Alfred's backstory mentioned in Gotham prequel novel Dawn of Darkness.
This book gives more info and insight into the Wayne’s loyal butler and his past. As this is an official prequel novel, this is about as canon as it can be unless the show directly contradicts it.
- served in the royal marines, got a Military Cross and saved an entire regiment on a mission in Kazakhstan
- spent a few years at Scotland Yard
- worked with MI3 and received a license to kill and went on numerous classified missions and gained many enemies
- on 2 occasions, he narrowly escaped assassins targeting him
- in an attempt at a calmer life, he took a job with a private army in the middle east that protected the interests of multinational corporations and during assignment in Libya, he met Thomas Wayne who was one of the army’s financiers
- he and Thomas became friends and stayed in touch for the next few years, Alfred was happy to learn when the Waynes had a baby boy
- when Bruce was two years old, Alfred finally met him and Martha during a Wayne family vacation in England
- 2 year old Bruce got along well with Alfred, always smiling and wanting to play with him all the time, which Martha and Thomas thought unusual because Bruce usually acted shy and distrusting around strangers
- Thomas knew Alfred had enemies continuing trying to target him and offered Alfred the butler position to get away from it all and move to Gotham
- Alfred declined the offer at first because it seemed too dramatic a change of life and he had no experience, and also he was in love for many years with a former french spy named Gabrielle and knew she wouldn’t want to move since she had family in Paris
- few weeks later when Alfred and Gabrielle were at dinner at a restaurant, two men entered and tried to kill him, Alfred shot and killed them both but a bullet from one of the two gunmen had killed Gabrielle
- Alfred blamed himself and was emotionally devastated, he hunted and killed the man who ordered the hit, but knew he couldn’t stay in England any longer because his enemies will just continue the cycle of violence and the place had too many memories of Gabrielle so he phoned Thomas and took the butler job and left for Gotham
- Alfred keeps a picture of Gabrielle in his wallet and thinks about her everyday, these days he’s just glad that he was lucky to have been in love
- Alfred made two separate promises to Thomas and Martha respectively, one to Thomas on being Bruce’s guardian and help him be ready for the fight to come, and one to Martha that he would keep Bruce away from violence and focus on his education
- Alfred did agree with Thomas’ view that Bruce will have to learn how to fight because he didn’t think that he alone was a permanent insurance policy as he didn’t think he would live that long despite Martha’s faith in his abilities to protect Bruce
- Alfred killed an intruder two months before the Wayne murder - that intruder was connected to Thomas’ past dealings over Hugo Strange and Indian Hill experiments
- Alfred and Harvey have met before the show started due to the break in at Wayne Manor where Alfred killed the intruder, their interaction wasn’t all that pleasant as Harvey implicitly suggested that Alfred might have sold out the Waynes’ security code, which only offended and enraged Alfred
- Alfred was suspicious of Thomas’ secret work, knowing that something was amiss, but did not get involved because it wasn’t his place to intrude into the privacy of his employer
- Thomas considers Alfred “his secret weapon” because he has a unique set of skills
- The Waynes and Alfred crossed paths with Jerome Valeska and his mother while they visited the circus and exchanged some heated words
Dark Days: The Forge #1 Review - Welcome Returns and Lore Building
“Before i get started, i want to say thanks to people who follow me and those who have read my reviews and thoughts since i joined Tumblr, it means a lot.
So Dark Days: The Forge #1 is one of two prelude issues, the other being The Casting #1, to the massive Dark Nights: Metal event brought to us by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, the team behind the critically acclaimed New 52 Batman series.
The theme of this series is of course metal itself, The Forge and The Casting are terms relating to the blacksmith art of shaping metal into something else, and we start this story off with a diary entry from the recently deceased Carter Hall AKA Hawkman, who tells the story of how he first got his metal wings. In Ancient Egypt he came across what appears to be a Thanagarian ship in the sky that would ultimately give him, his princess (Shayera, Hawkgirl) and Hath-Set eternal life.
