- Comic books love to introduce long-lost family members as plot twists, and Batman’s butler Alfred Pennyworth’s forgotten brother needs to make a return.
- Alfred’s cloned brother, who is technically DC’s first Dark Knight, was introduced in All-Star Batman #14 but hasn’t been seen since. This is a missed opportunity for a dangerous villain for the Bat-Family.
- With Alfred dead, the return of his evil clone would add chaos to Gotham and create a compelling Batman villain, especially since the clone defeated Batman in their previous encounters.
One of the major plot tropes comic books love to use is that of the long-lost family member. From Spider-Man’s sister to Batman’s boomerang-hurling older brother, comics aren’t shy about bringing back old family members — which is exactly why Alfred Pennyworth‘s long-forgotten brother needs to make a return.
Comic books love to bring out the long-lost relative for a good plot twist. It’s been done with Daredevil, Spider-Man, Superman, Nightwing, Batman, and more. It would be easier to list the characters who haven’t revealed secret family members. But Alfred Pennyworth’s family life has rarely been explored. Avid comic fans will know that Alfred’s father was the Wayne butler before Alfred arrived and that Alfred Pennyworth has a daughter named Julia. But, beyond those beats, his family isn’t often addressed. That makes the fact that Alfred’s technical “brother” hasn’t been seen since his debut one of Batman comics’ biggest missed opportunities.
Alfred’s Brother Was the Original Dark Knight
Alfred’s shocking brother is revealed in All-Star Batman #14 by Scott Snyder, Rafael Albuquerque, Jordie Bellaire, and Steve Wands. Alfred had been cloned by his old mentor Briar, and this clone is technically DC’s first Dark Knight. The Alfred clone is never given a proper name, but, as a perfect genetic clone, this makes the Dark Knight essentially Alfred’s brother — at least in every physical way. The issue ends with the Dark Knight deciding to kill Briar, and then the Dark Knight simply disappears. He hasn’t reappeared in comic books since. That there’s a highly-trained and dangerous clone of Alfred Pennyworth running around in the DC Universe is a massive missed opportunity, especially considering that Alfred Pennyworth is currently dead.
With Alfred dead, it feels as though every aspect of his life is being phased out. Dr. Leslie Thompkins, Alfred’s love interest, hasn’t appeared in the main universe since he died, and Julia cut all contact with the Bat-Family. The return of Alfred’s evil clone would be an amazing villain for the Bat-Family to overcome, especially since the Dark Knight defeated Batman in both of their encounters. The only reason Alfred and Batman survived the battle with the Dark Knight is that the clone simply left after killing Briar. There are few villains who have a total win-rate against Batman, and that this enemy has the face of Bruce’s dead adoptive father is just the perfect melodramatic cherry on top.
The Dark Knight Vanishes and Isn’t Seen Again
The Bat-Family have all been trying to deal with Alfred’s passing in their own way. Nightwing has used the fortune left to him to create charities and improve the city of Blüdhaven. Damian struggled with the idea of reviving Alfred, and Bruce was a true mess after Alfred’s death. However, the family has begun to move on. The return of Alfred Pennyworth’s long-lost brother would introduce some absolute chaos to Gotham, and this Dark Knight would make a dramatically compelling Batman villain.
Check out All-Star Batman #14, available now from DC Comics!
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