Bruce Wayne isn’t Batman’s mask, despite what some noted writers and fans would have you believe. Bruce Wayne is Bruce Wayne. Batman is simply a convenient tool that Bruce Wayne uses to help assauge his guilt over his parents’ murder.
There’s a couple of varying stories on what happened the night they were killed, but two things are certain: the movie was Bruce’s idea (Year One and the Loeb & Sale books) and he said three words to them that he can never, ever take back: “I hate you” (Azzarello and Risso’s Broken City).
The combination of the two are what helps to drive his crusade. He’s atoning for his sin against his parents by way of making sure that it will never, ever happen to anyone else. It’s a crusade that he cannot win, and he knows it, but refuses to admit it. He isn’t patching up wounds with chewing gum, he’s out there to stamp out all crime. He isn’t going to stop until he’s done.
If you look at a lot of scenes where Bruce takes off his cowl, you’ll notice that he’s either showing his human side (usually to his sidekicks) or getting down to serious business (JLA: World War III). That’s the true Bruce Wayne right there.
Batman is a weapon. Bruce Wayne is the man who wields it.
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