- Nothing matters -- except the mission.
- — Batman src
Bruce Wayne was the son of Thomas and Martha Wayne, who were murdered one night after leaving the movie theater by a mugger. Bruce witnessed the scene and afterwards, he vowed to dedicate his life to fight crime.
Over the course of his early life, Bruce prepared himself and honed his fighting skills as well as his education, becoming a master of various fighting techniques and also learning crime detection methods. After travelling across the world, he returned to Gotham City as an adult and he adopted the costumed identity of Batman.
Bruce Wayne and Vicki Vale are at the circus watching "The Flying Graysons," an acrobat family consisting of twelve-year-old Dick Grayson and his parents. When Grayson's parents are shot to death by a hit man, he is escorted from the scene by several cops of the Gotham City Police Department in a threatening manner. Vicki and Alfred Pennyworth chase after them. Batman begins searching for the killer and then rescues Dick Grayson from the police, telling him that he has been drafted into a war. More police chase after the Batmobile with orders to kill Batman, during which Vicki is seriously injured. Dick is frightened by Batman's violently ramming the police vehicles during the chase. When Dick begins to cry, Batman smacks him, though he then catches himself, questioning these actions. He tells Dick he will find his parents' killer, and tells him not to trust the Gotham police.
Arriving in the Batcave, Batman drops Dick off, leaving him to his own devices. When Dick asks what he can eat Batman coldly tells Dick to eat the cave's vermin if he is hungry. Alfred informs Batman that Vicki is in critical condition, but knows a doctor in Paris who might be able to save her. Alfred contacts Superman, who is enraged to learn of Batman's kidnapping of Dick. Alfred reveals that Batman knows Superman's secret identity, thus blackmailing Superman into bringing the doctor from Paris to Gotham. Batman and Alfred get into a heated argument over Alfred's providing Dick with clean clothes, a blanket and food, and when Batman manhandles Dick, Alfred orders him to cease, invoking a bitter reaction from Batman.
The Justice League, consisting of Superman, Wonder Woman, Plastic Man and Green Lantern, discuss Batman. Green Lantern and Plastic Man suggest talking to or inviting him into the League. Superman wants to arrest him, while Wonder Woman wants to kill him. The latter two heroes argue rather heatedly over the issue, but are implied to have romantic feelings for each other and possibly even a relationship. The argument ends in a kiss, and Wonder Woman leaves in a huff, agreeing to wait before acting on her own to stop Batman. Batman comes to the aid of Black Canary, who is fighting a group of thugs, including "Jocko-Boy" Vanzetti, who killed Dick's parents. After defeating the criminals, the two crimefighters share a romantic interlude, before Batman takes Canary home, with Vanzetti bound and gagged in the Batmobile's trunk. Batman and Dick manage to extract from Jocko-Boy the name of the person who hired him: the Joker.
Dick wants to fight crime with Batman, but Batman says he needs a secret identity first. Batman leaves the cave when he sees Green Lantern's symbol in the sky. After dumping Jocko-Boy in a river, Batman meets Green Lantern, but refuses to speak to him. Dick creates a costume, basing it on Robin Hood. Joker goes to see Catwoman to tell her he has an idea in mind for Batman. Batman returns to the cave, and when Dick tells him his name is Hood, Batman points out that an opponent can easily pull the hood down over his head. Batman tells him to lose the hood and names him Robin. Dick receives a new costume made by Alfred.
Together they confront the Green Lantern. Robin paints the entire room yellow and he covers himself and Batman in yellow. Green Lantern's powers have no effect on something coloured yellow. Lantern tries to persuade Batman that his methods are not acceptable, either to the super-hero community or the world at large. Batman mocks his arguments and Lantern is further incensed when both he and Robin deny that Robin is Dick Grayson. Lantern is about to leave when Robin steals his ring causing a fight between them. Robin strikes Lantern with a move that almost kills him before Batman saves his life. Batman then takes Robin to his parents' graves, where they share a moment of mutual grief. The heroes then go underground at the request of Catwoman, who is severely injured.
