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The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
Dr. Leslie Thompkins
one of Batman's closest friends
Dr. Leslie Thompkins is a significant Batman supporting character. She has appeared in over fifty separate issues of comics featuring Batman. Source: "Leslie Thompkins Chronology Index" on the Unofficial Guide to the DC Universe at: http://www.dcuguide.com/chronology.php?name=lesliethompkins
From: "Bio: Leslie Thompkins" page on "World's Finest" website (http://www.worldsfinestonline.com/WF/batman/bios/heroes/thompkins/; viewed 1 January 2006):
Leslie Thompkins attended medical school with Thomas Wayne and Rupert Thorne's brother. After graduating, she remained close to Thomas Wayne and opened up her own free medical clinic to help those in need, but cannot afford medical assistance. Leslie was the first one to console Bruce when his parent's were killed that faithful night. She watched him grow up to be a man, and is one of the few people who know that Bruce Wayne and Batman are one. She also knows the secret identities of the other Gotham Knights as well. She's a well respoected doctor in Gotham, and one of Bruce's true friends.
After the events portrayed in the "War Games" story arc (2004), Batman learned that his long-time friend Leslie Thompkins willfully withheld life-saving medical treatment from Stephanie Brown, causing the girl to die. (Stephanie Brown was an ally of Batman. She was the superheroine known as "Spoiler", and briefly took up the mantle of "Robin" as Batman's sidekick.) By her inaction and flagrant violation of the Hippocratic oath, Leslie Thompkins was apparently trying to get Batman's attention or force him to re-evaluate his role as a costumed crimefighter. Leslie Thompkins' role in killing Stephanie shocked and angered Batman, and he forced her to leave Gotham City.
Source: Detective Comics #799 (December 2004): "War Games Act 3, Part 1: Good Intentions", page 2; written by Andersen Gabrych, pencilled by Pete Woods, inked by Cam Smith; reprinted in Batman: War Games, Act Three: EndGame trade paperback, DC Comics: New York City (2005).
Text from the scene shown above:
Dr. Leslie Thompkins: ...Then how many more are about to die?
Nurse Patty Jenkins: Leslie! Shoot, ou scared me. How you holdin' up?
Dr. Leslie Thompkins: Honestly, Patty . . . I don't know how much more of this I can take.
Nurse Patty Jenkins: C'mon. Now, don't mind me getting all church on you, but have faith that the good lord gives us just as much as we can bear.
Dr. Leslie Thompkins: Well, she's really pushing it today, I'll tell you that.
Nurse Patty Jenkins: Ha-ha!
Dr. Leslie Thompkins: But you're right. All we can do is our best. So let's get back in there and do it.
Batman has clearly heard Paul's Biblical phrase "Work out your salvation with fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:12). Does Batman believe in salvation? Good question... Many readers probably think Batman is more likely to believe in damnation than salvation.
Above: Batman tells Dr. Leslie Thompkins to "work out her damnation" on her own. Dr. Thompkins is one of Batman's oldest friends. Indeed, she was there for him in his childhood, from the time his parents were murdered. But when Batman learned that Dr. Thompkins had withheld life-saving medical treatment from his former sidekick, Stephanie Brown (a.k.a. "Spoiler" and, briefly, "Robin"), the Dark Knight was not particularly forgiving.
[Source: Batman #644 (late October 2005): "War Crimes Part 4: Judgment at Gotham", DC Comics: New York City, page 22; written by Bill Willingham, pencilled by Guiseppe Camuncoli, inked by Sandra Hope; reprinted in Batman: War Crimes trade paperback, DC Comics: New York City (2006).]
From: Batman #644 (late October 2005): "War Crimes Part 4: Judgment at Gotham", DC Comics: New York City, pages 18-22; written by Bill Willingham, pencilled by Guiseppe Camuncoli, inked by Sandra Hope; reprinted in Batman: War Crimes trade paperback, DC Comics: New York City (2006):
[The Batplane comes in for a landing on a vast, empty plain.]
Narration/Batman: Six hours later I'm deep inside Africa. I've chased the rising sun, which leave me only a few hours of darkness left. I'll have to work fast. The few airstrips here are too public for my needs, so I lavishly spend fuel to set down V-TOL [Vertical Take-Off and Landing] in a hidden arroyo.
A remote medical mission camp. Part of the Doctors Without Borders program.
This is where she first embraced her life of pacifism and healing. This is the place where she has returned to try to atone. That's why she sent me the anonymous tape -- she's looking for absolution.
