How do you even begin to redefine the origins of Batman, a character with one of the most defined and well-known backstories in comics? There have been films, TV shows, and one particularly well-regarded comic by Frank Miller, who redefined the story in the mid-1980s. And with the latest DC reboot, Scott Snyder finished his own version just recently. But how could he even begin to imagine creating a different Batman origin for The New 52?
In order to best explain where this story comes from, it’s important to briefly look back across the history of Batman and how he began. In the Golden Age, Batman’s origin was effectively as we know it. Orphaned by a criminal in Crime Alley, this darkness pushed young Bruce to a life beneath the cape and cowl.
However, the character took severe swings in tone throughout its existence – from the light-hearted nature of the ‘66 Bill Dozier/Adam West show to the return to master detective under the watch of Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams. That was until Frank Miller, on something of a hot streak with his now legendary Daredevil run, created one of the stories that redefined not only a character but a medium, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. He then tackled Batman’s origins with Year One.