With just one issue left on Tom King's Batman series run, Batman #84 takes a look backwards before moving forward in an issue that finally reveals exactly how Flashpoint Batman Thomas Wayne ended up in the main DC Universe despite appearing to die in "The Button". While that reveal itself is a heartbreaking one, it's not the only sobering detail about Flashpoint Batman's life and world that Batman #84 reveals. It reveals that Flashpoint Joker hit Thomas Wayne hard with two painful deaths.
Spoilers for Batman #84 below.
In the issue, readers are taken backwards chronologically through Flashpoint Thomas Wayne's life to a moment before his Bruce is murdered by Joe Chill, a moment that changes everything. We already knew that in the Flashpoint timeline Martha Wayne becomes the Joker just as we know that she kills herself when she learns that there is a world in which her son grows becomes her worst enemy -- Batman. What we learn in Batman #84, though, is that there are two other lives that she takes that have major impact on Thomas. In one heartbreaking panel, Thomas comes home to discover that his deranged wife has murdered his Alfred. It's a devastating loss for Thomas -- just as it is for Bruce in the main universe -- but that's unfortunately not the last life it's implied that the insane Martha Wayne will take from him.
In the issue readers are given a new detail of Thomas' story (to be clear, we get several new details as the issue overall revisits much of what we've seen for Thomas previously) when we see him meet his timeline's Catwoman. She ends up being his version of Robin, in a sense with Thomas taking Selina in and the young woman serving as his sidekick. However, Martha (as the Joker) shoots Selina and for Thomas, it's that act that changes everything. While we've seen that in the Flashpoint timeline that Selina is paralyzed by Joker, some readers are seeing the act as a "death" in how it changes Selina -- as well as how, in another chronologically later moment (though we see it earlier in the issue) Thomas apologizes to both Martha and Selina as he lies on the ground beside a "dead" Reverse Flash. Martha is dead at this point chronologically, leading some readers to wonder if Selina may be dead as well. In that moment he starts to see Batman as a painful curse and it's those losses that are, in part the motivation behind what Thomas tells Bruce at the end of the issue.
"Alfred is dead. And you're not. Ban is broken, lying in a coma at Arkham. Take off the mask. Marry the girl. Settle into a life of warmth and peace. Listen to a man, to your father, who chose what you chose. Who suffered the consequences of being this bat, this horror. For once in your damn life, listen. Do what I should have done. Stay down."
Batman #84 is on sale now.