- We soldier on undaunted, you and I, Master Bruce. And if I may say so, sir... I couldn't beg, borrow or steal a finer way to live my life.
- — Alfred Pennyworth src
Alfred Pennyworth is the British butler and valet to the Wayne Family. He took up the role of legal guardian of Bruce Wayne, after the murders of Bruce's parents, Dr. Thomas Wayne and his wife Martha.
Born under the name of Alfred Beagle, he grew up in England and joined the army once he became of age. Alfred served in various conflicts all over the world, gaining skill as a field medic. After retiring from the army Alfred became an actor, and later a teacher for MI5, instructing its agents in subterfuge through the use of stagecraft. During this time Alfred received a special mission, loaning his services to the MI7. After this mission ended, Alfred was forced to retire from service, adopt a new identity and move to the United States of America. Alfred legally changed his last name to Pennyworth and started working as a butler for the Wayne Family, carrying over the family tradition, per his father's dying wish.
After several months, Alfred voiced the desire to return home to continue acting. However, these plans were forgotten when young Bruce returned home from school early after being bullied. Alfred taught Bruce how to defeat the bully strategically rather than using brute force. Armed with Alfred's tutelage, young Bruce managed to take care of his bully problem. Alfred stayed on as the family butler at Bruce's request.
After the murders of Thomas and Martha Wayne, Bruce avoided becoming a ward of the state by falsifying records and bribing social workers. Alfred acted as Bruce's guardian alongside Leslie Thompkins until Bruce left Gotham at the age of fourteen.
Batman and Robin
Main articles: Batman: Year One and Batman: Year Three Alfred remained as the sole guardian of Wayne Manor until the eventual return of Bruce Wayne, after many years of study and training. It was on Alfred's return that he supported Bruce's plan to take back Gotham City from the criminals and helped him as best he could. Alfred tended to Bruce's wounds after his first outing, but only after Bruce discovered a bat in the study that inspired him to don a costume to strike fear into criminals. When Lieutenant Gordon and his wife paid a visit to Wayne Manor while doing some investigation about the Batman, Alfred helped Bruce disguise himself as a self absorbed playboy millionaire and thus escaped suspicion of Bruce's involvement in Batman's attacks against the city mob.
After a successful first year, Alfred became the most trusted ally of the Batman, often providing everything to make the Dark Knight's quest easier. In the same was as Alfred as a father figure for Bruce, who he considered as his own son, he also played an important role in the inclusion of Dick Grayson as Bruce Wayne's ward and his smooth transition to become Robin, the Boy Wonder. However, in an effort to rectify past mistakes made with Bruce, Alfred tried his best to be a friend to Dick, more than he ever was for Bruce. As a result of this conscious effort, Alfred kept tabs on Tony Zucco, the man who killed Dick's parents and he would always plea the parole board to keep the criminal locked in prison once he was captured by Batman and Robin. Alfred did this for eleven years, keeping the truth from Dick and Bruce, but in the last year, his efforts were in vain and Anthony was released. Although Alfred considered this a deep personal failure, all unfinished business between Zucco, Dick and Bruce were promptly solved.
Enter Tim Drake
Main article: Batman: A Lonely Place of Dying Alfred remained the most trusted ally of Batman and Robin, even after Dick Grayson's separation from the team after six years and during Jason Todd's time as The Boy Wonder until his death at the hands of the Joker. However, Alfred played a vital role in the introduction of Tim Drake into the Batman's life. When Dick Grayson brought Tim to Wayne Manor, Alfred was shocked to learn that Tim had deduced everything about Batman and Robin. When Dick joined Batman as Nightwing and fell for a deadly trap prepared by Two-Face, Alfred allowed Tim to wear the Robin costume and he took the youngster to Batman's location, where the two of them confronted the crook. Their initial confrontation allowed Batman and Nightwing to capture Two Face shortly afterwards. After a succesful mission, Alfred convinced Bruce to allow Tim to become the new Robin. However, this also meant that Alfred was in charge of the initial stages of Tim's training before he could start training with Batman.
