Since he first appeared as a Bat-winged, pulp inspired (and notably gun wielding) crime fighter in Detective Comics #27 in May 1939 – Batman, created by Bob Kane and fleshed out to the degree that we know and love him now by legendary writer/artist Bill Finger has been a staple of our comics, TV and movie diet for the past 70 + years.
He’s been through various changes, both psychological and physical – going from a normally shaped brooding guy in a bat suit (the 40′s) to a campy grey and blue suited flamboyant catchphrase spouter (the 60′s) – to the musclebound, super-brained, dark detective and feasible beater of super-powered heroes way beyond our average human tech and guile, by being the ultimate pinnacle of human bad-assery and will- power given bat-form (from the 80′s onward).
Batman is best known for spending a significant portion of his life traveling the world and acquiring the skills needed to aid in his crusade against crime, which includes knowledge and expertise in almost every discipline known to man. This knowledge is said to be nearly unparalleled by any other character in the DC Universe and his further mastery of martial arts is said to be unparalleled also, which according to Batman Wikia includes:
”127 styles of martial arts including Muay Thai, Escrima, Krav Maga, Capoeira, Savate, Yawyan, Taekwondo, Judo, Jujitsu, Ninjitsu, Kendo, Fencing, Kenjitsu, Kali, Bojutsu, Francombat, Boxing, Kickboxing, Hapkido, Wing Chun, Parkour, Shorin Ryu, Silat, Chin Na, Hokuto Shinken, Kyudo, Aikido, Varma Adi, Jeet Kune Do, Shaolin, Ba Gua, Hung Gar, Tai Chi, Kung Fu, Kenpo, and Karate.”
Last I checked Parkour wasn’t a martial art, but considering the length of the list we’ll let it slide. Famed Batman scribe Grant Morrison had Superman once describe Bats as “the most dangerous man on Earth,” as well as the world’s greatest detectives, if not the world’s greatest crime solver. He famously punched through Guy Gardners Green Lantern Rings (the most powerful weapon in the Universe) force field to knock the hot head out with one punch (Justice League #5)
and even took on Superman (Dark Knight Returns #4) and later beat the shit out of him with Kryptonite Gauntlets (Dark Knight Strikes Again #1). Add this to the fact that he’s a billionaire with almost unlimited resources to exercise his scientific, crime fighting know how and he seems on the surface at least to be an unbeatable vigilante with a contingency plan for every situation who’s so bad-ass at a human level he competes in the ‘super’ leagues.
So why then is this writer, a 20 year + Batman reader, watcher and general appreciator titling this article 5 Reasons Batman Is A Terrible Hero (But We Love Him Anyway)?
Fans prepare to have your assertions challenged as I treat Batman like a ‘real guy’ and culpable adult. Oh, and let the ‘Fan Rage’ Begin:
5. He’s A Terrible Crime Fighter
There are plenty of ways to fight crime that are way more effective than donning a bullet proof Bat-Suit and scaring/beating the shit out of criminals until they’re lying in a pile of their own piss and vomit before looking forward to 18 months of pain and recovery in traction. Sure you can spend billions of dollars on a plane that has a cloaking device or a super-car that could side-swipe a tank, but in an impoverished, crime riddled city featuring some of the most notable psychopaths in comics history Batman doesn’t spend much time looking at the bigger picture.
Sure with Batman Inc. he looked at putting a Batman globally in every city. But with Billions in the bank the Wayne Foundation has yet to set up a social outreach program to help prevent vulnerable kids falling into crime or say:
‘encourage employees to work with students in skills training, youth group leadership, mentoring, coaching, and similar one-to-one and small group activities’
‘emphasize prevention as the preferred way to deal with violence. Ask what schools, law enforcement agencies, public health agencies, libraries, workplaces, religious institutions, child protective agencies, and others are doing to prevent, not just react to, violence. What policies do they have to prevent weapons-related violence? How can they help the community?’
or any of the other things on something like this crime prevention list by JustGive.org.
And not only does Batman do a poor job of preventing crime but he also escalates regular crime by creating super-psychopaths with Bat fueled vendettas. The Joker is the most prime example of this (particularly if Alan Moore’s Killing Joke is to be considered canonical as Jokers Origin), a character who according to DC’s Wikia:
has the largest single body count of any villain in the DCU. Cheshire, Mongul, Black Adam, and the Secret Society of Super Villains have all devastated entire cities, but the Joker probably has killed the most people in single acts. Part of Joker’s high murder rate is because he is largely indiscriminate in how he kills, ranging from the traditional, such as knives, guns, and explosives, to his signature Joker venom and electric buzzer. This list excludes the Emperor Joker storyline, though it’s worth mentioning that in that storyline, the Joker not only murdered Batman dozens of times over, but also destroyed first the entire planet, and then nearly the cosmos (luckily, it was all undone).
Nice one Batman. Gotham’s so lucky to have you.
Reasons We Love Him Anyway
If Batman dealt with crime in a more sensible manner he’d have pretty much no crazy crime-fighting antics to get up to. And who doesn’t love seeing Batman hit someone so hard they puke.