Bruce Wayne was born to the wealthy parents of Thomas and Martha Wayne of Gotham City. He had a younger sister named Kathy born two years later. As a kid he idolized a mysterious vigilane known as the Shadow and was also a big fan of the pulp swashbuckling hero Zorro. One day the family planned on going to see the 1940 film The Mark of Zorro starring Tyrone Power at a cinema that played classic movies called the Monarch Theater. However Kathy fell ill, and so his parents thought that they should cancel. But Bruce pushed further and further until his parents relented and they decided to take him alone and leave Kathy under the care of their loyal butler Alfred. While leaving the theater they decided to cut through an alleyway where they are eventually confronted by a duo of teenage thugs named Jack Napier and Joe Chill. They demanded all of the Waynes' valuables. Thomas threw over all but the pearl necklace he had just given Martha as a gift that rested around her neck. Joe went to try and grab it and he and Thomas then get into a struggle. Jack then proceeded to pull out his gun and shot down Thomas. Martha began to scream as his body fell, leading Jack to shooting her down as well with Bruce falling to his knees in shock shortly afterward. Throughout this scenario Jack had been hidden in shadows. Both Bruce and Joe looked down at the bodies with looks of shock and horror on their faces as they turned towards Jack who then stepped out into the light with a horrifying smile on his face whilst he proceeded to take aim at Bruce as they locked eyes. Joe panicked, unsure of what he should do. At the last moment he grabbed Jack’s arm and told him that they needed to go, that he heard people running to the scene, and that they had what they wanted. Jack lowered his weapon as he turned around to leave with Joe, leaving Bruce with the remark, “See you around kid.” Unknowing of the irony that those words would eventually bring. Thomas was still alive for a few brief moments however, and with his dying breaths told him, "Bruce...don't be afraid. Stay strong."
Civilians did arrive on the scene shortly after the two thugs left and found Bruce kneeling next to his parents' bodies, and they struggled to pull him away from them to be taken to the police station. He was interviewed about what happened and the police began their search. Though they would come to have no luck in finding the two criminals. While at the station Bruce met a young cop named Jim Gordon, who comforted him until he was picked up by Alfred, and finds his sister crying in the car on their way out. That night in his distress he swore that he would avenge himself against the man who took his parents away from him, whatever it took. Alfred heard this from behind his door, and then instantly began to worry for Bruce. While perhaps not consciously aware of it when he made the vow, it was guilt that also drove him but would come to block it all out with thoughts of revenge and to project all the blame onto the killer. Though he didn't touch it for years after the incident, his involvement in a way was documented by Thomas Wayne in his red colored diary with its last passage stating: "Because of how Kathy is feeling, I really wish we could stay in tonight. But Bruce insists that we go to the movies anyway. I don't want to disappoint him, and I guess that there's no harm in it."
Bruce kept himself in the best physical shape possible and became an astute student, eventually planning to leave Gotham in order to train in the skills he would need to become a vigilante. He didn't know however, that outside forces also began to form their own plans for him. The news of the murder of the Wayne's, powerful and influential humanitarians, spread like wildfire. Especially to those paying close attention to Gotham. Including a mysterious man named Ra's Al Ghul. The immortal head of a secret society dedicated to purging the world of evil known as the League of Shadows. Feeling that he could use Gotham's potential golden boy in a plan to destroy Gotham by striking at the heart of the city when the time was right. In the interim however, he ordered an agent of his named Henri Ducard to watch over Bruce in Gotham. Taking the guise of Bruce's therapist in order to have a position close to him so he could keep his eyes on him, but it also gave him insight into Bruce's mind that he could relay to the League.
Kathy was also hurt emotionally by what happened, but was not scarred as deeply as Bruce was who would remain to be consistently haunted by the event as well as the face of the killer himself. As teenagers she eventually confronted Bruce about it, and told him that after so many years he should learn to let it go. However Bruce directly tells her how she could never fully understand what he went through. Leading to their eventually becoming a rift between the two siblings emotionally.