Sword of Azrael
Main article: Batman: Sword of Azrael Certain day, Bruce started investigating the case of a crime related to Carleton Lehah and apparently an avenging angel. Alfred traveled along with Bruce to Switzerland, where their helicopter was attacked by Lehah. Alfred and Bruce survived the attack and landed on the mountains, where they were attacked again, this time by the figure known as Azrael. Batman fough them away and he found a shelter to stay along with Alfred. Following their investigation, then went to a hospital where they confronted Lehah, who attacked Alfred and kidnapped Bruce. Alfred was later taken hostage by Azrael and his men, but he convinced them to work together to stop Lehah and rescue Bruce. They tracked down the villain back to America, where they rescued Bruce, but failed to capture Lehah. After this, Azrael, whose real identity was Jean-Paul Valley, joined Bruce to be trained as a vigilante.
Main article: Batman: Knightfall Back in Gotham, Alfred noticed that Bruce wasn't the same after the moral defeat when Black Mask escaped from the law. Alfred's concern showed, specially after Batman's encounter with The General and also when he found Batman asleep on the batcave's staircase. During this trying times, Alfred was always present to tend Batman and Robin's wounds and he also tried to keep Dr. Kinsolving unaware of Bruce's strenuous activities.
Despite Bruce's intent on self-destroy, Alfred would keep reminding him about his affairs as Bruce Wayne. Alfred became aware of Bruce's decision to shut out Tim while he was working on a case against Two-Face, and he decided that Batman most certainly would need help. Alfred and Robin went looking for Two-Face and they saved Batman's life by doing so.
When the Riddler took over a TV show, Alfred took Robin to the place in the Bat-van and his assistance was essential in the capture of the madman, while Batman was trying to rescue Mayor Krol from Joker and Scarecrow. A few hours later, Tim went home and Alfred stayed alone at Wayne Manor, where he was knocked unconscious by Bane. By the time Alfred recovered, he noticed Batman was being destroyed by Bane and with all his strength, he managed to crawl out of Wayne Manor and walked to the Drake Manor, looking for Tim's help.
A few moments later, Alfred, Tim and Jean-Paul Valley rescued Batman from the streets, disguised as paramedics from Mercy General Hospital, and with their own dummy ambulance, and they took Bruce to the Batcave, where Alfred did his best with the medical equipment available, but despite his efforts, Alfred knew that Bruce's back had been broken and he would be paralyzed for life. In order to give Bruce the proper medical treatment without exposing his identity, Alfred arranged for Dr. Kinsolving to come to Wayne Manor to look over Bruce. Alfred and Tim wrecked one of Bruce's cars to convince Dr. Kinsolving that Bruce had been in a car crash and he also acquired top medical equipment for Shondra to work at Wayne Manor without having to leave. A few nights later, Alfred helped Bruce after Dr. Kinsolving and Jack Drake were kidnapped and together, they started their quest to locate them, with their first destination being the island of Santa Prisca.
Main article: Batman: Knightquest
Alfred and Bruce continued their quest to find Shondra and Jack Drake and after a failed rescue attempt at Santa Prisca, Alfred travelled with Bruce to his home land of England, where they tracked down Shondra and Jack with help from The Hood.
After rescuing Jack Drake, Alfred tagged along with Bruce on his search for Shondra, but they soon returned to Gotham, where doctors told Bruce to lay off. Alfred tried to get Bruce to rest, but Bruce was determined to track down Shondra and Asp, forcing Alfred to present his resignation as he wouldn't stand watching Bruce kill himself. As his last act, Alfred went to Wayne Manor to retrieve his stuff, clean the house and ask Jean-Paul to help Bruce if he could. After this, Alfred moved away from Gotham City and out of Bruce's life.
No Man's Land
Main article: Batman: No Man's Land His resourcefulness came to the fore during the time when Gotham was declared "No Man's Land", . Batman was missing for weeks, leaving Alfred alone to watch the city. He used his skills as an actor, storyteller, medic, and spy to survive and collect information on the recently destroyed society. Alfred even used hand-to-hand combat in a rare on-panel fight sequence between him and a pair of slavers that ended with his rescue by a just-returned Batman.
