Bruce Wayne: Billionaire. Businessman. Playboy. Killer?
Batman: Bruce Wayne-Murderer presents a brand new angle to Batman lore. The comic opens with Bruce and his bodyguard/assistant Sasha returning to Wayne Manor after defending the streets of Gotham. Both are shocked when they enter the manor and find Bruce’s former flame, Vesper Fairchild, dead on the floor.
They’re even more shocked when the police come bursting through the doors and promptly arrest both Bruce and Sasha for the murder.
What follows in the comic is the beginning of a truly unique Batman tale. Bruce and Sasha have no alibi, as they were out fighting crime at the time of the murder, and the gun used to kill Vesper was found on Wayne’s property, and confirmed to have been purchased by Wayne himself. The evidence is pretty damning, and after being denied bail, Bruce and Sasha are forced to enter Blackgate’s general population as they await trial.
Bruce handles this turn of events with his typical wall of silence, refusing help from all those who offer. That doesn’t stop his family from seeking the truth though, as Nightwing, Robin, Oracle, Batgirl, and Spoiler all do their part to uncover the truth.
A less skilled writer would have crafted the story with nobody close to Bruce actually believing he could have committed the murder, but thankfully these stories were handled more deftly. Nearly everyone questions, at one time or another, whether he could have done it. Sasha recalls that she wasn’t with Batman the entire night, wondering if he snuck back to Wayne Manor while they were apart. Oracle and Robin comment that Bruce has been acting oddly lately, leading them to at least ponder the possibility of his guilt.
Nightwing is the only one who remains blindly loyal, ignoring the facts placed in from of him because he has complete faith that Bruce would never take a life.
The comic progresses slowly, yet never feels like it drags. Ultimately Bruce breaks out of Blackgate, and just like that he’s a fugitive on the run. He returns to the Bat Cave, where he’s met with an intervention of sorts by his entire Bat family. They demand answers, feeling completely shut out and wanting the truth.
Batman’s response is not the comforting reassurance they had hoped for. Instead, he voices his plan to effectively stop being Bruce Wayne.
He has decided to adopt the Batman persona full-time, without the shackle of a civilian identity. Understandably, this is met with anger by everyone around him, who view Bruce as a father figure and can’t imagine him giving up his true identity.
As Batman and Nightwing clash, with Nightwing feeling the betrayal perhaps worst of all, Batman leaves as everyone else is left to consider the repercussions of such a decision. What’s more, a very important observation was made about their discussion with Batman:
The vagueness of Bruce’s response can be viewed two ways: Either he did it, and didn’t want to admit it to those he cares for, or he’s just being his typical aloof self and playing his cards extremely close to the chest.
I choose to believe the latter. Batman has existed for far too long to ever snap and murder someone, especially an innocent woman. What’s more, even if he ever was pushed to do so, he wouldn’t have murdered her with a gun, and in his own home no less.
No, this is a set-up (albeit a very convincing one), and quite frankly I’m dying to find out who actually murdered Vesper. I love a good mystery, and this Batman comic has the perfect setup for a wonderful “whodunit” storyline.
I couldn’t put this comic down, and as I finished it I was dying to find out what happened next. Mercifully, it looks like Mistah J has the entire storyline collected, so I won’t have to wait to see how the story unfolds. Like Nightwing, I believe Batman to be innocent, but even I had my doubts at certain parts of this story. Therein lies the brilliance in this story; it was crafted so well that someone as driven by justice as Batman can still be painted as a potential killer. It’s this characterization that propels the story, and I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds. What will become of Batman, or Bruce Wayne for that matter? These questions make this story magnetizing, and I have a feeling no matter how it plays out, the status quo of Gotham will never be the same.
Also, new idea for a book titled, “I Don’t Like you: The Autobiography of Bruce Wayne”. This should be the cover.