I consider myself fortunate that when I began reading comics, DC converted several titles to 100 pages. These were goldmines for classic Golden and Silver Age gems and classics. The new lead story, not so much. World's Finest #223 (My-Ju'74) introduced the most unexpected character. In fact there was even a Warning, and I quote: "Throughout comics history, there have been shocks and sensations galore! But we guarantee that the following amazing story is so startling, we never dared revealed it before!"

 

We, being writer Bob Haney (you see where this is going) and editor Murray Boltinoff, and dragging artist Dick Dillin into it. It starts with a serial murderer in Gotham City, dubbed the Boomerang Killer, as he uses two-pound metal boomerangs to slay his victims. Batman, without any clues is stymied, passes by Boston Brand's grave and gets Deadman's help to track down the BK. Before this can turn into a Brave & Bold story, Morgan Edge sends Clark Kent to cover the BK news to get ratings. So Superman arrives in Gotham and saves several people from the BK who always escapes.

 

Batman and Deadman track down a clue that leads to a mental institution where Batman is shocked to find out that the man he's pursuing is....... (SPOILER ALERT).....Thomas Wayne......Junior! He is the older brother of Bruce who suffered a head trauma as an infant that left him brain-damaged and a danger to society.

 

Superman becomes suspicious that Batman is protecting the BK by destroying evidence. He confronts Bats, unaware of Deadman's prescence and learns the truth. Superman decides to nab this guy but Batman has Deadman possess the Man of Steel. Batman then tries to reason with his unstable sibling, only to get clobbered by a boomerang. Somewhere Digger Harkness is smiling!

 

Deadman as Superman tries to smash in, only to find out his ghostly being has negated Supes' powers. Just then someone tries to destroy the building Batman is in. Deadman leaves Superman who saves the day. Batman reveals the true villain and motive, as is his wont, and proclaims his psychotic brother a victim and pawn. That should make the families of the four people he killed feel much better.

 

Anyhoo, Thomas Jr escapes but under the control of Deadman who justifies it to keep him from harming others and giving him a new life!

 

Wow! I wonder if Denny O'Neil or Julius Schwartz knew about this! My first WF featured the Super-Sons, my second...this. Is it any wonder why I like a little continuity?

 

Oh, and wait, there IS a sequel!! 

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How much of Morrison's Batman have you been following? My answers to your questions would depend on that. Wouldn't want to spoil the overall plot to much for you. In #702 Morrison gives an in-story reason why something so glaring that hasn't been mentioned in 35 years should suddenly seem to become canon/in-continuity. There has been a character calling himself Thomas Wayne appearing regularly - 'a diabolical mastermind' as Doc says, but the readers don't know much more than that!

If you read Final Crisis, #701-2 fill in the gaps in that story quite nicely, and are worth it for that alone.

Perhaps "Thomas Wayne" is really the ghost of Bob Haney returned to unleash endless Mopees on the DCU?
I just remembered B&B #99 where Bruce goes to the Wayne Summer home on some island and opens a safe and there's the urn with his parents' ashes in it!

I've been reading Batman but apparently I'm dense so I will re-read them!

BTW, today while trying to organize my books, I pulled out all of Morrison's Seven Soldiers so expect some questions/observations
Seven Soldiers

Bring it on. :-) Love to hear what you make of it all. The very first sequence takes you behind the scenes as a character gets retconned, so Morrison is letting you know at the outset that this is set in a universe where continuity changes periodically. That's a given, but he has fun exploring the reasons for it, and how it affects those who'd live in such a universe.

Having said that, his attention to tiny details from continuity is impressive.

I was just thinking that the stricture against Vertigo characters appearing in DC books was so strong that Morrison even had to rewrite the scene where Zatara died so that Constantine wasn't there. That's strict!
Over in "JLA Revisited" I just posted that Grant Morrison's work reads better in chunks. Knowing that, I purposefully stopped reading his Batman a while ago, but this time with the intention of tradewaiting. This "Thomas Wayne" business has got me intrigued, though. Although I have never read the sequel in WF #227, as I mentioned above I do have WF #223. I think I'll pull that out and give it a second-time-ever read over the weekend, then I might take a look at Batman #701-702 at my LCS next Wednesday.
Per my intention, I did read the lead story of World’s Finest #223 over the weekend for the second time ever, and, man, it all came back to me! Even at the tender age of ten years I dismissed this story out of hand and completely ignored it for 36 years! I count it as my “zeroeth” Deadman story and the Neal Adams reprint which immediately followed it as my first. “Wipe the Blood Off My Name” has some huge gaping plot holes. Setting aside the fact that it was a garment label which revealed the identity of Batman’s “brother” (or at least led Batman to him), we aren’t shown any of Batman’s investigation. More importantly, wouldn’t Alfred have known about Bruce’s older brother?