[From a hilltop, Batman looks down at a sparse medical camp. In the middle of the camp, two people sit at a table reading paperwork by lamplight. One is an black doctor, possibly African, possibly African-American. The other is an African female nurse. An older woman - Dr. Leslie Thompkins - stands next to the table, holding a stack of papers.]
Leslie Thompkins: I've finished the inventory of the new supplies, Doctor. What's next?
Male Doctor: Next is you get some sleep, Leslie. In case you hadn't noticed, it's the middle of the night.
[Leslie walks away.]
Woman Nurse: What's her story? She has to be twice as old as any other volunteer but does twice the work.
Male Doctor: I don't know. Leslie just showed up last month and volunteered for grunt work.
Woman Nurse: It's odd. She resembles a doctor who used to work here, hears ago. And I think she has more medical training than she lets on.
Male Doctor: All Americans look the same to you, Nurse. Let it go.
[Leslie walks into a tent. Batman is there alone there, waiting for her.]
Batman (Bruce Wayne): Leslie Thompkins -- You have a lot to answer for.
Leslie Thompkins: Bruce. So you finally showed up. Good. Now we can finish this.
[Batman unmasks and faces his long-time friend as Bruce Wayne, not just Batman.]
Batman: You purposely withheld treatment from Stephanie. You let her die. Why?
Leslie Thompkins: I'd originally planned to claim it was a legitimate triage decision -- allocation of time and resources under emergency conditions. But we both know better, Bruce. Truth is I wanted to end it all -- all the secret warriors in hoods and capes. The endless violence. I could no longer be a party to such madness. Best to sacrificee one to caution others from putting on those stupid masks.
Batman: Who are you to decide that? She had a full life ahead of her.
Leslie Thompkins: A life of continuing to be the creature you and your kind turned her into. No, don't argue with me, Bruce. I know what you are and what I've become. We're both monsters now. I watched you spend a lifetime making yourself into one. But I guess I had to outdo you. I managed to do it in one horrible moment that erased everything I've ever stood for.
[Leslie pulls a handgun out of her bag. Clearly she wants to shoot herself, or wants Batman to shoot her.]
Leslie Thompkins: I'm ready to end this now. I've burned my medical license and given my fortune away -- set up a trust fund for Stephanie's daughter. But I'm too cowardly to take the last step, that's what you're here for, Bruce. You know what to do!
Batman: But I don't kill -- which is, for the first time, one of the differences between us. And I don't maintain relationships with murderers. Do you imagine giving money to Stephanie's daughter makes up for even a fraction of your crime? What child wouldn't pass up a fortune to have his parents back?
[We see a picture of what Bruce Wayne is thinking of: himself, as a child, kneeling beside the murdered bodies of his mother and father. He thinks of his own pain and thinks of what Leslie Thompkins has deprived Stephanie Brown's daughter of.]
Leslie Thompkins: I just wanted to do something -- anything -- to end the madness.
Batman: And in so doing unleashed a cycle of events that resulted in a number of murders. It didn't end with Stephanie. [As chronicled in the "War Crimes" storyline that this scene is the conclusion of.]
Leslie Thompkins: I never does, Bruce!
Batman: And that's why I keep fighting. But I've never taken it upon myself to decide who lives and who dies. I never threw another corpse on the pile, thinking, "This will show them all! This will bring everyone to their senses!" That's a sick idea from an evil mind.
Doctor Leslie Thompkins died in that same treatment room, along with Stephanie. What's left is just another soulless killer -- one more name to be added to my criminal database. Status: At large.
Don't ever come back to America. I've provided tha authorities with all the evidence on what you've done. They'll be coming for you.
Leslie Thompkins: Bruce, I--
Batman: Don't ever practice medicine again, anywhere, or I'll know it. And never contact me again. You'll have to work out your damnation on your own.
[Batman leaves the tent. Leslie Thompkins buries her face in her hands and sobs. Batman walks off into the night.]
Narration/Batman: The chill lances through me as soon as I leave her tent. Who knew an equatorial desert country could be so cold.
Narration: THE END.
The writer of the note below apparently did not click on the "goddess worship" link for Dr. Leslie Thompkin's name. Otherwise he would have been able to see material from at least one issue which makes reference to Thompkins' invocation of "goddess." From: "The religion of comic book characters" forum discussion, started 3 December 2006 on RPG.net website (http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?s=9326f642dca06ede764bcd691814750c&t=299781; viewed 25 April 2007):
2-03-2006, 11:18 PM
Rip van Mason
Re: The religion of comic book characters
Man, I would like a clue to which issue established that Dr. Leslie Thompkins was into godess worship!
Webpage created 1 January 2006. Last modified 6 June 2007.
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