He eventually went to attend Gotham University, with his vow still intact and would also visit the graves of his parents periodically. However, something he did not expect happened when he met a young woman and fellow student named Vicki Vale. She was a bit odd like him, talking with her deceased mother in her mind while visiting her grave. But she had a fiery spirit that was a match for Bruce, and also dreamed of becoming a journalist. And while he shut others out most of the time, he found himself opening up to her in a way he thought he never could. They started out as friends, but it was evident that they would become something more. And something that Bruce never counted on upon making his vow. He was becoming happy. Bruce struggled with himself over this emotionally, with divided loyalties to both his parents and Vicki. She eventually took him to meet her father Judson, a succesful businessman and they hit it off great. The two agreeing with Judson's sentiment that, "Nothing comes before family." Shortly afterward Bruce proposed to her in spite of their young age, believing that he had truly found the one.
Though he didn't tell Ducard of the vow he made to avenge his parents, he did tell him about how his relationship with Vicki was effecting him emotionally. Ducard told this to Ra's Al Ghul, who knew that their relationship would hurt their chances to converting Bruce to their side. He refused to harm Vicki herself since she was an innocent but then had his men look for dirt on the Vale family. Though he wasn't against collateral damage, Ra's avoids it when possible. Eventually with his large spy network discovering that her father was not the man he said he was. Figuring out that his real name was Judson Caspian, a man who had once worked as an accountant for a triad of Italian mobsters named Lew Moxon, Tony Zucco, and Rafael Santini. He had embezzled a large sum of money of theirs, managing to amass himself a great fortune that he ran away with to Gotham and changed his name to Vale. Afterward getting married and having his daughter Vicki. Ra's sent one of his agents to contact Judson and inform him that they knew their secret and threatened to sell him out to the mobsters he cheated if he and his daughter didn't leave Gotham. Fearing for the safety of he and his daughter's lives, Judson complied and left with the help of his assistant Arthur Reeves. Vicki left a note to Bruce informing him that she was leaving. Saying that it was because she was too young, that she needed more time, and that she thought they needed to separate. Believing he had lost his last real chance at happiness, Bruce crashed emotionally and fled Gotham incognito by stowing away on a ship leaving for Europe in a spur of the moment action. This panicked Al Ghul, and he had his men look out for Bruce all over the globe.
Bruce travelled the world studying the criminal element, though was eventually arrested after being caught attempting to steal some fruit so that he wouldn't starve. The League of Shadow heard about the arrest and identified him as Bruce Wayne and thus Ra's decided to confront him in his prison cell. Bruce demanded to know who he was and Ra's revealed his identity and told him about his mission to purge the world of evil, as well as about the League of Shadows. He offered him a chance to join, and earn justice for his parents. Assuring him that he had assured his release regardless. Bruce was hesitant but agreed to join up with him, because as Ra's told him he needed a path.
Ra's took Bruce to the headquarters of the League of Shadows where he promptly began his training. Getting much direct tutelage from Ra's Al Ghul himself. The two forming a strong bond, with Ra's becoming like a father to him. Bruce also met another trainee named Bane, also being a student in the direct tutelage of Ra's Al Ghul. Bane hated high society, and at first projected it onto Bruce with the two starting out as fierce rivals. Bane believing that somebody like him who was born with a silver spoon did not know true pain, and didn't deserve to be a great warrior. The relationship between the two only get more intense when the two meet Ra's beautiful daughter Talia, and both of them become attracted to her. Because of his doomed relationship with Vicki however, Bruce keeps his distance. Not wanting to experience the same pain again. However, it is Talia who takes interest in him. Bane makes his romantic advances to Talia clear. Bane resented the greater attention both Ra's and Talia were giving Bruce over him.
Eventually both Bruce and Bane were dubbed ready for fieldwork by the League, and were said by Ra's to be the two finest pupils he had ever trained. Both being forced to kill an apprehended criminal they kept locked up in the lair to prove their loyalty. Bruce hesitate murdering a farmer who murdered his neighbor to take his lands, but eventually manages to get himself to do it and thus become an official member of the League of Shadows.
Their first mission pitting them against a South American drug lord. Their mission to assassinate him and his organization's top men while they attend a conclave together. They along with a group of trainees all go together, however the mission goes awry. With all of the other trainees being killed accept for Bruce and Bane. Bane however is injured and falls during the battle, with Bruce running back to save him and carry him to safety while being hunted by the drug lord's men. Bane begins to feel more light for Bruce, and as they hide in a cave they swap their life stories and both begin to respect each other more. Bruce realizing that Bane hated the upper class because his mother was unjustly sentenced to a prison sentence, where she gave birth to Bane and died because of the horrid conditions soon after. Bane says that he wants to give the world back "to the people" since it's been taken away from them by those who have cheated their way into power and abuse it. They are eventually caught and taken before the drug lord himself who insists that they tell him who they are and who they work for. Being able to tell by their training that they must be a part of some top secret organization that's moving against his ring. With their wits Bruce and Bane manage to escape from his clutches and kill the drug lord. They are retrieved by the League of Shadows and are commended for their work.
