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  1. #1
    Mighty Member Tzigone's Avatar
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    Default Does anyone else like Alfred joining the family after Dick does?

    Batman Begins was the first time I saw Alfred in a fatherly role to Bruce. Iíd not read any (DC) comics then, so exposure had been from other media. It was well-done there, I thought. Beautiful relationship. I read comics later. Unfortunately, I had difficulty reconciling that that good-father-Alfred would result in a Bruce as emotionally damaged as his comic-book self. I watched a few early eps of Gotham, and thought it worked better there. Alfred had more wrong calls (Bruceís fight with other kid, etc.) and the entire dynamic (both guardian and employee) was problematic enough that I could easily see Bruce growing up into a very screwed up adult.

    The thing in the comics is that Bruce has gotten progressively more emotionally damaged since post-Crisis (probably earlier, but definitely since then). While I haven't read many New52 stories, I can say in the early 2000s, Bruce seemed almost incapable of any sort of healthy relationship. Other times it's ebbed and flowed. Heíll do okay for a while, then not. And as this has happened, Alfred has been more integrated into Bruceís childhood. As, oddly, was Leslie at one point.

    Indeed, in early post-crisis years, at one point Dick even says that heís healthier because he had the emotional support (in Alfred and Bruce) that Bruce did not have and was not alone as Bruce was. Or something along those lines. And that made a sort of sense.

    But I do really like parent!Alfred for Bruce.

    Thing is that I also like Bruce and Dick, duo. The way they were in the Golden Age. I like that Bruce took in the child and that he planned to raise him. That he was never going to just make the gesture and put the hard work on Alfred. I'm just not keen on the idea of Bruce taking in Dick, and then Alfred having to clean up his mess and coax Bruce into being a parent. And yeah, I do kind of like Bruce & Dick being the first Bat-fam relationship, as they originally were.

    Part of it, too, is that I like Bruce being a good parent to Dick, even as he wasn't to Tim or Cass or Damian at times. Because I feel like Dick, as a character, was developed out of that (particularly in the 1970s and 1980s), and it doesn't work the same if Bruce was the guy he was later (post-crisis self) back earlier (when Dick was a kid).

    Now, some have gone with the notion that Bruce was all closed off, grim & gritty, and then was made better by Dick. I get the idea. I think Iíve been told All Star Batman and Robin was supposedly trying to do that. And you know, thereís Batman: Year One. I don't like Millerís Batman, BTW.

    I think I kinda like elements of The Batman cartoon (though much less exaggerated) in the idea that Bruce is actually happy in his early Batman days. He's achieving his goal, heís cleaning up Gotham. Success is just a few years away. He (like his golden age self) thinks he'll have a life and family one day and retire. Starts at 25, and heíll be done by 35, he thinks. But then, as the years wear on, he sees only where he's failed instead of where he's succeeded. He sees how far he has to go (in cleaning up Gotham) instead of how far he's come. And he becomes increasingly focused on his goal to the exclusion of other aspects of life. And as this starts to occur (maybe 10 year anniversary of Batman, an age when he thought he'd be done by), Dick is growing up and away from Bruce and developing his own life goals, and that causes conflict, too.

    On the other hand, the version where Bruceís life is indelibly marked by "before" and "after" and almost everything about him switched like the flip of lightswitch in that moment (as seemed to be early Gotham series), has its own sort of appeal. The one where Bruce is profoundly damaged from that moment on, and where being Batman is never a healing or good or cathartic process, but always an unhealthy and damaging manifestation of that trauma (helping others or fighting crime doesnít help him heal or keep the negative emotions at bay) also has its dramatic appeal. Though I'm not sure a healthy Dick Grayson can be raised that way, and I like a healthy Dick Grayson.

    So, while both sides have their strengths, I really have to go with Alfred coming later. Bruce not having that parental support at all as child works better, I think. And I also very much like the idea that Bruce started off as Batman pretty happy. He was in a good place and raised a good kid. But then the years just wore on him.

    I also, though, don't like Bruce as he became increasingly abrasive and then abusive to his family. So I'd stop him at late '90s level difficult, before a lot of horrific things he did later, but still after he has plenty of problematic actions to his name. Hoel him there a couple years. Then have him slowly work back to a better place with his family and his own mental health (perhaps using his lost-in-time era for introspection and him to decide he needed that).

    Dick, I like in 1980-1986 (maybe up to 1990) and then Dixon years. Before he became philander or an immature air-head and "not a big thinker" (he so was a big thinker in those days, and a brilliant detective, too) or Batman-lite - taking Robin away or lying to his family and hurting them.

