A wealthy philanthropist, Thomas Wayne, his wife, Martha, and their 8 year-old son, Bruce Wayne, were coming out of a movie theater at 10:47 p.m. As they stepped onto Park Row (now called Crime Alley), a thug named Joe Chill armed with a gun approached them from the shadows to steal the pearl necklace Martha was wearing. Thomas, moving in to protect his wife, was shot by Chill, causing Martha to scream. Chill then shot her, while shouting, "this'll shut you up!". Bruce, traumatized by the deaths of his parents, would never be the same. Afterward, Bruce was raised by his wise and loyal butler, Alfred Pennyworth, and inherited his family's vast fortune as well as his father's company, Wayne Enterprises. Standing at his parents' gravestones, Bruce made a solemn oath to avenge their deaths.
Despite fiscal security, happiness eluded Bruce. Young Bruce was comforted by Dr. Leslie Thompkins, who helped him to mourn his parents and find a purpose in life. At age fourteen, Bruce started a twelve year walkabout around the world seeking experts in many fields, training himself mentally and physically. From an academic standpoint, he studied at Cambridge in England, the Sorbonne in France, and other famous European universities. A Frenchman named Henri Ducard taught him man-hunting, a ninja named Kirigi taught him stealth, an African bushman trained him in the art of the hunt, and Nepalese monks taught him healing.
Bruce returned to Gotham City, where he became a vigilante. But despite all his honed skills, he knew something was missing. Bruce believed criminals to be a "superstitious and cowardly lot," and in order to rid Gotham of evil, he needed to reinvent himself to become a terrifying symbol that would strike fear into the hearts of criminals. While in his father's study, a large bat crashed through the window. Bruce saw this as an omen and recalled his fear of bats as a child. This would be his symbol; the Bat would strike terror into the Gotham underworld....
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