Detective Comics #457 may appear to be a random difficulty of Batman’s long-running comedian collection to bestow a lot significance to, nevertheless it launched somebody who would come to play a serious position in shaping Bruce Wayne’s life and in some ways turn into the protector of Gotham that he by no means might. I’m speaking, after all, about Dr. Leslie Thompkins, who first appeared in a panel comforting Bruce after the dying of his dad and mom in Crime Alley. Bruce’s connection to Leslie was cemented then and it was later revealed that every yr on the anniversary of that fateful evening he would go to the lady who had proven him such compassion.
Leslie Thompkins is among the few secure issues in Bruce’s life. All through the ever-shifting Batman canon, readers got here to be taught that the elder girl had as soon as been shut buddies with Bruce’s father Thomas, and similar to Alfred Pennyworth, took on a surrogate father or mother position within the younger kid’s life after his mom and father had been taken from him. One of many greatest criticisms typically leveled at Batman is that he might be placing his assets again into Gotham quite than into his behavior for vigilantism. Leslie displays a extra charitable model of Bruce’s want to change town they each love, as after she noticed the loss that Bruce confronted, she devoted her life to serving to others as each a youth employee and a physician.
Batman’s relationship with girls is one thing that is been explored in a lot of his comedian guide adventures, from the lack of his mom to romantic dalliances with any variety of fleeting girls who typically betray or harm him, however his connection to Leslie is one thing totally totally different. It is one constructed on belief, love and respect. Her place and position in Gotham is one which reminds Bruce of who he might be and why he nonetheless fights for the streets of town that he loves.
Whereas Batman makes use of his preventing prowess and deductive brilliance to combat crime in Gotham, Leslie makes use of her compassion and intelligence. She’s established a number of well being and drug remedy clinics all through her tenure within the Bat-canon and even managed to create a zero-crime zone in one of many institutions in order that irrespective of who got here by means of her doorways, they might be protected. Her attain was so in depth that even among the metropolis’s most violent criminals revered the request, maintaining sufferers secure beneath the watchful eye of Gotham’s guardian angel.
Merely being a feminine character who has survived for the reason that 1970s makes Leslie stand out, particularly as she’s primarily a surrogate mom to Bruce and could be a first-rate goal for any of his enemies and/or writers who wish to make the viewers really feel for him. What actually showcases the resilience of Leslie Thompkins, although, is the truth that as a lot as she loves Bruce, she’s not afraid to problem and stand as much as him, even when it places her and her life in danger.
One in every of Bruce and Leslie’s deepest disagreements is over his fixed use of kids as sidekicks. It is lengthy been probably the most controversial elements of Batman’s crimefighting profession, and through the huge “Struggle Video games” and “Struggle Crimes” occasions it got here to move in a surprising manner. After Stephanie Brown was taken to Leslie’s clinic after a combat with Black Masks, she apparently died. Bruce was devastated, however not practically as a lot as Leslie, who was as soon as once more livid together with her buddy for his disregard for the lives of the younger folks he takes beneath his wing. If that wasn’t surprising sufficient, it was later revealed that Leslie had in truth purposefully allowed Stephanie to die to show some extent to Bruce. Batman was so indignant upon studying this that he declared Leslie a legal and vowed to hunt her down and see her in jail if she ever returned to Gotham.
If Leslie’s actions do not sound like these of the lady that we’re celebrating, it is as a result of they weren’t. In precise reality, Leslie helped Stephanie to faux her dying to ensure that the younger woman to start out a brand new life away from the horrors of Gotham and the accountability of being a member of the Bat-Household. This act is an ideal instance of how Leslie and Bruce in the end differ. Whether or not he means to or not, Bruce’s actions nearly all the time put his younger fees within the line of fireplace, whereas Leslie was prepared to place herself in Batman’s sights simply to save lots of a younger woman’s life.
Current all through a lot of his comics life, and even in a few of his animated and dwell motion adventures, Leslie is a robust drive for good in Gotham. Whether or not she’s covertly treating Batman’s accidents or making an attempt to resolve Gotham’s issues on probably the most literal road degree, Dr. Leslie Thompkins is among the metropolis’s most impactful and underrated heroes.
Rosie Knight writes about comics, motion pictures and TV for DCComics.com and DCUniverse.com. Try her issue-by-issue breakdown of The Batman Who Laughs and be positive to follow her on Twitter at .