I can think of several ways this story can be reconciled with Batman’s backstory as we know it, but I’m more intrigued where Morrison is going to go with this (until recently) true Mopee.
I think pre-Crisis Alfred was supposed to have only joined Bruce's household after he became Batman. I remember a sequence somewhere that depicted him as having learned about Bruce's dual identity when Bruce was wounded one night and he was called down to the Batcave to help. It might've been in the Untold Legend of the Batman mini, but I wouldn't swear to it. (In his Golden Age debut he instead found the entrance behind the clock by accident.)
Luke Blanchard said:
I think pre-Crisis Alfred was supposed to have only joined Bruce's household after he became Batman. I remember a sequence somewhere that depicted him as having learned about Bruce's dual identity when Bruce was wounded one night and he was called down to the Batcave to help. It might've been in the Untold Legend of the Batman mini, but I wouldn't swear to it. (In his Golden Age debut he instead found the entrance behind the clock by accident.)

I don't have the classic Batman encyclopedia by Michael Fleischer at hand, but, as I recall, Alfred became the Wayne family butler at the direct request of his father, Wilfred, who served in that capacity until his death -- inheriting the family business, so to speak, as Alfred was personally more interested in being an actor but gave it up to run the Wayne household. I recall that sequence from Untold Legend of the Batman as you do, but in this post-Crisis, post-Legends, post-Zero Hour, post-Infinite Crisis time -- not to mention the pounding of Superboy's fists -- who knows if that holds sway any more?
The Earth-Two or Golden Age Alfred Beagle was originally portly and had a cockney accent. He was played mostly for laughs. This continued after he went to a health resort, lost weight, grew a moustache and spoke more refined. This happened so he would resemble the actor playing him in the Batman movie serial. It also made a twin to the Earth-One Alfred Pennyworth! Both Alfreds were the son of Jarvis, the Wayne family butler. Both decided to perform on the stage in England. The E-1 Alfred fought in WWII along side the various resistance movements and where he received combat and medical training that would come in handy later.

Both promised their fathers on his deathbed that would give up acting and take up the family occupation and go to America and serve his old master's son, Bruce Wayne. Both quickly learn Bruce's and Dick's secret identities and become indispensible members of the household and part of the team.

It is in the Post-Crisis DC Universe that Alfred is serving the Waynes at the time of their murders. He comforted and raised Bruce, giving him the freedom to follow his destiny. This was one of the better revisions. This version was reflected in the Batman movies and animated series. It was the highlight of Batman And Robin, giving George Clooney his best scenes!
Wilfred was Alfred's Shakespearean actor brother. Jarvis was his father. (No, not that Jarvis!)

ClarkKent_DC said:
Luke Blanchard said:
I think pre-Crisis Alfred was supposed to have only joined Bruce's household after he became Batman. I remember a sequence somewhere that depicted him as having learned about Bruce's dual identity when Bruce was wounded one night and he was called down to the Batcave to help. It might've been in the Untold Legend of the Batman mini, but I wouldn't swear to it. (In his Golden Age debut he instead found the entrance behind the clock by accident.)

I don't have the classic Batman encyclopedia by Michael Fleischer at hand, but, as I recall, Alfred became the Wayne family butler at the direct request of his father, Wilfred, who served in that capacity until his death -- inheriting the family business, so to speak, as Alfred was personally more interested in being an actor but gave it up to run the Wayne household. I recall that sequence from Untold Legend of the Batman as you do, but in this post-Crisis, post-Legends, post-Zero Hour, post-Infinite Crisis time -- not to mention the pounding of Superboy's fists -- who knows if that holds sway any more?
Philip Portelli said:
Wilfred was Alfred's Shakespearean actor brother. Jarvis was his father. (No, not that Jarvis!)

ClarkKent_DC said:
Luke Blanchard said:
I think pre-Crisis Alfred was supposed to have only joined Bruce's household after he became Batman. I remember a sequence somewhere that depicted him as having learned about Bruce's dual identity when Bruce was wounded one night and he was called down to the Batcave to help. It might've been in the Untold Legend of the Batman mini, but I wouldn't swear to it. (In his Golden Age debut he instead found the entrance behind the clock by accident.)

I don't have the classic Batman encyclopedia by Michael Fleischer at hand, but, as I recall, Alfred became the Wayne family butler at the direct request of his father, Wilfred, who served in that capacity until his death -- inheriting the family business, so to speak, as Alfred was personally more interested in being an actor but gave it up to run the Wayne household. I recall that sequence from Untold Legend of the Batman as you do, but in this post-Crisis, post-Legends, post-Zero Hour, post-Infinite Crisis time -- not to mention the pounding of Superboy's fists -- who knows if that holds sway any more?

I stand corrected; thank you.
Don't worry about it! A good portion of my mis-spent youth was reading Fleischer's amazing encylcopedias. I bought the Batman one at a used book store for $2.95 when i was in high school. All in all, a very good investment!
I forgot to mention yesterday that WF #223 reprinted the first of maybe two Golden Age Robot Man stories I have read. The reson I mention it here is because I noticed that the artist is Joe Certa, the artist of the Gold Key Dark Shadows series (which didn't ship last week after all but I am expecting tomorrow).

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