Remember the 'Martha' moment from Zack Snyder's Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice? An arch-operatic moment that saw Batman realise that a) Superman's mother had the same name as his dead mother, b) Superman could be considered human c) they were just the same, he and him. It has been both mocked and celebrated.
There was less of the celebration in the Amazing Spider-Man story Sins Of The Past by JMS and Mike Deodato where it was revealed that Gwen Stacy, before she died, had an affair with Norman Osborne, the Green Goblin, and gave birth to twins. Who grew up fast.
Well, could Batman: Damned by Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo be about to do similar?
In the noughties story Batman R.I.P. by Grant Morrison and Tony S Daniel, rumours emerge that Martha Wayne and Thomas Wayne's marriage was a sham. Drug addicts, Martha as an orgy attender who had an affair with Alfred, making him Bruce's biological father, and Thomas Wayne ordering a hit on Martha and faking his death.
At the end, it is revealed that these are rumors started by leader of the Black Glove, Simon Hurt aka Mangrove Pierce.
A decade previously, in Bane of the Demon, by Chuck Dixon and Graham Nolan, it is revealed that Thomas Wayne spent a lot of time with Bane's mother during his time in Santa Prisca, with rumours that they had an affair and Bane was Thomas Wayne's son. This is then scotched during the series.
And in Batman: Damned? An oversized supernatural story to kick off DC's Black Label line with Batman, John Constantine with Deadman and Zatanna in tow, looking at new supernatural origins of Batman? We've already mentioned that it's reprising The Killing Joke, and giving us a Stinged John Constantine, But it's not just the supernatural aspects that are new…
Bring up the big spoiler button.
There may be no narrative trick way out of this one. Because I am told that in flashbacks, it looks as if Thomas Wayne was having an extra-marital affair – in front of Bruce.
And because this is a mature readers comic, we also get a bare-assed Bruce Wayne. The older one, naturally.
Three weeks away…
BATMAN DAMNED #1 (OF 3) (MR)
(W) Brian Azzarello (A/CA) Lee Bermejo
DC BLACK LABEL, the highly anticipated new imprint from DC Comics, starts here!
The Joker is dead. There is no doubt about that. But whether Batman finally snapped his scrawny neck or some other sinister force in Gotham City did the deed is still a mystery. Problem is, Batman can't remember… and the more he digs into this labyrinthine case, the more his mind starts to doubt everything he's uncovering. So who better to set him straight than… John Constantine? Problem with that is as much as John loves a good mystery, he loves messing with people's heads even more. So with John's "help," the pair will delve into the sordid underbelly of Gotham as they race toward the mind-blowing truth of who murdered The Joker.
BATMAN: DAMNED is a bimonthly super-natural horror story told by two of comics' greatest modern creators-a visceral thrill-ride that proudly puts the "black" in BLACK LABEL. In Shops: Sep 19, 2018 SRP: $6.99