With an origin that's been retold so many times that it's almost become a joke every time a movie cuts to Martha Wayne's pearls, Batman probably has the most recognizable backstory in all of comics. That might be what makes the Flashpoint Batman origin such an effective twist and a valid pick for the most harrowing comic origin of all time.
In 2011, the DC Comics event Flashpoint created a universe-wide window into an alternate world where Bruce Wayne perished that fateful night instead of Thomas and Martha Wayne. What comes from this is one of the most tragic, but satisfying retellings of who would end up donning Batman's cowl. In this alternate reality's wake, comic readers are left with DC Comics' largest universal reset in the form of The New 52 and an unclear status quo about just who could show up from DC's most well-known stories. Edgier and lacking hesitation to take out wrongdoers, the Thomas Wayne version of Batman from the Flashpoint reality is among the darkest origin stories out there. Here’s a breakdown of how Thomas Wayne became Batman and the universe-shattering events that followed.
Thomas Confronts His Wife With A Plan To Change The Timeline
Following the slayings of Dent's daughter and Gordon, Batman tracks his wife down on the outskirts of Wayne Manor. He tells her about Barry, the original timeline, and their opportunity to change reality so their son gets to live in their place.
The one moment that radically changed their lives and the welfare of millions in Gotham City has the opportunity to be reversed with both mother and father willing to sacrifice their very existence so their son might have a chance to live again.
Martha Takes Her Life After Learning Bruce Becomes Batman In The Original Timeline
Upon learning about exactly what Bruce's future holds, Martha's grief and overwhelming emotions take over, motivating her to leap off of the cliffs surrounding Wayne Manor.
Martha was Thomas's last connection to his old life before he donned the mantle as the Knight of Vengeance. Her demise in a way allows Thomas to steel his resolve and fully back Barry's plan to reverse his timeline tomfoolery, no matter the cost.
Batman Takes Out The Reverse Flash In The Middle Of A Huge Clash Between The Atlanteans And The Amazons
One of the interesting things we get to see with this version of Batman is exactly how much Bruce takes after his father. They both share a near genius-level intellect and are master tacticians. Not only does Thomas help re-create the experiment that manifested Barry's metahuman powers, but he helps gather a task force of metahumans and powered individuals. This includes the attempted rescue of Kal-El from a secret government facility housing "Project Superman" with the help of Cyborg and the Shazam Family. All of this is in the effort to stop the impending conflict between the Amazons and the Atlanteans that will likely wipe out the remaining portions of society.
During the final clash between the Amazons and the Atlanteans, Thomas delivers the ultimate blow to the Reverse Flash/Professor Zoom, who was trying to stop the Flash from fixing the timeline. This scene highlights the critical difference between Bruce and this version of his father. A man with the chance to bring his son back to life has the will and drive to do anything and everything, whether it is physically possible or "right" morally.
Thomas Leaves A Letter With The Flash When He Goes Back To The Prime Timeline
Facing the destruction of his reality, Thomas sends a letter with Barry to deliver to Bruce in the Prime timeline. This ends up accomplishing two things, unbeknownst to both parties. First, it provides some much-needed closure to Bruce, taking a chip off his shoulder that he's carried for 20-plus years. Second, it, along with the Button that will come up later with Wally West's return from the Speed Force, provide tangible links to timelines and realities other than their own.
These two objects could very well act as anchors for a number of other events that will happen in the future, involving both Thomas's return and the revelation of Watchmen's Doctor Manhattan crossing over into their greater DC Universe.