239: Batmanalyzed

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I've heard Batman described by one of the current writers as "A mentally ill, disturbed individual, like Twoface or Joker, with different goals and a moral compass." That's a pretty good way to rationalize why he focuses on beating up two-bit thugs in Gotham rather than stopping genocide in Africa or solving world poverty or whatever.

As a comic fan, I've always thought the character "Moon Knight" was a lot more interesting than Batman; a guy with limitless focus and genius, but who is basically being driven insane by his gifts. And we've seen that throughout history with our gifted individuals. Batman is basically supposed to be a fictional DaVinci, and DaVinci was known to have social anxiety and thought to have a lot of mental issues.

forget Batman, its all about:

The Question!

...and you though i was gonna say Booster Gold...

I always thought marvel was more interesting then dc, marvel always had more going on and dc it tended to be pretty black and white with things.... altho I dont really like super hero comics that much, most of them tend to be rather boring to me with a few exceptions.... that I cant think of right now. Hrmm

Nice blog post about this article: "Batman Beyond," by Swarthmore history professor Timothy Burke. He even quotes TheBluesader's comment.

"Would you believe Paris Hilton fights crime?"

I wouldn't believe she'd remember to breathe without a coach

"In that war, make no mistake. Batman works for the other side."

Oh, I just love how people make the rich out to be the villians.

I wouldn;t compare Batsy to Paris ?Hilton, after all, his Bruce Wayne personality is fake & acted out....Oh wait....

It's a nice article, but really, it could have been about any other super-hero and still have the same general context. Comic book characters don't have to be completely realistic; no one expects them to be. The same can be said for most fictional characters. As long as it entertains us, the finer details don't matter that much. People like Batman because he's badass, so that's all he has to be.

Batman is cool XD

I don't read superhero comics often, for various reasons, but one is their conservative view of crime. Crime in superhero comics since the 1940s has been about bad people doing bad things. It's rarely about the situations that leads people to do those bad things. Superheroes beat up thugs, but rarely address the social problems that are the cause of most crime. I'm not a bleeding heart--someone who assaults or murders somebody else should be subjected to the full court press of the law--but most criminals are symptoms of greater problems that are almost never addressed in superhero comics.

Sir, you have taken the thoughts right out of my mind and put them on paper. As Captain Hammer said, "It's not enough to bash in heads, you've got to bash in minds".
Modern mystery writers have done this, having their heroes solve crimes by solving the cultures that produce these crimes. Batman would be perfect for this sort of thing because he is, after all, the World's Greatest Detective. This is not likely to happen in mainstream continuity, and that's a crying shame.

I know I'm painting with a rather broad brush here, and that some comics writers have addressed my points above. (I also remember a bit of dialogue in Batman Begins that implied Bruce Wayne's father's philanthropic work did a lot to keep Gotham's crime rate down back in the day.) But I still find it hard to swallow the overall trend in comics, as I'll explain:

Good article. I've often wished DC would have the brass to do some Batman stories where he takes on white collar criminals, especially as the current world economy stands.

But that's not the only example of Batman still being, more or less, a character with his feet firmly planted in the 1930s. Batman routinely fights Italian-American gangsters in pinstripe suits and crazy circus folk. These aren't exactly profiles of a majority of contemporary criminals.

OK, I like The Godfather and The Sopranos as much as anybody, but as an Italian-Canadian I'm really getting sick of the shallow mobster typecasting. And I know my people don't have it half as bad as others do. One Batman trade I read was Batman: Evolution, where Batman has to clean up Gotham after the whole No Man's Land arc. And who does he have to clean up?

The black gang, the Italian mafia, the Chinese Triad, the Columbian cartel, and the Russian Mafiya. So the subtext is, the rich WASP industrialist is clearing the stereotyped ethnic vermin from "his" streets. Sigh. And this situation was essentially recycled for The Dark Knight, along with heaps more anti-Chinese sentiment, which annoyed the hell out of me.

"Why should I be kind to the lesser races? The lesser races killed my parents! I'm the goddamn Batman! My parents are dead! Eat bat-fist, chinks!"
Yeah, the big publishing houses have never been brave enough to deal with bias head-on, so they've let low-level bias fester in everything they do. It's a crying shame.

(This comic also insulted me professionally, given its handling of databases and IT. That it was written by Greg Rucka, who I usually respect, was salt in the wound.)

