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The Untold Truth Of Bruce Wayne

Tossing the keys to his shiny Lamborghini at the valet and waltzing through the front doors of an opulent dining establishment with two ladies in tow is how Bruce Wayne maintains a playboy exterior to divert the public's attention from his real job: Batman. The world is well-acquainted with the Dark Knight, but Bruce Wayne often takes the back seat to his more aggressively thrilling alter-ego. Bruce is simply one side of the Batman coin, anchoring the hero to the real world so he can maintain human social connections while immersing himself in the muck and mire of Gotham City on a nightly basis.

Bruce Wayne's story is one of tragedy. Not only were his parents killed when he was a young boy, but it's also completely clear that Bruce Wayne, in a way, died that very night as well. Whatever ambitions or aspirations he had as a young lad were laid to rest at the altar of Batman, a figure that consumed his obsessive need to eradicate criminality and fight for justice. 

This loss of innocence forced Bruce to face the world in all of its potential ugliness. That's something parents often attempt to shield their children from until they're at an age that they can properly cope. However, Bruce's life was fractured in two the moment his parents were killed. Everything following his parent's death was consumed by his need to ensure that he's protecting other potential young Bruce Waynes from experiencing his trauma. This is the untold story of Bruce Wayne.

Bruce Wayne's name is an amalgamation of two historical figures

For a master detective capable of thwarting high-profile criminal plots, it was important that his name was inspired. Bill Finger and Bob Kane did just that, taking two notable historical figures as the inspiration for Bruce Wayne. The name Bruce came from King Bruce I of Scottish notoriety. Robert the Bruce was known to be one of the most famous warriors during his time. He led Scotland during the First War of Scottish Independence from England. Because of that, he is seen in Scottish history as a hero among the people.

The name Wayne was derived from the brigadier general Anthony Wayne of the American Revolution. He led several battles during the Revolutionary War. Wayne was highly decorated for his exploits during the war, being recognized by George Washington and promoted to commanding officer. Because he was a fierce fighter and leader, he garnered the nick name "Mad Anthony Wayne." 

In fact, it was established in "World's Finest" #186 that Anthony Wayne is an ancestor of Bruce Wayne in DC Comics canon. In that comic, Batman had the opportunity to meet his ancestor as he traveled to the past. It's clear Bob Kane and Bill Finger had an affinity for revolutionaries who fought against tyranny, and wanted to instill those qualities in their creation.

Bruce Wayne had a brother

Most people know Bruce Wayne to be the singular child of Thomas and Martha Wayne, who became the sole heir to their entire estate. However, "World's Finest" #223 tells the tale of Thomas Wayne Jr., the eldest son of the Waynes. 

He was three years older than Bruce, and mentally unstable due to severe head trauma suffered as a child from a car accident. After becoming a danger to himself and others, Thomas and Martha made the decision to have him institutionalized. Thomas Jr. eventually changed his surname to conceal the fact that he was a Wayne. Although Bruce's parents intended to tell him of his older brother, they were killed before they could do so. 

In time, Thomas Jr. resurfaced as the villain known as the Boomerang Killer. His story ended in heroism, ultimately, as he protected Bruce from gunfire by sacrificing himself.

In the wake of the New 52 shift in DC Comics continuity, Thomas Wayne Jr. still existed but was now Bruce's younger brother. This new story said that following his premature birth as the result of a car accident, his ensuing mental health issues had him sent to a home for children. However, the Court of Owls nabbed the boy and trained him to become a Talon — a deadly assassin of the shadowy court. Whichever way that you look at the story of Thomas Wayne Jr., it's a tragic one.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

Bruce took Dick Grayson in because of their kinship over family tragedy

Dick Grayson was Batman's first sidekick under the title of Robin, although many more would later earn the title. As a youngster, Dick and his biological mother and father performed an acrobatic show known as the Flying Graysons. Dick's parents were murdered during a performance by a ruthless mafioso named Tony Zucco, hellbent on extorting money from the circus that employed the family.

In the aftermath of the tragedy, Bruce took Dick as his legal ward, training the athletic young boy to refocus his anger and emotions in more productive, albeit vigilante-adjacent, ways. It's obvious that Bruce felt a connection with Dick Grayson, as they both shared the same trauma. This led Bruce to step in as a father figure for Grayson, something the hero never quite had after his own parents died, outside of the companionship of his faithful butler, Alfred.

Bruce received a message from his father from an alternate timeline

Comic books are often clouded by messy timelines, rewritten history, and dead characters brought back to life. But such things can also provide remarkable character insight.

Thomas Wayne received a quasi-resurrection during 2011's "Flashpoint" storyline, which had the Flash traveling back in time to save his own mother from being murdered. In doing so, he alters history dramatically, leaving present-day littered with chaos as Aquaman goes to war with Wonder Woman and Superman never lands in Kansas — instead captured by the government and kept in isolation for study.

Perhaps most interesting of these alternate realities, however, is a depiction of Bruce Wayne being killed as a young boy by the alley assailant instead of his parents. 