Main article: Batman: War Games After a whole year, the city was part of the country again and many changes came with it. Tim Drake stopped being Robin and Batman allowed Stephanie Brown to become the next Robin; a decision that Alfred opposed. When Stephanie was fired from the role, the greatest gang war broke out in Gotham and Tim was forced to return to his role as Robin. Alfred was responsible for giving him back his suit and welcomed him back to the Bat Family. Alfred located Nightwing after he was shot on the leg and took him to the mobile batcave. Alfred healed Nightwing and after the procedure was finished, Alfred forced Nightwing to stay in bed and prevented him from going out to battle. When the whole war was over, Alfred shared a glass of wine with Bruce and Dick, remembering past events.
Shortly after, Alfred delivered a videotape of a broadcast by Arturo Rodriguez to Bruce. The mystery behind the videotape caused Bruce to learn that someone was responsible for Stephanie's death and Alfred helped Bruce record a conversation among thugs on a night club in order to learn more about it and filtered the information for Batman. Alfred witnessed along with Bruce how the events of the War Games were solved by Bruce himself and he was glad to put it all behind.
Under the Hood
Main article: Batman: Under the Hood After a few days, Alfred was contacted by Lucius Fox, who was looking for Bruce. Alfred did his best to diverge Fox's attention as Bruce was extremely busy working as Batman. However, Fox went to Wayne Manor and Alfred was forced to call Bruce to talk with Fox. After the bad news about Wayne Enterprises, Alfred kept an optimistic mind, saying that Bruce won't feel the need for more gadgets and equipment than he already had. Shortly after, Bruce learned that Jason Todd was alive and became the criminal Red Hood. Alfred offered to remove Jason's Robin suit from the display case in the Batcave, but Bruce wanted to keep it.
Alfred assisted Bruce on his quest to discover what happened to Jason Todd after his death and together they examined the gravesite and the coffin where Jason was buried. Alfred was concerned for Bruce's well-being and after long days of non-stop work, they discovered that there was never a body inside that coffin.
Later, Alfred received a package from Jason, delivered to Wayne Manor. Alfred took the package to the Batcave and examined it thoroughly. He discovered a lock of green hair inside and an address as well. Alfred informed Batman about this and Batman asked him to run a DNA test on the green hair.
Main articles: Batman R.I.P. and Batman: Heart of Hush When Hush reappeared, he had performed a plastic surgery on his face to look identical to Bruce Wayne. With his new face, he tried to trick Alfred to let him into the Batcave, but Alfred had been warned by the real Bruce about Hush's plan and when the impostor broke into Wayne Manor, Alfred fought the villain with remarkable fighting skills for one so frail and old versus one so young. However, Hush managed to stab Alfred in the shoulder and was about to kill the faithful butler when Batman arrived. As the fight continued in the Batcave, Alfred activated the robotic T-Rex and distracted Hush long enough for Robin and Nightwing to arrive. After Hush was defeated, Alfred stitched Bruce's wounds.
Some time later, Bruce started dating Jezebel Jet and even revealed his secret to her. Tim Drake asked Alfred about Bruce's well-being and Alfred replied that it would be futile for normal people try to understand Bruce's mind. After this, Tim asked him about the DNA test between Bruce and Damian, but Alfred refused to tell him, just like he was indicated by Bruce.
A few days later, Alfred was washing the Batmobile and later he tried to heal some of Bruce's battle wounds, despite Bruce's reluctance. Bruce told Alfred about a new mysterious group called Black Glove and in order to learn more, he sent Alfred to watch and old movie by the same name. When Alfred returned home, he found the Batcave in flames and most of it, destroyed. He was soon ambushed by Le Bossu and his gargoyles, who beat Alfred to a pulp. Bruised and beaten, Alfred was held hostage by Doctor Hurt in the batcave and witnessed how the Club of Villains and the Black Glove used Batman's secret lair as their base of operations. As their hostage, Alfred endured Hurt's attacks and Scorpiana's torture methods. Shortly after, Alfred was rescued by Damian Wayne, who took Alfred out of the burning Batcave on the batmobile and they rushed towards Arkham to aid Batman, pushing an ambulance off a bridge, much to Alfred's dismay.
