WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for The Next Batman: Second Son #12 by John Ridley, Travel Foreman, Norm Rapmund, Rex Lokus, and Deron Bennett, on sale now.
Jace Fox’s origins have been revealed as he takes his first steps towards becoming the Next Batman. But despite his discovery of one of the best kept secrets in Gotham City, Jace still hasn’t made the connection that Bruce Wayne is Batman.
Based on what he has learned, Jace knows that his father, Lucius Fox, and Bruce either work with or for Batman, but he was unable to piece together that Bruce Wayne is Batman. And considering that even in “Future State” he still has no idea that Bruce Wayne once wore the mantle he now uses, it would seem that Bruce’s skills at maintaining his greatest secrets are good enough that he doesn’t even really have to try to keep them.
It has been stated in the past that it’s actually fairly easy to deduce that Bruce Wayne is Batman, but proving it is the harder feat. This is a man who has trained with the world’s greatest fighters, scholars, and detectives. As much as he has gleamed how to unravel mysteries, it also stands to reason that he learned how to create an unsolvable one. He’s spent years crafting the illusion that Bruce Wayne is not competent enough to be Batman and when someone came close to unveiling his secret, he removed the threat by revealing that he was merely funding Batman. And even that seems to have been forgotten by the general public.
So it really comes as no surprise that while Jace may be able to associate Bruce with Batman in some small way, it is more like imagining a business transaction than actually seeing the truth of Bruce and his motivations. This, in a way, is the ultimate testament to how thoroughly Bruce has covered his tracks. At this point of his career, the only people able to conceive that Bruce Wayne and Batman are one and the same are those with completely unhinged minds, the latest being the Joker.
Bruce Wayne’s greatest secret is destined to withstand the test of time. Years from the present, in the world of “Future State” Bruce will no longer bear the title of Batman, with it having been taken up by Jace in his absence. And yet, even though Jace has been wearing the mantle for years he still hasn’t deduced who his predecessor really was. They even briefly met once in the future, neither of them recognizing the other behind the mask. Jace didn’t even seem to realize that the strange new vigilante he was speaking with was the old Batman. Perhaps he had never even met Bruce when he was wearing the cape and cowl. That might explain why he was unable to recognize Bruce Wayne as the Dark Detective.
But there is also an amount of humor involved in seeing the new Batman not realize that he’s telling the old Batman he’ll get hurt if he keeps doing the job that he practically invented. Still, it is amazing that even after all this time, even though the two men were aware of each other, they still failed to make the connection of who is behind the cowl.
In the final issue of The Last Batman: Second Son, Tim/Jace Fox still hasn't made the connection between Bruce Wayne and Batman.