Batman's backstory in The Batcave Companion
Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) has an auspicious opening sequence. In an updating from the 1939 comic book origin story, we meet the young Bruce Wayne as a boy in the 1970s. In slow motion, we watch a robber murder his parents. In the comic book, young Wayne compensates for his loss by building up his body with boxing and judo. He teaches himself criminology and embarks on a career as a private detective working with the Gotham City police department under Commissioner Gordon. He waits patiently for the Bat signal. Wayne eventually adopts a fellow orphan named Dick Grayson. As Robin, Grayson becomes Batman’s crime fighting partner.
The Ben Affleck Batman is something else again. Somewhere along the line, he went rogue. When Batman apprehends suspects, he brands them before leaving them for the authorities. What happened to “innocent until proven guilty?” Robin isn’t around in this version. Wayne has a loyal butler named Alfred Pennyworth. I don’t believe it was originally indicated in the comic that Alfred was English. But, that’s been the tradition more recently, including Michael Caine’s turn in the role. In Dawn of Justice, it’s Jeremy Irons. In the updating, Alfred is now up to speed with technology.
Affleck takes Christian Bale’s depressive Dark Knight to even lower depths. Grief over the death of his parents still haunts him. Superman has a super girlfriend in Lois Lane (Amy Adams) but not Batman. For all we know, Vicky Vale may have run off with Robin. One thing that first set the comic book Batman apart was the mortal Bruce Wayne’s lack of super powers. Wayne now has a suit that makes him a virtual member of the superhero club. I’m not sure that the padded suit is such a good idea. However, he needs those added powers since he can no longer count on super friend Superman as a surrogate.
Director Zack Snyder is controversial in the fan community, to say the least. I enjoyed his Man of Steel (2013) and gave it a positive review. This one takes up where it left off with some of the same actors, including Laurence Fishburne as Daily Planet editor-in-chief, Perry White. Henry Cavill as Superman is still stiff, his face a mask of tension.
The Batcave Companion. by Michael Eury and Michael Kronenberg is a must-read for fans of the comics and a useful primer into the Dark Knight’s evolution. Eury’s career includes writing for DC and Dark Horse Comics. Kronenberg is an art director for Marvel. Click on the image to Look Inside.