Many otherwise intelligent artists haven't learned how computers work. It's rather shameful.

I guess I'm really irritated because Batman is an intelligent guy. I like intelligent heroes. And Batman should be smart enough to know that while mobsters and muggers and the mentally ill are a problem, they're a symptom of much bigger problems. The guy can save the earth from Braniac but can't make a dent in Gotham's poverty problems?

It's part of the larger problem of Status Quo being God. Batman's not allowed to change anything. There's the assumption (unspoken but ever-present) that life is okay as it is, but bad people are trying to mess things up, and Batman's only way to use his talents is to ensure that the bad people don't change the way things are. The good Elseworlds stories break away from this, but this doesn't bleed over into regular continuity much.

I'm reminded of Marvel's Emperor Doom, where Dr. Doom successfully conquers the world, and solves many global problems like hunger and poverty.

However, he also has to attend boring committee meetings.

If that's the comic I'm thinking of, I believe it ends with a few heroes starting a resistance and Doom letting them succeed because he was so thoroughly bored with ruling over a mind-controlled Earth. I love that story.

All that said, I love the idea of Paris Hilton having a secret life as a crime fighter and Bruce Wayne studying gossip columns in order to maintain his persona. This needs to be made canon immediately!

It sounds as if Batman is essentially adolescent escapism.

Wait, Batman IS adolescent escapism!!!!!!

Basically, all the characters are stuck in the same play, playing the same game. The lack of a visible story arc hampers all superheroes, as they're destined to be rebooted, reintroduced to all their nemesis and then lose their fans as they keep fighting, fighting, fighting....

But then again, here we are sitting around talking about Batman. Sigh.

Allen Varney:

Batman is one of the most fascinating, multifaceted superheroes in all of comics ... as long as you don't think about him too much. Allen Varney digs a bit too deeply into the Batman Mythos and unearths some rather unpleasant character traits in the process.

Good article but as a die-hard bat-fan, I just want my two cents (or giant penny). What makes Batman is his multifaceted nature - that's become (mostly through the commercial pressures over the years) what he is.

Batman can be any of the 9 Good/Neutral/Evil - Lawful/Neutral/Chaotic as pointed out in that brilliant picture. But there has been a core since his earliest days (once passed the uncomfortable point where he did kill people). Of course one has to take take Miller's The Goddamn Batman with a pinch of salt. The Dark Knight Returns is a work of brilliance but the guy needed to stop trying to make Bruce a killer.

1. He doesn't kill and where ever possible will actually save the lives criminals, which morally divides him for murdering heroes and the criminals themselves. Importantly he then either believes in Redemption or he believes in democratic Justice. Even when his giant schemes fuck up he's always working for a reasonable image of a good society.

2. His tools are human willpower, skill and intelligence, which contrasts with almost every other major superhero. He is the only A-list hero who feels close to the humans he protects.

3. He rarely loses and confronts everything from said junkies to intergalactic horrors. Because a moments distraction could kill him at every stage he shows more Bravery than any other major player.

4. When (its pretty obvious RIP will end with Wayne's return) he dies, at least in my mind, its not going to be to a super villain. Some punk with a gun is going to get lucky and he'll die in a gutter somewhere.

So what's the point? The point is that Batman's strength, one that he shares with a lot of the DC stable (Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern) is that he is vague and open to new definitions - but at his core he stands for certain things. Batman is who you want him to be, as long as its someone that believes in the power of human effort and justice without vengeance.

The think about white collar criminals in DC is that they are also all supervillains. So yes, he does fight the heads of multinational corporations, it just happens that he has to fight their radioactive goon squad while he's at it.

1. You know when there is a piece of art in the gallery or poem in a book or something similar. Everybody seems to be going "Wow, this is so deep" and "So many layers"...well I often been struck with the wonder of layers that are in some works but there are those that just make me think that people look too much into it.
Maybe Batman is one of those things. It is a basic idea, but people made it out to be more. It could be fun almost to the point of pulp (think of the golden age stories etc.), over to regular stories, like murder mysteries (ie The Long Halloween) and crime stories (like most of the Batman animated series pieces), all to the point of philosophical studies and morality oriented works (I'd say Dark knight returns, but it's just the first famous example I can think of right now).
In any case it's a great set of rules and ideas, a frame if you will, that great authors can use to create stories and/or express themselves. And yes, it can also be used to make money of it.
These frames should not be so much questioned, except maybe inside the stories themselves or to some "what if..." scenarios that actually focus on something else to think about.

