The Caped Crusader was born in an back alley, delivered by gangster Joe Chill and baptized in the blood of his murdered parents… it was enough to make anyone go a little batty.

[prepare to be spoiled]

In Batman #637 Joe Chill finally gets what coming to him but not by Batman’s hand, not directly anyway. Instead, tall, dark and creepy gets the gangster to do it himself. Batman stalks him night after night and when Joe Chill is sufficiently scared outta has skin, Batman reveals his identity. Realizing that if any of his cohorts were ever to discover that he created Batman he’d be dead meat, Joe Chill takes his own life… or did he? We never actually see it. The next panel shows Batman on a ledge as a single gunshot is heard. Then there’s the fact that this all takes place as a flashback during a heart attack. Not ambiguous enough? Batman also has flashbacks of an intense 49-day-long meditation known as thogal and a 10 day isolation experiment meant to give Batman a glimpse into how the Joker’s mind works (a swell idea). Whether or not Batman actually pushed Joe Chill into committing suicide or this was some sort of hallucination, just the fact that this is what goes through Batman’s unconscious mind is kind of chilling.

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