Unless you've dug into the trenches of the DC Universe, Bruce Wayne's mother Martha might not be big on your radar. Most of the movies about the Dark Knight treat Batman's parents' murder as a subplot; while the crime is at the heart of the character's origin story and makes him obsessed with crime fighting, it takes up little space in the films. Fans usually get a few seconds of happy family time with the Waynes, a few seconds of the gang walking down Park Row, and, then, a few seconds of a mugger shooting Thomas and Martha. Young Bruce goes home to his butler, Alfred, and the rest is comics history.
And while that's basically what happens in Batman v Superman, Martha Wayne does have a more significant role than usual (some spoilers ahead!) In the new movie, Lauren Cohan plays Martha, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan plays Thomas. These big name actors already add more interest than usual into Bruce's parents, but that's not all. Since Superman's adoptive mother is also named Martha, there's some confusion when, in a pivotal scene, Superman says the name "Martha" in front of Batman. Batman thinks he's referring to his mom, but it's actually Superman's mom that the Man of Steel is talking about.
Yet some of those who hear that both men have moms named Martha might think that it's meant to imply that Batman and Superman are actually brothers. They're not, of course, but while Martha Wayne and Martha Kent are not the same person, DC has played around with a Batman-Superman brotherhood in the past.
On April Fool's Day a few years ago, DC changed both the Batman and Superman profile pages to say that the two were brothers. The comics company wrote,
What the world doesn’t know is that Bruce’s mother, Martha Wayne, was the real target for the mob hit the night that Bruce’s parents were murdered. While in the ambulance it was discovered that she was still alive, and the doctors were able to save her. She signed over guardianship of Bruce to the family butler, Alfred Pennyworth, in hopes that the young boy would be protected, and she was put into the Witness Protection Program and sent to Smallville, Kansas—a quiet town where nothing ever happens.
The story goes that Martha met Jonathan Kent, fell in love with him, got hitched, and, one day, discovered an abandoned baby out in the cornfield. She adopted him and named him Clark, making Superman and Batman brothers in this alternate universe. Of course, DC quickly pulled a "gotcha," squelching the Reddit buzz surrounding this big reveal.
In the "reality" of the Batman series, Martha Wayne was born into the very wealthy Kane family and caused a huge riff with her parents when she married Thomas Wayne. She gave birth to Bruce and died 10 years later at the hands of Joe Chill, a mugger. While the comic books have brought her back in variety of ways, including one turn as the Joker, they've never actually implied that she's also the mom of Superman — sad news for fans hoping Batman v Superman was actually all about a sibling rivalry.
Images: Warner Bros; Giphy