View Poll Results: Does Batman finding his parent's killer make a difference to his character?

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  • Yes

    2 15.38%
  • No

    11 84.62%
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  1. #1
    Astonishing Member
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    Default Batman encountering Joe Chill: Does it make a difference to his character?

    Something I don't think has been discussed much on this or any other forum, at least not directly to my knowledge.

    Quiet simply, there are versions where Batman finally meets the man who killed his parents (usually Joe Chill) and gets some closure from that event (usually in the form of Chill dying somehow). And there are versions where he either explicitly never learns the identity of his parent's killer, or it simply isn't brought up.

    The question is - does this make a difference? Does finding his parent's murderer affect Batman's psyche and his character in any way? Does not knowing the truth change things?

    When Chill was first removed from continuity around the time of Zero Hour, the argument made was that Batman no knowing his parents killer meant that on some level, his war on crime was truly never-ending...since every criminal he took on was a proxy for his parent's nameless and faceless killer.

    This was official continuity all through the 90's and early 2000's...which coincidentially (or not) was the era of 'Batjerk' and the dark, manipulative Batman. Is there a connection? Is a version of Batman who never got closure over his parent's murder a more ruthless and disturbed figure than one who has?

    Contrast this with the Nolanverse. Joe Chill is brought to justice the same night. Bruce wants to kill him when he's up for parole, but he's killed by one of Falcone's men. Bruce gets a lesson in how Chill was just a symptom of a larger corruption, and from that moment on, he's no longer on a mission to get revenge or closure for his parent's death, but on a mission to save Gotham. Indeed, Bale's Bruce Wayne is arguably one of the most well-adjusted versions of the character - he's also the one who seems least affected by his parent's deaths. Yes, his work as Batman is about carrying on his father's legacy in a way, but he doesn't really seem to be constantly haunted by their deaths the way many other versions are (in fact, I don't even think the Wayne murders are brought up much, if at all, in TDK and TDKR).

    Do you'll think there is a connection? Is the path to a more well-adjusted and heroic Batman finding Joe Chill?

  2. #2
    Moderator Frontier's Avatar
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    I think in a broader sense there isn't a major difference.

    DCAU Batman never confronted Joe Chill (well, knowingly) but he was still fairly well-adjusted and Earth-16 Batman indicated Joe Chill was never caught because he wanted to make sure Dick caught his families killer so he didn't end up like Bruce.

    From a character-perspective...well, I like stories where Bruce confronts Chill and deals with that (Chill of the Night has some of my favorite Batman moments of all time) and I think there is some satisfaction from Bruce finally putting behind him in some respects the moment and person who basically turned him into Batman, but I can see why having his parents murder go unavenged would work for an ever-crusading dark knight who never stops fighting.

  3. #3

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    What about Bats getting the gun used to kill his folks and turning it into a plate to protect his chest?
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  4. #4
    Astonishing Member David Walton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bat39 View Post
    Something I don't think has been discussed much on this or any other forum, at least not directly to my knowledge.

    Quiet simply, there are versions where Batman finally meets the man who killed his parents (usually Joe Chill) and gets some closure from that event (usually in the form of Chill dying somehow). And there are versions where he either explicitly never learns the identity of his parent's killer, or it simply isn't brought up.

    The question is - does this make a difference? Does finding his parent's murderer affect Batman's psyche and his character in any way? Does not knowing the truth change things?
    DETECTIVE #678, which I think is the first post-Crisis issue that brought Joe Chill's guilt into question, answers the question nicely.

    Bruce ends up in a reality where he was murdered instead of his parents, on the night it happened. He tracks down Joe Chill only to discover he has an alibi--he's been in a drugged out state for two days, unable to get out of bed. This leads Bruce to question whether he ever really caught his parents' killer in his reality. In the end, he decides it has no bearing on his mission either way. He's still committed to justice.

    When Chill was first removed from continuity around the time of Zero Hour, the argument made was that Batman no knowing his parents killer meant that on some level, his war on crime was truly never-ending...since every criminal he took on was a proxy for his parent's nameless and faceless killer.

    This was official continuity all through the 90's and early 2000's...which coincidentially (or not) was the era of 'Batjerk' and the dark, manipulative Batman. Is there a connection? Is a version of Batman who never got closure over his parent's murder a more ruthless and disturbed figure than one who has?
    As far as I know, the question was never resolved post ZERO HOUR. Joe Chill was still in continuity, it's just Batman didn't know whether he was his parents' actual killer or not.

    I think Jeph Loeb played around with the idea that John Corben might have killed the Waynes, or at least that Bruce Wayne was investigating the possibility.

    Contrast this with the Nolanverse. Joe Chill is brought to justice the same night. Bruce wants to kill him when he's up for parole, but he's killed by one of Falcone's men. Bruce gets a lesson in how Chill was just a symptom of a larger corruption, and from that moment on, he's no longer on a mission to get revenge or closure for his parent's death, but on a mission to save Gotham. Indeed, Bale's Bruce Wayne is arguably one of the most well-adjusted versions of the character - he's also the one who seems least affected by his parent's deaths. Yes, his work as Batman is about carrying on his father's legacy in a way, but he doesn't really seem to be constantly haunted by their deaths the way many other versions are (in fact, I don't even think the Wayne murders are brought up much, if at all, in TDK and TDKR).

    Do you'll think there is a connection? Is the path to a more well-adjusted and heroic Batman finding Joe Chill?
    I think writers will use the tools at their disposal to make their case either way.

    Batman was already a much darker, more obsessive hero by the time DC raised the possibility that he'd never caught his parents' murderer. It certainly doesn't seem to drive Batman to a darker place in the context of the story that raised the question.

  5. #5
    Astonishing Member David Walton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by extraskater View Post
    What about Bats getting the gun used to kill his folks and turning it into a plate to protect his chest?
    I actually really love this idea. Taking a weapon of destruction and giving it a purely defensive function. Protecting Batman's heart with the gun that broke Bruce's. It works on so many levels.

  6. #6
    A Wearied Madness Vakanai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by extraskater View Post
    What about Bats getting the gun used to kill his folks and turning it into a plate to protect his chest?
    Not going to lie - kinda stupid.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vakanai View Post
    Not going to lie - kinda stupid.
    You know it has been done, don’t you?
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  8. #8
    Incredible Member Gaius's Avatar
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    Depends on the story. Batman: The Brave and The Bold has him do it and it's one of my favorite Batman stories but I do like the idea of the World's Greatest Detective being unable to ever find who that nameless thug was.

    Quote Originally Posted by extraskater View Post
    What about Bats getting the gun used to kill his folks and turning it into a plate to protect his chest?
    I kind of thought it was stupid he even had the gun in the first place, which some earlier stories have shown.

  9. #9
    A Wearied Madness Vakanai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by extraskater View Post
    You know it has been done, don’t you?
    Yes I know - doesn't make it not stupid and edge-lordy to me.

  10. #10
    Better than YOU! Alan2099's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vakanai View Post
    Yes I know - doesn't make it not stupid and edge-lordy to me.
    It's very much in the "MY PARENTS ARE DEEEAAADDDD!!!!!" take on Batman, which was never exactly a favorite of mine.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vakanai View Post
    Yes I know - doesn't make it not stupid and edge-lordy to me.
    I just want to make sure you were not thinking it was my idea.
    the extra skater
    Read Ferda Boys hockey webcomics.

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