"Batman: Year One - Chapter One: Who I Am - How I Come to Be":
Bruce Wayne 041

"I'm not ready. I have the means, the skill -- but not the method."

Quote1 Without warning it comes... crashing through the window of your study... and mine... I have seen it before... somewhere... it frightened me... as a boy... frightened me... Yes, father. I shall become a bat. Quote2
Bruce Wayne

Batman #404 is an issue of the series Batman (Volume 1) with a cover date of February, 1987.

Appearing in "Batman: Year One - Chapter One: Who I Am - How I Come to Be"

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Synopsis for "Batman: Year One - Chapter One: Who I Am - How I Come to Be"

Bruce Wayne 041

"I'm not ready. I have the means, the skill -- but not the method."

Chicago police lieutenant James Gordon relocates to Gotham City and begins working under Commissioner Gillian B. Loeb. Already he finds himself detesting the grime of the city, but his thoughts are on his pregnant wife, Barbara. Inwardly, he hopes her tests come back "negative".

Meanwhile, Gotham City's most eligible bachelor Bruce Wayne returns to the United States after nearly twelve years abroad ever since the age of thirteen. He plays up the role of billionaire playboy, but secretly he is anxious to begin a new career as a crime fighter. He wants to avenge the tragic deaths of his parents, Thomas and Martha Wayne.

Across town, James Gordon meets some of his fellow officers, including the brutish Lt. Arnold Flass. It doesn't take Gordon long to realize that Flass represents only a tiny fraction of a trail of corruption that extends all of the way to the Commissioner's office. Gordon learns that Flass is reckless and is not above accepting the occasional bribe. However, Gordon's own moral code is strong and he refuses to buckle beneath the weight of corruption.

James Gordon 0029

"They did just enough to keep me out of the hospital."

Flass grows concerned and tells Commissioner Loeb that Gordon may not be a "team player". Coyly, Loeb gives Flass permission to teach Gordon a lesson. That night, Flass and three other officers don ski masks and corner Jim in the parking garage. They mercilessly beat him with baseball bats, but Gordon recognizes the sound of Flass' laughter and vows to strike back.

Later, Jim takes his car and follows the crooked cops back to a place called Chute's. He waits for them outside until they are ready to leave. As Flass drunkenly stumbles out of the building, Gordon attacks him. He beats Flass up, strips him naked and leaves him bound with his own handcuffs on the side of the road. Jim is confident that the incident will go unreported.

Some nights later, Bruce Wayne disguises himself as a vagrant and begins patrolling the seedy streets of Gotham's East End. He gets into an altercation with an albino pimp named Stan over an adolescent prostitute named Holly. Bruce and Stan's fight attracts the attention of another one of Stan's working girls – Selina Kyle. Selina tries to defend Stan, but Bruce lays her out with one blow across the jaw.

Bruce Wayne 014

"Yes, father. I shall become a bat."

Suddenly, police officers arrive and take the disguised Wayne into custody. Bruce breaks free of his handcuffs and forces the police cruiser off the road. Wounded and bleeding, he manages to make his way back to his Porsche and return home to Wayne Manor.

He sinks into a wing chair in his study and begins stammering his father's name. Bruce feels that he has failed his parents. He reflects upon the night that a common mugger savagely gunned them down in the street, leaving him an orphan. Suddenly, a bat crashes through the open window. Bruce takes it as a sign and promises to avenge his parents' deaths by taking on the form of a bat.


  • This issue is reprinted in the Batman: Year One trade paperback.
  • The flashback scenes from this issue take place with scenes shown in the issue Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #1.
  • This issue establishes that Bruce Wayne is twenty-five years old when he arrives in Gotham in January 4, beginning his crime-fighting career around early April as the Batman (probably 26 years old already - February 19th is his probable birthday). In narrative, he states that eighteen years ago Joe Chill murdered his parents, he says that as a 26 years old guy, making him 8 years old when his parents were murdered. This goes along with other sources, such as the Zero Hour timeline, which establishes Bruce as eight years-old at the time of his parents' death. Batman's profile in Superman/Batman Secret Files & Origins 2003 confirms the Zero Hour timeline and establishes that Bruce is in fact eight years old when his parents are killed.
  • It is briefly stated in this issue that James Gordon was forced to leave Chicago after an incident involving other corrupt police officers. This incident is expanded upon in greater detail in the Gordon of Gotham limited series.
  • The title of the story is referencing the first Batman origin story 'Who He Is and How He Came To Be', first published in Detective Comics #33. Several instances of this story also reference that story.


See Also

Recommended Reading

Links and References

The Man of Steel 1A
Post-Crisis Reboot
DC Rebirth Logo

After the Crisis on Infinite Earths, a 19851986 maxiseries which completely reset the continuity of the entire DC Universe, all of DC's major characters and franchises needed to be updated to reflect the changes in the events of their lives. Multiple story arcs were put out to explain these rebooted versions of popular characters.

Year One
Part 1: Batman #404 Part 2: Batman #405 Part 3: Batman #406 Part 4: Batman #407
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