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Impressive Things Bruce Wayne Did Before Becoming Batman

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  • Bruce Wayne was the original Robin, shadowing Detective Harvey Harris before becoming Batman.
  • Before becoming Batman, Bruce trained with a thief in France and the future Ghost-Maker.
  • Bruce Wayne survived an explosive assassination attempt by the Red Hood Gang, which influenced his transformation into Batman.



With a storied run and multiple realities to account for, Batman’s origins are a tapestry of different adventures and motivations that join up to create one of the most recognizable superheroes of all time.


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Several things tend to remain the same, however: his parents’ deaths, the no-kill rule, and the fact that he is a veritable genius with extensive training and natural resourcefulness. It is these latter traits that also result in Bruce Wayne having been an outstanding character even before becoming Batman, and what led him on a path that had no shortage of adventures and impressive achievements long before he ever took the mantle of the Caped Crusader.

10 He Was Robin

Bruce Earned The Name While Shadowing Det. Harvey Harris


Among the many trainers that Bruce Wayne had in preparation for his crime-fighting days, there has been more than one occasion when legendary detective Harvey Harris is presented as one of the earliest to take Bruce under his tutelage.

Even more significantly, to protect his identity and avoid Harris rejecting a young billionaire as an apprentice, Bruce decides to don a brightly colored costume to shadow the detective, earning the moniker of “Robin” during their adventures. As such, Bruce Wayne is the first Robin, even before Batman existed.

9 He Was Flying Fox

Bruce Became A Young Vigilante In Smallville

Bruce Wayne as Flying fox thwarting a one-man tank

From 1960 and not reprinted for a long time, Adventure Comics #275 might be difficult to find, but fans who read it will be treated to the story of how Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne initially met, with young Bruce briefly living in Smallville due to his father’s job.

In this story, set before the iconic death of his parents, Bruce still seems to have a streak of vigilantism in him. Adopting the persona of the Flying Fox (which is also the name for a type of bat), Bruce thwarts a strange one-man tank who was being chased by the police, as well as helping Superboy with a Kryptonite meteor and defeating generic crooks.

8 He Discovered Superboy’s Secret Identity

Bruce Is The World’s Greatest Detective, Even As A Child


When meeting Superboy during the story told in Adventure Comics #275, young Bruce also develops a crush on the Kryptonian’s love interest, Lana Lang. As he asks her out, Lana decides to take advantage of Bruce’s cleverness and, in return for her acceptance, requests to be told Superboy’s secret identity.

After recording and creating some speech pattern graphs, Bruce does find out that Clark Kent is Superboy, but decides that he is far too young to be entrusted with such a secret, electing to be hypnotized so that he forgets it.

7 He Worked For The FBI

Bruce First Attempted To Go Straight

FBI and Batman Logo

During the events of 1989’s Secret Origins of the World’s Greatest Super-Heroes, we learn that 20-year-old Bruce Wayne is pursuing a career within the FBI. Although he has no academic degree nor formal law enforcement experience, Bruce’s wealth and genius intellect see him acing all the entry tests, except for marksmanship —which ties in with Batman’s future rule of not using guns.

Despite seeming like a natural career for Bruce on paper, he only lasts for six weeks, getting tired of the regulations and mundane work, confirming his suspicions that he cannot operate within a system.

6 He Stole A 4 Million Dollar Jewelry Box

Bruce Learned His Stealth Skills From A Friendly Thief In France

Bruce Wayne Stealing jewelry box with Lucie

As told in Batman: the Knight, Bruce was looking to train in Paris while following the trail of a serial killer. It is there where he meets The Gray Shadow —Lucie Chesson—, a master thief who becomes interested in what Bruce might become.


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After showing him the ropes and teaching him the foundations of Batman’s stealth abilities, Lucie partners up with young Bruce, and together they steal a $4 million jewelry box from Hubert Glonet, who is also the aforementioned serial killer and part of the villainous Foundling organization.

5 He Developed A Rivalry With Ghost-Maker

Bruce Trained Alongside Minkhoa Kahn Before Either Was A Vigilante

Ghost maker

Throughout the arduous process of his training, Bruce Wayne kept encountering a man that he first knew as “Anton,” but who turned out to be Minkhoa Khan, the future vigilante known as Ghost-Maker. An anti-hero who does not hesitate to kill, Ghost-Maker trained with many of the same mentors as Bruce, and would often cross paths with him before either had developed their crime-fighting persona.

A recurring character within Batman’s universe, it was Bruce Wayne, and not with Batman, with whom Khan struck their iconic deal: Khan would never enter Gotham, and Bruce would never operate in a city where Khan had set up shop.

4 He Fought Catwoman

Bruce And Selina Fought On One Of Bruce’s First Nights As A Vigilante

Selina Kyle jumping from a balcony

Armed with nothing but a disguise, Year One’s Bruce Wayne decides to go to Gotham’s red-light district and is immediately caught up in a brawl with an abusive pimp and his goons, including Holly Robinson. Fans know that wherever Holly is, Catwoman must be close, so Bruce eventually faces off with Selina Kyle, who would one day become the costumed thief.

Their confrontation is intense and fairly balanced, but is cut short when police arrive and Bruce gets shot. He is, of course, able to escape, and will go on to cross paths with Selina on many more occasions.

3 He Fought A Demon

Bruce Used Zatanna’s Magic To Trap And Fight The Demon Shantoz

Bruce Wayne punches Demon

Throughout his early years of training and travels, Bruce collaborates with the famous magician, Zatara not once, but twice. Well-versed in escapism and stage magic, Zatara serves as an instrumental tutor for Batman, but refuses to teach him real magic.

This does not prevent young Wayne from eventually getting entangled with Shantoz — a demon. It is with the help of Zatanna — Zatara’s daughter — that he first traps and fights the demon, after which Zatara sends the supernatural being back to Hell.

2 He Survived The Red Hood Gang’s Explosive Assassination

Bruce First Hid In The Batcave Thanks To The Red Hood Gang’s Failed Attempt On His Life

Red Hood Gang

Although driven and having completed his training, Bruce found a complicated situation brewing at home once he returned to Gotham. Zero Year goes into detail about the machinations of Thomas Kane — Bruce’s ambitious uncle —, Edward Nygma, and the vicious Red Hood Gang.

Being that Bruce had attempted to infiltrate the villainous organization and was at the same time an obstacle between Kane and total control of Wayne Enterprises, the Red Hood Gang blows up the Park Row brownstone with Bruce inside. He not only survives the explosive ordeal, but it becomes the catalyst for his transformation into Batman, as it is after this event that he dives into the caverns below his manor, which gives birth to his costumed persona.

1 He Stopped Ra’s Al Ghul

Bruce Tracked Down, Trained With, And Ultimately Fought The Assassin Leader

Bruce Wayne hanging upside down behind Ra's Al Ghul

A long-time antagonist and fearsome opponent, Ra’s al Ghul is a supervillain who sees Batman as his true successor as leader of the League of Assassins. This all started before the Caped Crusader had a costume, as Bruce Wayne finds his way to the villain’s organization, where he trains and, ultimately, opposes the long-lived assassin leader.


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After a long journey to find and train under him, Bruce confronts the villain after having become his right-hand man. Still young and somewhat inexperienced, Bruce gets easily overwhelmed by Ra’s al Ghul’s prowess, but eventually outmaneuvers him with explosives and tactics that become iconic for his future persona.

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Created by
Bob Kane , Bill Finger

First Film
Batman: The Movie

TV Show(s)
Batman: The Animated Series , Batman: The Brave and the Bold , Gotham

Creation Year
May 1939

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