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Quote1 I picked you because of who you are and more importantly because you've earned this. You're a metahuman hero forged in the shadows who can crack the codes of daytime. You're a gift to this city. Quote2
-- Batman src

Duke Thomas is a vigilante and a member of the Batman Family. He joined the We Are Robin movement and became one of hundreds of civilian teenagers to don the Robin R and fight for their city. Eventually, he would leave the movement and join the Batman Family officially as the vigilante called The Signal.

Origins

When the terrorist known as the Riddler shut off all the power in Gotham City, the madman challenged the city to get smart or die by natural selection during what would later be called the Zero Year. Riddler told the city that if anyone could ask him a riddle that he couldn't answer, he would restore power to Gotham. Duke, who was a confident student at the time, began to train his mind with brain teasers in anticipation of accepting the Riddler's challenge. Duke and Bruce Wayne met for the first time when the Thomas family rescued the unconscious billionaire when Hurricane Rene began its rampage on Gotham simultaneously during the Riddler's plot. Thanking Duke for his kindness, Wayne departed to take on the Riddler himself.

Several years later, the Joker had returned to Gotham with an endgame for Batman in mind. Figuring out the vigilante's secret identity, the Joker kidnapped Duke and his family and planned to recreate Bruce Wayne's parents' murders right in front of him using the Thomas family. Batman managed to rescue Duke from the murderer, but Duke's parents succumbed to the mind controlling gas Joker had released.

Becoming a Robin

After the events of Batman: Endgame, Duke was placed into the foster system. He became desperate to find his parents after it became apparent that the authorities were not making any progress in locating them. During his time in foster care, he went from an excellent student to having a heavy police file because of all of the fights he got into. Because of this, his temporary foster parent, Raymond Mendez, sent him back into the system.

Leslie Thompkins was placed in charge of his social case and tried to keep him from getting into trouble by reassuring him that the police were still looking for his parents and would find them. In the meantime, she asked him to stop picking fights and try to be respectful to his foster parents. She then placed him with Joanne and Roy Dawson, after telling him that police had found some of the Joker's toxin victims wandering in the sewer system. Joanne showed Duke around the dirty apartment, telling Duke that he would need to babysit the other kids and clean the bathroom. Then she left him alone for a few minutes to organize his things into a drawer in the bedroom.

Feeling guilty about letting Dr. Thompkins down, Duke climbed out the window and left the apartment behind in order to go search for his parents in the sewers. As he made his way to the sewers, he thought about his mother and how she was so clean in every part of his life. It made him sad to imagine her wandering the sewers because he knew that that meant she was extremely far gone on the Joker's toxin.

While in the sewers looking for his parents, Duke accidentally stumbled into an underground meeting of homeless people who had created a small city. There he overheard their plan to bomb different landmarks in Gotham, starting with the Hall of Records. Just after hearing this, he was discovered and attacked. Luckily, this was also when the Robins joined the fight to save him.

Together with the robins, Duke fought his way out of the sewers, only to lose consciousness after a blow to the head. When police came, the other robins were ordered by the mysterious "Nest" to abandon him and run. Reluctantly they did as they were told.

Duke awoke inside a police interrogation room. There a skinny man with facial hair and dark glasses asked him what he was willing to do in order to find his parents. When Duke expressed confusion and told the man that that was the police's job, the man left the room. After waiting and then getting frustrated, Duke tried the door handle only to find it unlocked. When he stepped out of the interrogation room, he realized that he was not in a police station at all, but actually inside an abandoned warehouse.

This was when he discovered the red biker jacket with a yellow R on the breast, atop a motorcycle. Inside the jacket, he found a cellphone.

We Are Robin

The cellphone in his new jacket instructed him to go to a new location where he met the robins who had saved him earlier. Together they found the bombs Duke had heard about, beneath the Hall of Record. Using instructions sent to their phones from a mysterious sender called the Nest, they were able to disable one of the bombs. The second bomb proved more difficult, however, as it was on a subway train track and they had to jump out of the way of trains every few moments.

Finally, the Nest instructed them to get on the next train and leave the second bomb there. However, one of the robins, Troy, refused to leave. Determined that he could disable the bomb himself, he stayed behind alone. As the others rode away, he was caught in the blast and killed instantly.