2. Why doesn't Batman fight big corporations? - first of all I disagree, even though most of the time it zeros in on and individual that is "evil" or similar...but this is connected to some other questions like what does he do with the women and doesn't he feel sick, bruised etc.
FRAMES - you go out of them and you exit "the suspition of disbelief" borders and these not only hold the esence of the character but the part that is FUN and INTERESTING. Most of works of fiction are holding onto that part.
Yes, it is weird that he falls and fights but seems fine in the next week's issuses, but unless you enter some character or arc story development into a story about him going to physical therapy or removing his cast or avoiding women or reading a book and newspapers, why the hell would I read that, especially in a comic (books might have a different approach though). It wouldn't make me think and it wouldn't make me entertained.

3. Madman, superhero, spoiled brat with issuses - he's all and none, depends on what you need for the story, it's within frames but it shows how the author analysed the character and the world. There's no definite objective unified definition (and this is great in this case) - you can write a book about what Batman can represent, but you're using it as a tool to represent some human condition the same way the comics do.
Batman is not a real human, I'd think all the superpowered enemies at least would give some indication of it. You can try to analyse how he acts in his world but as soon as you try to comapre it with this ("real") world you're already stepping out of the frame and therefore you can write absolutly whatever you want.
There was a title something along "Superman is 40", I'm pretty sure it was about the comic itself but my dad's comment was something along "Why not? They can make him any age they want" - and is the point, Batman (and others) can be anything and anyone the authors want them to be. Write a story with Batman and make what you want of him, there is a frame that discribes his basic traits and looks, the rest (including history that is contained within stories, not the actual premise) is purely up for grabs.

4. Connected to some posts - DC vs Marvel - it's personal preference, personally I think Marvel exagurates far too often and is kind of shallower...but I guess both have good and bad moments, issues, characters and stories and if you think otherwise you're just a blinded fanboy/girl. :P

5. Sorry for writing so much and spelling. :P Nice article and the theme, though as you see I kind of disagree...but that's what forums are for. :)

The Ecocomics blog, which I linked in my "Batmanalyzed" article, has posted a response, "Is Batman's Lifestyle Too Unrealistic?":

Batman spends a majority of his time taking out street thugs and ordinary criminals. Why does he do this instead of spending more time going after all the aforementioned business-type crooks?

The most obvious reason is that catching crooks on the street requires much smaller operating costs and has a considerably higher probability of success. [...]

The other reason is that Batman is not exactly a utilitarian. The author argues that these business-type crimes cause much more damage to Gotham City than a low-class hood. True. But I don't think that Batman cares about the magnitude of damage as much as the immediacy of it. He sees crime, he knows it's wrong, and he vows to stop it. This goes back to opportunity costs. If Batman spends time researching these corporate crimes, that means that a bunch of people get mugged or killed on the street while he is conducting that research. Batman's moral code just cannot allow for that to happen.

Note that my own article isn't quibbling with the lack of reality in the depiction of Batman. I just intended to raise some (perhaps uncomfortable) points that follow naturally from the premise's assumptions.

The point about taking on white-collar criminals has a different reason, I think. It has to do with easily tagging certain characters as criminals. When someone robs or beats up someone else, the visceral violence marking them as a criminal makes blame a lot clearer, and the moral justification simpler. A masked vigilante beating them up is a lot easier to swallow.

When it comes to corrupt executives, there's a lot shakier interpretation of law involved. You can make caricatures of evil billionaires who smoke baby-seal-fur cigars and dump nuclear waste in the yards of orphanages (and comic books have on occasion), but on the whole it's harder to paint them as purely evil. It's also very possible that what a evil executive is doing isn't technically illegal, and a protracted legal battle is the only way to figure that out for certain. And if that's the case, legality and morality need to be distinguished which complicates the heroism (in a good way, IMO, but the Lowest Common Denominator that is pandered to might find it confusing.) It's a lot more depth than comic books (and movies/ video games too) are generally expected to have, and delving into a long technical discussion of legal issues is not quite what most people want in a comic.

