This article contains major spoilers.
By now, you don’t need us to tell you that Batman writer Tom King has been on a hot streak ever since penning the modern classic that was The War of Jokes and Riddles last year. And aside from redefining some of the most iconic villains around, the scribe has since seen to it that the Dark Knight be engaged to Catwoman, effectively showing that he’s just as good at telling heartwarming tales as he is a riveting page-turner.
This time, however, King has set out not to craft something as adorable as a double date that Batman and Catwoman went on with Superman and Lois Lane – my single favorite comic book of 2017, mind you – but, rather, a done-in-one that will chill many a reader to the bone.
When we originally heard this issue would be titled “The Origin of Bruce Wayne,” we assumed that King would delve into something we previously hadn’t known about the Caped Crusader’s past. Admit it: You probably thought the same.
But what we didn’t see coming was the brutal truth of it all: The Bruce Wayne that DC was referring to was a different Bruce Wayne altogether.
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You see, in this issue, Batman encounters a young boy named Matthew. And like most young men marred by the tragedy that comes with having their parents murdered (see Dick Grayson), our hero can’t help but sympathize. But in the midst of this case, a murderer is on the loose, copying the modalities set by the likes of Two-Face and Victor Zsasz.
At first, it’s concluded that the kid’s butler, who was forced to refer to him as “Master Bruce,” was the culprit, but, in reality, young Matthew was one hell of a butcher! In fact, he was found at the graves of Thomas and Martha Wayne carving their first names into his face (seen above). And with the statement “You’re sick. The freaks are sick. Gotham is sick. Master Bruce is the cure!,” the city has been introduced to yet another diseased mind.
Sure, King and DC as whole could retire Matthew here and allow this to forever stand alone as a compelling character piece, but our gut says that “Master Bruce” will draw more blood at some point in the future.
Batman #38 is now available in comic shops.