After Batman's final disappearance, Alfred returned to the Batcave, where he found Batgirl making a list of heroes to create a team similar to the Outsiders, but with the intention of replacing Batman. Alfred suggested that the list consisted only of people seeking redemption for past actions much like Batgirl and he also suggested that she should let Nightwing be part of her plan, but ultimately she refused.
Shortly after, Alfred spotted Nightwing gliding towards Wayne Manor and he met the young hero at the Batcave, where he landed, seriously injured. Alfred performed surgery on Nightwing and removed two bullets from his shoulder, having learned the right procedure by watching Discovery Channel. Alfred dosed Nightwing, allowing him to recover and after Nightwing left the cave, Alfred analyzed the bullets and found traces of Scarecrow's Fear Toxin, leaving him no option but to inform Dick.
Alfred was present when Dick jumped from the stratosphere to Earth and witnessed the extraordinary feat along with Tim Drake. Shorly after, Alfred travelled to Japan to take care of some of Bruce's unfinished business. While in Japan, Alfred was contacted by Nightwing asking for leads on the latest case and Alfred gave him the required information.
A few days later, Alfred returned and having no one else to call, he summoned Nightwing to Gotham after Two-Face's reappearance. After the first failed attempt of capturing the villains, Alfred comforted Nightwing and told him to learn from his mistakes, just like Batman did in the beginning. When Nightwing finally decided to return to Gotham, Alfred picked him from the train station and took him home, where together with the help of Tim, they rebuilt the Batcave and agreed to continue with their mission in memory of Bruce.
Alfred was concerned about Gotham's situation without Batman and he urged Nightwing to pick up the mantle of the bat and follow his mentor's steps by becoming the Batman, but Nightwing refused. Moments later, when Nightwing returned to the cave with an injured Damian, Alfred healed them both and encouraged Dick to finally become Batman. After Nightwing went to stop Jason Todd, Alfred allowed Damian to join the battle by sending him with Squire. When Dick came out victorious, Alfred, still at his service, witnessed how Grayson took the mantle of the bat and became Batman.
Some time later, Alfred learned that Vicki Vale was trying to prove a connection between Batman and Bruce Wayne. Alfred used Thomas Elliot, to impersonate Bruce and try to eliminate her suspicions. However, Vicki wasn't convinced and she went to Wayne Manor, where she revealed to Alfred that she had one of Batman's tracers to prove it all. Alfred used his acting skills to take the device away from her and avoided confirming her theory.
Powers and Abilities
- Acting: He can work undercover on cases for Batman.
- Hand-to-Hand Combat (Advanced)
- Medicine: A former field medic, Alfred is capable of performing minor surgery and stitching wounds for the members of the Batman Family.
- Military Protocol
- Mimicry: His ability for vocal mimicry means he can impersonate Bruce Wayne on the telephone convincingly.
- Stick Fighting: Alfred has been shown to spar with Dick Grayson, using wooden sticks.
- Tactical Analysis
- Evidence suggests that Alfred was created by the writers of the 1943 Batman serial; Victor McLeod, Leslie Swabacker and Harry L. Fraser, and that DC Comics assigned Don Cameron to write the first Alfred story to introduce the character to the comics in Batman #16; which was published earlier than the serial's airing. This is why the original character was a robust, clean shaved man; although the series' version was always intended to be thin and with a slim mustache. William Austin was eventually cast as Alfred in the Batman serial and the DC editors wanted the printed page version of Alfred to resemble his cinematic counterpart, so in Detective Comics #83 (January 1944), Alfred vacationed at a health resort, where he slimmed down and grew a moustache. This look has remained with the character ever since, even surviving the apparent death of the Earth-One version of Alfred (in Detective Comics #328 in 1964) and his resurrection (in Detective Comics #356 in 1966).
- When Earth-Two was formally reintroduced into regular DC comic usage, the old heavier Beagle would be brought back.