I don't read superhero comics often, for various reasons, but one is their conservative view of crime. Crime in superhero comics since the 1940s has been about bad people doing bad things. It's rarely about the situations that leads people to do those bad things. Superheroes beat up thugs, but rarely address the social problems that are the cause of most crime. I'm not a bleeding heart--someone who assaults or murders somebody else should be subjected to the full court press of the law--but most criminals are symptoms of greater problems that are almost never addressed in superhero comics.

I'm not a heavy comics reader myself, but I was under the impression that while the conservative view of crime was definitely prevalent in the earlier days of comics, a lot of more modern writers have come up with emotionally traumatic backstories for their villains that are things like being abused as a child or schizophrenia or somesuch. They still don't really delve into the depths of social reform, but it's a bit more complicated than simply claiming that criminals are just plain evil. But, in general, they tend to do a really crappy job of rendering the pressures, so they're still just a hand-waved excuse to reinvent the old villains. But some justifications (not social ones, which is probably more what you were thinking of) are there.

I don't read superhero comics often, for various reasons, but one is their conservative view of crime. Crime in superhero comics since the 1940s has been about bad people doing bad things. It's rarely about the situations that leads people to do those bad things. Superheroes beat up thugs, but rarely address the social problems that are the cause of most crime. I'm not a bleeding heart--someone who assaults or murders somebody else should be subjected to the full court press of the law--but most criminals are symptoms of greater problems that are almost never addressed in superhero comics.

I think the key thing to remember when reading superhero comics is that, from a product production standpoint, the major studios are still making action/adventure stories for 8 year old boys. I suspect this simply has to do with the traditional tenants of the medium, because from what I've read, the demographics for comic consumers has certainly changed (most comic fans are now young men). Indie comics have taken advantage of this change and are now selling better than ever, so I don't know why the major publishers are acting like they can't do stories the average 8 year old boy won't get. Especially since the Timverse and the new Batman movies have proven that you CAN do complex, dark stories on a level that children can handle, and that they'll drink it up. Maybe a more contemporary take on crime is just prohibitively hard to work someone like Batman into. At least in the sense that farting out the same old, same old is way easier, and you can be fairly confident of sales figures.


I'm reminded of Marvel's Emperor Doom, where Dr. Doom successfully conquers the world, and solves many global problems like hunger and poverty.

However, he also has to attend boring committee meetings.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but Marvel has always seemed more eager to introduce ethical and dramatic complexity into their superhero product than DC, maybe because they noticed that DC had little to no interest in doing this. NO, I'M NOT SAYING MARVEL PUTS OUT BETTER STORIES THAN DC. I'm just saying that they seem more willing to try new stuff for whatever reason. DC has certainly had books where they've done this, but those really just seem like 1-offs that had more to do with artists' interests than editorial concerns (I'd cite Frank Miller's Batman stuff, good and bad.) Which is a shame, because Batman has always seemed ready-made to do complex moral stories.

Maybe all of this is simply a lack of editorial boldness. Maybe it will eventually change. I hope so.

Just to make an intensely nitpicky, relatively off-topic comment... Zatanna's magic wouldn't affect Bob or Otto anyway, as it can't be used on people. Now if she was trying to cast a spell on a kayak or a Honda Civic...

Zatanna's magic wouldn't affect Bob or Otto anyway, as it can't be used on people.

Really? I haven't kept current.

EDIT: "IDENTITY CRISIS" SPOILER ALERT! (Sorry, wasn't thinking before when I left this out!)

Wasn't she shown in Identity Crisis wiping the memories of those JLA villains who discovered the heroes' identities? (A stunt which, just to keep marginally on topic, Batman violently objected to, so she wiped his memory too.)

What the hell dude, spoiler alert wouldn't kill ya! :P

Article estupida.

1. Bruce Wayne does not have to make small talk and study up on current events to attract pretty rich women. HE'S BRUCE FUCKIN' WAYNE, BILLIONAIRE, INDUSTRIALIST, AND ONE OF THE MOST POWERFUL MAN IN THE CITY! No man needs small talk or droll commentary on current events when he's the most powerful dude in the room. Not to mention that he's already studied psychological warfare while interrogating the criminal underclass, so his game should already be pretty tight.