We see his mother go mad (in essence becoming the Joker), while his father becomes Batman to combat the criminal element. This Thomas Wayne, however, does not share Batman's aversion to lethal force; he carries firearms and murders criminals regularly. When the Flash reveals to Thomas that he changed history, Thomas does everything he can to help Flash correct the course of events so his son can live again. Once they succeed, Thomas Wayne gives the Flash a letter to deliver to Bruce. 

Heading off into the speed force, the Flash manages to set things back to normal once again. He meets Batman (once again Bruce) in the Batcave, retells the story of what occurred, and gives him the letter from his father. With tears in his eyes, Batman tells the Flash, "You're one hell of a messenger. Thank you."

Bruce Wayne is actually Batman's mask

Every night, Bruce Wayne puts on the cape and cowl and scrambles across the rooftops of Gotham City hunting criminals who plague the city. As a character, Batman has a massive array of offensive and defensive toys that enable him to gain the upper hand, always able to out-think and out-strategize his opponents. 

But much like Superman "pretends" to be Clark Kent to fit in with humanity, the Caped Crusader "pretends" to be Bruce when he needs something from humanity that a guy in a cowl can't get. His mask is the Bruce Wayne playboy façade he puts on every day as he steps out into the streets of Gotham City or interacts with associates at Wayne Enterprises. Bruce Wayne essentially died along with his parents, his hopes and dreams for the future eviscerated, and Batman was born out of that tragedy and has been the dominant personality ever since.

Ultimately, Bruce Wayne/Batman couldn't care less about fancy cars, trophy girlfriends, or lavish surroundings. He's more concerned with ensuring that the Joker doesn't hurt any more innocent Gothamites. When he's among the people, he's wearing a mask that protects his real identity as the Batman.

Bruce Wayne's intellect surpasses his Justice League colleagues

He has an endless supply of batarangs and batmobiles, but Batman's greatest asset might be his mind. Bruce Wayne has one of the most capable minds in the entirety of the DC superhero catalog, with the ability to manipulate and properly strategize against his opponents, a skill he has honed and always uses to stay prepared. As a result, Batman is rarely caught off guard and always seems to have contingency plans on top of contingency plans. It's a crucial element of his success, since he is one of the few heroes that doesn't have powers, and he is constantly surrounded by beings who do.

During Grant Morrison's "JLA: Tower of Babel" storyline, Ra's al Ghul targets the Justice League, managing to take down nearly every member including Superman. The trick, however, is that those in the Justice League realize that the methods of their downfall or incapacitation contain specific details that are secretive or unique to each of the members. In reality, Batman made contingency plans for dismantling any member of the Justice League should they go rogue, and Ra's Al Ghul merely stole those secret plans and used them against the group. While Batman's compatriots felt betrayed, it became clear that the superhero had simply planned for the worst-case scenario. Such plans typically help the Justice League accomplish great feats — in this case, a villain simply got the better of him.

Bruce Wayne helps fund the Justice League

It's easy to think, "Hey, Bruce Wayne is a billionaire, so of course he can fund all of the Justice League's operations." However, that's not entirely the case. Maintaining the Watch Tower that sits in Earth's orbit is a bit much, even for a billionaire. Besides, if Bruce Wayne was the sole donor for the Justice League, it might seem a bit suspicious, and would connect the dots to Batman's identity rather quickly.

While Bruce does contribute to the Justice League, he has actively secured other donors as well, including Michael Holt (also known as Mr. Terrific), Oliver Queen (the Green Arrow), Maxwell Lord, Ted Kord, the United States government, and even the villainous Lex Luthor has, on occasion, been known to donate heavily to the League, whether for appearances or other benefits. Regardless, Bruce may provide a lot of the financial backing that the league needs to operate, but he hasn't done it alone, maintaining a healthy network of monetary avenues for the heroes.

Bruce Wayne trained his mind to create a back-up persona

As Batman, Bruce Wayne has run the gamut of trials and exercises of endurance. In 2008's "Batman R.I.P." written by Grant Morrison, a psychiatrist by the name of Simon Hurt had previously given Bruce Wayne a psychological trigger during an isolation experiment that Bruce had organized – unbeknownst to the billionaire. Later, as part of a secretive organization called the Black Glove, Jezebel Jet got close to Bruce Wayne and became his girlfriend, ultimately learning that he was Batman. In conjunction with the psychiatrist, Jet and Hurt drugged Bruce and caused the collapse of his mind through the trigger word "Zur-En-Arrh."

Bruce would later awaken in alley with no memory. He'd eventually fashion a Batman costume of purple, red, and yellow threads and carry a baseball bat. This is because Bruce had trained his mind to create a back-up persona in the event that his mind ever became corrupted. The Batman of Zur-En Arrh was far more aggressive, and even lethal should he go off the rails. His primary weapon became a baseball bat. In order to keep himself from ever going too far with the bolder and more aggressive Batman, Bruce also ensured he'd see a visual of his conscience in the form of Bat-mite, a small eighth dimension being who'd guide and keep him from ever crossing the line in his quest to restore his psyche. All this proves once again that Bruce Wayne is literally prepared for anything.

