Wednesday, September 5, 2012

SPOILERS: Detective Comics #0

Years ago, in the Himalayas, a young Bruce Wayne scales a mountain, in order to find a legendary buddhist monk warrior named Shihan Matsuda. Answering the door to the monastery, an elderly woman tells Bruce that such a man does not exist, and he was only a myth, turning Bruce away. Nevertheless, Bruce sits and waits in the snow for a few days, until Matsuda appears, accepting Bruce as his disciple.

Matsuda isn't the warmest of trainers, constantly unimpressed with Bruce's training a majority of the time. Instead of praising Bruce when he does well, Matsuda sends him into town to have the swords sharpened by a young woman named Mio, who has quite the ability of noticing the cold facade Bruce constantly wears.

During dinner, when Bruce thanks Matsuda, and his wife, for being like parents to him, Matsuda dismisses the statement very quickly. You see, one of the things Matsuda stresses to Bruce a lot is the fact that being close to people, caring and loving for them, is nothing more of a weakness. Matsuda tells Bruce he has the ability to raise to be something more than man, but to love is to be mortal, and to be mortal means to die. On the contrary, while alone, Matsuda's wife warns Bruce not to listen to her husband's claims. She tells him that he's special, and he should share the heart with the world, as a gift.

On another day where Bruce is sent to have the swords sharpened, Mio hands Bruce his "slip" with a time and a place to meet later. That night, Bruce is starring at a watch that used to belong to his father when Matsuda steps in, asking him what he's thinking about. When Bruce answers, Matsuda goes on to tell Bruce that while tragic, the death of his parents is the greatest thing that could have ever happened to him, as it will aid him to become something more than human.

The next afternoon, Bruce meets Mio in a field, where they spend time gazing at the clouds. They see various things, cars, dinosaurs, frying pan... string of pearls (guess who saw that?) but the mood changes when Mio takes notice of Bruce's watch. She playfully begins to play a game of keep away, but Bruce yells at her to stop, taking his watch back and leaving.

Later, during training, Bruce is finally able to control his body to the point where he can regulate his own heat, even sitting in the ice, barely clothed. Matsuda snaps Bruce out of his trance, telling him that he's finally proud of him. That night, Matsuda's wife tells Bruce about her husband, how he's locked himself away from the world, and once again warns him not to do the same. In his bed, Bruce can't help but think of Mio. He eventually slips out during the night and travels to town in the rain in order to speak with Mio, telling her he still wants to be with her. Bruce tells her that he'll leave a window open for her, as Mio promises to visit him later in the night when she can get away from her father.

Bruce peacefully waits for Mio in his sleep, but as he slumbers, a ninja sneaks into the monastary, and approaches a sleeping Matsuda with a katana drawn. Matsuda wakes in time, in order to avoid a fatal wound, calling out to Bruce, who shows up seconds later, to tackle the ninja away from his master. To Bruce's shock, the ninja is Mio. Bruce demands to know why she attacked Matsuda, Mio weakly tells him that everything was planned, and she was paid. Bruce asks by who, as he soon finds Matsuda's wife attempting to stab him in the back, but she is stabbed by Matsuda, before she can kill Bruce.

As Matsuda dies in Bruce's arm, he asks his dying wife if she wanted his fortune. She weakly tells him the truth, saying she could no longer stand to be locked in his prison. As Matsuda passes, he once again warns Bruce of letting others close to his heart, as the situation on hand is what that brings.


Meanwhile, in the backup.

Alone in Wayne Manor, Alfred can't help but wonder where Bruce is. He hasn't heard from him in years, but nevertheless, he doesn't give up hope, and truly believes Bruce is out there, alive.

There's a ring at the door, and as Alfred answers it, a man by the name of Mr. Shaw lets himself in, rather rudely. Shaw represents Martha Kane's family, who has been trying for years to get Alfred to sign over the deed to the manor and the rest of the family fortune for years. Alfred reminds Shaw of his thoughts about it, basically a big "fuck you, no."

Shaw attempts to reason with Alfred, saying that Mr. Kane will make his acting dreams come true if he agrees to hand over the estate... but if he doesn't, hell make sure to strip Alfred of every cent, and leave him on the streets.

Not taking kindly to being threatened, Alfred slams Shaw against the wall, and once again hammers his point home, "no."

As Shaw leaves in a tantrum, there's another ring at the bell. Alfred believes it to be Shaw again, and answers the door yelling, only to find a bearded Bruce waiting at the door. The two immediately hug, after the initial shock from Alfred has passed. Alfred walks Bruce into the manor, as the young Master tells him "I've been training." Bruce sees all the papers Alfred had from searching for him for years, leading to Bruce telling Alfred he knew that he wouldn't give up on him. Bruce then tells Alfred to sit down, as he's got some ideas to discuss.


So, you know what was great about this issue? Despite Batman being around for 70+ years, we really have never gotten a whole lot of stories like this, of Bruce training. Sure there's some Henri Ducard stories here and there, but this is a period of time, where stories set in it, are very few and far between. The twist at the end is what made the issue great. The ideology of Bruce that is explored in this issue, is still something he struggles with in the present day, letting people in, or keeping them at a distance. It was very fun to read, and that correlation to the character in the present is what makes it truly relevant.

The back up by James Tynion and Henrik Jonsson was pretty great as well. The Kane family really doesn't have a whole lot to do with anything... ever, so to paint them still in the picture, is something I'd really like to see expanded upon. I mean, apparently Bruce has this whole other side of the family that is never mentioned... I don't know where this story could continue, but I would love to see the Kanes come into play somehow.


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