|BATMAN (Bruce Wayne)||BIOGRAPHY|
|Created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger|
Real Name: Bruce Wayne
Aliases: Dark Knight Detective, various cover identities: "Matches" Malone, Sir Hemmingford Grey, Stephen Hawke, etc.
Occupation: Multimillionaire Industrialist, Playboy and Philanthropist
Marital Status: Single
Known Relatives: Thomas Wayne (father; deceased), Martha Wayne (mother; deceased), Damian Wayne (son); Richard John Grayson (adoptive son), Timothy Drake (adoptive son), Alfred Pennyworth (former legal guardian), Philip Wayne (uncle), Harriet (aunt), Patrick Alan Morgan Wayne (grandfather; deceased), Kenneth Wayne (great-grandfather; deceased), Laura Elizabeth Wayne (great-grandmother; deceased), Alan Wayne (great-great grandfather; deceased), Catherine Wayne (great-great grandmother; deceased), Solomon Zebediah Wayne (great-great-great grandfather; deceased), Dorothea Wayne (great-great-great grandmother; deceased), Joshua Thomas Wayne (great-great-great grandfather, deceased); Charles Arwin Wayne (great-great-great-great grandfather; deceased), Darius Wayne (ancestor; deceased)
Base of Operation: Gotham City
Group Affiliation(s): Justice League of America; formerly Justice League International, Outsiders II
Weight: 210 lbs.
First Appearance: Detective Comics #27 (May 1939)
Creators: Bob Kane and Bill Finger
|"You don't understand Paul! Being the Batman is not about gadgets. It is not about body armour. It is about three things ... speed, ... skill, ... and sense!" - Bruce Wayne to Azrael as the two battle over the mantle of the Batman|
Bruce Wayne is the Batman, a man with a mission, not of vengeance but a long-term plan to rid Gotham from the evil that holds it. As a philanthropist he supports charities and bodies that seek to rehabilitate criminals while as the Batman he removes those that persist in offending. Those in the suburbs and country consider him an urban legend, yet the transient criminal population of Gotham and the country know him from rumour and experience.
As a member of the Justice League of America the Batman is the brains behind the operation only occasionally taking a fully active part in the missions. He prefers to act as an advisor and one-man think tank. The only member of the team that he fully trusts is Superman because he the nearest to a professional amongst them.
There is a city in the north of the United States by the name of Gotham City, once a major industrial centre it was hit badly by the Great Depression and has never really recovered. Crime rates rose, corrupt officials and despair set in despite the best efforts of the original Green Lantern and Black Canary. The darkness had taken the city and it would take a Dark Knight to reclaim it.
Young Bruce Wayne is the only son of prominent Gotham City doctor Thomas Wayne and his wife Martha Wayne. Two events in his childhood forever scared the future of Bruce. The first was when he accidentally fell through a hole in the grounds of his ancestral home Wayne Manor and found himself in a cave system that ran under the house full of bats. For years afterwards Bruce would catch sight of one particularly large bat over and over again.
The second and most tragic event happened just after the family had left a showing of the classic film "The Mark of Zorro" at the cinema and was walking back to their home. They were confronted by a mugger who demanded that they handed over their valuables. Thomas Wayne put up a struggle and in the process he and his wife was shot dead. The mugger ran off leaving the shocked Bruce alone with the bodies of his dead parents. First on the scene was physician Leslie Thompkins who sought to look after Bruce.
Thomas's brother Phil Wayne was named Bruce's guardian and with the help of Thompkins and the family butler Alfred Pennyworth they raised him as best they could. For days after the funeral Bruce was unsettled, it came to a head one night when he ran to his parents grave and swore his vengeance on the criminal world. On that night Bruce Wayne died and the Batman was born.
