Since the reveal that Flashpoint Batman Thomas Wayne had somehow returned to the main DC Universe continuity as part of Tom King's run on the Batman title there has been an enduring question: how? As far as readers knew, Flashpoint Batman died in 2017's Batman #21 "The Button" storyline when he jumped into the white void erasing the Flashpoint universe having ensured that the Flash and Bruce Wayne Batman would return to their own universe. And yet...here he is, Thomas Wayne in the mainstream universe. Now, in the penultimate chapter of King's run on the series, we finally know how -- and it is a tragic tale.
Spoilers for Batman #84 out today, December 4, 2019, below.
At the end of Batman #83, the book appeared to be set up for an epic confrontation between Bruce and Thomas, but Batman #84 took a slightly different direction. Instead of seeing the father and son in all-out brawl for Gotham's soul the book chooses to tell Thomas' story in reverse from that moment. We discover that it's Thomas, not Bruce, who climbed out of the pit in Batman #74, and eventually, we find out how Thomas even ended up in a position to be in the pit with Bruce in the first place. You see, instead of getting erased with the rest of the Flashpoint timeline, Thomas was "saved" by Reverse Flash.
In the revealing moment, Thomas wakes up horrified to discover that he's alive and that this is a bit of revenge on the part of Reverse Flash. Thomas had killed him, but this is Reverse Flash we're talking about. He lives. And his "gift" to Thomas is to force him to live in a world where Bruce is not only alive but has become Batman -- Thomas' worst nightmare, the one thing he begged Bruce to walk away from.
It is a heartbreaking moment, but the issue also lets the reader see Thomas observe his son's life as Batman as well as takes us further into Thomas' own tragic reality and fully realize all of the pain and suffering he's experienced -- as well as his vow, one made before his Bruce was murdered, to protect him. It's these details of a father's pain that sheds some light on exactly why Thomas has taken up this crusade in this way. Flashpoint Batman Thomas Wayne isn't just a villain in this story. He's a broken father trying to save his son.
Batman #84 is on sale now.