Many of us have heard the story of Bruce Wayne having his parents killed in an alley, which later motivated the child to grow up and become Batman. We know that it was a mugger, but who was it exactly? Who killed Batman’s parents? Thanks to Batman issue 47 from 1948 we know the answer.
In this issue of Batman 47 the last story has to do with Batman’s origin. After a truck crash that was smuggling a criminal, Batman discovered from Commissioner Gordon that a trucking company owned by a man named Joe Chill and was shown a “radio-photo” of him. Batman is shocked when he saw the picture and recognized him immediately as the man who killed his parents.
On the next page (page 5 of this story) we see a flashback of Bruce Wayne standing on his parents’ grave, swearing to dedicate his life and inheritance to bringing their killer to justice, and to fighting all criminals. The rest of the page shows him learning scientific criminal investigation and training his body to athletic perfection, and eventually deciding to dress as a bat to strike terror into the heart of criminals.
Batman decides to confront Joe Chill directly while dressed as Batman. He tells Chill the story of a bandit who stopped the Wayne family and killed Thomas Wayne and the wife died from shock. The killer ran away but not before the young Bruce Wayne memorized his features. Batman explains that Bruce Wayne can still identify Joe Chill as the killer and tells him to admit it. Chill laughs and says that no jury would believe Wayne’s identification as accurate after all the years that had passed by. He accuses Batman of bluffing and questions how he would know what really happened. Then Batman dramatically removes his mask and announces that he is the son of the man he murdered.
Batman threatens to watch Joe Chill wherever he goes. Chill finds some men who work in the repair garage of his terminal and asks for. He explains that Batman told them who he is, and he became Batman because Joe killed his father. The men take it personally, as Batman only exists because of Joe’s actions. They decide to shoot Joe but suddenly realize that they should have asked first about Batman’s identity.
Personally I think that Batman revealing his identity to Joe Chill was stupid and careless. He also let Joe leave after telling him, so Joe was free to tell whoever he wished to tell. If you are lucky enough to add this comic to your collection I highly recommend it. Any Batman fan would be proud to own this issue that gives depth and explanation to his origin story. Now that you know who killed Batman’s parents comment with your thoughts.