2. You're a hyper-intelligent crime-fighting alpha dog. Most likely you're not going to even want to look at some woman who thinks that clothes and parties are life. You, at the very least, want Selina Kyle. Or Talia al' Ghul. Or someone else roughly on your level. And who isn't going to ask you about where you got all the scars. In any case, he probably got all the sex he wanted in the days before he decided to become Batman, with as many women as he wanted. Whatever else he does to sate himself is no one's business but his own. Use your imagination; it's not that difficult.

3. As previously mentioned, corporate crime is small potatoes, and so ubiquitous among the rich, those wanting to be rich, and those employed by those wanting to be rich that there's no point to it. And most corporate criminals are cowards, not wanting to do anything that will hurt their bottom line, which rules out hard drugs, murder, rape, theft, and the like. I have actually scene Batman go after corporate malfeasance-whenever it intersected with real crime. However, the reason corporate criminals are not widely prosecuted by Batman is the same reason they're not prosecuted widely in real life-no one wants to drive away the money and capital that creates all the jobs. Hookers will defend their pimps far more often than one cares to admit:


(Actually, this was a plot point in Batman: Year One. Give Frank Miller some credit for at least understanding human nature in his books better than this Varney character. Hint: HE'S POPULAR BECAUSE MOST OF THE STUFF HE WRITES IS TRUE TO LIFE. Or at least, what we hope life could be.)

Tobacco corporations? Spare me. I'm sure Jim 'cigar-chomper' Gordon would.

I read your article and was amused by the batanalysis you did, but I think your reasoning lacked thoroughness, or was optimistic to the point of foolishness. Here's my two cents to add to your thoughts. Well, make that a lot of cents (no pun intended) as this ran longer than I originally thought.

Real world masks only have recently become less effective in the age of security cameras running 24-7, but bad guys still use them to generate doubt for the court case. Psychologically speaking, people who are not autistic nor have photographic memories are prone to forgetting things under stress - and being a victim of a crime generates sufficient stress.

Much of the old time goofiness you refer to harkens back to the era when comic books were designed to be silly. There are too many arguments nowadays of 'what is canon and what is not' to support releasing humorous content like that, not to mention the moral advocates would go into a tizzy if violence was not depicted as having gravitas. Besides, a comic would not have a wide enough target demographic if it was seen as too childish.

Bruce Wayne, Party Animal
Swanky charity balls will always happen in an era of insurance salesmen, robbers or no. The only real backlash they will get is their insurance companies hitching their rates up - in order to be truly elite, one must have both the money for the dinner plate, and the insurance money to cover your visit. The problem with trying to be an idiot and well versed in pop culture is that logically you'll be one or the other. Being "in the know" may mean that your agent (or your fair weather network of friends) handles the details for the truly idiotic party animal. Too many quips and such will ruin the idiot profile. Besides, the truly social elite sets the standards, not follows them, and even social gaffes earn time in the limelight giving excuses for the gaffe and blaming the masses for their lack of vision.

Bruce the Playboy
Socialites wouldn't compare notes, not because of story convention, but because of jealousy and one-up-manship. Lies and rumors would churn around the girl of the hour until it was her turn to man the rumor mill. Nobody would be able to sort the chaff from the wheat, unless it was a conspiracy theorist, whom very few take seriously. Even the 'bestest' of friends would play up their encounter in an effort to not look left by the wayside. This lifestyle would also get dangerous for Bruce if the girl is particularly stubborn, offering massages or other 'remedies' for the headache. There could also fly rumors of inadequacy, cowardliness, or general lack of manliness on his part if the headache conspiracy did win through. All of which would ruin his playboy image.

I've always bought the whole story about the cape and cowl being designed to strike fear into the hearts of those he's about to pound, because it makes sense. If he's been pounding baddies left and right, even in a ridiculous costume, that's going to give him street rep - and maybe thoughts of what he could do to them if he wasn't encumbered by the costume. Surprise trinkets give him the fear hesitation that can make or break a fight by itself. First impressions are the strongest and usually the first glimpse the baddies get is a eerie shadowy profile backed by lightning. Batman's stealthy isolating tactics also work wonders for unnerving the baddies, too. All of which works to his advantage in the fight and in his rep.

