Who Killed Bruce Wayne's Parents In The Comics | Screen Rant

As The Batman once again revisits the murder of Bruce Wayne's parents, some audiences are understandably interested know who was responsible in the comics. Batman's origin story is perhaps the most iconic in the entire superhero genre, and as a result, filmmakers have been unable to resist bringing it to life time and again on the big screen, with each version adding more embellishments. Even Zack Snyder's Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, which dealt with an older Batman towards the end of his career, still featured a flashback of the Wayne murders. Including TV adaptations, the Wayne murders have been shown six times in live-action - and countless times in animation.

The films and TV shows are only following the comics' lead, though. Because Batman's origin story is so iconic, it's been revisited time and again - sometimes in Elseworlds stories, sometimes through time travel. In one version of the tale, Thomas Wayne had worked with Superman's Kryptonian father Jor-El, whose technology allowed him to peer into the future and foresee the murders - but he understood they were necessary, and so embraced his fate. 2018's Batman #47 took a different approach, with the Waynes essentially killed because of Booster Gold - a time traveling superhero who'd originally intended to do Batman a favor by saving his parents, but had to change things back when he unwittingly created a dystopian timeline. He was responsible for the noise of a fight that scared the Waynes down that alley in the first place. Most of these comics simply attempt to add another layer of complexity to the story, usually through time travel or parallel dimensions, but interestingly they've almost all agreed about who shot Thomas and Martha Wayne.

Related: Why The Batman's Reviews Are So Positive

Batman's origin story wasn't actually told until six months after his comic book debut, in 1939's Detective Comics #33. Written by Bob Kane, this had all the basic elements; an unidentified mugger who'd killed Thomas and Martha Wayne, leading their son Bruce to vow "to avenge their deaths by spending the rest of my life warring on all criminals." Nine years later, in 1948's  Batman #47, the mugger was named Joe Chill. Batman co-creator Bill Finger wrote a spectacular story in which Batman confronted an unrepentant Chill, and unmasked in an attempt to scare him out of a life of crime. Ironically, when Chill went to other criminals for help they were furious one of their own had created Batman, and gunned him down before he could share Batman's secret identity.

1994's Zero Hour added another wrinkle, though, with Batman traveling to an alternate timeline where Bruce Wayne was the one killed on that fateful night rather than his parents. There, he learned the killer was certainly not Joe Chill, and for the first time he was left with doubts about whether or not he'd ever truly avenged his parents. Ultimately, though, Batman decided the question of who killed Thomas and Martha Wayne was irrelevant; his continued campaign against crime was vengeance enough, whatever the truth may be.

The matter of the Wayne murders was addressed once again in 2020's The Three Jokers. Written by Geoff Johns, this miniseries told a tale in which Batman discovered there were not one but three Jokers - and they were trying to make a fourth, one whose crimes would be much more personal to Batman. The DC Comics timeline had been rebooted several times since 1948, and in this new continuity Joe Chill was still alive. The Jokers chose Chill as their fourth, but he was saved by Batman. The Three Jokers brought Batman face-to-face with his parents' killer, and he learned Chill had come to repent for his crime, even figuring out Bruce Wayne had become Batman because of his actions. Chill died of cancer, and Batman himself paid for his gravestone. While The Batman doesn't go into this much intricate detail, the movie serves as another reminder of how important who killed Bruce Wayne's parents actually is.

More: All 19 DC Movies Releasing After The Batman

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