Jim Gordon is shown trying to solve a crime when he learns his wife has been in a accident. At the same time his daughter dressed as Batgirl is fighting crime. Black Canary robs a group of snuff film makers and proceeds to set them on fire. Batgirl is later arrested and Jim is shown to be deeply depressed when he calls his former lover Sarah at the request of his daughter.
In the absence of superheroes, criminals run amok, and a gang called the Mutants terrorize a future Gotham City. Bruce Wayne has been retired from crime fighting for ten years following the death of Jason Todd, the second Robin. Despite Wayne's funding the rehabilitation of Harvey Dent (Two-Face), Dent returns to crime. Wayne puts on the Batman costume again to apprehend Dent, but the populace debates whether Batman is a savior.
Carrie Kelley, a 13-year-old-girl whom Batman rescues, buys a Robin costume and searches for Batman to aid him. Kelly finds Batman at the city dump, where he is fighting the Mutants. The Mutants' leader defeats Batman in combat, but Kelly distracts him and pulls Batman into the tank-like Batmobile. Kelly attends to Batman's wounds as the vehicle drives toward the Batcave. Once home, Batman takes Carrie on as the new Robin against his butler Alfred's objections. With Gordon's cooperation, the leader is allowed to escape from jail, and Batman beats him in front of the assembled Mutants gang, which then disbands as a result of this humiliation.
The Joker convinces his psychiatrist that he is sane and regrets his misdeeds. Seeking to discredit Batman, the psychiatrist appears with the Joker on a late-night show. While the police attack Batman, the Joker murders everyone in the television studio and escapes. Batman and Robin find the Joker at a county fair, where Batman defeats Joker in a violent showdown. Batman stops short of killing the Joker, who twists his own broken neck, intending for the police to charge Batman with murder.
After Superman diverts a Russian nuclear warhead which then detonates in a desert, millions of tons of dust and debris fill the atmosphere, and Gotham descends into chaos during the resulting blackout. Batman and Robin train former Mutants who now call themselves the Sons of Batman in non-lethal fighting to stop looting and ensure the flow of needed supplies. Gotham becomes the safest city in America, and the U.S. government, seeing this as an embarrassment, orders Superman to take Batman down. Having been warned of the government's plans by Green Arrow, Batman confronts Superman where Bruce Wayne's parents were murdered decades earlier. Batman defeats Superman, but dies from an apparent heart attack. After his funeral, he is revived by Robin, his death staged as an elaborate ruse. Alfred destroys the Batcave and Wayne Manor and suffers a fatal stroke. Batman leads Robin, Green Arrow, and the rest of his army into the caverns beyond the Batcave and prepares to continue his fight.
After going underground, Batman and his young sidekick, Catgirl (Carrie Kelly), train an army of "batboys" to save the world from a "police-state" dictatorship led by Lex Luthor. In a series of raids on government facilities, Batman's soldiers release other superheroes from captivity including: The Atom, trapped for years in a petri dish; The Flash, forced to run on a treadmill to provide America with free power; and Plastic Man, now insane and trapped in Arkham Asylum. Elongated Man is recruited from his job as a commercial spokesman, and Green Arrow is already working with Batman.
Other heroes such as Superman, Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel have been forced to work for the government since their loved ones are being held hostage and/or are under threat. Superman is even ordered by the "President" — in fact a computer generated front for Lex Luthor and Brainiac — to stop Batman. He confronts Wayne at the Batcave, but is defeated by Batman and the other superheroes.
Meanwhile, Batman's raids have not gone unnoticed by the media. After being banned for years, the freed superheroes have recaptured the public imagination, becoming a fad among youth. At a concert for the pop group "The Superchix", Batman and the other heroes make a public appearance, urging their fans to rebel against the oppressive government.