Bruce could buy off all the baddies off the streets, but then he'd have to subsidize all the fast food workers, shelf stockers, and others who just barely make it who would give themselves over to his generosity to not pay rent or scrape by ever again. Then there are the street bums who would take his money, blow it, then steal other's stipends just because they 'need' more money to waste. This isn't even touching the inflation problems that would occur when everyone has money and the supermarket only has a limited supply of stuff. Or addressing the issue that some people actually choose that lifestyle for whatever reason.

The game theory bit makes sense too. What works for a do-gooder works for a bad guy. Ridiculous costume = fear in street cops. I remember in Batman Beyond (episode or movie, I can't remember) that they said the Joker's whole purpose in life was to make Batman laugh. No Batman, no Joker apparently. Some people just love a challenge regardless of the consequences.

Young trauma, like phobias, are deeply rooted and difficult to unseat. Batman retaining this is one of the humanizing character traits, not an artifact of it being in a comic. Terrifying and assaulting the baddies is his childish lashing out at those who look like the ones that killed his parents (not that I'm pretending to be a psychologist - I took a college course or two but that's it). The circumstances were nicely crafted to give a realistic scenario of a guy, who under other circumstances that we'd jail and asylum-ize, that has made it his duty to beat up baddies.

In the cartoons at least, I've never seen any of the court cases of the generic baddies that they round up - there is a very good chance that the judges are much like the detective who hates Batman and doesn't trust him. It could be that they send the baddies to jail then release them in the morning - lack of evidence, accusations of planted evidence, what have you. Also remember that Batman is only one guy in a large metropolis that seems to see a lot of crime with many crime lords. If word leaked out that a percentage of the crooks get caught and beat up by a crazy only to not spend much time in jail - that will put a roof over their head and food in their mouths every night without losing that feeling of control over their lives that a lengthy prison sentence would carry - it would attract more and more obvious baddies hoping to get caught by Batman repeatably, rather than chase them out of town. Bruce may be beating up a pool of the same Joe and Bob individuals plus or minus a crime lord's particular bunch every night. Those Joe and Bobs likely start early with petty stuff to fund their nights out of jail, or to add to a stash, then move on to the flashy 'come and get me' stuff later on.

Batman probably avoids the big dog baddies, not because of Time Warner, Inc., but because Wayne Enterprises, or Bruce himself, likely has a share of the other companies. Beating them up and making them look bad would be bad for stocks and eat away at Bruce's crime fighting funding profit margin. Selling his shares beforehand would be a big red arrow connecting him and Batman. Besides, the headquarters to most of those other companies are spread out worldwide, not sequestered in Gotham, and therefore outside his stomping grounds. This is why I'd imagine most superheroes sticking to one city - it's easy to chase a bad guy and corral them to a dead end that you know about (and hope they don't) rather than chase them to their own bolt holes where they disappear. This was addressed nicely in "Teen Titans in Tokyo" and if I recall correctly was briefly touched on in "The Dark Knight" (the logistical problems of having him be in two places at the same time while he skips town to be Batman elsewhere).

As I said above, there is a psychological reason that you could apply if you wanted a real world excuse as to why he only targets the little guys. Besides, until recently with all the crises, big corp baddies were shadowy and far removed from most people's thoughts (which made them all the more insidious when they had the whistle blown on them); day to day robbers, druggies, and muggers make the news commonly. This puts Batman's help more visible 'on Main Street', rather than a once in a while help 'on Wall Street'. It also fiddles with the class war concept - he's not helping the middle class as much as he's helping the lower class - the upper class having their own defenses from most street issues in the form of bodyguards, gated communities, and insurance on everything. Just because he's not assaulting the upper class exploitation of the lower class does not mean that he's on their side.

Effectively, Wayne Enterprises is the epitome of what big business could be and Bruce is the definition of benevolent dictator over his own company - at least he was in the movies. In that sense, the big company behind Batman the comics tries to show that not all big business is bad - luring people into the sort of ease it takes whistle blowers to wake them back up again if indeed something foul is afoot.

Other comics
Other villains may or may not know anything about their peers, so even interrogating them may not be very effective. Not all universes had an organization of villains, and I doubt that bad guys would publicize their plans to anyone, let alone potential rivals. Both the names you put down are only first names, add last names and the chances of both words having that effect is exceedingly rare and obviously concocted with her powers in mind, which is on a timeline outside the scope of most comics which are rebooted every couple of decades.


