If you have been following Batwoman -- or even if you watched last year's Arrowverse crossover event "Elseworlds" -- you probably know by now that the Arrowverse Batman has been gone for three years, and that it isn't just retirement: Bruce Wayne disappeared without a trace, and everyone from his most trusted employees to his own cousin have wondered what happened to the billionaire playboy, while both the Batcave and his company collected dust in his absence. Finally, his cousin Kate discovered the Batcave and stepped up, filling Bruce's shoes as Batwoman. But it still is not clear where Bruce Wayne went, or why.
We have a theory. And if it's right -- let's face it, the odds are against us, but we're gonna share anyway -- it could tie Batman more clearly to the history of the Arrowverse and help set up a plot point in the Superman & Lois TV pilot.
In the comics, Bruce Wayne's son Damian is the product of his relationship with Talia Head, the daughter of Ra's al Ghul. Talia (who is known as Talia al Ghul in the Arrowverse, as she has been in the comics on and off since about 2000) raised the child until he was about ten years old without Bruce even knowing that he had a kid. When Damian finally came to his father's attention, Bruce brought him to Gotham and let him come on board as the latest Robin.
Damian is reported to be appearing in Superman & Lois, the forthcoming Supergirl spinoff featuring Tyler Hoechlin and Elizabeth Tulloch as the title characters. A casting breakdown today seemingly confirmed those rumors, giving two character descriptions that sound a lot like Jonathan Kent and Damian Wayne (the Super-Sons). And that raises some questions.
Where has Damian been all this time? Why do Lois and Clark get to share the screen with him before Bruce does? Who is his mother? And does his appearance have anything to do with Batman's disappearance?
We think it might.
Damian first appeared in the comics as a 10-year-old, and the casting description from the Superman & Lois pilot describes the boy who seems to be Damian as 14. Given that Superman & Lois will likely air next year if it gets a green light, that would put him at 10 years old...three years ago now.
If his mother is Talia al Ghul, roughly three years ago would line up with the fifth season of Arrow -- at the end of which she was blown up on Lian Yu, and vanished for a long time. She was presumed dead until she turned up again in prison. She eventually got out, but for all intents and purposes, it is distinctly possible that Bruce Wayne discovered he had a son at the same time that the boy's mother vanished without a trace and was presumed dead. Leaving the confines of Gotham to take care of Damian would not be entirely unreasonable for Bruce, and if Damian in the TV universe is anything like his comics counterpart, Batman might have had to move fast in order to prevent his son doing something stupid like forming a new League of Assassins.
It's possible that we will find out more about all of this in "Crisis on Infinite Earths," which begins on December 8. It will feature, among other things, Kevin Conroy as Bruce Wayne, in a scene where he will talk with Supergirl and Batwoman about...something. Could it be a clue as to what the younger version of Bruce on Earth-1 is currently going through?