Batman Was Once Forced to Team Up With His Parents’ Killer

When the fearsome Reaper begins stalking Gotham, Batman must team up with Joe Chill, the man who killed his parents, to stop him!

Batman was once forced to team up with Joe Chill, the man who killed his parents, in order to stop a costumed villain terrorizing Gotham. In the classic Batman story Year Two, first published in 1987, by writer Mike Barr (Batman and the Outsiders) and artists Alan Davis (Clandestine) and Todd McFarlane (Spawn), the fearsome Reaper is stalking the Gotham City underworld, and Batman must join forces with the man who killed his parents and sent him down the path that led him to become Batman.

Batman fans the world over know his tragic origin story: A young Bruce Wayne’s parents are gunned down in front of him by Joe Chill and the resulting trauma spawned the creation of Batman. There have been several slight variations on this story, including one where a random mugger killed them and not Chill, but his role in the Batman mythos is firmly cemented.

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Related: The Mystery of Batman’s Parents Death Finally Explained

As the name implies, the story is set early in Batman’s career. Gotham City is just getting used to the idea of a Batman – a number of high profile Gotham officials express concern over newly appointed Police Commissioner Gordon working with Batman. These concerns are pushed aside when the Reaper, a striking vigilante who stalked Gotham twenty years before, returns to wage war on the criminal element in Gotham City. So desperate is Batman to stop the Reaper that he suggests a truce with the crime families of Gotham; that they work together to bring the Reaper down. They agree and force Batman to partner up with the last person he would ever want to work with: Joe Chill.

Batman and The Reaper on Year Two Cover

Batman is understandably horrified at the prospect of working with Chill, and the two never find a groove working together. Batman’s anger is too much, and Chill’s angry and abrasive attitude does not help the situation. Events finally come to a head when Bruce reveals the truth to Chill, just in time for the Reaper to kill him, robbing Bruce of his moment for justice.

Batman has been forced many times to team up with his villains, but never before had it been the man who killed his parents. This proved too much even for Batman; due to the stress, the two never formed a working partnership, which may have resulted in the loss of innocent lives. And once the relationship broke down completely, the moment where Batman could have truly avenged his parents was taken from him as well. Year Two offers a fascinating insight into Batman’s psychology, and the impact Joe Chill had on him.

Next: Batman Finally Gives Joe Chill Exactly What He Deserves

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Updated: November 21, 2020 — 4:06 am

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