BRUCE WAYNE's childhood ended the night his parents were brutally murdered before his eyes in Gotham City's notorious Crime Alley. As the Waynes were returning home from the cinema, Dr. Thomas Wayne was shot dead by a gun-toting hoodlum. Martha Wayne's screams for help were silenced by further bullets, leaving Bruce sobbing beside his parents' still bodies on the trash-strewn pavement of Crime Alley as the unidentified gunman fled into the Gotham night. The young orphan swore a solemn oath to avenge their deaths, embarking on a worldwide odyssey to forge his mind and body into a living weapon. At age 14, Bruce Wayne began his global sojourn, attending courses at Cambridge, the Sorbonne, and other European universities. He focused his studies on chemistry, forensics, and criminology. Beyond academia, Bruce acquired more "practical" skills. Frenchman Henri Ducard made him an apprentice in manhunting. The ninja Kirigi schooled Bruce in stealth and the ways of the shadow warrior. African Bushmen taught hunting techniques, while Nepalese monks revealed healing arts. And so it went for 12 years as Bruce matured into manhood. He returned to Gotham a master of virtually every known fighting discipline, as well as a cunning detective and relentless manhunter. Believing criminals to be "a cowardly and superstitious lot," Bruce crafted a new face to strike terror into their hearts. He would become a creature of the night, descending upon evil clothed in the mantle of the bat!