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Everyone knows the story of why Bruce Wayne became Batman, the sad tale of that one dark night in Crime Alley that left him an orphan on a mission to declare war against criminals. We also know that, as a young man, he went on a lengthy and trial-filled journey to become the crimefighter he ultimately wanted to be, a journey that he took him around the world, where he met new friends, new foes, and challenges he'd never dreamed of.
But despite knowing that's a key part of Batman's background, we've never seen that journey get its own in-depth examination. Batman: The Knight is here to change. Written by Chip Zdarsky (Daredevil, Justice League: Last Ride) with art by Carmine Di Giandomenico, the new DC Comics miniseries will explore Batman's origins after the death of his parents and the angry declaration of his life's mission, at a time when he's just setting out to learn all the skills he'll need to be Gotham's Caped Crusader. The first issue arrived this week, offering readers a peek at Bruce Wayne's early struggles, psychiatric sessions with none other than Hugo Strange, and much more.
With the series finally out in the world, we reached out to Zdarsky to get his thoughts on the formative storytelling decisions behind the book, and what's to come in future issues.
Check out our exclusive preview from Batman: The Knight #2 - when Bruce Wayne heads to Paris to learn from a master cat burglar -- below, then read on to hear from Zdarsky about the series.
Batman's years of training are often shown in comics as either simple montages or as one specific incident extrapolated out to "explain" the whole story. What made you want to go in-depth to examine it in greater detail?
The chance to tell it as a multi-issue single story was the big reason. I love all the snippets of that time period over the years, but being able to lay out a full story starting with Gotham and ending with Gotham has been really satisfying.
The big story reason to do this for me was being able to craft Bruce’s vision of Batman. Going from angry young man who knows nothing, to a focused young man who knows everything is a great arc to figure out.
What made Hugo Strange the right fit for the first chapter of this story, and how do you see him fitting in to the rest of the series?
I didn’t want to make this a parade of “oh hey did you know THIS villain was in Bruce’s life so early?!”, so I had to carefully choose who to include in the story. Strange made a lot of sense as young Bruce’s therapist, and a good initial adversary.
We don't just get to see Bruce struggling here, but also Alfred as he tries to hold the Wayne legacy together. How did you approach writing him as almost the other half of this crime fighting journey?
Alfred’s a ton of fun to write! Especially during this period when he’s trying to be a father to a boy with such a thirst for vengeance. He’s a man caught between being that father figure and being the butler/assistant to Bruce. How does he guide that kind of young man from that position?
You're best known right now for your work with Daredevil, another vigilante battling criminals by night. What did you learn about yourself as a writer on Daredevil that you've been able to bring to Batman?
I always suspected I’d enjoy writing the more grounded (relatively speaking) superhero characters, and with Daredevil I learned that’s definitely the case. There I learned to always make sure you relate story points to a very human level with real world consequences while allowing yourself the big, fun superhero elements.
Can we expect to see early versions of other major Batman allies and enemies in the series going forward? What does issue #2 look like in terms of what readers can expect?
I’m keeping a lot of that under wraps, but we introduce Henri Ducard, the world’s greatest manhunter in issue two in a hopefully unexpected way. And thanks to James Tynion introducing Ghostmaker as part of Bruce’s travels, we’ve weaved him into this story as well, giving readers some key moments in their relationship.
Batman: The Knight #2 is in stores February 15.