In Brightest Day: The Makings of a Batman

Batman is widely considered to be the superhero that is the most doable. All one would need is billions of dollars in equipment and years of martial arts training.

Oh, and your parents have to be violently shot down by a mugger.

Now, for the purpose of this piece, I’m going to go with Joe Chill as the mugger. I know there are versions where it’s the Joker or another person. Those versions are wrong. It’s Joe Chill. Moving on.

When Chill guns down the Wayne’s in cold blood, it is the first piece toward making Bruce Wayne into Batman. Let’s be honest, most superheroes are made because of a serious tragedy in their life. Superman’s planet had to explode and his people had to be wiped out. Comparatively, Wayne got off easy.

This doesn’t lessen Wayne’s trauma. Bruce was a child when he watched his parents die. The pain that comes from that is obvious in a lot of Batman stories. My favorite examples are the fights against Scarecrow in Arkham Asylum. It shows that Bruce is still haunted by the fact that he couldn’t do anything, despite being a child.

In the comics, Batman originally was extremely violent, often maiming or killing his enemies with little to no remorse. Out of canon, this is because writers Bob Kane and Bill Finger stylized the comic as a Pulp Fiction piece. In canon, I could see Bruce killing in the beginning just because he hadn’t learned yet to control his anger.

Look at it like this: Bruce’s parents were gunned down. As a child, you automatically think that fighting violence with more violence is the way to go. As he progressed, his pain and anger would move aside for common sense. I’ve always thought this and will always think this; the difference between being a hero and villain is very small. Batman could’ve become a villain. Instead, he got his act together.

Sadly, that’s not the end of Bruce Wayne’s pain. He’s lost Robins, girlfriends and best friends all in an attempt to save Gotham City. Look at Harvey Dent; Bruce and Dent both put their faith in each other to help clean Gotham. For Dent’s troubles, Sal Maroni threw acid in his face, turning him into another enemy.

Batman’s character is still evolving, and will always evolve. Sadly, the pain that comes with being a superhero also fuels being a superhero. Bruce Wayne is damaged, and he wouldn’t be a good superhero without that damage.