(Submitted by Oracle)
Duke Thomas: 1997 - 2016
Duke Thomas has had a hard life, growing up in The Bowery, Duke’s father, a security guard for Wayne Enterprises, was killed by the Red Hood Gang in their failed attempt to assassinate Bruce Wayne at his homecoming gala when Duke was still in diapers. Life only got harder as Duke’s mother struggled to provide for her son by working around the clock at a number of odd jobs throughout the years. Though his mother did keep food on the table and clothes on his back, Duke was raised by the streets. It was on the streets that Duke first met Batman and Robin (Jason). Riddler was attempting a high speed escape after a bank robbery through the Bowery and the Batmobile was in pursuit. The dynamic duo disabled Riddler's ride near Duke’s apartment and he witnessed the following fight from his building’s fire escape. As the cops took Nygma into custody, Duke cheered as the Batmobile sped off.
Just two years after the event, Duke was orphaned when his mother was killed during the Cataclysm, a victim of Joker venom. Duke himself was spared the same fate when Jason Todd (at the time, posing as the masked biker named Dumas) grabbed Duke by the collar, preventing him from running into the toxic cloud in an attempt to rescue his mother. After that, Duke fell in with Dumas’ biker gang, The Order, earning his keep through the remainder of the Cataclysm by cooking and cleaning their clubhouse. Dumas took a liking to Duke and let him shadow him when it was safe, and teaching the boy how to fight and repair engines in their downtime. As it happens, Duke was away on an errand when Batman and Dumas fought. Upon his return, Duke had mixed feelings when he learned that Dumas had fled and that the gang had sworn themselves to the Batman, calling themselves the Sons of Batman.
Without anywhere else to go, Duke stayed and became a member of the Kid Wonders with other children that had found protection with the Order during the Cataclysm. Over time Duke really distinguished himself as a leader in the making. On Duke’s eighteen birthday, Jean-Paul Valley didn’t just give Duke a membership patch, but invited him into the Inner Circle.
Lark: 2016 - Present
Throughout his time in the Sons of Batman, Duke had been met with disappointment at seeing this gang time and time again take criminal approaches to their problems, straying away from their vigilante roots; Duke was able to keep himself out of much of the gang’s criminal enterprises and still managed to be a well-respected member of the gang.
When Luke Fox was outed as a mole within the Sons of Batman, Duke again had mixed feelings. He had trusted Luke and while he felt betrayed by the gang’s Sergeant-At-Arms, he also admired the man. So when Luke showed up at Duke’s apartment a couple weeks after having been outed, Duke was shocked. Uncertain of how to proceed, Duke was relieved to see another familiar face in his living room: Jason Todd. The two men had an offer for the young boy, but before they could explain what it was, Duke rejected any possibility of being a mole. He explained that he was done working in the shadows and did not want to have to lie to those he cared about. After working himself up, Luke and Jason explained that it was good to hear that as they wanted to get Duke out of the Sons of Batman and make him a partner of Batman instead.
Knowing that tensions were near a boiling point between the Sons of Batman and Batman, Inc., Duke was removed from Gotham for his training. He was set up at The Nest in Blüdhaven, a penthouse apartment that Tim and Cassandra had used during their early days as Red Robin and Black Bat, respectively. As Luke needed to stay out of public eye as well, he also crashed there and Luke began training Duke. The two became a new dynamic duo of sorts, as Duke donned a bright yellow bat-suit to contrast Luke’s Batwing armor. Watching over Blüdhaven in Dick Grayson’s absence and working closely with the Outsiders, Duke took on the moniker “Lark” (given to him by yours truly when he had to admit he hadn’t thought of one yet).
Of interest, I recently learned from Bruce that Duke’s blood work shows he has a dormant meta-gene. Goes to show that we’re just scratching the surface of this kid’s full potential.
- Adaptive: Time and time again, Duke has proven himself to be considerably resourceful and exceptionally gifted at thinking on his feet.
- Criminology: Due to his time with the Sons of Batman, Duke is well-verse in Gotham's criminal element.
- Driving: Duke is an expert operator of motor vehicles, particularly motorcycles.
- Indomitable Will: According to John Stewart, Duke Thomas' name was listed on a database compiled by the Council of Oa which had selected no less than five thousand ideal Earthling candidates to serve as replacement Lanterns for the Task Force should one be needed. However, John informs me this is likely to happen as the rings seem to have some recently discovered interference glitch when used by metahumans.
- Intellect: Duke is a bright boy and quick learner.
- Investigation: Duke is being trained by both Batwing and Batman in forensic study.
- Leadership: Duke previously led the Kid Wonders. He is an exceptionally charismatic leader.
- Martial Arts: Duke has mastered Judo and Aikido.
- Physical Conditioning
- Agility: Duke is a master traceur and free-runner. He is exceptionally coordinated and athletic.
- Stamina: Duke is remarkably resilient and determined, partially fueled by his indomitable will, no doubt.
- Potential: As mentioned previously, Duke has a dormant, slightly agitated meta-gene. He is likely to gain powers during some crucial moment in the near future.
- Stealth: Even while wearing a bright yellow costume, Duke knows how to move silently and avoid detection.
- Inexperienced: Duke is a lot like Stephanie. Both of them are determined and prone to run through obstacles rather than find their way around them with finesse. The simple fact is that some obstacles need to be avoided.
Trivia and Notes
- Hobbies include collectible card games, puzzles, and film. Shows potential as a writer, namely poetry, although he will never admit it.
- Ran track first year of school. Later tried out for soccer, but disagreement with strength trainer resulted in expulsion from the team. Athletic, but not driven by competition. Motivations are internal.
- Duke being part of the Boy Wonders is a nod to his comic book counterpart, who becomes a Robin.