- For the most part of Alfred's early appearances in the Golden and Silver Ages, he did not have an official last name -- the name "Beagle" had been used once or twice in the Golden Age, but that was later forgotten and Alfred was only Alfred. The "Pennyworth" last name was first used in the Batman comic strip in a story written by former Editor-in-Chief Whitney Ellsworth, and was eventually introduced in the comics in Batman #216 in 1969.
- Alfred and Bruce started collecting first edition books after the murder of the Waynes and they kept doing it for the remaining of their time together.
- He is the only member of the Batman Family that is allowed by Bruce Wayne to own a firearm.
- The character is very popular, having received a nomination for the R.A.C. "Squiddy" Award for Favorite Supporting Character in 1994 and for Best Character in 2001. He was also nominated for the Wizard Fan Award for Favorite Supporting Male Character in 1994.
- The New Earth Alfred was the first mainstream Alfred to have been shown to have been Bruce Wayne's butler from childhood, and to have raised Bruce after his parents' deaths. Both the Earth-Two and Earth-One Alfreds came to work for Bruce after he had became Batman. The idea that Alfred raised Bruce was introduced on the Super Friends TV show, and was brought into comics in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns before being brought into the main continuity.
- Dick Grayson has referred to Alfred as his "best friend" on multiple occasions.
- Alfred has admitted to having been drunk twice in his life; before he left England for America, and the night he left Gotham City.
- 1,158 Appearances of Alfred Pennyworth (New Earth)
- 140 Images featuring Alfred Pennyworth (New Earth)
- 72 Quotations by or about Alfred Pennyworth (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: Alfred Pennyworth (New Earth)
- Outsiders (Volume 4) #15
- Batman Secret Files and Origins #1
- Detective Comics #806
- Detective Comics #807
- Batman Annual #13
- Secret Origins of the World's Greatest Super-Heroes
- Batman #0
- Batman: Shadow of the Bat #0
- Batman: Gotham Knights #7
- Batman: Year One
- Batman: Year Three
- Batman #442
- Batman #443
- Batman: Sword of Azrael #1
- Batman: Sword of Azrael #2
- Batman: Sword of Azrael #3
- Batman: Sword of Azrael #4
- Batman #485
- Batman #486
- Batman #487
- Detective Comics #654
- Batman #488
- Batman #494
- Detective Comics #661
- Batman #495
- Showcase '93 #7
- Showcase '93 #8
- Detective Comics #662
- Batman #496
- Detective Comics #663
- Batman #497
- Detective Comics #664
- Batman #498
- Detective Comics #665
- Batman #499
- Justice League Task Force #5
- Justice League Task Force #6
- Batman: Shadow of the Bat #21
- Batman: Shadow of the Bat #23
- Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #59
- Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #60
- Nightwing: Alfred's Return #1
- Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #117
- Robin (Volume 2) #126
- Detective Comics #798
- Batman #634
- Batman #633
- Detective Comics #801
- Batman #643
- Detective Comics #810
- Batman #644
- Batman #635
- Batman #641
- Batman #645
- Batman #648
- Detective Comics #850
- Batman #676
- Batman #677
- Batman #678
- Batman #679
- Batman #681
- Batman and the Outsiders (Volume 2) #13
- Nightwing (Volume 2) #148
- Nightwing (Volume 2) #151
- Nightwing (Volume 2) #152
- Detective Comics #851
- Batman #684
- Nightwing (Volume 2) #153
- Batman: Battle for the Cowl #1
- Batman: Battle for the Cowl #2
- Batman: Battle for the Cowl #3
- Bruce Wayne: The Road Home: Batman and Robin #1
- Bruce Wayne: The Road Home: Red Robin #1
- Batman: The Return #1
- Batman: The Complete History (1999)
- "Letters to the Batcave" - Batman #220
- Nightwing #1
- Nightwing: Alfred's Return #1
|Batman Family member |
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.
|Outsiders member |
This character is or was primarily a member of the super-hero team known as the Outsiders, in any of its various incarnations. They are a black ops team dedicated to fighting evil and taking the fall in public opinion that bigger groups like the Justice League cannot, started by Batman to avoid being crippled by public relations needs. This template will categorize articles that include it into the "Outsiders members" category.