Bruce has had many love interests

Batman may be a stoic guardian of Gotham City who sticks to the shadows, but he's also a human being who desires love and companionship (even if he frequently does his best to suppress that need). Throughout his career, across multiple storylines, he's had several love interests. In the Golden Age of comics, Bruce had a dalliance with Vicki Vale, an intrepid reporter who suspected he was Batman; the character would eventually be realized on the big screen by Kim Basinger in Tim Burton's 1989 "Batman."

Batman has also had many flirtations over the years with Catwoman, or Selina Kyle as she is known among civilians. In most of these storylines, Catwoman becomes fascinated with Batman and toys with him, while he begins to hope that she could possibly be set on a straight and narrow path. Even if it most often doesn't work out, the two characters have an affection for each other, one that sometimes leads to them teaming up.

Then there's Talia al Ghul, daughter of Batman's nemesis Ra's al Ghul. Talia and Bruce share a child by the name of Damian, who eventually becomes a Robin in some storylines, testing his father's patience along the way.

Bruce Wayne has had several other relationships, a few of which are his crime-fighting colleagues. Some of his romantic connections include Black Canary, Batwoman, Jezebel Jet, Wonder Woman, Silver St. Cloud, Julia Pennyworth, and Zatanna among others. 

Bruce Wayne fathered multiple children

With such an active love life, Bruce has fathered several children over the years. Not all of them are canon, as some exist in different timelines or universes, but the Wayne genetics are certainly flourishing into future generations. His most famous child is Damian Wayne, a feisty combatant Bruce has had to temper under his tutelage as Robin.

During the Silver Age of comics, Bruce Wayne Jr. made his debut as the son of Bruce and an unknown woman. He fought crime alongside his father and went on multiple adventures with Batman. However, his story was later retconned as a Fortress of Solitude computer simulation, therefore writing him out of existence.

On Earth Two, Batman and Catwoman shared a daughter by the name of Helena Wayne. She was this Earth's version of Huntress as opposed to the traditional Huntress that is Helena Bertinelli. The apple didn't fall far from the tree in the costumed vigilante department.

In an Elseworlds storyline entitled "Batman: League of Batmen," Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul's son named Tallant Wayne leads a very different life from his father. He warps the callings of both Bruce and Talia by creating a team of Batmen similar to the League of Assassins his mother is known for.

Terry McGinnis is a biological son to Bruce Wayne

Children of the late 90s and early '00s are familiar with "Batman Beyond," another brainchild of Bruce Timm (who created "Batman: The Animated Series"). This show followed Bruce in his waning years, as an old man retiring from the life of crimefighting. He recruits a teenager by the name of Terry McGinnis to take up the mantle, training him to be a new Batman.

Strangely enough, Bruce and Terry's union as a Batman team was all part of fate's grand design. While Terry was the son of Warren McGinnis, genetically this wasn't the case. It's later revealed in a "Justice League Unlimited" episode that Amanda Waller began a future Batman project that included Bruce's DNA. She sought out a couple with the same profile as Thomas and Martha Wayne. Waller found that couple in McGinnis's parents. Then, Cadmus rewrote Warren's reproductive DNA to be Bruce's. When his wife, Mary, bore Terry as an infant, he was technically Bruce's son. 

Amanda Waller even sought to recreate the tragedy Bruce experienced as a young child to push Terry into prime Batman mode. She and her cohort, who was supposed to assassinate the McGinnis couple, ultimately couldn't bring themselves to go through with it. Nevertheless, Terry's parents still perished tragically; perhaps the cherry on this tale of tragedy was that Bruce never learned before his death that Terry was his son.

Bruce Wayne traveled through time thanks to Darkseid's Omega Sanction

During "Final Crisis," all hands were on deck to stop Darkseid and his apocalyptic incursion. Batman confronted the villain face-to-face and the rest of the heroes believed that Darkseid had killed the Caped Crusader. This was actually not the case; Darkseid used his Omega Sanction ability to send Bruce Wayne through time.

This began a series of comics entitled "Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne." He began his journey in the Paleolithic era, confronting t a pack of blood-thirsty Neanderthals led by the immortal villain Vandal Savage. Continually catapulted through time, he later found himself in the Puritan era. Eventually, he surfaced up in the 18th century, crossing paths with Blackbeard the pirate. After a trip to the wild West and then the early 1900s, Bruce eventually found his way home, discovering that Dick Grayson had taken up the mantle of Batman in Bruce's "death."

Forbes has recognized Bruce Wayne's wealth

In Gotham City, Bruce Wayne is an icon, celebrity and benefactor. His family holds a deep connection to Gotham, one that had Bruce's parents frequently struggling to lift the city out of its despair through donations and civic action. When they were alive, much of their wealth became allocated to infrastructure support, political causes, and giving back to Gotham. Bruce's father rarely held an official role in the family company; he instead became a doctor to help others.

Bruce's own philanthropic efforts are, in a way, frequently realized through his secretive job as Batman. But when he can't stop crime and ease inequality with his actions, he does it with his checkbook. Because of his wealth and ability to raise funds for causes he believes in (Harvey Dent for DA, anybody?), Bruce Wayne has been recognized by Forbes on their "Fictional 15" list multiple times.