Warning: SPOILERS for Batman: Prelude to the Wedding #1
Add another child of Batman to the list, as the son of Bruce Wayne and Catwoman has joined the DC Comics Universe. But there's more to this reveal than readers will grasp upon first reading, since the future of Batman's children continues to be a haze of alternate timelines, possible futures, and nightmare scenarios.
One of which leads to the birth of "Aion" - the name adopted by the biological son of Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle. That's according to Bruce's current heir, Damian Wayne, who gets the first look at his future half-brother and rival. The prelude to Batman and Catwoman's wedding just got a LOT more interesting.
To be clear, Bruce and Selina don't have a son, or any child in the current DC timeline. But with their marriage fast approaching, and a life where Bruce Wayne retires from Batman looking more and more possible, a child could be in their future. But in his own Prelude to the Wedding comic, Damian Wayne learns the hard way that the son of Catwoman and Batman is a deadly (and annoying) combination.
After getting the drop on Damian as he mentally prepares to reach a new Hi-Score on his favorite arcade game, Aion announces himself, whip in hand, cat emblem stitched across his black uniform along with a Bat-cowl to denote his lineage. His combat skills also won't disappoint either parent, giving Damian a fight he is seriously not prepared for (even after the anticipation of a record-setting game of Cheese Viking has subsided).
Damian only gets the upper hand and finishes the fight when he realizes it's his imagination and a powerful hallucinogens at work. Except... that's not the whole story. The battle is eventually revealed to be a ruse by Damian's grandfather Ra's al Ghul, who has come to Gotham ahead of Bruce's wedding. The villain's name, 'Aion' is a bit of a hint in this new context: a term used by Carl Jung when discussing notions of the Self, apparently created by Damian's subconscious mind.
Or so he thinks. Because the future version of himself that Selina and Bruce's son shows Damian isn't completely a work of fiction. The hallucinations and insanity thrust upon Damian - explained away by the drug he's been dosed with - will be recognized by fans as the fate that really does await Damian Wayne, in the long-discussed future of Batman #666. And it's not the only time this nightmare future for Damian has resurfaced in DC's Rebirth.
It's not easy to explain the canon/non-canon status of Batman #666, originally told by Grant Morrison and Andy Kubert. The first short story showed Damian become Batman after the hero's death, shave his head, make a deal with the Devil to sacrifice his soul for Gotham and immortality, and "put the apocalypse on hold." Morrison's returns to this future made it famously enigmatic, and when the future Batman Tim Drake arrived in Rebirth to fix the future, it was suggested his world may be the one seen in Batman #666.
Now, Tim Seeley and Brad Walker have revealed Batman and Catwoman's son to be merely an illusion... while linking him to this same dystopian future. Is it just a coincidence that Damian's hallucination of a half-brother also shows the antihero he becomes in the future - either this one, or another?
Whatever the case, Helena Wayne now has company as the child Batman and Catwoman have raised in the comics, whether it's deemed "canonical" or not.
Batman: Prelude to the Wedding – Robin vs. Ra’s al Ghul #1 is available now from DC Comics