After witnessing the brutal murder of his parents, billionaire Bruce Wayne dedicated himself to purging Gotham City of evil. Spending years training his mind and body to perfection, he declared war on all crime in Gotham and became The Dark Knight, Batman.
When leaving from a movie theater and back to home, Thomas and Martha Wayne are accompanied by their 8-year-old son, Bruce. However, unknown to them they would see their only son for one short last moment. Stepping into Park row (now called Crime Alley) out of the shadows is a masked gunman who killed both, Thomas and Martha. While their 8-year-old son watched their brutal death take place, Bruce's life would never be the same. At that moment, Bruce made a solemn oath to be an avenger of the knight and fight crime. That moment, Bruce Wayne died and Batman was born! Batman is the World's Greatest Detective and can handle any problem. He's one of the greatest heroes the world will ever know. Batman!
Batman, one of the most influential comic book characters ever, was created by artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger, though Kane, who designed the character, often receives credit as the sole creator. The character first appeared in Detective Comics #27, published in 1939, and later became popular enough to spawn his own books. Along with Superman and Wonder Woman, Batman has provided many of the core story arcs for the DC brand since his creation. He is unique for the simple reason that he has no super-human powers and is an ordinary human relying on intelligence, money, inventiveness, detective skills, martial arts, and fear to defeat his opponents. Batman currently makes the most money for a single publishing character.
In the Golden Age of Comics, when he was first introduced, Bruce Wayne was already the vigilante known as Batman. In Detective Comics #33 the origin of the character was told. Bruce Wayne was the son of Thomas Wayne and his wife Martha Wayne. His parents were wealthy philanthropists in the high society of Gotham City. Bruce grew up in Wayne Manor and experienced a privileged life until one fateful night. Bruce and his parents went to the movies and were walking home when suddenly they were confronted by a small-time crook named Joe Chill. At first, Chill demanded Martha's jewelry, but he ended up shooting both of Bruce’s parents. After the deaths of his parents, Bruce swore to rid Gotham City of evil forever. He began an intense mental and physical training and mastered many skills including martial arts, criminology, and escape artistry.
Upon completing his training Bruce realized that his skills alone were not enough to do the job; he needed the criminals to fear him. It was then that a bat flew through the window, scaring Bruce. He was inspired by the symbolism of the bat and used this to become Batman.
Batman witnessed the death of the Flying Graysons, high flying acrobats that were killed by crooks after the owner of the circus refused to pay "protection money". Bruce took in young Dick Grayson as his ward and trained him as his sidekick, Robin. Together the " Dynamic Duo" faced off against many enemies such as the Riddler, Scarecrow, Penguin and the Joker. Batman eventually became one of the founding members of the Justice Society Of America. However it was later said that he and Superman were honorary members and only participated in limited JSA adventures. Batman continued working with the Gotham City Police Department in fighting crime and was later legally deputized as a civilian police agent . Later Alfred Pennyworth was introduced and served as his butler. Alfred eventually learned the identities of the Dynamic Duo and aided them in both their identities. Love interest Vicki Vale debuted during the 1940's as one of the numerous girlfriends of Bruce Wayne. Vicki was created as a mirror of Lois Lane of Metropolis. She often spent her time trying to figure out the identity of Batman. Whenever she got close to figuring out Batman was Bruce Wayne, Batman would often trick her into believing he was not Bruce Wayne.
During the Silver Age DC Comics introduced the Multiverse continuity to its characters. It established the fact that all the Batman stories told during the Golden Age actually took place on Earth-Two. The Earth-Two Batman married Catwoman and fathered a daughter named Helena Wayne who grew up to be the Huntress. Earth-Two Batman retired to take the job as Commissioner of the GCPD. Dick Grayson of Earth-Two became a lawyer with his own practice and continued his career as the Earth-Two Robin. It was revealed that Selina had been killed by Silky Cernak, a former henchman. Eventually he died during his final adventure against a criminal named Bill Jensen who had acquired superpowers.
Batman's back story was expanded upon to include his uncle Philip Wayne raising Bruce for a while after his parents' deaths. He also had an older brother named Thomas Wayne Jr. who had to be institutionalized after the death of Thomas and Martha. In addition, it was revealed that his parents' killing had not been chance, but an assassination ordered by gangster Lew Moxon. As a child, Bruce's father had worn a bat costume (similar to Batman's future costume) to a masquerade party, where he encountered and stopped the mobster. Moxon swore revenge against Dr. Wayne, and hired Joe Chill to orchestrate the "mugging" that would result in their deaths. At some point in Bruce's training, he wore a costume similar to the future Robin's and was trained by Harvey Harris, a Gotham City Police detective. During this time Batman would regularly team up with other heroes to fight evil (these adventures were published in World’s Finest Comics from the 1950's through the 1980's), and many of the team-ups featured Batman and Superman and led to the formation of the Justice League of America.
