It honestly feels like NBC’s DC show Powerless is throwing everything to the wall to see if any of it survives cancellation. The latest twist: Bruce Wayne has a cousin now.
The latest Powerless promo reveals that Alan Tudyk’s character is no longer Del Heller, the well-suited insurance manager. He’s now Van Wayne, a cousin of Bruce Wayne who runs Wayne Security, a subsidiary of Wayne Enterprises. Van also calls him “B Dubs” on the phone, cause har-har.
But here’s the thing: There are no Wayne cousins.
Yes, there’s Vanderveer Wayne, Bruce’s so-called cousin from one issue in 1962, who may be the namesake. But there is no explanation for who the hell he is or where he came from. That’s because Thomas Wayne had no brothers or sisters who produced Wayne heirs. There’s even dispute whether Thomas is an only child, since Aunt Agatha kind of pops in and out of the story. There’s also Bruce’s great-uncle Silas Wayne, but neither he nor Agatha had any kids.
So, who is he? Is he Agatha’s secret love child? Is he like a random third-cousin from the suburbs? Are they even going to bother explaining it, or is it some weak excuse to include the Wayne name without paying a licensing fee? Also...why the hell didn’t they name him Alan Wayne? C’mon people, it was a low-hanging fruit.
As of now, Kate Kane is the only Batman cousin that I know of who actually makes sense. If there are any others, especially ones with the Wayne name stamped on their ass, please point them out to me (Update: Someone did this, so thanks!). I’ve spent hours studying Wayne family trees and I’m dying to have this make a lick of sense.
Even if Van is short for Vanderveer, it presents another problem that makes Bruce look like even more of a total dick. Bruce inherited the entire fortune, meaning he’s the only Wayne in charge of the business and its subsidiaries. That means Van Wayne didn’t start the company, nor shape it — and from the looks of the trailer, he doesn’t even care about it that much. All signs point to Bruce Wayne committing nepotism to give his made-up cousin a cushy seven-figure job at a place that profits from Batman’s collateral damage.
It’s just the icing on top of something truly disappointing. NBC took a clever series idea and botched it to the point where it likely won’t last the year. Powerless debuts February 2. Yippee.
Update: Someone in the comments pointed out Vanderveer Wayne, a minor character from Earth-One who appeared in one issue back in 1962. He was described as Bruce’s cousin; but again, no explanation where he came from or how they’re related. The article has been updated to reflect this.