Bruce put his utmost into his school work and upon graduation he left the US to travel the world learning from the brightest and the best in each field of speciality. He also travelled to remote schools on the Far East and studied for years under the masters of the various martial arts. Upon returning to the United States, he set out on a fact-finding mission into the depraved parts of Gotham's seedier districts to see how the criminal element had evolved. While there he became involved in a street brawl where he was seriously injured. He managed to make his way back to Wayne Manor and slumped in his study slowly bleeding he considered the situation. He was injured because the local criminals would not fear him as plain common man on the street, yet his father always maintained that criminals were a superstitious and cowardly lot. He needed to make them fear but how?
It was then at that instance that the large bat that had frightened him years ago flew in through the window, through his weakened state from the bleeding the answer was obvious. "Yes father. I shall become a bat!" It was then that the true idea of the Batman formed in Bruce's mind.
With the help of Alfred, Bruce dynamited a path from the house down to the massive caverns beneath, from there he began planning and designing the weaponry and costume that would give him the edge against the criminals and would instill terror upon sight. Before long the Gotham City Police Department began to receive reports of a large bat shaped creature attacking and harrying the local hoods and criminals. The corrupt police force at that time sought to hunt down the Batman but one lone lieutenant by the name of James Gordon who was one of the few straight cops began a long running professional relationship with the Batman that would lead to the down fall of the corrupt police commissioner and Gordon advancing to the rank of Captain.
Rapidly Batman started to grow more professional and competent, he became the focus of the fight against crime in Gotham and acted as a catalyst for the emergence of a string of similar vigilantes across the US such as the second Black Canary, that took their lead from the human figure in the night rather than the superhuman figure of Superman. Always operating on the edge of the law and inside of it when possible it was not long before Batman clashed intellects with the figure that would become his arch enemy and one of the most deadly criminals in the world - the Joker. Also about this time Batman started to run into the mysterious Catwoman, while there was an attraction between them neither would admit to it and remained on opposite sides of the law.
In the second year of his career Batman faced the Reaper who had returned to Gotham City and sought to kill criminals whereas the Batman would seek to hand them over to the police. The following year proved to be a turning point in the Batman's career when he teamed up with the orphaned circles acrobat Dick Grayson who became the first Robin and the sidekick of Batman.
The next couple of years after the first appearance of Robin were a dramatic change of direction for the Batman who had previously spent most of his time fighting normal criminals but now he faced an entire pantheon of sociopathic criminals such as the Penguin, Riddler, the Scarecrow and the femme fatale Poison Ivy. Shortly after Dick Grayson left for collage (and began spending more time with the Teen Titans) Batman transferred his operation temporally to a penthouse in the city above the Wayne Foundation headquarters, it was during this time that Batman would first encounter Talia daughter of Ra's al Ghul a six hundred year old criminal mastermind who sought to rid the natural world of the infestation of mankind. There is a definitive romantic element between Bruce and Talia but she is so devoted to her father then nothing ever becomes of it. Ra's and Batman respect each other and Ra's has even asked Batman to join him, but Bruce's dedication to the law has meant that he has at times had to thwart Ra's' plans despite working with him against common enemies at other times.
The pairing of Batman and Robin was occasionally helped by a growing circle of other heroes that Batman tolerated/recognized such as Batgirl (Barbara Gordon, daughter of Commissioner Gordon) and the Outsiders, a superhero team that Batman was instrumental in creating. Shortly afterwards Batman and Robin split over a philosophical dispute (the criminals were getting more dangerous and Batman did not want to endanger Robin anymore than he had to). Robin changed his identity to Nightwing and returned to his position as leader of the Titans.
The Batman for a time operated with a second Robin, a young street kid by the name of Jason Todd whose father had been killed by Two-Face, a fact that Batman kept from him for a period of time. Todd was more rebellious than Grayson and had a lot of misdirected anger than Bruce tried to channel into crimefighting. It reached the point where Todd was grounded by Wayne rather than let this hothead loose in the deadly world of Gotham City. Shortly afterwards Todd was murdered by the Joker while looking for his natural mother (who was also murdered at the same time) he never knew he had.
