Batman has also become synonymous with the world of superhero media, and countless alternate takes on the character have popped up since his creation in 1939. Some of these have existed within other publishers, while others have been right under the DC Comics banner thanks to the multiverse. One of the newest examples of that came in this week’s Batman: Black and White #2, which introduced readers to an alternate – and genuinely terrifying – take on the Caped Crusader. Spoilers for the “Dual” story from Batman: Black and White #2, from Dustin Weaver and Todd Klein, below! Only look if you want to know!
The story opens with Bruce looking back to a bizarre night, when he traversed through Gotham City in search of the White Bat. The villain sported a face exactly like Bruce’s, but had a costume and overall aesthetic that was stark white, and had been terrorizing Gotham over the course of a week by committing various heinous crimes. Alfred tracked down the White Bat’s information, figuring out that his real name is Ewan Bryce, and that he seemingly worked for Wayne Co., but there were no public records of him, outside of him adding himself to Bruce’s bank accounts.
This was then juxtaposed with a fight between Batman and the White Bat in the skies, which culminated in the White Bat fleeing away in a massive aircraft. Bruce made his way into the aircraft’s center, where he found a lab not unlike the Batcave, where an old man appears to be doing experiments on live bats. The man then addresses Bruce with a simple “Welcome home, son,” implying that he might be an alternate version of Thomas Wayne.
While that reveal arguably adds another confusing layer to the creation of the White Bat, the villain’s appearance in the issue at all is undeniably memorable. the idea of a villain being an increasingly messed-up mirror to the work that Batman is doing certainly isn’t new in the comics, but the visual approach and the overall unsettling nature of his role in the issue definitely stands out from characters like The Joker, Hush, Azrael, or The Batman Who Laughs. Granted, there is a feeling that a lot of Batman: Black and White stories exist on the periphery of main DC comics canon until proven otherwise, but now that the White Bat has been introduced, there’s always a chance that we haven’t seen the last of him.