Warning! Minor spoilers for Catwoman: Lonely City #3!
A conversation in Cliff Chiang’s Catwoman: Lonely City reveals that Dr. Leslie Thompkins, a mother figure to the pre-Batman Bruce Wayne, is definitely the most neglected Bat-Family member. Chiang’s Lonely City continues to wow Batman fans, highlighting the most beloved members of the Dark Knight’s Bat-Family. Not only does it touch upon characters like Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon, but some of the least popular Batman allies also make appearances.
The first three issues of Lonely City demonstrate that Selina isn’t as nimble as she used to be. While re-exploring Gotham after being released from prison, she picks up her career as Catwoman, but Chiang shows her making more mistakes than ever. Her arms and legs frequently cramp up after too much action, which puts even more pressure on her as she uncovers the clues to Batman’s final “Orpheus” assignment. In third issue of the series, Catwoman returns to one of Bruce Wayne’s oldest allies for her latest knee sprain.
Even though Alfred patches Batman up most of the time, there was someone else he went to “when Alfred’s needle and thread weren’t enough.” Dennis O’Neil and Dick Giordino’s Detective Comics #457 introduced Dr. Leslie Thompkins as the first to console Bruce after his parents died. Leslie was good friends with the Waynes, especially because Thomas was also a doctor. Even though she admires Alfred, she mostly disapproves of Bruce’s vigilantism; this is why Bruce primarily relies on his butler to tend to his wounds. Her skepticism of Batman’s honorable yet problematic nocturnal activities gives her a unique position among the Bat-Family. Lonely City confirms that Leslie never hears much detail about Bruce’s adventures as Batman, most likely because he didn’t want her to worry. However, it’s clear that she’s one of his closest surviving loved ones.
Dennis O’Neil stated that he based Leslie on Dorothy Day, a Catholic social worker and civil rights activist. She purposefully lives in the shadiest area of Gotham City—Park Row. This area is home to Crime Alley, the infamous location where Batman lost his parents. Her mission is to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, and heal anyone who may need it. Leslie’s most prominent non-comics appearances are in the DCAU’s Batman: The Animated Series, where she works at various shelters and missions across Gotham. The episode “Paging the Crime Doctor” cements Leslie’s relationship with Thomas Wayne even further, establishing that they studied together in medical school.
Overall, Leslie Thompkins’ humanitarianism proves that she’s the most pure-hearted and simultaneously the most underrated member of the Bat-Family. Cliff Chiang didn’t have to include her in Lonely City, but it was a brilliant touch. Selina and Leslie Thompkins‘ conversation in Catwoman: Lonely City #3 adds so much more to fans’ ongoing discussion about whether or not Batman and the Bat-Family‘s war on crime actually helps Gotham City or harms it.
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