Young Writers Society

Home » Literary works » Novel / Chapter » Fanfiction


A Scandal in Gotham #2

by MeherazulAzim16


1895

Gotham City

Alfred approaches the wooden door frame that leads to the Batcave. It looks like somebody has broken the door. As he enters the cave, some scattered wood pieces crunch beneath his feet. There is a big hole in the ground in front of him. Alfred realizes that it’s one of the many traps Batman has planted in and around the cave over the years. Batman’s paranoid impulse to plan contingencies always disturbed Alfred. But Alfred understands the root of this impulse: that dark night, the one night he was caught unprepared. Despite that understanding, there are times when the butler cannot help complaining.

“Never again,” Bruce has said to Alfred, so many times. “Never again will I be caught helpless, off-guard.” In those moments, Alfred simply nods. But he never stops fearing the day Bruce’s impulses take him too far.

Alfred sees a man lying unconscious on the floor. He recognizes the man to be John Watson. Batman’s daunting figure looms over him.

“What have you done, Batman?” Alfred asks. His hands begin to tremor.

“Don’t worry. He’s not dead. What are you doing here?” Batman walks toward the weapon’s cabinet. There is a scary calm in his voice.

“He said—” Alfred hesitates. “We thought you were in danger. So, we rushed back from London as soon—”

“I thought you were having a vacation, Al. Meeting some old friend in Florida you said.” Batman speaks as he puts the lasso of truth back in the cabinet. “Booked yourself a suite at Ponce de Leon, did you not?”

“Batman, I—”

“An elaborate lie.” Batman takes off his cowl and throws it at the floor. “Why, Alfred?”

“This case is taking a toll on you. You wouldn’t even talk about what happened to Miss Kyle. You were never one to accept help. You’d have stopped me if you knew I was going to consult Mr. Holmes. I’m sorry, Bruce.”

“Don’t call me that. It’s Batman. Bruce Wayne is just a frightened child screaming in an alley behind Monarch Theatre. He never really existed beyond that,” says Batman.

“That’s not true,” says Alfred. But he doesn’t know if he truly believes that. “If that’s true, then what am I doing here?” His hands still tremor.

“I don’t know, Alfred.”

“I don’t serve Batman. No, sir,” says Alfred. “You indeed were a frightened little boy. Every night since your parents died, I feared for you! I held you in my arms as you cried every night. I feared for you when you wouldn’t speak to anyone for weeks. There were days, sir, when I feared you’d attempt to take your own life!” His voice breaks as he begins to cry. “I don’t know how you survived, sir. But I’m proud of the man you became, the man who overcame fear. I serve the man I raised. And the man I raised wouldn’t do that to a good man.” Alfred points to Watson who’s still knocked out on the floor. “I did not raise Batman.”

“Maybe you did,” says Batman. He’s staring blankly at the floor.

“Then I am ashamed of myself. I will be no longer a part of this cursed crusade,” says Alfred. “I shall tend to Mr. Watson’s wounds and then I’ll leave.”

“Fine. Have it your way.” Batman checks on the Batwave station.


Note: You are not logged in, but you can still leave a comment or review. Before it shows up, a moderator will need to approve your comment (this is only a safeguard against spambots). Leave your email if you would like to be notified when your message is approved.







Is this a review?


  

Comments



User avatar
296 Reviews


Points: 15511
Reviews: 296

Donate
Sun Jan 05, 2020 2:00 am
View Likes
Kassiani wrote a review...



Hi again!

This is much better than the previous chapter. I really dig the exchange between Alfred and Bruce. There’s some meaty stuff in there—specifically about identity, and the role of Alfred in raising Bruce and creating Batman. I love Batman stories that aren’t afraid to dig into the complexities of Bruce: his relationship to justice, his relationship to morality, his relationship to himself. I also feel like his feelings for Alfred—and vice versa—are relatively underexplored: Alfred’s so often just this generic butler/father figure/facilitator/advisor, and I like that you’re already showing some of the cracks in their relationship, some resentment and hostility and mixed emotions. Go deep into that. There’s potential for some great character work with this.

I also like that you’re digging into the darkness of Bruce. More of that, please! Bruce is most interesting—at least to me—when his flaws and vulnerability are prominently on display. He’s such an interesting counterpart to blandly good characters like Superman. My only note—and this is a very subjective one—is to maybe not go too deep into the whole “Bruce is tormented because of what happened to his parents” shtick. I know the murder of the Waynes is integral to the Batman story, but I just feel like it’s so overdone. While it was a formative event in Bruce’s life, I’d like to see who he is beyond and outside of that, too. There are other things that happened to him (or could happen to him, in your version) that would also inform his personality and view of the world. I think it would be great to explore avenues that have been commonly neglected in Batman stories, rather than just reverting to the standard “sad boy who is haunted by his parents’ death” thing. Just an idea—I trust you’re going somewhere good with this.

Anyway, time for some specific comments.

Alfred approaches the wooden door frame that leads to the Batcave. It looks like somebody has broken the door.

