To commemorate the 80th anniversary of Batman (#Batman80), AFJ has decided to join in the fun with columns, lists, and reviews from now until Batman Day (Sept. 15th, 2019). The incredible thing about 80 years of Batman in pop culture is that we can literally feature anything from comics to movies to a MAFEX Batman. Google it, Millenials. Today, we turn our attention back to a 1993 one-shot comic book. Enjoy Junkies! #AFJ4LIFE
DC Comics had an amazing run of books called "Elseworlds". These books consisted of tales of the heroes of the DC Universe but it different times or origin stories. It gave fresh life to established characters and really let the writers come up with some neat and intriguing stories for our heroes and villains.
Superman: Speeding Bullets caught my attention right away. It was Batman on the cover, but in the pose of Superman, from this cover of his #1 issue from 1939. I bought this book, without ever opening it to flip through real fast to see if it was going to catch my eye. I had faith.
I got home, and quickly read the book. It was 50 pages so I easily tore through it. I did, however, read it twice. It was a combination of my two favorite superheroes.
In this story, Thomas and Martha Wayne are on their way to a governors ball. They witness a strange rocket crash through the night sky and go to investigate. In the wreckage, they find a small baby. Immediately Martha Wayne falls in love and with their ever-faithful butler Alfred, they remove themselves from the public eye.
Bruce Wayne had a very sheltered life. He learned values from his mother. She taught him to appreciate life and showed him the beauty in all things. His father taught him as a scholar to broaden his mind. It was his father who noticed that little Bruce was special. Never getting sick, or getting a bruise or broken bone.
Much like the Bruce Wayne we know, his parents decided to take him to see Zorro at the Monarch Theater. While walking home a criminal steps from the shadows demanding money and jewels. Bruce's parents struggled with their mugger but paid the ultimate price. The mugger shot both Thomas and Martha Wayne right in front of their child Bruce. As Bruce cries, Joe Chill turns the gun on Bruce and opens fire, striking the boy in his chest. The bullets bounce off and a shocked Joe Chill is facing down at a boy with red glowing eyes. Bruce fires off his heat vision and it hits Joe Chill right in his face. Joe Chill is found later that night dead. He succumbed to the deep burns over most of his body.
As time passes, Bruce Wayne becomes a recluse. He forgets all about his power manifestation. Burying those memories deep inside. One night everything changes. Bruce keeps clippings from newspapers that he puts on his walls. While gazing at all the violence, his senses are overwhelmed. He can hear the gunshots and the cries for help. He can hear knives cutting the flesh of their victims. He can hear footsteps in the mansion?!
Two thieves have broken into Wayne manor. They take Alfred hostage by gunpoint and this throws Bruce Wayne into a rage. He punches one thief right out the window. The other, he crushes his hand and then gets all glowy eyed and is ready to incinerate the last intruder. However, the killing of Joe Chill plays back in his mind and Bruce remembers everything. Letting the robber escape, Bruce asks Alfred what is he.
Alfred takes Bruce into a cave under the manor and shows him the Kryptonian ship that rocketed him to earth. Bruce finally understands what he is capable of and flies to the ceiling of the cave and joins with his "brothers" the Bats. The Last Son of Krypton, The Batman is born!
What do Lex Luthor and this new mysterious "Joker" individual have in common? And what can this new mysterious figure known as The Batman do to stop the Joker and prevent his destruction of Gotham City?
Pick up the book, give it a read to find out! It's definitely worth it and is a must-have in any Batman comic collection.