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Batman Reveals Lucius Fox’s Secret Codename, Foxtrot

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An early years story reveals Lucius Fox’s secret codename, but using it showed Lucius’s doubts about Batman’s fight against crime

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for the story “3 Minutes” by John Ridley, Dustin Nguyen, John Kalisz and Tom Napolitano from Detective Comics #1037, on sale now.

In the field, the Bat-Family rarely refer to each other by name, opting for their superhero monikers of Batman, Robin, Batgirl and so on. Of course, there are members of Batman’s inner circle that assist the Dark Knight without going out in the field. Allies like Oracle also have codenames despite only talking on comms, and Detective Comics #1037 just revealed Lucius Fox’s.

The backup story “3 Minutes” goes back to the Dark Knight’s early days when Dick Grayson was still Robin. Batman and Robin are pinned down behind the Batmobile. With the Batmobile’s armor failing, Batman looks to the Batcave for a solution. Though typically only Alfred would be present, on this occasion, Lucius Fox is also on hand. Here, Batman calls him by a surprising codename.

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Where “Penny-One” is what Batman calls Alfred in the field, Lucius’s codename is revealed to be “Foxtrot.” However, in this early tale, Lucius is clearly new to the whole codename business. A nervous Lucius slips up and refers to Batman as “Bruce.” This sparks an immediate correction from the Caped Crusader, who reminds Lucius that, when in the field, codenames must always be used.

Alfred’s codename “Penny-One” has been a recent addition to Batman lore, with the codename being commonly used over the past few years instead of referring to him as “the cave” or simply Alfred. Its retroactive inclusion in the early adventures here highlights the importance of secrecy in Batman’s crimefighting crusade and, more importantly, Alfred’s willingness to assist in the life Batman leads.

Lucius’s forgetfulness when it comes to codenames is part of a greater hesitancy to this life that Batman, Robin and Alfred simply don’t share. As Batman and Robin go dark and the Batcave has no way of knowing what is happening to them, Lucius and Alfred’s differing opinions on this life are revealed.

When Batman approached Lucius about his secret identity and asked him to be his tech guy, Lucius had the distance from the gritty details of Batman’s crusade to simply believe he was helping. Now, having seen what it’s like firsthand, Lucius isn’t sure — especially when it comes to Robin.

Lucius begins to doubt that Batman has Robin’s best interests at heart, hinting that he’s selfishly using the Boy Wonder to further his own mission. Alfred reveals that had Bruce not stepped in, Dick Grayson would have gone out on the street every night regardless. Without Batman, Dick’s rage would have been pointed at the nearest criminal, regardless of whether they deserved it or not.

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Though Lucius concedes that Alfred knows more about Bruce than he does, Lucius knows more about tech and its limitations. Eventually, the tech that Lucius builds will fail and Lucius believes Robin will pay the price. Though Alfred insists that Bruce would sacrifice himself to save Robin, Lucius knows this doesn’t end with Dick Grayson. Lucius correctly predicts that more will join Batman’s crusade — or a cult as Lucius calls it, in the years to come.

Though “Foxtrot” is a name Lucius has a hesitancy towards, he knows what his real role in Batman’s mission is.  Lucius will build the tech that will protect the people who gravitate towards Batman’s dangerous lifestyle. Bruce may have been the one to ask for his help, but Lucius is no longer doing it for Bruce — he’s doing it for everyone else.

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