“Door” is repetitive here. I’d get rid of the second one and change that sentence to, “It looks like somebody has broken in.”

that dark night,

Dark night, dark knight. Gotta love a homonym. :P

”Never again,” Bruce has said to Alfred, so many times. “Never again will I be caught helpless, off-guard.” In those moments, Alfred simply nods. But he never stops fearing the day Bruce’s impulses take him too far.

My only problem with this is the redundancy: the previous paragraph describes Bruce’s paranoia and determination to never be caught off-guard again, so him saying it doesn’t add anything new. You should cut either this section or some of the lines in the previous paragraph. I think you'd be better off keeping the part I quoted—that cutaway to Bruce actually saying he feels this way and then Alfred’s response to that confession is more interesting than just info-dumping some psychoanalysis. I would therefore suggest you cut it down to something like this:

Alfred approaches the wooden door frame that leads to the Batcave. It looks like somebody has broken the door. As he enters the cave, some scattered wood pieces crunch beneath his feet. There is a big hole in the ground in front of him. Alfred realizes that it’s one of the many traps Batman has planted in and around the cave over the years. “Never again,” Bruce has said to Alfred, so many times. “Never again will I be caught helpless, off-guard.” In those moments, Alfred simply nods. But he never stops fearing the day Bruce’s paranoid impulses take him too far.

“Don’t call me that. It’s Batman. Bruce Wayne is just a frightened child screaming in an alley behind Monarch Theatre. He never really existed beyond that,” says Batman.

I really do like your version of Batman so far. This is a cool line, and I dig the approach of Bruce embracing his Bat persona so completely that he fully rejects Bruce Wayne.

“I did not raise Batman.”
“Maybe you did,” says Batman. He’s staring blankly at the floor.

This part’s also really interesting. The only aspect I don’t like so much is the “staring blankly at the floor.” Something about “blankly” doesn’t jibe with the rest. It also fails to paint much of a picture in my head. What, specifically, does his face look like throughout this scene? His expression is blank, sure, but give me more. Are his eyes empty, dead? Are his lips pressed together in a neutral not-quite-smile, not-quite-frown? Try sprinkling in more details about how the characters and/or settings look throughout your chapters, and describe them in ways more vivid and distinct than simply “he stared blankly.”

Overall, this was very enjoyable to read. I think character dynamics might be your strong suit. The exchange between Bruce and Alfred was so good. I don’t know if you’re planning on making this story more plot- or character-driven, but I think a character-driven approach would be great fun.

Keep up the good work! :D






Subjective, yes, but it's a very good point. I've been thinking about it too, in a way. Still juggling a lot of ideas for #3 .

I honestly prefer character-driven stories. I've grown to believe that the plot exists to serve/test/improve the characters and not the other way around. It's debatable.

I don't know though. I'll see where the story goes.

Glad you liked it and thanks for the review!



User avatar
404 Reviews


Points: 66939
Reviews: 404

Donate
Sun Jan 05, 2020 1:37 am
View Likes
EternalRain wrote a review...



Hello there!

Back again.

So, I want to start off by saying that I liked the chapter a lot! I found the story to roll smoothly and I thought it was much less confusing than the first. I also really enjoyed the description of Alfred’s nerves (I have no idea if he’s a character in batman or one of your own, but I like him!). He clearly has stronger, cleaner morals than Batman and doesn’t want to be on the bad side of the things. I can tell working for/with Batman really takes a toll on him.

It’s not an issue for this chapter in particular, or really an issue at all, but I definitely want to see more on Batman’s motivations. Also, because we got a POV switch, I don’t know what happened to Moriarty! Or why Watson is collapsed on the ground? Maybe some contemplation from Alfred, could help enhance our understanding of the mission/the case. For example, Alfred thinking about how Watson collapsed comprised the mission (I have no idea if it did, just making stuff up lol) or “wow, I thought he needed his help” or whatever else Alfred may be thinking. Or perhaps he just feels betrayed at Batman for doing all this behind his back.

Anyway, that’s really my only qualm with this chapter! Batman’s indifference with Alfred’s concerns and Alfred’s clear frustration with Batman was very interesting to read. I also wonder how indifferent Batman really is - and how much he may care for Alfred? Or perhaps he really doesn’t. It will definitely be a fun dynamic to read on about in the future!

Let me know when #3 is out- I’d love to read more!

Peace,
~ EternalRain






Hiya! Alfred Pennyworth is one of Batman's characters. He does try to help Bruce see things clearly, at crucial moments. It'd be cool to explore that dynamic more but I might take the story in a different direction the next couple issues. Still thinking.

I'll notify you if/when #3 is out! Thanks for reading it and for the review!



EternalRain says...


Ah, I see! Well, I definitely saw that part of his character come through, so thumbs up from me:)



User avatar
25 Reviews


Points: 98
Reviews: 25

Donate
Sat Jan 04, 2020 11:00 am
View Likes
MadagascarMaiden wrote a review...



I’ve liked this story of the ever beloved Batman. I like how you incorporated Dr.Watson and Sherlock Holmes. I found it interesting that Alfred is almost disowning Batman, saying that he wasn't the kind of man he was trying to raise. He was trying to raise Bruce Wayne, not the paranoid Man of Bats that he ended up to be. Overall this story is very good, keep up the good work.






Thanks!




The important thing is never to stop questioning.
— Albert Einstein