The metal in question is Nth Metal and that ship is made up of it entirely. We also learn that Carter had been exploring the Nth Metal for years as he would often have visions of another life that would disturb him and he wanted to know where it came from.
Having Hawkman tell us this story is a good narrative choice from Snyder (one of many he makes in this story), but it once again blurs the lines when it comes to the origins of the character.
Meanwhile in the present day, Batman is using his resources at Wayne Enterprises to fund undercover sites designed to investigate an issue with the metal, which is supposedly becoming unstable, a problem which Aquaman is more than happy to bring up as the site Batman narrowly escapes death from is based in the sea.
Arthur asks Bruce what he was looking for, but Bruce cryptically says that he knows what is locked beneath Atlantis, implying that some questions should go unasked for now. So what is buried beneath Atlantis? Is it related to the metal?
We later find Bruce back at his Batcave, it would seem he’s been working on this problem with the metal for some time and has even consulted other heroes on the matter, which brings back to the fold the one and only Mister Terrific, Michael Holt, returning to the main universe after some time away.
As it turns out though, Michael has been working with Bruce on this issue with the metal, travelling between Earth-0 and Earth-2 to bring Bruce information on a Multiversal level. Terrific reveals that the frequency infecting the metal on Earth-0 is also doing the same on Earth-2 and beyond, and even a man of his intellect doesn’t know why.
It’s honestly so good to see Michael back in the picture and in a huge story like this too. It’s easy to do a story that concentrates on the big core characters but Scott Snyder doesn’t do “easy”. Which brings us to another surprise returning character….
Mister Terrific sparks a thought in Batman, who decides to investigate further but instructs his colleague to bring someone out of the box……PLASTIC MAN!!!
Now what Bruce means by unstable though i’m not sure (people with his powers are known in fiction to become physically unstable and not be able to hold their form correctly), but Michael’s smile says it all right there, it’s good to have him back.
Snyder pulls out another rabbit from his hat, because if you told me a year ago that Scott Snyder AKA Batman Guy was going to write a story that included Hawkman, Mister Terrific and Plastic Man in it, i would have laughed. This is what good writers can do though, explore the back catalogue and use any character so seamlessly, it’s one of the things i love about Geoff Johns so much.
Batman heads to the Arctic to see Superman in his Fortress. Years ago, Bruce asked Clark if he could have a room in the Fortress of Solitude, and made him also promise never to look at what he put in the room.
Clark was seemingly too nice to question his motives and agreed, and Bruce even shot the key to the room into the sun so no-one could go in there. But now Bruce needs to go into the room, and there’s only one person you can turn to….Scott Free AKA Mister Miracle!
Mister Miracle unlocks the door with ease and peaks at what is inside. He’s shocked, or horrified, or probably both, and tries to warn Bruce but he waves him off and tells him to leave.
I think Scott had a point though, because in the room is a tuning fork tower previously seen in Crisis On Infinite Earths and Infinite Crisis. These towers are designed to hone in on frequency that each Earth gives off and have been used to save them and replicate them, and they can potentially destroy them too.
How on Earth did Batman get hold of this though? How is it possible that this exists in the post-Flashpoint universe? So many questions and no answers, but we do know that Batman is about to use the massive tower to try and get a fix on the frequency that is coming off of the metal.
What could possible go wrong?
Meanwhile in Plot B, we join Hal Jordan as he is tasked by Ganthet, a Guardian of the Universe, to investigate rumours of a terrible truth coming to light on Earth and sends him to Wayne Manor. Hal thinks it should be an easy mission, but he doesn’t account for Duke Thomas.
Duke Thomas, not a Robin, is guarding the Batcave and tries to take on a Green Lantern. Poor boy, he didn’t stand a chance. Hal though gives the kid a break and explores a little, finding a secret cave in the Batcave.
“Only Batman would have a secret cave inside his secret cave.”
He’s not kidding.
Hal and Duke explore this secret cave and are confronted by a mysterious voice, that gives them a guided tour of the things they’re about to see and gives us an insight into why Batman is exploring the metal in the first place.
