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Batman - Biography of the Dark Knight

This entry is part 3 of 9 in the series Batman A History of the Dark Knight

Over the course of 70 years the history of Batman and Bruce Wayne has been revised on several occasions. However there is a defining event in Batman’s origin which has not changed. As a result of the constant tinkering with Batman’s background it is hard to present a detailed biography. What follows are some key events according to current DC continuity.

As a young boy Bruce Wayne witnesses the murder of his parents Thomas and Martha Wayne by a mugger in Crime Alley. Driven to avenge their deaths he trains and eventually becomes the Batman to fight crime in Gotham City. During this time he is raised by the butler Alfred.

Not long after he begins opperating as Batman, he takes on a sidekick in the form of Robin, an orphaned circus acrobat named Dick Grayson. He is also an honorary member of the Justice Society of America.

When Dick Grayson attends college, Batman then spends most of his adventures working solo (with the occasional teamups with Robin or Batgirl). The concept of progressing Grayson’s character reached its logical conclusion when Dick Grayson stopped being Robin and became Nightwing.
Cover to Batman #408 (June 1987). Depicting the first Post-Crisis meeting of Batman and Jason ToddImage via Wikipedia
Batman takes on a second Robin, Jason Todd (the son of a petty crook). Batman’s life takes a darker turn when Jason Todd is killed by the Joker. He works solo for some time after that, but eventually does take on a third protege in Tim Drake.

In Knightfall, Batman is confronted by a new villain Bane who cripples him. Wayne asks Azrael to take on the role of Batman. Azrael becomes increasingly violent and paranoid until a healed Bruce Wayne is forced to fight him. Wayne then hands the mantle of Batman over to Dick Grayson until he is fully recovered.

When Gotham City is devastated by an earthquake, Batman fights to reclaim his city from legions of gangs. However he is framed for murder by Lex Luthor and goes on the run before finally being acquitted.

Shortly after Bruce Wayne adopts Tim Drake he discovers that he has a son Damian from his romance with Talia al Ghul

Character Traits

Bruce Wayne’s defining character trait is his obsession with his parents murder. This obsession combined with a sharp intellect and deductive abilities and married to his substantial wealth allows him to operate as Batman. As part of his secret identity, Bruce Wayne hides most of these traits, playing the superficial playboy more often than the sharp billionaire businessman.

Batman is frequently compared to DC’s other iconic superhero, Superman. Their portrayals are radically different. While Batman appears to be Bruce Wayne’s real persona, Clark Kent is frequently shown to be Superman’s true personality.

Skills

Batman has no superpowers to draw on. Instead he relies entirely on his own skills. He keeps himself in peak physical condition and has trained in multiple martial arts. Wayne also has considerable scientific knowledge and has honed his detective skills over the years.

Batman’s Associates

Although he is portrayed as primarily a solitary character, over the years Batman has built up a large group of associates that he calls on in particular circumstances. The first Robin, Dick Grayson became Nightwing, while the second Robin, Jason Todd, died and was brought back to life. Tim Drake is the current Robin.

In addition to those, Commissioner Jim Gordon has been a recurring character since the beginning and frequently helps Batman in his investigations. Bruce Wayne’s butler Alfred is one of the few people who knows Bruce’s secret identity and frequently helps to dress his wounds.

Batman has also operated as the leader of superhero teams at various times during his career including the Justice League of America and The Outsiders. Batman has a unique relationship with Superman, one of mutual respect but also discomfort with the other’s approach to justice.

Other associates include Barbara Gordon, Oracle, who was Batgirl before the Joker crippled her and Azrael who replaced Wayne as Batman for a while.

Eoghann Irving is amongst other things the creator and Editor of Solar Flare. He has a life long interest in all forms of science fiction and fantasy and a pressing need to share this interest with anyone who will listen. Find out more at his personal website eoghann.com..

Series Navigation«Batman In Comics - A Publishing HistoryBatman’s Biggest Enemies»
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