I guess I'm really irritated because Batman is an intelligent guy. I like intelligent heroes. And Batman should be smart enough to know that while mobsters and muggers and the mentally ill are a problem, they're a symptom of much bigger problems. The guy can save the earth from Braniac but can't make a dent in Gotham's poverty problems?

Maybe this is how George Bush's "trickle down" economy was supposed to work. Instead of deregualation and tax breaks for the rich allowing them to spend more and make more jobs, hence making everyone richer, it allows them spare cash to build batcaves and become vigilanties. Beating up poor, impoverished criminals one desperate scumbag at a time.

Please don't forget those poor "villains" with mental health problems, physical disfigurements, hormone imbalances etc. They suffer from pre-existing conditions so cannot get health insurance, have no access to the American healthcare system and so as out casts, needing treatment not prison, end up on the violent end of Batmans size 11's.

Batman is a comic book character, no shit he isn't realistic. Not executing every major villain that gets out multiple times and kills multiple people every time would be pretty stupid/crazy by itself.

Well, there is one concept called "comic book logic" you know? it's right there with "Internet Security" and "Microsoft Works" in terms of contradicting names, but still...

yeah gotta go with you on that lol

but more so...this guy gets paid to write this?? ...

I laughed. This is absurd.

I like batman but I understand everyone who is tired of it quickly eats but what do you think of the new films is Batre or worse one second ?

Yeah it's unrealistic, but it's a comic. I don't even know why this article exists when all it does is state the obvious repeatedly.

I very much enjoyed this article until the very end.

"A nameless junkie"?

"A metaphor for the class war"?

I'm sorry, but that is not only an innacuracy but a wild logical leap. As far as I'm aware, Batman has never assaulted a "nameless junkie" simply to clean the streets of his presence. The reasons for Batman forgoing big business crime are numerous:

1. It's too realistic. Batman has always had that slightly surreal tint to his universe, his grittiest ever storyline was probably Knightfall and that was by no means realistic.

2. No challenge. A greedy fatcat is no obstacle for Batman, he can't defend himself, but a greedy fatcat with an army of cyborg warrior chimps, now we're getting somewhere.

3. No tangible threat. The Joker plants bombs. Two-Face hijacks public transport. The Scarecrow enslaves minds, but our corrupt city official just hiked the taxes by 3%! And he's skimming off the top! You can't compare these levels of crime, nor can you persuade the reader they are as worthy of Batman's time.

4. Hypocritical Wayne. He's the head of a huge multinational, and as a genius must be aware that some unethical practices have taken place within Wayne Enterprises, he does have to delegate a sizable portion of his decision making. So when he dangles The shoe factory owner by his ankles over the docks, how can he justify to himself, and how can the writers justify to us, that he is so different.

I really see what your saying, and your other analysis is excellent, but your final flourish lacked substance, it's an interesting idea but it doesn't float, even in the crueller versions of batman seen to date...

I also had that same problem with the article, but overall it was good.

I mean could you imagine if Batman did assault a politician who raised taxes? Not only would it be the worst issue ever as far as action and plot go. But it would also establish Batman as something that he's not, a criminal. Never in any issue of the comics has Batman ever assaulted anyone who was not armed or dangerous, so its a little silly to think of Batman breaking into some politician's office and beating him, it kind of makes Batman seem like an asshole, rather than a symbol for hope and justice for Gotham.

I mean sure, you could argue with me for days about whether or not Batman is actually a criminal. However when you read the comic books, you don't think of Batman as a vigilante criminal committing heinous crimes when he stops the Joker from blowing up a TV studio, you view him as a hero. If you didn't view Batman as a hero, then why would you read the comic in the first place?

Probably some posters on this thread will enjoy the Batman Comic Strip Generator.

At his heart, Batman is a rich boy acting out his revenge fantasies on a nightly basis. That is not behavior to be commended: it should be condemned. Had he spent int as a youth, IDK, dealing with the trauma, then Bruce would be a better adjusted adult. Instead, he thinks he is above the law and dons his cape and cowl.

It does not make him awesome. It makes him sad and pathetic.

But what's interesting about well-adjusted adults?

Anyway, in the films/games/comics vigilantism works, people like the idea of having someone extraordinary out there to protect them (why do you think religion exists?). Of course, as you've pointed out, in real-life it doesn't work.

