I'd love to put some real edge back into the Batman storyline, especially Bruce Wayne's back story. I can't be the only one bored to death with the poor-little-rich-kid meme at the heart of Wayne's saga. Why does he have to be rich? Why does Alfred have to be his butler? Why does Alfred have to be old?
Keep the tragedy. Wayne loses his parents, shot during a hold-up of their little mom-and-pop convenience store. Young Bruce is sent off to a hell of foster care, until he escapes by joining the U.S. Army - little known fact, you can join at seventeen.
But he needs Alfred. He meets Alfred in Afghanistan, when a member of an elite SAS unit saves the young soldier's life. They form a strong friendship. After his tour is up, Bruce ends up in Alfred's flat in London, where they carouse at bars and generally get into fights for no apparent reason.
Haven't worked out just why Alfred and Bruce end up back in Gotham, but I do know a little bit of their life after they arrive. One, somebody asks Alfred what his job is, he replies, "See that young gentleman over there, I'm his butler." Said as a joke, but it sticks. Two, Selina Kyle is Bruce's girlfriend. That's right, in my version, Batman and Catwoman hook up. She lives with him, sharing a bedroom in the apartment he rents with Alfred. Three, they do good things, fight street crime, bust the heads of "supervillains," but they are definitely NOT good guys. For one, they're thieves, preying on the rich and the criminal class.
That has edge. I don't expect anyone to ever dare to do something this transformative with the Batman mythos, but it would be nice. A guy can dream.
R. P. Bird: Professional writer since 1989. Author of the IN THE REALM OF THE GODS
series and the SUZIE crime novels. Crazy, but highly reliable. Can fix