^It is not compromising Alfred at all to acknowledge that he has a past as a fighter and intelligence agent. That's part of who he's been for decades. This is just portraying a version of Alfred that's a little closer to that part of his past, where it looms larger in his makeup rather than being a part of his history that only occasionally comes up. It's a shift in emphasis, a modulation, not a reinvention.
Modulation... hmm. You strike me as being like someone who has perfect pitch. If you transpose the same melody into a different key, they don't perceive it as the same melody because their perception of a note is so inseparably attached to its absolute pitch. But other people can hear the same melody in different keys or arrangements and still recognize the commonality uniting the different variations. That's how I approach fictional characters. To you, any modulation in the specifics of a character makes them a different character, whereas to me it's just a variation on the theme. I've always enjoyed variations on themes, the thrill of recognizing the common pattern that underlies two phrases that initially sound different.