The World’s Greatest Detective, The Caped Crusader, The Dark Knight- names given to Gotham’s most famous and infamous savior, Batman. This past week was Batman’s 80th anniversary so before I begin my argument, I have to say I love the Bat. He was the first superhero I’ve ever known, he’s my favorite DC hero, and his movies helped inspire me and taught me how to always keep fighting…that being said I’m here to join the argument that Batman isn’t a superhero.
To begin with, let’s talk about the Bat Family as a whole, a majority of which Bruce Wayne included as mere children. Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, and Tim Drake were orphans who were adopted by Bruce Wayne, one of the richest men in Gotham and surely the world; his son son Damian was raised to be a fierce and brutal warrior by his grandfather Ra’s Al Ghul and his mother Talia; Barbara Gordon was the daughter of Jim Gordon, one of Batman’s closest allies. Grayson, his original Robin, became Nightwing, leaving Batman’s side partly because Batman’s methods were becoming too brutal. Nightwing acts much more like a typical superhero than his former mentor, using his skills to dismantle the criminals of Bludhaven in a reserved manor with a more warm, friendly persona unlike Batman who spreads fear with a cold persona and causes extreme psychological, physical and collateral damage in his wake. Kids prone to violence such as Jason and Damian should have been counseled to vent there aggressive feelings in a calming, non destructive activities, not given costumes and told to beat the shit out of people. Even when Jason Todd was presumed dead in Batman: Death in the family it didn’t stop him from getting another Robin, despite Todd’s brutal end in the field, leading to him becoming the vigilante Red Hood. Damian would also perish in DC rebirth. Barbara Gordon, would get paralyzed in The Killing Joke, and instead of seeing the error of the life he leads, he allows her to aid him as Oracle rather than help her lead a healthy life post Batgirl. His most trusted friend and confidant Alfred Pennyworth enable him in these actions as Gordon turns a blind eye to his more questionable acts, not knowing Batman had a part to play in his daughter ending up in a wheelchair for the rest of her life.
Now that we established how Batman effects his friends, let’s talk about his foes. It’s a well known fact many of his foes are triggered by Batman’s presence in the world. Scarecrow aspire to bring the fear Batman does; Riddler persists to outsmart Batman; Bane wants to be prove he’s stronger than the Bat; Catwoman gets off on the excitement of getting pursued by Batman; and Ra’s Al Ghul focuses more on Gotham because of his interest in Batman just to name a few examples. Many of his other villains exhibit legitimate mental disorders such as Two-Face, Scarface, the Mad Hatter, Firefly, and of course Joker and Harley Quinn. Joker, Batman’s nemesis, has been responsible for more pain in Batman’s life than anyone and exists primarily because of him. Without him, Joker would give up. This has been proven in Death of the Family, The Dark Knight , Batman: White Knight and even in The Dark Knight Returns. Most would kill the psychotic clown, Batman allows him to live along with the rest of his villains, knowing they will break out and kill again and again. In Batman: Under the Red Hood Todd literally tells his former mentor this and goes out as Red Hood to kill the criminals Batman won’t, including the Joker, to stop him once and for all. While the subject raises a lot of moral questions and debates, it is a fact Gotham seems better off without it’s dark protector. Gotham is city of corruption and dirty dealings and Batman, for all his moral flaws does help combat that but also adds too the problem as well and can be seen as one of it’s rogues in a seemingly never-ending gallery. May the the gaming gods bring you glory.