In the main DCU, Bruce Wayne became Batman - but in the DC Omniverse, there's an alternate reality where his father, Thomas Wayne, became Batman in an event called Flashpoint. And this April he's going back home - to find out how his universe survived, and if he can bring back his dead son with it.
Picking up the strands from the 2011 DC event series Flashpoint where the Thomas Wayne/Batman debuted, the new seven-issue comic book series Flashpoint Beyond will return to that universe - but this time the Flash isn't at the center of the story. Flashpoint Beyond stars this darker Batman, and other alt-reality versions of DC icons.
And yes, Flashpoint co-creator/writer Geoff Johns is back to write Flashpoint Beyond.
"This is for fans of big DC events and the great history of DC when it comes to comic books," Johns says in the announcement. "And even though this is an event, it's focused on character over concept – it's the story of Thomas Wayne Batman, a Barry Allen that could've been, the crimes of Bruce Wayne – it's a murder mystery, a secret mission and a look into the past, present, and future of the continuum of DC. And as dark as it can get in this upside down world of Flashpoint, it's fun."
Flashpoint Beyond #0 will be written by Johns and drawn by Eduardo Risso, who drew the 2011 Flashpoint spin-off focusing on the Thomas Wayne Batman, Flashpoint: Batman Knight of Vengeance.
Flashpoint Beyond #0 uncolored unlettered preview
The six remaining issues of Flashpoint Beyond will be co-written by Johns, alongside current Flash scribe Jeremy Adams and Teen Titans Academy's Tim Sheridan. Former Justice League artist Xermanico will be drawing those issues.
"This is something that, as a fan, I've been waiting for a long time — a return to the world of Flashpoint," Sheridan says of Flashpoint Beyond. "The fact that I've gotten to be a small part of that return is just about the coolest thing that's ever happened to me and getting to be associated with Geoff, Jeremy, Eduardo, Xermánico and a team that's put their whole hearts into this, has made it no less than surreal. I can't wait for people to see these pages!"
The series kicks off April 5 with a special double-sized Flashpoint Beyond #0, followed by six issues released every other week culminating June 21 with Flashpoint Beyond #6.
What is Flashpoint Beyond?
In the 2011 Flashpoint event, Thomas Wayne/Batman helped the Flash figure out where their world went wrong and set right the events that produced this tragic variant timeline. They succeeded and set about the line-wide DC reboot 'New 52' which seemingly erased the Flashpoint reality, and the Thomas Wayne/Batman jumped to the main DCU reality for intermittent appearances in storylines such as the Batman/Flash crossover 'The Button,' the recent DC event series Infinite Frontier, and the current Justice League Incarnate.
But in Flashpoint Beyond, we learn that the Flashpoint reality survived - and Thomas Wayne/Batman is even more shocked than we are. In the seven-issue series, he will return to the streets of his Gotham City to figure out the multiversal mystery of how his universe didn't die - and if there's some way to resurrect his dear, departed son Bruce.
Flashpoint Beyond #1 uncolored unlettered preview
Along the way, he'll find an apparent lead with a new serial killer called the Clockwork Killer, and this alt-Batman's pursuit of the villain will lead him to Aquaman, who in this reality is a domineering tyrant of an Atlantean empire - an empire that has conquered Europe.
And from the looks of the covers, the Flashpoint Wonder Woman will also be returning for Flashpoint Beyond.
"It's been a privilege, and incredible learning experience, to work with these talented writers, artists, inkers, letterers, colorists, and editors for this series," says Adams. "Talking story and character has been eye-opening, and the lessons will undoubtedly color everything I do from now on. I'm beyond excited that DC fans will get to go back to the Flashpoint Universe and experience a grounded mystery that will evoke serious philosophical questions while tugging at your heartstrings."
Also in the preview images is an easter egg appearance of '5G,' which is DC going a bit meta. '5G' is a term coined in 2019 that refers to a planned recalibration of the DC Universe to make all its various continuities, timelines, and universes fit with another that was at the center of months of rumors and speculation. Whatever DC's actual plans were eventually evolved, with DC opting to go with the less-restricting and timeline-specific DC Omniverse which began in Dark Nights: Death Metal #7.
Who is the Clockwork Killer?
There's no DC character (yet) named the Clockwork Killer, but given Johns' most recent big series Doomsday Clock (and its connection to Watchmen), the 'clock' motif connection here is unmistakable. Especially after it was revealed the Watchmen's Doctor Manhattan was behind the multiversal shenanigans that led to Flashpoint, and then the 'New 52.'
But there's also something else from DC's past this could be referring to - something a bit more off the beaten path.
In 2011, the DC series The Spirit featured a storyline called 'Clockwork Killer' - the very exact name of this apparent antagonist of Flashpoint Beyond. In the Spirit series by David Hine and Moritat, the 'Clockwork Killer' is a reference to a villain named the Professor who creates automatons with clockwork accuracy to kill his opponents. This shared name could be just insignificant… but can't be discounted just yet.
Flashpoint's connection to DC Comic and DC movies
The 2011 Flashpoint comic book event set the stage for the 2011 'New 52' relaunch of the entire DCU, and the Flashpoint series itself was adapted in the 2013 animated film Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox.
The upcoming live-action film The Flash is inspired by the Flashpoint event to some degree, although it remains to be seen how faithful an adaptation of the comic book storyline it will be and how much the multiverse concept will play in its story.
Regardless, the Flashpoint Beyond series is timed to conclude - and possibly released as a collection - just as the Flash movie hits theaters on November 4.
Flashpoint Beyond #0 (of 6) goes on sale on April 5.
Interested in the idea of Batman variants? Here's our list of all the other Batmans running around the DC Omniverse.