As it turns out, it all started back when Bruce discovered the existence of the Court of Owls in the New 52 series of Batman, also written by Scott Snyder. In issue 7, Bruce discovers that the Talons, the assassins used by the Court are brought back from the dead using a special metal placed in a tooth called Electrum. Dick Grayson actually had one in his mouth for years as he was being groomed as a future Talon by the Court, before Bruce took him in at Wayne Manor.
As this mysterious voice in the secret cave tells Hal and Duke, Bruce was able to extract a strange substance from the tooth he took from Dick and found that it gave off a strange energy signature that was also found in some of the most powerful artifacts in the world.
As you can see from the picture, Bruce has collected Doctor Fate’s helmet (or one of them), a trident-like weapon possibly from Atlantis and a pair of bracers similar to what Wonder Woman wears.
The mysterious voice also mentions another element, Dionesium, a substance that took center stage during another Snyder Batman story known as Endgame.
Snyder is digging in deep to get these threads for his story, a great pair of callbacks to his previous work and again he pulls out another rabbit from his hat and brings back the original Outsiders group in their original line up!
It would be poor form for me not to mention another plot thread from this issue, which shows us the Immortal Man talking to an acquaintance about Elaine Thomas, Duke’s mother. As it turns out, the Immortal Man once offered Elaine immortality and she rejected him, and he has since been watching her with the hope she wouldn’t reveal his secret.
Immortal Man is one of many obscure characters being brought into the Metal event and will later be part of the Dark Matter line up of books, written by James Tynion IV and art from Jim Lee, so it makes sense that he would show up here.
Meanwhile, closing in on their strange tour guide, Hal and Duke make their way through the secret cave and Duke is already putting together who this stranger is.
To their horror they open a door and find a crazed Joker, crudely scratching numbers into a wall and laughing like a maniac. It appears that Bruce has been holding him captive for some time.
As i’ve already said, i love the fact that Snyder has gone outside of his comfort zone of the Batman universe and has used other characters for this story, if anything it really shows the growth he’s made as a writer and the confidence he has now to tell big stories. And this is a big story, make no mistake about it. He still uses the Batman related characters to frame his story but he’s not afraid to make pairings that no-one would do in a million years, i mean come on, Duke Thomas and Hal Jordan? It’s a cool idea!
As for bringing in characters like Mister Terrific and Plastic Man, it’s done so that you’re happy to see these guys return but also uses them in a way that feels integral to the story.
As a prelude to a larger story, this issue does a great job of helping set up the stakes as they are and intriguing us into what the mystery of the metal is going to end up being. I still have lots of questions, especially when it comes to Duke and his All-Star Batman story about him potentially being a meta-human and how his mother fits into this larger story.
As for the artwork, highly serviceable stuff. I’m not John Romita Jr’s biggest fan but his work on this issue is great. As usual Jim Lee owns the pages he draws and Andy Kubert captures the magic of Carter Hall’s life in his pages too.
TL;DR: A wonderfully done prologue to what could be one of the most original and interesting DC events in years, and does great fan service to those who loved Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman series as well as those who love DC in general, with some great surprise characters turning up along the way.
“But if there must be an end, let it be loud. Let it be bloody. Better to burn than to wither away in the dark.” — Mike Mignola (Hellboy, Vol. 6: Strange Places (Hellboy, #6))
“Active or ambitious women were not only rare but often evil. Wonder
Woman flipped this paradigm by embodying the strength, assertiveness,
and independence usually associated with bad girls and villains in a
positive heroic light. The Golden Age Wonder Woman was a blatant
rejection of the good girl/bad girl binary and even offered a critique
of the good girl role.”
Wonder Woman Unbound: The Curious History of the World’s Most Famous Heroine
“It’s always easy to be what you are– What’s hard is to be what you want to be.”
– but perhaps I do need to talk a bit about home – about days long forgotten – about nights lost in time’s shadow – and about the origin of one whom the outside world has called – The Panther!
