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I don't watch Gotham, but

That conversation between Bruce and Alfred at the end of the latest episode was stolen from my dream Bruce Wayne show about Bruce between Crime Alley and Year One. Of course, that show wouldn't have taken place in Gotham (I don't buy that Bruce never came back to the city during his travels, but he certainly didn't stay there), the costumed rogues wouldn't exist yet, etc, etc — basically, it'd be Bruce traveling over the world, learning stuff, and getting in and out of trouble along the way. To comply with the structure of contemporary TV, an slowly developing common threat could be the League of Shadows (without ever mentioning Ra's or Talia, although cf below) as a worldwide shadow empire Bruce keeps finding about the deeper he goes into the hidden world of the powerful and the hyper-skilled.

So he sleuths, finds more about them, they try to recruit him (they are always in the lookout for the promising and angry) he either fakes acceptance or refuses flatly, eventually they put a bounty on his head, and he makes a counter-challenge: he'll fight their team of assassins in Gotham, all at once, and if he wins they'll leave the city alone.

So he returns (we're fucking with Year One, I don't care), there's an epic Batman-in-civvies urban battle he wins but barely and not without severe injuries, and a voice he first heard in Paris while training with Ducard says from the shadows You've earned your city a respite, Detective. But you cannot save it, not with the rules you've set for yourself. No man can.

He somehow gets himself to the Manor and sits in the study bleeding to death, thinking the Demon was right, even with everything he has learned he cannot save Gotham, no human being can... and then the damned bat flies through the window and lands of the bust. Bruce smiles that creepy smile of his.

Then I shall become a bat.

Cut do dark. The sound of bat wings flapping. End of the series.

A side benefit of the series would be that it makes Ra's behavior toward Bruce quite more understandable. He doesn't mess a lot with Gotham because Bruce sort of won that during the challenge, and he's been thinking of him as a potential recruit (and then, progressively, more) even as he began training. Plus, he first sort-of met him as a student of Henri Ducard, so he thinks of him as the Detective. I'd call his feelings vaguely avuncular, if Ra's weren't, well, Ra's.

Anyway, yeah, at some point during the first episodes something like Gotham's final scene of Bruce with Alfred takes place, because that kid, at that moment, looked very very wee!Bruce (except of course the context isn't that Alfred is training Bruce, but perhaps rather that Alfred is going along with Bruce training).

Holy crap, people

Batman #12 is almost entirely a long, silent fight (conceptually similar to, although not as visually striking as, the famous Moon Knight sequence during the early issues of the Ellis reboot). The only words are the text of what seems to be a letter from Batman to Catwoman. And the content of that letter...

I did not see that coming. It's a form of self-image for Bruce that I don't recall having seen in any comic before. I'm not sure how I feel about it, either. My Bruce is a fundamentally sane man with a very bad approach to dealing with trauma and a very interesting approach to fourth-generation asymmetric urban combat. When Bruce is crazy in canon, it's often in terms of a peculiar form of a multiple personality condition, plus severe interpersonal issues beyond what could be explained by that, or by his obsessive dedication to his work.

This Bruce has a very different psychological structure, and a very — gods, how very much — different perception of Batman. I might post something after pondering about it for a bit (or not, these are crazy days), but if you're into Bruce meta it might be worth tracking down and reading in full. Your usual source should already have it, or it will soon.

Notes For a Comparative Mythology of Bats

The Batman Begins world differs in some interesting (and, in most cases, HOT) ways from comics canon, but nowhere more completely, and in my opinion, more significantly, than in the path that takes the recently orphaned Bruce Wayne into the Bat. While the movie follows canon admirably up to the death of his parents, the story after that becomes different in very interesting, vastly important, ways.

Spoilers below the cutCollapse )

In significant ways, this isn't the Batman mythos. But, in all honesty: it's almost as interesting.

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