Martha Wayne was a passionate and strong-willed woman, philanthropist and heir to the Kane fortune. Dedicated to philanthropy and championing various causes to help those less fortunate, she and her husband, Thomas Wayne, were well-known and respected in Gotham City; dubbed the "Kennedy's of Gotham".
Their tragic murder at the hands of a desperate burglar, Joe Chill, in Gotham's Park Row, shook the city to its core, and led to years of urban blight. Their tragic deaths inspired their son, Bruce Wayne to continue their philanthropy and save Gotham from blight and corruption as the Batman.
Born to the Kane Family, one of Gotham City's wealthiest families alongside the Waynes, Elliots and Cobblepots, Martha was the heir to the family's Kane Chemicals fortune.
In her youth, Martha gained a reputation as a notorious socialite and debutante, frequenting all the most prestigious country clubs, night clubs, and soirees. However, she also had a developed social conscience and often used her family's wealth and status to champion causes and charities.
Martha's closest friend in those days was a woman named Celia Kazantkakis. Both women were renowned for their beauty and Martha eventually caught the attention of a gangster named Denholm. Martha dated Denholm for a time, and Celia, who had had previous criminal dealings with Denholm, attempted to end the relationship but in the process inadvertently revealed that she was embezzling money from an orphanage Martha was supporting; effectively ending the friendship.
Shortly after Celia's departure, Martha's father, Roderick Kane, was tricked into a shady investment deal by a mobster named Judson Pierce, which drained the Kane fortune and caused Roderick to suffer a heart attack that left him catatonic. Following this Martha dropped her role as a socialite and became more involved with charity work, with one of her main projects being to raise support for the East End Free Clinic which was built to provide medical care to Gotham's poor and homeless.
During an attempt to gather support from the Elliot family during a gala, she had her first encounter with Thomas Wayne who, aside from being a well-regarded surgeon, was an infamous playboy and party animal; the encounter ended with Thomas inadvertently vomiting on Martha's shoes.
The East End clinic quickly became a new target for Judson Pierce to acquire, however Martha's charity work prevented him from acquiring it. Pierce attempted to prey on Martha's poverty by offering cash to shut the facility down. Martha accepted Pierce's money, but filed it as a donation to keep the clinic running. Enraged, Pierce arranged to have Martha and Leslie assassinated but on the night of the hit, Thomas Wayne had Alfred Pennyworth chauffeur him to the East End clinic to try to apologize for his errant behavior and in the process interrupted the mob hit on Martha. While the clinic's doctors recovered from the attack, Thomas volunteered to work at the clinic alongside Martha and became content with charity. While working together, it wasn't long before she and Thomas became romantically involved and Thomas established himself as an official sponsor for the clinic; distancing himself from his carefree lifestyle, Thomas cited Martha as his inspiration to change and became an esteemed figure in the business community. Martha would eventually marry Thomas, using her newly acquired wealth and influence to further finance her philanthropic endeavors.
Eventually, Martha became pregnant and gave birth to a son, Bruce Wayne.
While looking after Bruce and still championing the East End clinic and various other charities, Martha began to notice the steady growth of crime in Gotham City. In an effort to protect abused children and fight against the trafficking of children around the globe, she secretly headed a covert detection agency with help from police officer James Gordon and Alfred Pennyworth. Their goals were to catch abuse before it escalated in the hopes that those children would not grow up to turn into abusers and criminals themselves.
One night Thomas, Martha and Bruce were walking home from a night out at the Park Row Theatre when a mugger leapt from the shadows of Park Row and assaulted them, demanding money and the pearls around Martha's neck. While Thomas tried to fight back, the mugger shot him in the chest. The mugger then turned his gun on Martha and shot her while attempting to steal her pearls. As he watched the mugger run away, Bruce made a promise that he would bring the killer to justice and avenge his parent's deaths.
Decades later, the Wayne murders were considered the start of the city's fall to crime and corruption, as, once it became clear that even people like Thomas and Martha Wayne could be murdered, the city's people began to lose faith in its police, and the police themselves started to lose faith in their importance, leading to corruption within the force and the free reign of syndicates like the Gotham City Organized Crime Family.
Since becoming the Batman, on the anniversary of their deaths, Bruce always visits the site where his parents died; leaving a memorial of flowers over where they fell. This ritual is recognized by the other members of the Bat Family and they actively ensure that the alley is clear for their mentor to place the flowers without witnesses or interruption.
- Shade of Martha Wayne
- In an attempt to dissuade the New Heroes from traveling further into Trigon's Prison, Trigon will summon a family of spirits to attack them. One of those families is the Wayne Family.
- Thomas and Martha Wayne first appeared in Detective Comics #33 (November 1939).
- The movie that the Waynes went to see has fluctuated between the The Mark of Zorro (1920) starring Douglas Fairbanks and The Mark of Zorro (1940) starring Tyrone Power and Basil Rathbone.
- Martha and Thomas Wayne died June 26th at 9:47pm.
- The concept of Bruce visiting the alley where his parents died every year came from Detective Comics #457 (1976).
- Before her death, Martha was investigating and tracking a pedophile ring and was responsible for the creation of many of the modern methods of tracking such subjects. Years later, Alfred Pennyworth passed on her dossiers to her son, Bruce, who would continue her work and shut down the ring.
- Bruce feels responsible for his parents' murder because, in addition to not attacking the mugger, he had advised his mother to wear a pearl necklace, which was a Kane family heirloom, to the theatre that night. He believes that, had she not worn it, the mugger might have not killed them as he attempted to get it.