I write up a post, and this is the first comment I see. Great. Now some pencil pushing clown is telling me Batman is good. I mentioned briefly in my last post that Batman is a lame character. And he is. He’s the very definition of lame: broken, fractured, useless. Gotham city would be better off without the Batman.
Batman is considered one of the greatest superheroes of all time. Starting out as a comic book character in 1939, he’s since become a franchise, with movies, video games, cartoons, toys, clothing lines, and novels. Often hailed as ‘The World’s Greatest Detective’, he’s a combination of Sherlock Holmes and Bruce Lee, a gifted criminal investigator at the top of peak physical condition. If I were to guess, I would say that Batman is the world’s favorite superhero. Unlike most heroes of today mythos, Batman possesses no special powers, except for an iron will, a genius level IQ, and billions of dollars at his disposal.
This is going to be a three part post. In the first post, I will demonstrate exactly who Batman is, what his capabilities are, and why he fights. In the second post, I will explain why the selection of choices he made as a young adult have warped his perception, and why he’s perpetuating and escalating the violence in Gotham city. Finally, I’ll evaluate Batman and try to accurately diagnose exactly what wrong with him.
Bruce Wayne, the alter ego of Batman, is the son of the rich industrialist Thomas Wayne. When he was a young boy, Bruce saw his father and mother, Martha Wayne, gunned down in front of him. Determined to make sure the tragedy would never happen to anyone else, he dedicated his life to fighting as the masked vigilante known as Batman.
Let’s talk how good Batman is at being Batman. He’s considered by Superman to be ‘The most dangerous person on Earth’ and by dangerous, he meant badass. First and foremost, he possess indomitable will. He’s an expert as interrogations, whether it’s methods used by law enforcement or straight up torture. He’s physically conditioned to a level bordering on superhuman, his benches over a thousand pounds, his reflexes are off the charts, he’s probably the finest human specimen on the planet. He’s a master at gymnastics and acrobatics.
He has mastered over a hundred styles of martial arts, including Muay Thai, Karate, Ninjitsu, Krav Maga, Judo, Boxing, Shaolin Kung-Fu, just to name a few. He’s not just familiar with them, he has mastered them. This bears repeating. He’s proficient with weapons as well, including swords and throwing stars. In the comic book world, he’s one of the best hand-to-hand combatants in the universe.
Did I mention he’s smart? Insanely smart. With an IQ of 192, he’s a genius. Here’s a list of the subjects he has university degrees in:
- Criminal Science
- Computer Science
He’s also studied mathematics, mythology, geography, history, diverse environmental training, security systems and even magic. He’s can also speak a dozen languages. To top that all off, he’s a brilliant strategist, is an escape artist, a crack pilot, better at driver vehicles than professional race car drivers, a knowledgeable tracker and a master of disguise.
Batman accomplished all of this and more before he was thirty, and was already fighting crime during much of this. Batman is a bona fide badass.
You think Batman is cool? You should see the lineup of villains he’s regularly putting away at Arkham Asylum. There’s the Killer Croc, a ten foot alligator-man who’s more brawn than brain. Poison Ivy, a femme fatale who can control plant life. The Riddler, a criminal mastermind who loves puzzles. The Penguin, an old school mob boss with a love of umbrellas. Two-Face, who was a district attorney in Gotham before an accident scared him and awoke a split personality disorder. Bane, a juiced up warrior, known as the man who ‘Broke the Bat’. And lastly, his most famous foe, the Joker. A psychotic clown who is known to have murdered thousands of people, he’s the Yin to Batman’s Yang. Where Batman represents order, the Joker represents chaos.
Batman wages war on these villains and the general scourge of crime plaguing Gotham city. He’s relentless, as he made a promise to his parents, all those years ago as a child, to right wrongs and fight injustice as he saw fit. Batman will hang up the cowl when he believes Gotham is safe.
Batman is a cool character, don’t get me wrong. As a superhero though, he fails on many levels. The next post is going to talk about how he’s made Gotham a worse place to live, ten-fold. This post set up all the pins, the next one is going to knock ’em down.
The Illustrious Mr. Charlton
p.s. There’s just two things I want you to take away from this. Batman is insanely smart, and Batman is insanely rich. We’ll discuss why that’s a problem tomorrow.