The Bat-Family is one of the largest superhero groups in comics, and together they’ve faced a huge amount of world-ending threats, but they’ve always come out on top. Unfortunately, it seems the most likely threat to end the world isn’t some alien invasion or unstoppable villain. The biggest threat to the world is none other than Bat-Family butler Alfred Pennyworth.
Out of all the Bat-Family members, Alfred Pennyworth is typically the least imposing. Despite having a background in the military and as a secret agent, few people would consider this old man a threat.
Alfred is absolutely instrumental in keeping the Bat-Family running, but few would ever consider him actually dangerous. This oversight is what might just end the world, considering past events and Alfred’s current state in DC Comics.
Batman’s Alfred Protocol Is A Result Of His Hatred Of Death
The first worrying sign of Alfred’s role in the end of the world was mentioned in All-Star Batman #11, written by Scott Snyder. In this story, Alfred briefly talks about how Batman handles death, and how his trauma has given him a strong aversion to it. This has led him to develop plans to avoid death, such as a machine that will reset his aging process, as well as something called “The Alfred Protocols.” These protocols would make it so that when Alfred dies, Batman could create an AI replica of him to continue working together. The problem is, readers have already seen what the Alfred Protocols are capable of, and the result is horrifying.
The Alfred Protocol Could Ultimately End The World
During the events of Dark Knights: Metal, a group of nightmarish Batmen invaded Earth. One of these evil Batman was called the Murder Machine. Murder Machine was born when Alfred was murdered; completely distraught after the death of his foster father, Batman had Cyborg help him enact the Alfred Protocols. Unfortunately, this AI Alfred ended up going insane, killing all of Batman’s rogues, and eventually killing the Justice League, before ending the world. While this was a literal nightmare scenario, it is important to note the Alfred Protocols are real. While things might not turn out exactly as it did in Murder Machine’s reality, the possibility of it has already been validated.
What Alfred provides to the Bat-Family isn’t combat skills or deadly planning, but instead, it’s mostly moral and emotional support. However, that role belies how exceptionally dangerous he is. Alfred Pennyworth is currently dead in continuity, with the Bat-Family has been trying to move on from his death in their own ways. Still, the fact remains that the Alfred Protocols exist, and if Batman ever wanted, he could enact them. Considering what readers saw of Murder Machine’s world, if Batman ever does give into that feeling of missing his surrogate father. it’s very possible that reviving Alfred Pennyworth could be the threat that ultimately ends the world.