Robin War

After one of the robins was implicated in the shooting of a police officer and a robber in a convenience store, the We Are Robin movement comes under fire by the public. This leads to a member of the city council, Councilwoman Noctua, implementing the Robin Laws. The Robin Laws made it illegal for anyone in Gotham to wear robin paraphernalia and encouraged police to stop and detain anyone who might be a Robin.

Training with Batman

Once Bruce Wayne returned to the mantle of Batman after he had previously lost his memory, the Bat offered Duke a position as his new protege, which the boy accepted under the condition that he not become just another Robin. Handing him a yellow suit instead, Batman agreed to teach him as something else.

Beginning their training together in what Alfred would call the "Cursed Wheel", Batman taught Duke the basics of becoming a professional vigilante by first following a string of murders committed by Victor Zsasz. Though Duke was injured in the process, he learned an important lesson about the psychology of criminals and who he was as a hero.

The "wheel" was forced to turn faster, according to Alfred, when Duke was thrust into a real adventure after Two-Face's return. Having heard a rumor of a cure that could fix him, Two-Face simultaneously fought and befriended Batman and Duke as they tried to locate the cure together, with a hoard of assassins on their tail. Once the adventure ended, Duke was commended for his actions in his first real mission.

Continuing his training under the Cursed Wheel program, Batman and Duke tried to investigate how the Riddler was managing to terrorize the city from his cell in Arkham to celebrate the anniversary of the Zero Year. Following the clues, Duke discovered that the Riddler had secretly allied himself with Duke's former friend and the original Mister Bloom - Daryl Gutierrez, Daryl being the conduit for Riddler's schemes. Together, Duke and Batman saw that the two villains were stopped.

Dark Nights: Metal

While Batman investigated the mysteries of Nth Metal, Duke and Hal Jordan attempted to decode the clues that the Bat had collected and stored in the Batcave, only to discover that Bruce had captured and hidden the Joker there too. Accidentally freeing the madman, the Joker revealed he knew more about the mystery and that he knew that Duke was actually a metahuman before vanishing from the cave entirely.

Powers

  • Unique Physiology: Duke is a metahuman and is only beginning to understand his powers. Duke's physiology appears to be unique in comparison to other metahumans, amplifying their abilities in his presence. Gnomon claims Duke has his "infinite blood", implying Duke may have the potential to be immortal.
    • Photokinetic Vision: Duke has photo-kinetic powers that allow him to take in light through his eyes and see changes and variations in light that other people can't. His eyes can absorb light faster than normal humans and he can manipulate the way he processes light.
      • Retrocognition: Duke can look back at the history of light in a room and see a few minutes of what happened before by seeing the "ghosts" of the light that hit the objects in the room.
      • Precognition: Duke can use his powers to not only see where light has been, he can also see where light will be.

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Abilities

  • Leadership
  • Indomitable Will: Duke's proven himself to be an exceptionally strong willed individual. During the events of Robin War, Duke was the one to face off against a rogue Damian Wayne and, despite Damian's efforts, refused to go down until he convinced Damian to fight alongside him and the Robins. Duke was also able to create a complex construct of Batman's machine using a power ring loaned to him by Hal Jordan on his first try.
  • Martial Arts

Equipment

  • Robin Costume: (formerly) After joining the We Are Robin movement, he was given a red leather jacket by the mysterious "Nest". The jacket proved to be bullet proof, even against multiple bullets at close range.
  • Unnamed Costume: (formerly) When Duke went to live with Bruce Wayne, he was gifted a new yellow and black costume. It included a yellow helmet with a black bat-shaped visor.
  • Signal Armor: After training with Batman, Duke was given a upgraded version of his costume. The new suit is a slightly heavier plated version of his previous suit with some new technology updates. The suit has a reflective bat insignia that can blind or confuse an enemy as well as change color depending on lighting. His suit also has a built-in defensive electrical grid and a stealth mode that makes him invisible.

Transportation

  • Motocycle: Originally a yellow version of Batman's batcycle, Duke has upgraded to a more streamlined motorcycle that can also cloak itself with Duke's suit; rendering it completely invisible

Weapons

  • Eskrima Stick: Duke's primary weapon of choice are a pair of modified Esckrima sticks that connect to function as nunchaku as well. The sticks come with spring loaded hatchet blades that allow them to be used as a grapple hook.
  • Nunchaku (formerly)

Related


Footnotes


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Batman Family member
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This character is or was an incarnation of or an ally of Batman, and a member of the Batman Family. This template will automatically categorize articles that include it into the "Batman Family members" category.