SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Batman #50 by Tom King, Mikel Janín, June Chung, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, Trish Mulvihill, Becky Cloonan, Jason Fabok, Brad Anderson, Frank Miller, Alex Sinclair, Lee Bermejo, Neal Adams, Hi-Fi, Tony S. Daniel, Tomeu Morey, Amanda Conner, Paul Mounts, Rafael Albuquerque, Andy Kubert, Tom Sale, Jose Villarrubia, Paul Pope, Mitch Gerads, Clay Mann, Jordie Bellaire, Ty Templeton, Keiren Smith, Joëlle Jones, David Finch, Jim Lee, Scott Williams, Greg Capullo, FCO Plascencia, Lee Weeks and Clayton Cowles, on sale now.
The relationship between Bruce Wayne and Alfred Pennyworth has always transcended that of master and valet. Over the years, we've seen Alfred become more than a butler to the Dark Knight. He's been a guardian, a protector and a shoulder to lean on, and as Bruce would readily admit, a father.
Tom King brings this full-circle in Batman #50, where Bruce makes it clear just how much Alfred means to him, and in short, it's the world. In a genuinely sentimental moment, the groom-to-be reveals he wants Alfred to stand by his side as best man on his wedding day.
While we know by now how this day ends, it still doesn't detract from one of the most endearing moments the duo has ever shared. In fact, this probably ranks amongst the highest because it's tender and vulnerable, something we don't see that much as Bruce is almost always in Batman-mode, never really letting his guard down. But the majority of writer Tom King's run, especially regarding this wedding, has been about the man more than the Bat.
In this landmark issue, Bruce and Selina opt to get hitched in a very private session, on a rooftop at night -- it's where they met, and where King makes it clear their love will always exist. Bruce decides he'll use a drunk judge, someone who'll forget their identities the next day, to preside over the ceremony. But two things are missing: the maid of honor and the best man, the two witnesses to the matrimony.
With Catwoman temporarily breaking Holly Robinson out of prison to be her witness, and the clock counting down, Alfred asks Bruce if he should call Dick Grayson or Clark Kent, the two closest partners Bruce has ever had in his life as the Caped Crusader. This is, after all, where King, and a few other wedding tie-ins, directed viewers, making them think Bruce was leaning towards his closest allies in the fight against evil.
However, Bruce has one choice and as it turns out, it was never really up for debate. He wants his witness to be Alfred, and as he lays out his reasons, it comes as no surprise.
"Since it's been the two of us. Since the beginning," he tells his closest confidant, and truly, his best friend.
"I can't do anything without you. I never could. Or will," he further confesses, causing the shocked butler to sit down, and embrace his 'son.'
No more words are said, and honestly, none are needed. There's an unspoken 'thank you,' and more so, a sense of honor and privilege on Alfred's part, as he's grateful to play yet another important role in Master Bruce's life.
But as Batman would tell you, the honor is all his because few men are lucky enough to have someone as loyal as Alfred in their life. Bruce may not have gotten the ending he wanted, but at least we got to see him and his best man openly acknowledge what they mean to each other. Let's just hope the Joker never gets wind about this because we all know he wanted the job.