"Bruce Wayne: Murderer?"
"Bruce Wayne: Fugitive"
Cover to Batman: Bruce Wayne - Fugitive, Vol. 2 (March 2003). Art by Scott McDaniel.
Publisher DC Comics
Publication date March – September 2002


Main character(s) Batman
Collected editions
Murderer? ISBN 1-56389-913-2
Volume 1 ISBN 1563899337
Volume 2 ISBN 1563899477
Volume 3 ISBN 1401200796

"Bruce Wayne: Fugitive" is a storyline that ran through the Batman comic books in 2002. The story directly follows the "Bruce Wayne: Murderer?" story.

Bruce Wayne: Murderer?

At the end of Batman: The 10-Cent Adventure #1, Bruce Wayne finds the dead body of his girlfriend, Vesper Fairchild, in Wayne Manor just as the police arrive. Promptly charged for murder by the Gotham City Police Department, both Wayne and his bodyguard, Sasha Bordeaux, are imprisoned, leaving the Batman Family to work the crime and absolve them. However, the investigation is complicated when evidence is uncovered suggesting that Vesper knew who Batman was, thus giving Bruce a motive for the crime that only the Batman Family would ever be able to see, as well as Sasha- who was out crime-fighting with Bruce that night- having been separated from Bruce for a time that would have allowed him to commit the murder without her knowing. Driven to near-breaking point by his frustration at being forced to constantly act like Bruce Wayne rather than Batman, Bruce escapes from jail and announces his intention to no longer live as Bruce Wayne, but to be only Batman.[1]

The story runs through Batgirl #24, Batman #599-600, Batman: Gotham Knights #25-26, Birds of Prey #39-40, Detective Comics #766-767, Nightwing #65-66, and Robin (vol. 2) #98-99.

Bruce Wayne: Fugitive

With Batman free, the Batman Family continues to investigate the circumstances of the crime. Many start to doubt Bruce's innocence. Oracle (with some assistance from Black Canary) recovers a disk proving the journal entries from Vesper's apartment had been altered. This means Vesper did not know Batman's identity.

Meanwhile, Batgirl, upon uncovering Vesper's corpse, realizes that Vesper was killed using a nerve strike and careful beatings, whereas the evidence suggests it was a 'spur-of-the-moment' attack on Bruce's part. Nightwing and Alfred discover that infiltration of the Batcave is possible and ties in with the police's timely entrance at Wayne Manor. With further assistance from Robin they uncover some evidence in their search, although Nightwing is forced to note that nothing that they have discovered is anything that Batman couldn't have reasonably planted to throw them off. After the group reviews the evidence and Nightwing and Batgirl stage how the murder took place based on the tape recording of Vesper's last moments, Nightwing is now convinced that the Bruce he knows would not have committed the murder, and decides their next move is to focus on gathering evidence that would not compromise Bruce's secret identity.

At the same time, Batman launches his own, independent, investigation into his framing and steadily uncovers a conspiracy against Bruce Wayne after a run-in with David Said of Checkmate, subsequently having Said committed to Arkham under a false name in case he needs him later. A confrontation between himself and Catwoman prompts Batman to realize how important his Bruce Wayne identity is; he is moved to protect a wounded criminal because that is what his father, Thomas Wayne, would have done. An earlier meeting with the detective who comforted him after his parents' deaths serves to reinforce the importance of Bruce Wayne in Batman's life; as far as the detective is concerned, it was Bruce Wayne's life that was forever defined by the death of his parents...and the detective is also convinced that, whatever Bruce Wayne became that night, he did not become a killer.

After returning to the Batcave and apologizing for his past actions, Batman reveals to the Batman Family that the murderer is David Cain, which he had deduced based solely on the evidence that Batgirl found earlier; the nerve strike that was used to immobilize Vesper is one that Bruce learned from Cain. Cain had been hired by then-President Lex Luthor to discredit Bruce Wayne for his stance against Luthor during the No Man's Land storyline. Cain subsequently deduces Batman's true identity, recalling his own acquaintance with a young Bruce when Bruce went to him for training. He was thus able to frame him for a crime where the only motive was Batman's desire to protect his identity. Capturing Cain, Bruce's name is subsequently cleared, Cain keeping Bruce's identity as Batman secret to protect his daughter.[1]

This story runs through Azrael #91; Batgirl #27 and #29; Batman #600-601, #603, and #605; Batman: Gotham Knights #27-28 and #30-31; Birds of Prey #41-43; Detective Comics #768-772; and Nightwing #68-69.