  2. #2
    Astonishing Member Pohzee's Avatar
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    Yes, because Dad!Alfred is lame.
    It's the Dynamic Duo! Batman and Robin!... and Red Robin and Red Hood and Nightwing and Batwoman and Batgirl and Orphan and Spoiler and Bluebird and Lark and Gotham Girl and Talon and Batwing and Huntress and Azreal and Flamebird and Batcow?

    Since when could just anybody do what we trained to do? It makes it all dumb instead of special. Like it doesn't matter anymore.
    -Dick Grayson (Batman Inc.)


  3. #3
    Better than YOU! Alan2099's Avatar
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    I think the first actual Batman comics I ever read where the Untold Legend of Batman issues (which I got as part of a breakfast cereal promotion). In those issues they went into Alfred's backstory and how he became Wayne's Butler well, after Bruce and Robin became a duo.

    Frankly, I liked that better.

  4. #4
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    For me, Bruce and Alfred just cannot have the meaningful emotional conection and dynamic required by our modern understanding of the characters, if Bruce didn't even meet Alfred until he was an adult.

    On the other hand, that's how it was in the comics for decades... so I don't know. I also prefer the modern understanding of Robin debuting after Batman has already faced most of his significant villains.

  5. #5
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    This maybe fails some logic checks that it didn’t have to pass in the fifties. Back in the golden age, they didn’t really treat Dick like Batman’s son. They were chums. The challenges of raising a little boy didn’t come into it.

    And no Alfred raises the unintended question, did Batman just recruit Dick into the Work because he needed help around the cave?

  6. #6
    Astonishing Member Restingvoice's Avatar
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    Yes. Mainly because of the idea of Batman recruiting a young Robin makes more sense if it's done by a lonely immature reckless young man without good guidance. So even if Alfred is there since the beginning, at first he needs to be more of a professional butler who can't really speak against the master and less of a father. This will slowly change over time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Swallowtail View Post
    And no Alfred raises the unintended question, did Batman just recruit Dick into the Work because he needed help around the cave?
    The cave and the manor didn't even exist back then. It was just a single man's house, a garage, and a barn

  7. #7
    A Wearied Madness Vakanai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pohzee View Post
    Yes, because Dad!Alfred is lame.
    Disagree strongly, dad Alfred is one of the best interpretations of the character in the whole Bat mythos.

  8. #8
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    The first Alfred in Golden Age came after Dick, and functioned like a Tim character (he was clumsy and awkward but good hearted) Young Pre-crisis Bruce was taken care of by a Uncle Phillip.

    I agree that a vigilante Batdad who adopts kids only made sense when he's alone like in the Golden Age, and Alfred is a overrated parental figure to modern Bruce Wayne.

    Thing is, Early Bruce of any era pre-crisis was not THAT rich. He had no history with Gotham and his parents that were talked about, and they were not like, the first/founding family of the city or anything that needed a butler. He started as a father/parental figure that needed somebody to take care of, and DC shoots itself in the leg when they go too much into Bruce as a son, because his depression and general unhealthiness and thus elitism/classism which plagued modern Batman comics is just typical rich kid problems, which made him less of a hero or even a human, and made one like Alfred look very ugly and irresponsible.

    There's a reason millionaire Bruce Wayne is a father, and farmboy Clark Kent is a son.
    Last edited by nhienphan2808; 06-19-2019 at 04:09 AM.

  9. #9
    Mighty Member Tzigone's Avatar
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    This maybe fails some logic checks that it didn’t have to pass in the fifties. Back in the golden age, they didn’t really treat Dick like Batman’s son. They were chums. The challenges of raising a little boy didn’t come into it.
    This is absolutely not accurate, IMO. There were two issues where Bruce almost lost custody (first was better than second, IMO) and Bruce used "like a son" a fair bit. Now, I can agree on challenges only in the sense that that aspect (home life) really wasn't explored for anyone.

    Thing is, Early Bruce of any era pre-crisis was not THAT rich.
    Oh, god, yes. He didn't have a company back then. He was rich, but not what he is today. The moonbase yanked me right out of one story, because those things are way too expensive. Though I they may be significantly cheaper in DC-world due to all the alien tech that exists. I also get irked how he uses money to fix other heroes problems (buying Planet, all the ones with Jaime) because it sort of leaves other indebted to him (though Jaime unknowing he's Batman), and I don't like that dynamic.
    Last edited by Tzigone; 06-19-2019 at 03:59 AM.

  10. #10
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    The concept of corrupt Gotham and "Batman is Gotham and only fights for it while everybody fights for normal things" and "Wayne family founded Gotham" anything Gotham history really, was only really there since Miller and his "sin city" ideas and blown up in the 2000 too. I didn't like how Gotham and Batman go into inheritance like in Untold or later Morrison.
    Dick, I like in 1980-1986 (maybe up to 1990) and then Dixon years. Before he became philander or an immature air-head and "not a big thinker" (he so was a big thinker in those days, and a brilliant detective, too) or Batman-lite - taking Robin away or lying to his family and hurting them.
    I love 40-86 Dick and liked 86-94 Dick. Pre-crisis Dick was a badass and i refuse to accept him losing more and more of his agency and personality the richer Bruce gets because of classism/elitism. It's the 2000s onwards that Bruce and Dick are messed up.
    Last edited by nhienphan2808; 06-19-2019 at 07:30 AM.

