Discovering Bruce Wayne

By Colleen Hybl

The Dark Knight. The Caped Crusader. We all know Batman, but do we really know Bruce Wayne? I know I am not that familiar with Bruce Wayne, but these young adult graphic novels explore different versions of him. 

Based on Marie Lu’s novel, opens a new window of the same name, Batman: Nightwalker, opens a new window sees Bruce Wayne as a newly minted billionaire on his18th birthday, when he makes a mistake that puts him in the Arkham Asylum as a mandatory “volunteer.” As he works at Arkham, Bruce starts to piece together what he wants to do with his life, as well as how he can help Gotham.  

Unlike the Bruce Wayne of Batman Nightwalker, the recently turned 16-year-old Bruce Wayne knows what he wants in Batman: Overdrive, opens a new window. He wants to restore his late father’s black ‘66 Crusader as he tries to solve a car stealing ring in Gotham with the help of Mateo Diaz (a new character) and Selina Kyle (Catwoman). This Bruce is more of a loner and does not appreciate his butler Alfred’s help. 

While the other titles on this list stick closer to the comic books in terms of Bruce Wayne’s origins, Melissa De La Cruz’s Gotham High, opens a new window gives Bruce Wayne, Alfred, Selina Kyle, and Jack Napier (the Joker) different looks and backstories. Bruce Wayne is half-Chinese, and Alfred is his uncle. Jack Napier is not as crazy as he was. Selina Kyle gets more of a backstory, as I understand the character. Bruce Wayne is also not the skilled detective that he becomes as Batman, but he does solve the mystery by the end of the story. 

If you’re like me, someone who barely understood Batman as Bruce Wayne, you may gain a new appreciation of and perspectives on his character through these retellings.