You asked me what “being Superman” means. Being Superman doesn’t mean I’m greater than anyone. But it does mean I’m better than you.
You have your definition of a hero and I have mine — and mine includes being a lot more aware.
a blind lawyer with a history of incarceration and personal tragedy.
What in that make-up makes you think I have a sense of humor?
– Matt Murdock
Spawn: You sent me to Hell! I’m here to return the favor!
- Spawn (1997).
Tell your friends there’s a hunter on the streets. This is my town now, and creeps like you are an endangered species.
Bruce Wayne: It’s not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me.
- Batman Trilogy
Now that I am able to turn myself into a human Atom – who knows what strange and wonderful things may happen?
The story must start with my father, a famous undersea explorer —
if I spoke his name, you would recognize it. My mother died when I was a
baby, and he turned to his work of solving the ocean’s secrets. His
greatest discovery was an ancient city, in the depths where no other
diver had ever penetrated. My father believed it was the lost kingdom of
Atlantis. He made himself a water-tight home in one of the palaces and
lived there, studying the records and devices of the race’s marvelous
wisdom. From the books and records, he learned ways of teaching me to
live under the ocean, drawing oxygen from the water and using all the
power of the sea to make me wonderfully strong and swift. By training
and a hundred scientific secrets, I became what you see — a human being
who lives and thrives under the water.
what if people have noticed the way the wayne family acts. how the kids always almost say “batman” instead of dad/bruce, or how whenever batman disappears, bruce wayne is suddenly unavailable. the butler’s strange behaviour and the darkness that’s always somehow around the waynes or the secrets and everything that has led some people throughout comics’ history to unravel batman’s secret identity
what if gotham remembers all those little details? what if there are forums on the internet solely dedicated to these mishaps? it’s become such a big deal over the years online that everyone now thinks the wayne family’s just trying really hard to make the world think they’re batman and co, that it’s just a stunt to gain them more popularity because “that’s how elitists are”. so they decide to write it off. all of it
GOTHAM (Mondays, 8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) The origin story continues on Season Three of GOTHAM, and the stakes are higher than ever, as Super-Villains more ambitious and depraved are introduced, and a realignment of alliances shakes up the fight for power in Gotham City.
Season Three will peel back the curtain on the infamous criminal organization known as the Court of The Owls. With the Indian Hill escapees on the loose, JIM GORDON (Ben McKenzie) must take matters into his own hands as a bounty hunter in Gotham. He makes it his mission to find HUGO STRANGE (guest star BD Wong), the mastermind behind the horrifying Indian Hill experiments, and FISH MOONEY (guest star Jada Pinkett Smith), one of Strange’s subjects. Meanwhile, GCPD Detective HARVEY BULLOCK (Donal Logue) and Captain NATHANIEL BARNES (Michael Chiklis) remain at the forefront of the fight against crime in the monster-ridden city. Also, BRUCE WAYNE (David Mazouz), with the help of his trusted butler and mentor, ALFRED PENNYWORTH (Sean Pertwee), and former Wayne Enterprises employee, LUCIUS FOX (Chris Chalk), discovers there are still more secrets to uncover regarding his parents’ murders.
As the city sinks deeper into chaos, GOTHAM will continue to follow the evolving stories of the city’s most malevolent villains: THE PENGUIN (Robin Lord Taylor); EDWARD NYGMA/the future RIDDLER (Cory Michael Smith); SELINA KYLE/the future CATWOMAN (Camren Bicondova); BARBARA KEAN (Erin Richards), TABITHA GALAVAN/TIGRESS (Jessica Lucas) and BUTCH GILZEAN (Drew Powell). The series also will catch up with the future POISON IVY (Maggie Geha), who, after an encounter with a monster from Indian Hill, finds herself reborn as a young woman who’s harnessed the full power of her charms; and will dive into the origin stories of JERVIS TETCH/MAD HATTER (Benedict Samuel), a talented hypnotist teetering on the edge of madness; and the TWEED BROTHERS.