Fans of the Batman Beyond universe have finally had a great mystery solved in heartwarming fashion, now that the comic books have revealed Alfred Pennyworth still has a role to play in the elderly Bruce Wayne's life.
At least, that sure seems to be the case in the first pages of Batman Beyond #31 releasing this week. Until now, Bruce had no Alfred to rely upon in the far off future of Neo-Gotham, instead shifting to the mentor/Guardian role to his replacement, Terry McGinnis. But in our exclusive preview of Batman Beyond #31, a familiar voice returns to suggest Bruce was never able to part with his trusted butler, father figure, and mother hen. Not without finding an artificial replacement, anyway.
There are too many unsolved mysteries in Batman Beyond's future to answer in a single comic book, but fortunately the absence of Alfred Pennyworth was never one to confound audiences. Considering the story is based on Bruce Wayne in his twilight years, nobody ever had to confirm that Alfred had passed away (as likely from natural causes as any other end). The series and comic books have made passing references to Alfred, but the new comic book from Dan Jurgens and Rick Leonardi may tease a truly satisfying fate guaranteed to bring a smile to every Batman fan's face.
The issue begins with Bruce Wayne alive and well after Joker's return, taking a stroll through the new vision of Arkham Asylum he is paying to create. When a mysterious power outage lets Bruce know that it's time to get home and investigate the cause, he doesn't have to worry about driving himself home. His new car features a robotic A.I. chauffeur... whose vocabulary and style sure feels familiar to fans of Bruce's trusted butler. Take a look at the preview pages below:
It's impossible to confirm that the A.I. voice and intelligence playfully commenting on Bruce's drinking habits and coordinating his schedule is literally Alfred's, since... well, you can't hear a comic book. But the script used in the dialogue boxes, like the diction and tone, are all a perfect fit for Alfred Pennyworth. Considering how many memories Batman fans will be able to picture of Bruce Wayne sharing confidential insights with Alfred while driving through Gotham City, this single scene may have be worth the wait. DC has come up with plenty of ways to kill Alfred Pennyworth, and even shown how an artificial Alfred can kill to protect Bruce.
So fans can feel warm and fuzzy, knowing that in the future of Batman Beyond, Alfred was copied for no other purpose than to keep Bruce Wayne company. What else are old friends for? Pick up the full issue this Wednesday, and check out the full details and synopsis below:
- BATMAN BEYOND (2019) #31
- Published: April 24th, 2019
- Writer: Dan Jurgens
- Art: Wade Von Grawbadger, Rick Leonardi
- Cover: Chris Samnee
- Variant Cover: Ben Oliver
- With a series of spectacular high-tech heists, a mysterious new villain known as the Splitt is preying on Neo-Gotham. Only Batman is capable of stopping him, yet Terry McGinnis wants nothing more than to get his life back to normal after his destructive battle with The Joker. Making this even more difficult is the strange, enigmatic fate of Bruce Wayne!
Batman Beyond #31 will be available from your local comic book store on April 24th, or direct from DC Comics.