Tragic origin stories are a key part of most superheroes. These stories are what defines them, what shapes them and their actions. One of the most popular and well known origin stories is that of Batman. Everyone who has ever seen a Batman movie or read a Batman comic knows it.
Just as a recap - Young Bruce and his parents were walking through an alley, coming back from the theatre, when they were intercepted by a common street thug. He took their valuables, shot Bruce's parents, and ran, leaving Bruce alone in the dark, afraid for his life. It was that night when he made a vow to clean up Gotham City. It was the night when Batman was born.
Iconic as it may be, there is plenty of room for improvement in this story. Reddit user Rappaccini has created a masterpiece out of Batman's tragic story.
It's a couple years from now, the chips are on the line, the multiverse is at stake, again... only this time it all comes down to Batman. He defeats the ultimate evil, only to find himself launched through time... into a strangely familiar city.
Batman finds himself in Gotham City, though back to the time when he was still a child.
Scrambling to find some clothes after his costume got destroyed by Z-rays in the epic battle, he nabs some threads off a low-hanging clothesline. He leaves his bat-wallet full of cash on the windowsill... he's not a bad guy, after all.
So far, so good. Time travel is just another Tuesday in comic books after all.
Just then, he sees a family of three emerge from the alley the clothesline was in. With a strange deja vu, Bruce recognises... his mother and father. This is the night they were murdered! Bruce whirls around, looking for "Joe Chill," but it's only him and the Waynes. They barely glance at the ragged figure as they start to walk past.
Coincidence? I think not! He realises that he finally has the opportunity to save his parents, and turn his lonely life into what it could have been. All he needs to do is interrupt Joe Chill before he kills Thomas and Martha Wayne.
With a spike of cold horror, Bruce realises that in the death throes of the ultimate evil he faced off against in the future, it must have sent him here for a reason. Colour draining from his face, Bruce reaches a hand into the borrowed coat's pocket... to find a dense, metallic lump. Drawing it out of the pocket, he comes face to face with a snub-nosed revolver.
Catching on? Bruce has been sent to the past, to the night when his parents were murdered, as one last, desperate attempt by this enemy, hoping that he will choose to save his parents, and thus, avoid the creation of Batman.
A flash of terrible insight comes to Bruce along with an iron certainty. Without Batman, the universe would never survive the ultimate evil. Without this night, there is no Batman. This is his only chance... he must chose: break his one rule, or be complicit in the assured annihilation of the universe. There is no real choice.
With a horrible realisation, Bruce realises that he must break his "no killing rule", that too in the worst way he could possibly imagine - by killing his own parents, that HE must become the cause of all the pain and suffering in his life.
With tears streaming down his face, he remembers with trained photographic memory the hollow words the mugger spat at the elder Waynes. They turn, startled. As if his hands had minds of their own, he feels the pressure on his fingers as he slowly and inexorably... pulls the trigger.
Bruce Wayne has killed his parents in order to save everything else.
And you thought that the Batman was dark and gritty? This gives it a whole new meaning!
In a blind haze, Bruce the elder stumbles from the alley as Bruce the younger wails into the night. Nearing the Narrows Bridge, Bruce's mind begins to crumble under the weight of what he has just done to himself. Unable to bear the maddening maelstrom of conflicting grief and certainty, he climbs to the highest point of the Bridge, looks out over the long-suffering city, and jumps without looking into the icy depths a hundred feet below.
That was obvious. He couldn't bear the burden, so he decided to take his own life. However, the story doesn't end here!
Later that night, dockworkers pull a body from the water. No ID, no wallet. Nothing in the pockets but a gun and lint. Broken, deathly pale... but alive. As the foreman hangs up the call to the cops, he almost swears he hears something. It sounds almost like... laughter.
It is the laughter of a man who knows the funniest joke in the world, but just can't quite remember the punchline.
Wait, what!? Did Bruce from the future become the Joker!? This would certainly justify why Joker has such a high level of intellect, knowledge of weaponry and chemicals, how he is able to stay one step ahead of Batman. This reminds me of a quote from The Killing Joke:
'All it takes is one bad day to reduce the sanest man alive to lunacy. That's how far the world is from where I am. Just one bad day.'
It did really take one bad day to make him insane. It would also explain why Joker/Batman (JokeBat?) doesn't remember his past, because it's too painful to remember what happened. I REALLY want this to be turned into a comic - not necessarily in the mainstream universe, but even as a side issue, it would be awesome. All I can say is that someone needs to send this idea to DC. The Dark Knight lived long enough to see himself become the villain.
This is an example of a predestination paradox, where you end up being the cause of the thing you went back in time for. Pretty mind-blowing, right?
What do you think of this fan-fiction? Feel free to leave feedback in the comments!
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