrupt.
Cabable yes but unable & that's why so many have died while the state struggles to get it's act together, someone needs to do somthing in the intermittent time but not necessarily kill just incapacitate.
#37 Posted by FadeToBlackBolt (23334 posts) - - Show Bio
@Omega Ray Jay said:
@FadeToBlackBolt said:
@Omega Ray Jay said:
It would save so many lives where the Joker is concerned but yeah not a great path to go down.
No...The Justice System would have saved so many lives. It's not up to Bruce to kill them, the State is fully capable of that. They don't though, because they're inept and corrupt.
Cabable yes but unable & that's why so many have died while the state struggles to get it's act together, someone needs to do somthing in the intermittent time but not necessarily kill just incapacitate.
Again, that's not Bruce's responsibility. He brings them in, but he won't kill. It's not his fault the criminals are out there, it's the Justice System's.
#38 Posted by Mucklefluga (2549 posts) - - Show Bio

Thomas is the better Batman
#39 Posted by karrob (4279 posts) - - Show Bio
@JonesDeini said:
So the big shocking Batman reveal of Flashpoint is that Thomas Wayne is the Punisher in a Bat suit....glad I spent that 4 bucks on lunch.   As far as this topic goes. I'm an efficiency kind of guy. You know how many lives would be saved had the Joker been put down?
Agreed!
#40 Posted by FadeToBlackBolt (23334 posts) - - Show Bio
@karrob said:
@JonesDeini said:
So the big shocking Batman reveal of Flashpoint is that Thomas Wayne is the Punisher in a Bat suit....glad I spent that 4 bucks on lunch.   As far as this topic goes. I'm an efficiency kind of guy. You know how many lives would be saved had the Joker been put down?
Agreed!
Ugh, again, not Bruce's responsibility. Blame the Courts who let the Joker out. 
 
 
 
And to reiterate my earlier point, if you think Thomas is better, you're a moron.
#41 Posted by Fantasgasmic (1071 posts) - - Show Bio

Bruce has more advantages, his training at a young age, his technology, his support network, all come to mind.

#42 Posted by cbishop (7545 posts) - - Show Bio

Butterfly Effect <sigh>

#43 Posted by VanTesla (518 posts) - - Show Bio

Problem with the justice system is that it does not work in fantasy or reality.... U.S.A will likely end the death penalty in another decade or so (state by state).... In comics the Gov't seem more worried about their own heroes then the villain that escape prison and cause mayhem.  
 
If you kill the villain that was going to murder thousands of people then you shouldn't shed a tear for that scum and no one should have the right to say you did wrong! Nothing will change if the threat is still able to be a threat.
#44 Posted by Herx (374 posts) - - Show Bio

Of course Bruce is the better Batman. He has morels and a line that he wont cross. But like Tony said his path to becoming the bat was different. He has his junior years of training to train both his body and mind, and lets not forget that he still had Alfred there to raise him and keep him on the tight and narrow. He's also more open to help, from the simple need to bring Robin with him, or to call in the big guns (and he's also more willing to help other heroes). 
But then we have Thomas, he's a Vigilante. By the look of Wayne manor he dismissed Alfred and so has gone through this battle against crime alone for all those years (assuming that he started his crusade as soon as he could from the incident). He's respected by the hero community for probably being one of the longest serving heroes (as was the reason why Cyborg needed him) but then again his methods are harsh. His movements can be tracked, and his isolation from the world has definatly affected him mentally. (plus lets not forget that despite using harsher methods the Joker is still alive, and by building a casio to bring the criminals to him he's attrakring the crime to gotham). 

#45 Posted by GothamRed (2563 posts) - - Show Bio

probably goes without saying, but thomas wayne looks like beyond bruce

#46 Posted by joshmightbe (24876 posts) - - Show Bio

so basically Thomas Wayne as Batman is the Punisher with money

#47 Posted by blueninjapanther (676 posts) - - Show Bio

Thomas Wayne as Batman is gonna be like Frank Castle as the Punisher. They both want revenge on the people who killed their family. I think Bruce is better as batman than Thomas because the gadgets, batmobiles and the cave is more unique. Bruce has sidekicks like nightwing or red robin. The cave isn't empty, the gadgets is more cooler and the batmobiles are awesome and other vechicles.
#48 Posted by dr.x (553 posts) - - Show Bio

there is no comparson really  Bruce was a Child when he saw the muder of parents vs The Adult Thomas who saw his wife  and child get murder it's night and  day  cause  as a child of ten  there is time  to defused  or soften  blow with  time ,like  Thomas  the time will make him hard  and willing  to kill blinded with grief and anger cause  crimals like  Joker  and clayface would never come to be as well.
#49 Posted by cosmo111687 (1489 posts) - - Show Bio

Not only do I like Bruce's Batman way more than Flashpoint Batman, but I like pre-Flash Point Thomas Wayne way more than Flash Point Thomas Wayne. 
 
I just don't see Thomas becoming The Punisher. I could see how the hurt would drive him into isolation, but he's primarily a doctor, and without the level of physical and mental training Bruce went through to become a vigilante, I could only see him trying to find catharsis by traveling the world and healing people under the worst of circumstances. Besides, Batman was born out of Bruce saying to himself "If only I were strong enough to stop Joe Chill and save my parents." But Thomas would've thought "If only I were a better Doctor and I could save Bruce and Martha's lives." So he wouldn't be Batman, he'd be Super-Doctor or something far, far more clever like "Knightingale" (a play on Dark Knight and Florence Nightingale; get it?). And he wouldn't be alone in his mission: There's always Leslie Thompkins and Alfred to keep him company. And who knows? Maybe even Thomas Elliot could be like his Robin. 
 
But, getting back to the point of this article: Bruce is the only Batman, really. Dick Grayson can fill in the shoes for a little while, and Thomas Wayne is fine for a little while, in so long as it's an elseworld - but no one matches Bruce. 

#50 Posted by 00 Raiser (442 posts) - - Show Bio

Okay people stop comparing Flashpoint Batman to the Punisher. I mean really? How cliche can you get. We have seen the Marvel vs. DC comparisons before and its a bland subject. As far as FP Bats vs. Pre FP Bats. I love Flashpoint Batman. He handles business and has not problems doing it dirty. Not to mention he costume rapes all others! FLASHPOINT BATMAN FOR THE WIN!!!!!

This edit will also create new pages on Comic Vine for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Comic Vine users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.