After Robin (Dick Grayson) sustained an injury Batman insisted on going it alone. Dick left to attend college and moved out of Wayne Manor. Batman primarily worked solo but occasionally teamed up with Robin and Batgirl. It was during this period where Batman started becoming a bit darker ([partly due to the loss of Robin's presence, but mainly because times were changing in the real world). Violent crimes increased in Gotham and the Joker returned with a darker, more sadistic nature.
The Batman also came face to face with Ra's al Ghul, the Demon's Head. Ra's has lived for over 600 years and is one of the few people who have deduced that Bruce Wayne is Batman. Ra's saw their ideals as being the same, but the two became rivals quickly when Batman realized that Ra's did not value the lives of others as he did. During this time Bruce's older brother Thomas reappeared. Thomas became an assassin, but his body was taken over by the anti-hero Deadman. Batman was able to remove Deadman from his brother's body, but Thomas soon died trying to save his younger brother's life. Batman later quit the Justice League to form his new group called the Outsiders. Batman led the group for a while, but he eventually quit the Outsiders as well.
After Crisis on Infinite Earths, the Batman of Earth-Two was erased from history. DC Comics attempted to reboot many major characters' origins including Batman. The re-tooled history was recounted in Frank Miller’s run on the Batman: Year One story arc, or, at least the more serious, less campier sides of The Dark Knight. This made Batman darker and more believable, and showed how much Batman dominates Bruce Wayne's psychology, so much so that Bruce has fully transformed into the Dark Knight, both physically and mentally. Batman began his beginning years as Batman, with Jim Gordon (whom was a police officer from Chicago). The character of Jim Gordon was portrayed in greater detail, and the corruption of the Gotham City Police Department was more pronounced, giving more of a reason for Gotham City to need Batman. Dick's back story remained the same, but Jason Todd's origin was changed. Philip Wayne and Thomas Jr. were removed from continuity and Bruce was raised by his father's trusted friend and butler Alfred Pennyworth. In addition, Batman was no longer a founding member of the Justice League. During the Son of the Demon story arc, Batman married Talia and she became pregnant with their child. When Talia was attacked, Batman nearly died trying to save her. Talia concluded that she was a hindrance to Batman and pretended to have a miscarriage. The two annulled their marriage, but Talia delivered the baby and gave him up.
In the new continuity Batman found Jason trying to steel the wheels off the Batmobile. He eventually trained the young man to be his new Robin, but Jason was not Dick Grayson. Jason would question and eventually defy Batman's orders. It got to the point where Jason was becoming a danger to himself and others around him. Batman considered removing him as Robin, but Jason managed to convince him otherwise. Jason Todd eventually learned that the woman who raised him was not his biological mother and became determined to find his true mother. He traveled to the Middle East, where he encountered Batman (who was searching for the Joker), and explained that he was searching for his birth mother. Batman saw the list of candidates and recognized one of the names on the list as Sandra Woosan: the assassin Lady Shiva. After a brief fight Batman learned that she was not Jason's mother. Jason managed to find his mother and revealed his secret identity to her, but she turned him over to The Joker. Jason's mother was being blackmailed by the Joker, but as she had some shady dealings herself she did not want attention being drawn to her. Joker savagely beat Jason with a crowbar, then detonated an explosive that killed Jason and his mother. This was during the story arc called, death in the family.
After this tragic event, Batman became even darker and more violent when he battled crime. Tim Drake, a young boy who witnessed the death of the Graysons, noticed the dark nature of the Batman after the loss of Robin. He had figured out that the original Robin was Dick Grayson and thus, Bruce Wayne had to be Batman. Tim knew that Batman needed a friend in his war and after being unsuccessful in convincing Dick to return to the role, Dick petitioned Bruce to train Tim to become the next Robin, in order to keep Batman sane. After a grueling training regime Tim finally became the new Robin.
With Tim Drake finally the new Robin unknown to Batman, Jason Todd was secretly resurrected by Ra's Al Ghul. During the Lost Days, Jason was seen being resurrected by Talia and her father. While the resurrection was a success it also failed. Jason Todd was alive, but he was without emotion and pain. He was alive, but it was like his soul was somewhere else. When Ra's told Talia that the plan to bring back Jason was a failure; he told her to kill him. Growing an attachment to Jason, Talia decided to take drastic measures and dumps him into the Lazarus Pit a second time. The first time brought him back to life, the second time it brought back all of his memories, emotions and pain back into his life. Talia decided to start training him to be ready to finally kill Bruce Wayne and the Joker. Jason was seen to be the one who told Thomas Elliot (better known as Hush) the identity of Batman. Jason eventually fights Bruce and the Joker; and fails to kill either of them.