The loss of Todd turned the Batman into a darker figure than ever, he dived into his work returning to the solitary figure that he was before he teamed up with a sidekick. During this period the Batman developed a second wave of enemies such as the Ventriloquist and Kadaver, he also took in a tragic figure called Harold once the armour for the Penguin he now works in the Batcave designing and up keeping much of the Batman's weaponry. The dark drive of the Batman was noticed by young Tim Drake, a boy that had actually managed to work out Batman's secret identity via close observation of the gymnastic abilities of Robin I (Tim had been watching the circus the day that Dick's parents were murdered). Tim set out to try and convince Dick that he should return to being Robin because Batman needed a stabilizing presence, someone for him to watch out for. In the process Tim accidentally became the third Robin.
Refusing to make previous mistakes the Batman insisted that Tim train with the same people that taught himself, Tim also studied under some that Batman had never encountered. The result was the third Robin who is much nearer Batman's own abilities than that of the second and perhaps even the first.
Batman faced the toughest moment of his career when already pushed to the limit by a mass breakout of Arkham Asylum and then had to face the massively powerful Bane who broke Bruce's back. While Bruce recovered from his injuries Azrael took over the mantle of the Batman however his mental conditioning started to kick in and made him more and more unstable to the point where he was on the edge of executing criminals. It was at this stage the Bruce managed to take back the mantle by taking down Azrael.
Now back as Batman full time he has also started working with more heroes again developing quite a circle of vigilantes in and around Gotham including Robin III, Huntress II, Nightwing, Azrael, Oracle (the former Batgirl) and sometimes even Catwoman. The Batman also serves as an adviser and occasional active member of the new JLA.
POWERS AND WEAPONS
There can be little doubt that the Batman is the most extensively trained and skilled personal combatant alive in the world today. While others might excel and best him in individual areas, few others (with the possible exception of Lady Shiva can match his martial prowess. But his skills go beyond this, his escapology skills are second only to Scott Free, he is a world level forensic scientist and strategist. On top of all of this is his main ability as the greatest living detective, having been trained by detective around the world in observation and deduction.
To boost his already matchless physical abilities he employs a number of weapons and gadgets such as custom boomerangs called Batarangs, smoke grenades, razor sharp throwing blades, lightweight grapnels, lock picks, the list goes on. Most of this armory is stored in his Utility Belt or upon his person. He always tailors his arsenal depending on the threats that he might face. His actual costume is a combination Kevlar/Flameweave composite that is highly resistant to concussive force and fire, it also resistant to an extent of small arms fire. The cape itself serves as a prop so that it makes him more dramatic and therefore terrifying figure, it also helps that criminals often shoot for the huge visible mass of the cape rather than the smaller target of the actual Batman.
Transportation wise the Batman mainly relies on the Batmobile, a sleek black high-powered car, that is heavily armour plated and is capable of speeds up to 225 mph or 350 mph with an afterburner. Apart from the Batmobile, Batman has also used various Batboats and aerial craft such as custom hand gliders, personal gyrocopters, helicopters and a specialized F4 known as the Batplane. He now only really used the Batplane when working with the League preferring to use the Batmobile in and around Gotham.
The vehicles, weaponry, forensic labs, workshops and trophy rooms of the Batman are all located in the cavern system beneath Wayne Manor that is known as the Batcave. It is here that is located the Batcomputer with its extensive criminal database and external connections, it is often updated remotely by Oracle. Microwave links to most of the vehicles enable Batman to access the Batcomputer from almost anywhere in the world. Also in the cave are reminders of some of the Batman's earlier career including a mechanical T-Rex and a giant Lincoln's head penny, pride of place goes to the costume of the late Jason Todd as a memorial.
For a definitive list of appearances of Batman in chronological order click here
Who's Who: Update '87 #1 (August 1987)
Batman Annual #13 (1989)
Who's Who in the DC Universe #16 (February 1992)
JLA Secret Files #1 (September 1997)
Batman: No Man's Land Secret Files #1 (December 1999)
Batman: Gotham City Secret Files #1 (April 2001)
JLA-Z #1 (November 2003)
Superman/Batman Secret Files 2003 (November 2003)