Reading order

Bruce Wayne: Murderer?:

  • Prelude: Batman: The 10-Cent Adventure #1
  • Part 1: Detective Comics #766
  • Part 2: Batgirl #24
  • Part 3: Nightwing #65
  • Part 4: Gotham Knights #25
  • Part 5: Birds of Prey #39
  • Part 6: Robin #98
  • Part 7: Batman #599
  • Part 8: Detective Comics #767
  • Part 9: Nightwing #66
  • Part 10: Gotham Knights #26
  • Part 11: Robin #99
  • Part 12: Birds of Prey #40

Bruce Wayne: Fugitive:

  • Part 1: Batman #600
  • Part 2: Birds of Prey #41
  • Part 3: Batman #601
  • Part 4: Detective Comics #769
  • Part 5: Batgirl #27
  • Part 6: Nightwing #68
  • Part 7: Gotham Knights #28
  • Part 8: Detective Comics #770
  • Part 9: Nightwing #69
  • Part 10: Birds of Prey #43
  • Part 11: Batman #603
  • Part 12: Detective Comics #771
  • Part 13: Batgirl #29
  • Part 14: Gotham Knights #30
  • Part 15: Azrael #91
  • Part 16: Detective Comics #772
  • Part 17: Gotham Knights #31
  • Part 18: Batman #605

Collected editions

The "Bruce Wayne: Murderer?" and "Bruce Wayne: Fugitive" storylines have been collected in several volumes:

Title Material collected Publication date ISBN
Batman: Bruce Wayne – Murderer? Batman: The Ten-Cent Adventure #1, Detective Comics vol. 1 #766–767, Batgirl vol. 1 #24, Nightwing vol. 2 #65–66, Batman: Gotham Knights #25–26, Birds of Prey vol. 1 #39–40, Robin vol. 4 #98–99, and Batman vol. 1 #599–600; August 2002 264 pages, paperback, ISBN 1-56389-913-2)
Batman: Bruce Wayne – Fugitive Volume One Batman vol. 1 #601 and #603, Batman: Gotham Knights #27–28, Batgirl vol. 1 #27 and #29, Birds of Prey vol. 1 #41 and #43, and Nightwing vol. 2 #68–69 December 2002 160 pages, paperback, ISBN 1-56389-933-7
Batman: Bruce Wayne – Fugitive Volume Two Detective Comics vol. 1 #768–772, Batman: Gotham Knights #31, and Batman vol. 1 #605 March 2003 176 pages, paperback, ISBN 1-56389-947-7
Batman: Bruce Wayne – Fugitive Volume Three Detective Comics vol. 1 #773–775, Batman vol. 1 #606–607, and Batgirl vol. 1 #33 October 2003 176 pages, paperback, ISBN 1-4012-0079-6

The "Bruce Wayne - Murderer?" storyline is being reprinted in new editions. Another new single volume edition has been announced for "Bruce Wayne - Fugitive?" [2] including stories that have never before been reprinted:

Title Material collected Publication date ISBN
Batman: Bruce Wayne - Murderer? (New Edition) Batgirl 24, 27, Batman 599-602, Batman: Gotham Knights 25-28, Batman: The 10-Cent Adventure 1, Birds Of Prey 39-41, 43, Detective Comics 766-767, Nightwing 65-66, 68-69 and Robin 98-99 March 18, 2014 (scheduled) 978-1401246839
Batman: Bruce Wayne - Fugitive? (New Edition) Batman 603-607, Detective Comics 768-775, Batman: Gotham Knights 29-32 and Batgirl 29-33 July 15, 2014 (scheduled) 978-1401246822

Reprinting and recall

In March 2014, DC Comics released a new edition of the Batman: Bruce Wayne: Murderer? trade paperback (to be followed by a new, single edition of the Batman: Bruce Wayne: Fugitive trade) that contained issues not collected in the previous trades. Customers immediately expressed concerns that, among other issues, the Murderer trade omitted Detective Comics #768, "Purity, Part 1," even though the trade collected Detective Comics #766-767 and #769-770, and that one of the original Fugitive trades had also collected Detective Comics #768. In addition, the book's table of contents incorrectly referred to Detective Comics #769 as "Purity, Part 1," when it's actually "Purity, Part 2."[3]

A week later, DC Comics announced plans to recall the Batman: Bruce Wayne: Murderer? new edition trade, asking retailers to accept returns from customers and destroy existing copies. DC told retailers a corrected edition would be released in May 2014 and would include Detective Comics #768, Gotham Knights #29, and fixes to the table of contents and to the order the issues are presented in the book.[4]


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