Martha Wayne was the wife of Thomas Wayne — a noted physican and millionaire philanthropist of Gotham City.
One night when Bruce was a young child, his family attended a costume fundraiser. The theme of the party was 'Flying Creatures' and Dr. Wayne decided to masquerade as a bat, wearing a costume consisting of a pointed mask and large, dark blue scalloped wings. The impressionable Bruce admired his father's outfit and openly asked if one day he might be able to wear such a fearsome costume. Thomas had no idea how prophetic the innocent question truly was. (Detective #235 "The First Batman").
During the party, Thomas's 'Bat-Man' costume won him first prize. However, several gangsters raided the mansion and recognized that Wayne was a physician. The criminals kidnapped the skilled doctor and took him to an old warehouse where he was to perform emergency surgery on a mob boss named Lew Moxon who had been suffering from a serious gunshot wound.
Dr. Wayne knew that once he removed the bullet from Moxon's body, the gangster would likely kill him. Instead of performing the surgery, Thomas tricked the criminals, resulting in their capture. The courts sentenced Moxon to ten years in prison, but the mob boss threatened revenge on Dr. Wayne.
While Moxon was actually sent to prison, he was able to contract a killer to carry out his threat. A few weeks later, Thomas, Martha and young Bruce were walking home from a night out at the movies. A mugger named Joe Chill leapt from the shadows of Park Row and assaulted them, demanding the pearl necklace Martha was wearing. Dr. Wayne tried to fight back, but the mugger shot him directly in the chest, killing him. He then turned his gun on Martha and viciously ended her life as well. Bruce Wayne stared on in horror, as his parents lay dead beside him. Chill turned on his heel and ran from the alleyway. The boys' uncle Philip took custody of the two, placing Thomas Jr. into a mental institution as the boy suffered a complete emotional collapse from the event. Bruce would turn his obvious energies into a longstanding anger that would drive him to seek vengeance on all criminals as the Batman. The Wayne brothers would not meet again until far later in their adult lives where personal tragedy resulting from criminals would again befall them, ending in Thomas Jr.'s death.
- This version of Martha Wayne, including all history and corresponding appearances, was erased from existence following the collapse of the original Multiverse in the 1985–86 Crisis on Infinite Earths limited series. Even though versions of the character may have since appeared, this information does not apply to those versions.
- The Earth-One Martha Wayne's maiden name has not yet been revealed.
- 59 Appearances of Martha Wayne (Earth-One)
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- Character Gallery: Martha Wayne (Earth-One)