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Gotham Gazette: Amnesia and Assassinations

Gotham Gazette: Amnesia and Assassinations

By Meg Downey Friday, November 16th, 2018

Gotham City is a busy place, with a lot going down each and every month. In this new column, Meg Downey helps us stay on top of it all by letting us know what you should be paying attention to within the Bat-Family…and why.

Welcome back to Gotham Gazette, your one-stop shop for this month's Bat and Bat-adjacent comings and goings. It's November, and while holiday cheer might be seeping into just about everyone and everything in the real world, Gotham is...well, as Gotham-y as ever.

We'll start with the big things first. The ongoing crisis befalling the extended Bat-Family over in the main Batman title is only getting worse. The situation with KGBeast may be sort of laid to rest, at least for now, but in BATMAN #58, the pattern seems to be proceeding along as deadly as ever, and this time it's Alfred in the (literal) crosshairs.

And it's not KGBeast or any of KGBeast's proxies behind this one—it's Penguin. That's right, Oswald Cobblepot himself has somehow gotten mixed up in the conspiracy threatening to bring the Bat to his knees. The good news is, we did get a pretty good look at just what that conspiracy might actually entail. In issue #58, we get our first glimpse of what Bane has been doing since the wedding "sabotage" back in BATMAN #50. He's got himself an ominous looking base in Arkham Asylum where he's flanked by the likes of...Thomas Wayne? This isn't, strictly speaking, new information, but it is a nice reminder of exactly what is still brewing beneath the surface, and it's worth noting that here in #58, Bane is flanked only by Thomas, while in #50, he seemed to have an entire entourage.

So, let's talk Thomas for a second. He's a whole situation in and of himself. I won't bore you with the exhaustive history lesson, but in case you need a quick refresher, the strange double life of Thomas Wayne as Batman has been a pretty amorphous part of Batman mythology since around BATMAN R.I.P and FLASHPOINT. Technically, he dates even farther back than that, but…well, like I said, it's all pretty strange. The long and the short of it is that in the Flashpoint universe, Thomas Wayne actually became Batman following the murder of Bruce. This version of Thomas most recently showed up in the Rebirth universe during BATMAN/THE FLASH: THE BUTTON, where Bruce was actually able to visit his alternate father and speak with him. It seemed like that was essentially the end of it. The Button looked to be heralding the end of the Flashpoint continuity and, by association, that version of Thomas, who flat-out refused Bruce's offer to make the multiversal hop to the Rebirth universe to save himself.

All of which then begs the question: Who, exactly, is the Thomas Wayne working with Bane? Is it even Thomas at all? Or is it someone else? Perhaps someone like Dr. Simon Hurt who has a complicated history all his own wrapped up in his relationship to the Wayne family…or maybe someone entirely new? And regardless of who is in the costume, why are they working with Bane?

Let's start spinning up some theories—the crazier the better. Send them my way in the comments.

Meanwhile, things with Dick—er, Ric, sorry—are still in full amnesiac swing, except now he's got some identity theft to worry about. That's right, with a Nightwing-shaped vacuum in Blüdhaven, someone else—several someones, actually—have stepped in to take his place. Spoilers: It's probably not going to go well for anyone involved.

This, hilariously, isn't the first time someone has tried to rip off Dick's brand. For a vintage take on some Nightwing-based thunder-stealing, venture back to around NIGHTWING #118 where pre-Flashpoint Dick had just moved to New York City, only to find that a very familiar foe had decided to tag along and steal his costume in the process. I guarantee you it winds up going places you would never see coming in a million years, even once you figure out who's trying to steal the Nightwing look. Trust me on this one.

And speaking of memory and brain troubles, Dick isn't actually alone in that particular arena. Over in BATGIRL #28, Barbara is fighting a battle against her own memory. Her spinal implant—the thing that allows her to walk after her injury—has been malfunctioning in a way that isn't so much threatening her mobility, but threatening her brain. Her photographic memory is no longer reliable, and there's a serial killer named Grotesque (a name you might remember from the New 52's Batgirl!) on the loose turning humans into horrific art pieces.

Over in DETECTIVE COMICS, things are heating up with Batman and Two-Face's uneasy partnership as the aptly titled "Deface the Face" arc continues in issue #992. In case you missed the gag for the first four parts of the story, writer James Robinson is actually making a reference to himself here. Back around DETECTIVE COMICS #817, circa 2006, Robinson wrote a story called—surprise!—"Face the Face" in which Batman and Two-Face had to partner up. It also, strangely enough, happens to be the story in which Tim Drake was officially adopted by Bruce in the old continuity. All of which is to say, if you're looking for an edge-of-your-seat Two-Face-centric thriller with a warm Bat-Family heart, look no further.

Meg Downey covers movies, TV and comics for, and writes about Batman each month in her column, "Gotham Gazette." She's also a regular contributor to the Couch Club, our weekly television column. Follow her on Twitter at @rustypolished.