"The Final Lesson": Ten years ago, Bruce Wayne travelled to a remote monastery in the Himalayas hoping to train with the legendary Shihan Matsuda, a zen-Buddhist monk warrior, and master of mind control. The woman at the door claimed that Shihan Matsuda was just a my
Synopsis for "The Final Lesson"
Ten years ago, Bruce Wayne travelled to a remote monastery in the Himalayas hoping to train with the legendary Shihan Matsuda, a zen-Buddhist monk warrior, and master of mind control. The woman at the door claimed that Shihan Matsuda was just a myth, and slammed the door. In order to demonstrate his discipline, Bruce waited for days at the front steps, until Shihan Matsuda himself opened the door to him.
Within six months, Bruce was learning to effectively use a katana, and every Tuesday, he would be asked to take the swords into the village to be sharpened again. The sword sharpener's daughter Mio had become intrigued by Bruce's serious demeanour and the darkness behind his eyes. This displeased her impatient father considerably.
After having travelled the world for so long, training and learning, Bruce had never come to think of any place as home until he found this place. He had come to think of Shihan Matsuda as his father, and the master's wife as his mother. Coldly, Shihan Matsuda responded that they are not his parents, and that emotional ties make him weak. This lesson carried over into the training, as Matsuda urged Bruce to embrace his darkness and eschew the light in order to protect the light within others unimpeded by the weaknesses of love and intimacy. That night, though, Shihan's wife came to Bruce, and warned him that distancing himself from emotion is the wrong approach to meditation. Meditation is for facilitating the observation of one's own emotions without judgment. Only by knowing them can one avoid succumbing to them, she said.
Later, Shihan trained Bruce in Tummo meditation, which forces the monk to meditate while surrounded by cold and ice. The goal is to raise the body temperature by force of will through relaxation, rather than physical means like shuddering and chattering of teeth. However, Bruce's concentration was broken by thoughts of Mio, the swordsmith's daughter. Once again, Shihan reminded that to love is to carry his weakness.
The next Tuesday, Mio's father instructed her not to talk to him so much. Bruce smiled at her, as she passed him a note. The note asked him to meet her in the botanical gardens the next day. That night, Bruce lay in bed looking at the watch his father had given him, remembering his parents. When Shihan discovered this, he warned that affection and grief are human emotions. As Bruce was destined to be something more than human, the death of his parents was the best thing that could have happened to him, so long as he could reject his grief.
The next day, Bruce and Mio lay in the grass of the botanical gardens, looking for shapes in the clouds. As he put his arm around her, she noticed his expensive watch, and teasingly took it from him, thinking to make a flirtatious game of it. The sentimental value of the watch, however, was too much to Bruce, and he reacted negatively, snatching it back. Thinking back on his master's words, he sent her away. Later that day, Bruce successfully let go of his emotional attachments, and succeeded in making Shihan proud.
That night, Shihan's wife went to Bruce's room to warn him that the cost of becoming the rich and respected was that Shihan had become a recluse. His lack of attachments had turned his heart to stone, and his home into a mausoleum. Bruce, she said, had a chance at a better life. She urged him to pursue love if he could find it. As he lay in bed that night, Bruce realized how he felt for Mio, and left the monastery to speak to her. He knocked on her window, and apologized for his foolishness. Nervously, she warned him that her father could not see them like this, and promised to come to him that night at the monastery. He would leave a window open and unlocked for her.
That night, a hooded swordsman snuck into the monastery through that window with intent to kill Shihan Matsuda. The old master managed to call out to Bruce as he was being stabbed through the chest. Bruce beat back the attacker, sending the masked person through a window. He tore the hood off, revealing that the one who had stabbed Shihan was in fact Mio - who now had mortal wounds due to the shards of glass embedded in her back. When he asked her why, she responded that everything had been planned. She was paid to seduce him; to distract him and gain access.
Turning around, Bruce discovered that the one who had planned it was Shihan's own wife, who was now bearing down on him with a knife in hand. Before she could kill him, she herself was stabbed in the back by her husband, who yet lived. Weakly, she admitted that she had planned it all to gain his fortune, and to escape the prison that he had made his house. As all three of the people Bruce had come to love died in front of him, Shihan wheezed that his final lesson should be to learn that this is what closeness would bring him.
Appearing in "The Final Lesson"
- Shihan Matsuda (Dies)
- Sama Matsuda (Dies)
- Mio (First appearance)
- Botanical Gardens
Synopsis for "The Long Wait"
Seven years ago, Alfred Pennyworth had come to dread the sound of the doorbell as much as he had been filled with hope by it. His charge Bruce Wayne had been gone for some years already, and while he hoped every time that the ringing of the doorbell would mean Bruce was home, it could just as easily mean that Bruce had been found dead in whichever place he had been cavorting across the world. Still, there was further reason to dread the sound, as there were those in the city who were just as eager to find out that Bruce had died as Alfred was to hear that he had not.
In this instance, the man at the door was a Mr. Shaw, representative of the Kane family - relatives of Bruce's mother Martha. Mr. Shaw claimed that with the death of her son, the Kane family had a legal right to Martha Wayne's fortune and property. Bruce had not been heard from for years, despite rumours that he was seen in the foothills of the Himalayas, recently, and all of the money and effort that Alfred had put into locating him had come up with nothing much else.
Regardless, though, Mrs. Wayne had made a legally binding compact in her will that made Alfred the sole custodian of Wayne Manor and fortune until such time as their son could claim it for himself. The reason for this was that Mrs. Wayne knew what kind of people her father and brothers were, and she refused to let her life's work fall into their hands.
Mr. Shaw had little care for that fact, explaining that Mr. Kane would be kind enough to set Alfred up with a small fortune, and an opening with the Gotham Shakespeare Company as an actor in exchange for his compliance. If, however, Alfred refused, they would use their considerable resources to ruin him completely. Angrily, Alfred thrust Mr. Shaw up against the wall, warning that if he did not leave Wayne Manor immediately, he would learn just how disagreeable he could become.
Mr. Shaw ran away, leaving Alfred to worry after Bruce's fate. However, it was not long before he heard the doorbell again. Thinking Shaw had returned, Alfred shouted for him to go away again, but on opening the door, he was met with a surprise. Bruce had returned.
Bruce embraced his old friend, and promised to tell all about his travels soon. He begged forgiveness for going so long without giving him any word, and then noticed all of the newspaper clippings and maps laid out on the floor of the manor. He realized that Alfred had never given up searching for him. Happily, he decided it was time to tell his long story, and present him with an idea that could change everything for them.
Appearing in "The Long Wait"
- Mr. Kane (Mentioned only)
- Mr. Shaw
- Martha's brother (Mentioned only)
- Martha's brother (Mentioned only)
- Batman Recommended Reading
- Batman (Volume 1)
- Batman (Volume 2)
- Batman (Volume 3)
- Batman and Robin (Volume 1)
- Batman and Robin (Volume 2)
- Batman Confidential (Volume 1)
- Batman: Gotham Knights (Volume 1)
- Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight (Volume 1)
- Batman: Shadow of the Bat (Volume 1)
- Batman: Streets of Gotham (Volume 1)
- Batman Incorporated (Volume 1)
- Batman Incorporated (Volume 2)
- Batman/Superman (Volume 1)
- Batman/Superman (Volume 2)
- Batman: The Dark Knight (Volume 1)
- Batman: The Dark Knight (Volume 2)
- The Brave and the Bold (Volume 1)
- Detective Comics (Volume 1)
- Detective Comics (Volume 2)
- Superman/Batman (Volume 1)
- World's Finest (Volume 1)