During this time, rogue vigilante The Question spies on Luthor's plans, typing a journal to record the misdeeds of those in power. He attempts to convince the Martian Manhunter, now an aged, bitter, near-powerless figure with his mind filled with Luthor's nanotechnology, to stand up against Superman and the powers that be. The two are soon attacked by a figure who physically resembles the Joker but is seemingly invulnerable to injury, and the Martian Manhunter sacrifices his life as The Question is rescued by Green Arrow. The villain escapes, but proceeds to kill other heroes such as The Guardian, The Creeper and likely others who have come out of retirement.
An alien monster lands in Metropolis and begins to destroy the city. Batman, however, is convinced that it is a way to lure him and his allies out of hiding and does not respond, callously dismissing Flash's claim that they are supposed to save lives. Batman's attitude is that the stakes are too high to worry about preserving life at all cost, whether this applies to men, women or even children.
Superman and Captain Marvel fight the monster, but it is revealed to be Brainiac, who coerces Superman (using the bottled Kryptonian city of Kandor as leverage) into losing the battle in order to crush the people's faith in superheroes. Captain Marvel is killed defending citizens from the carnage, but Superman is saved when Lara, his daughter by Wonder Woman, appears and destroys Brainiac's monster body. She has been carefully hidden since birth, but, now that the government knows she exists, they demand that she be handed over.
Deciding that Batman and his methods are the only way out, Superman, Wonder Woman and their daughter join him and assist in his plan. By having Lara pretend to hand herself over to Brainiac, the Atom is able to slip into the bottle and free the Kandorians who use their combined heat vision to destroy Brainiac, the heroes subsequently destroying the power source of the dictatorship and inciting revolution. Batman allows himself to be captured and tortured by Luthor, who plans to use satellites to destroy most of the world's population and leave them with a more manageable number of people. The satellites, however, are destroyed by the now god-like Green Lantern who wraps a giant fist around the Earth, destroying Luthor's several trillion dollars-worth of weapons. Luthor is subsequently killed by the son of Hawkman whose parents had been killed earlier on. This is an action Batman planned and approves, much to Flash's horror.
Returning to the Batcave, Batman receives a communication from Carrie: she is being attacked by the same psychopath who dispatched the Martian Manhunter and other heroes. Batman recognized the assailant as Dick Grayson, the first Robin, who has been genetically manipulated to possess a powerful healing power and is criminally insane. Batman shows nothing but contempt for his former sidekick and plans his death the moment they face each other. Batman hurls himself and Grayson into a miles-deep crevasse filled with lava and blows up the entire cave, igniting an underground volcano and destroying everything — only to be saved by Superman at the last minute and brought to Carrie in the Batmobile. Both Bruce and Carrie survive.
- Peak Human Condition
- Master Martial Artist
- Expert Marksman
- Master of Stealth
- Genius Level Intellect
Utility Belt, armored costume, cape, and cowl. Devices are many and varied. Grapple-shotgun, batarangs.
The Batmobile (more like a tank), Batcopter, Batcycle.
Batarangs, flash bombs, mini-lasers, rope, etc.
- In the continuity of "The Dark Knight Returns" Bruce drank heavily after the death of Jason Todd, Commissioner Gordon commented that Bruce used to fool people he was drinking champagne by it being simply ginger ale. Gordon was also aware of his heavy drinking by commenting he was "Making up for lost time".
- In The New Batman Adventures episode "Legends of the Dark Knight", depict a homage to The Dark Knight Returns in which the DKR Batman was voiced by Michael Ironside.
- In the animated adaptation of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Bruce Wayne/Batman was voiced by Peter Weller with Tara Strong voicing the character as a youth.
- 41 Appearances of Bruce Wayne (Earth-31)
- 147 Images featuring Bruce Wayne (Earth-31)
- 19 Quotations by or about Bruce Wayne (Earth-31)
- Character Gallery: Bruce Wayne (Earth-31)
- "The Dark Knight Strikes Again" at Wikipedia
- "Batman: Year One" at Wikipedia
- "All-Star Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder" at Wikipedia
- "Holy Terror, Batman!" at Wikipedia
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