The two along with a special ops strike team for the League of Shadows that also comes to include Talia goes on several successful missions against criminal rings around the world. Bane and Talia in this time also start to become romantically involved. Their team was successful to the point that Ra's thought that they must be full indoctrinated into their ways and thus finally presents them with his ultimate plan to destroy Gotham City. Though Bruce has killed many in his service to the league he flat out refused to let all those innocents become collateral damage. He pleads with both Ra's and Bane about it. Bruce said that innocents, including those held down by the corrupt like he and his mother would die if that plan were to be enacted. Their right to freedom being what drove Bane in the first place. However Bane like Bruce sees Ra's like a father to him. And being born in a prison and then living on the run as a criminal for years to follow, it was with the League that he has only felt like he truly belonged and was respected. He also decided to stay on Ra's' side because of his involvement with Talia. Bane and Ra's pleaded with Bruce to see the big picture for the greater good. Arguing that Gotham was corrupted down to its very core. Bruce denied this and said that Gotham was possible to and worth saving. Ra's warned him that once he makes this choice there is no going back. Bruce manages to slip out one of the grenades from his League utility belt and throws it at a gun powder cache located near the room starting the building ablaze. In the confusion Bruce manages to slip away. The men begin to panic, but Ra's tries to get them focused to go after Bruce.
Bruce using more of his grenades to make the whole building start to come ablaze, and attempts to find a vehicle to escape. He tries heading towards the complex's roof to steal a helicopter but is intercepted by Bane with his sword drawn who makes one final attempt to convince Bruce to stop his rebelling and join up with them. Bruce draws his own as they stare each other down before ultimately having a long and grand duel with each other as the building burns around them. Bruce again accuses Bane of being corrupted by Ra's and forsaking the ideals he had spoken so highly of earlier. Only fueling his rage further. Eventually Bruce manages to disarm Bane and knock him down with his blade to his throat. Though Bruce has the opportunity to finish him, he cannot will himself to kill his friend and thus runs away leaving him behind. Bane quickly gets up to try and pursue him again but quickly gets crushed under some burning debris, viciously wounding him. Bruce manages to get to the roof where he escapes with helicopter just as one final large explosion over-whelms the base and makes the structure crumble.
Bruce manages to reach a city where he manages to contact Alfred, who comes to pick him up in a private jet. The two talk about what he has been doing for the years that he has been gone and about his plans for when he returned to Gotham. Though worried about him, Alfred goes along with his plan to become a vigilante. Bruce also learns that his sister Kathy has taken over the running of Wayne Enterprises in his absence. Something Bruce approves of as she had shown much more interest in it than he ever did.
Upon returning to Gotham, Bruce is hounded by the media since he had been declared dead years earlier. There he reunites with his sister, whom is still frosty towards him because of how long he was gone. Bruce says that he just felt like he needed to do some soul searching and finally decided now was the right time to return to Gotham.
He goes out one night dressed only in dark clothes and a ski mask to test his new skills against the scum that plague Gotham's streets. He confronts a group of thugs during a warehouse heist, but they aren't phased by him or take him seriously. They attack him and a fight ensues. He wins, but is badly injured in the process.
This makes Bruce realize that despite his victory with his clear edge in skill and intellect that to succeed he needs to become more than a man to the criminals if he is truly to save Gotham. That he has to become a monster in the eyes of the criminal underworld. Bruce pines for inspiration on how to do this, and eventually sees a Bat that is trapped in the house. Since his childhood Bruce held a fear of Bats after being swarmed by them when he fell into a hole leading into a system of caverns below the manor's grounds. He decides to take that primal fear and turn it into his weapon. Taking cues from Zorro and the Shadow, as well as what he learned about theatricality from the League he makes a dark costume for himself with a bat motif. The night he goes out in that costume being much more successful than his first.