  11. #11
    Astonishing Member Pohzee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vakanai View Post
    Disagree strongly, dad Alfred is one of the best interpretations of the character in the whole Bat mythos.
    I think it would be more interesting if Bruce develops a close friendship with Alfred later in life and still perhaps maybe sees him as a sort of father figure, but in a much more refined and ambiguous way.

    Like he was looking for a father and found a rock in Alfred, but not an adopted father. If Alfred raised Bruce it makes their relationship too explicit and raises some questions both about Alfred’s parental ability, moral guidance, and rationality.

    Because if he makes for a sucky real dad.
    It's the Dynamic Duo! Batman and Robin!... and Red Robin and Red Hood and Nightwing and Batwoman and Batgirl and Orphan and Spoiler and Bluebird and Lark and Gotham Girl and Talon and Batwing and Huntress and Azreal and Flamebird and Batcow?

    Since when could just anybody do what we trained to do? It makes it all dumb instead of special. Like it doesn't matter anymore.
    -Dick Grayson (Batman Inc.)


  12. #12
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    I also don't like when he's made out to be British reknown soldier and this total badass that could use guns and kill but apparently let Bruce do all the stuff he does, and can singlehandedly take care of 10 injured Batfam members. I kinda like him depicted as a faithful but exclused servant in those historical elseworlds.

  13. #13
    Mighty Member Tzigone's Avatar
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    I love 40-86 Dick and liked 86-94 Dick. Pre-crisis Dick was a badass and i refuse to accept him losing more and more of his agency and personality the richer Bruce gets because of classism/elitism. It's the 2000s onwards that Bruce and Dick are messed up.
    For me, there was that period where Robbins wrote Dick in the Bronze age (maybe late silver?), and it was awful. I think he's the same one who had some characterizations of Ollie and Dinah I deeply disliked, too. But I may be getting mixed up.

  14. #14
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    Well, characters meet bad writing all the time but when it’s systematic elitism like post-crisis onwards that’s what I have a problem with. When Bruce suddenly had all the parental figures and functions as a son either by origin or multiverse meeting his character loses so much strength both in himself and as Batman. What’s even Batman if apparently it’s passed through inheritance and his dad was Batman too? And all his heroics are just because he’s from a rich family above all families?

  15. #15
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    For anyone who became a fan in the Post-COIE era and beyond, the thought of Alfred not being Bruce's closest confidant and father-figure who's known him since he was a child is almost unthinkable. Its kinda hard to believe that for the vast majority of Batman's history so far, that wasn't the case.

    I always find it jarring when I read the classic story "No Hope in Crime Alley" and Alfred muses about how he thinks he's the closest person to Bruce after Dick. Today, it would almost certainly be the other way round! Not to mention, Alfred doesn't even know the date of the Wayne murders in that story!

    I don't necessarily think Alfred being Bruce's surrogate 'dad', in a manner of speaking, necessarily precludes him becoming a vigilante. For starters, Alfred was ultimately Bruce's employee. There wasn't a lot he could do to stop Bruce from doing what he wanted. He could however guide him and help out to make sure that Bruce didn't get himself killed or lose his moral compass. The depiction of Alfred as a former spy and commando I feel makes it somewhat believable that he would at least be open to the idea of Bruce wanting to wage his war against crime. I like the depictions of Alfred who, particularly early on, always support Bruce no matter what, but never hesitate to call him out on his more disturbing behavior and help him maintain his sanity. The Nolanverse springs to mind, as does Zero Year and the Earth One OGN. I've only seen the first season of Gotham but that version of Alfred also matched up well with how I view the character.

    I also like the idea, which is supported in canon, that Batman, when he starts out, is fairly optimistic and nowhere near the dark and depressed person he becomes later in life. If you read the earliest Golden Age stories, he's more like an adventurer who loves what he's doing. In the first two Nolanverse films, Bruce is actually fairly upbeat about the whole thing and is convinced that his mission as Batman is finite (and in that particular continuity, he's right.) It also makes more sense to me that a man in that frame of mind could be a good role model to Dick Grayson than some disturbed psychotic vigilante. I've never cared much for the idea of Bruce and Dick having a troubled or distant relationship even during their days as the Dynamic Duo. Dick could grow distant from Bruce after seeing how damaged he becomes over time, while still cherishing his time as the Boy Wonder.

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