The Chris Nolan films touch on those things well I think - things like the imitators at the start of The Dark Knight; the search for someone to replace Batman legally; the public's opinion of him.

Dunno how much those things are taken from the comics exactly, but the films bring more realism in the sense of problems he encounters.

plz go there. what about the flash?

Interesting article... but at the same time, it seems to be placing an awful lot of demands on a character that is essentially, well, a character. Fiction. Comics. Entertainment.
Granted, Batman, for me, is one of the most realistic characters of the DC universe (not familiar enough with Marvel to comment accurately, although Lord knows I love Deadpool).

That said.. you can introduce realism, but only to a certain extent, as too much, and it falters.
A brilliant realistic portrayal of crime in Gotham City is Brian Azzarello's "Joker" comic, where Batman is a shadow, a presence, a whisp of smoke in the grim, dark setting of the Gotham he explores. Batman can only be in so many places. I also think that not enough attention was paid to the actual environment the stories take place in. For me, Batman without Gotham (and vice versa) is Superman without the Super bit. It just... doesn't work.

The prime reason for my continued semi boycott of JLA stories. Batman's motives are all about Gotham, the terrifying, half rotting urban labryinthe that seems a lost cause. Gotham city typifies everything that urban settings are reviled for- urban decay, social fractures, gang violence, rapes, murders and despair. I have only encountered Batman interacting with one or two junkies.. and even then he brought one to hospital after stabilising them, and closed the dead ones eyes.

I did get the feeling that the (admittedly idealistic) altruism that the character is also motivated by was largely passed over by this writer.
Still a good article, raising some very valid points... but I feel that these could have been applied to any superhero character, not just the Dark Knight.

well you are going to hate the new batman after bruce returns, since he is going to go international and let dick and damien be batman for gotham according to the recent interviews.

batman being gay for his robins is an old joke it is often made fun of and and sent up in shows like the venture bros. with one of the most famous voices of batman doing the voice of the parody of batman. beyond the implied jokes and whatnot there has never been any evidence at all of batman being gay for young boys. nevermind young boys he trains to be lethal fighting machines, i am sure "dick" grayson or tim drake would have come back for a can of whop ass if he had been molesting them as children.

he does in fact sleep with the occasional woman and had a few relationships over the years usually with very flawed women, catwoman, talia al ghoul, and the most normal one vicky vale.

yea he is a psychopath, i mean how many normal people get dressed up as a bat and spend every night prowling the streets for crime? even he knows it is not normal and several comics deal with that fact to some degree or another.

but what city did he become batman in? a city that was besieged with mob and gang violence, with a police force that was near thoroughly corrupt, politicians on the take, judges under the thumb of the mob and on and on. basically a hyper version of the nypd or lapd coupled with the very best capitol hill has to offer. to the point the crime lords ran the city the cops and the politicians. once he became batman yea he inspired the super criminals and psychos to erupt form the mess most famously the joker created himself to try and foil batman, riddler started doing crimes to try and outsmart the greatest detective alive, etc etc. but would they have just gone away if batman helped clean up the city and then retired or whatever?

is it realistic that someone would lose their parents, go into exile, become a master of all martial arts, forensics, mediation, yoga and on and on and them come back to fight crime in a few years? hell no but it is a bleeping comic after all.

yea he has raised 3 robins 2 or 3 of which are into full adulthood, with a teenage son now days in the mix, which would make him pretty damn old, but then again it is a comic.

if you picked apart most any comic or action hero they tend to not stand up to the harsh light of logic or common sense or realism most definately.

but we all like heroes, we need heroes weither they be comic book ones, sports ones, real life ones on occasion, comic ones barely age, they never falter, and they are rarely plagued by the reality that our sports/real life heroes are doping up or beating their gfs, or cheating on their wives.

batman is an icon because he is one of the first super heroes that lasted the ages and continues to be popular, he is one of the few super heroes that has no supernatural or inhuman abilities, he also wins most battles using his mind and his human skills and some scifi tech, but he is no superman or wonder woman or x men or 80% of all other super heroes that are super in some physical way.

he is in effect the ideal human in mental and physical diciplines, if he was not emotionally scarred he would be pretty damn boring to write about otherwise.

Whoops, I just read this as "Batm-anal-yzed" which I thought would be a discussion about why the authorities removed robin from his custody...

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