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I have loved comic books ever since I was three years old. My favorite character has always been Spider-Man from Marvel Comics (though his character could stand to be fixed as well) but one of my other favorite characters for a long time was always Batman from DC Comics.
I loved Batman for a lot of the reasons I love Spidey, though the two characters are really opposite sides of the same coin. While Spider-Man is now super-human due to the spider-bite he received from the radioactive spider, Batman is really just a human at peak physical conditioning. Both heroes operate a lot at night, swinging through the skylines of similar cities (though, arguably, Gotham is a crazy cesspool of madness compared to New York City). Spider-Man is very witty and funny and uses his yammering to distract opponents during fights. Batman is stoic and silent and gruff, using words only briefly to intimidate and letting his fists do the talking. Other than fights, the two characters are pretty stealthy. Batman is trained in ninja stealth while Spidey, due to his wall-crawling abilities, basically has ninja stealth as a granted power from the spider-bite. They also both create little gadgets to help them out, the difference in the characters being that Bruce Wayne has far more access to money than Peter Parker. Bruce Wayne, for all intents and purposes, is like Tony Stark/Iron Man from Marvel Comics (though Batman/Bruce Wayne obviously came first) in the sense that he has access to seemingly-unlimited funds for the most part and so is basically able to “buy” superpowers in the form of equipment.
One thing that must be kept in mind, however, is that in the DC Universe, Batman is a minority. Not in the traditional way, obviously, but in terms of his superpowers. Almost every character in the DC Universe can at times feel like a god in comparison with your average human being. Superman can take punches that would level city blocks. Green Lantern uses a ring of power that allows him to manifest anything his mind can create. The Flash can travel continents in the blink of an eye. Wonder Woman can deflect bullets with her wrists and can punch down buildings. And, yet, he stands among them all, usually on the Justice League. And he not only holds his own among these godlike beings – he’s actually beaten most of them, at least once or twice, depending on what storyline you read.
Many people say that Batman is a Marvel Character trapped in the DC Universe, and I’d have to agree. Batman, as a character, succeeds when he’s MORE humanized…not less, at least in my own opinion. The reason we all love Batman so much is because he’s one of the only characters who is kickass AND has absolutely no powers. Daredevil is a good Marvel Comics equivalent to Batman, but despite being blind – Daredevil effectively has a superpower in the form of his “Radar Sense”, which functions much better than actual sight so that his blindness is not a hindrance but a boon. Still the characters are very similar and Daredevil is just not as popular of a character, despite their similarities. Sure, Batman was around long before Daredevil, but their differences are just enough that the two are their own characters and the similarities should only increase interest in the character of Daredevil. But that isn’t the case, and I think the reason for this is that people love to connect with a hero they could be. Nobody can be Daredevil because nobody can realistically (as far as I know) have “Radar Sense”. But people can train and learn ninja skills or can be rich and buy lots of cool scientific gadgets. This is why Batman is so popular.
The reason why Spider-Man is a popular character in the same manner of Batman is that Spider-Man, despite his powers, has massive flaws. He is ALWAYS broke, always struggling, and that part of his character gives him that human quality. We know we could never be Spider-Man, but we are ALL Peter Parker in some way.
So, what am I getting at? Well, I’ll show you.
No – this isn’t how it would go. Even with Kryptonite, the severe disparity between the physiology of Batman’s human body VS that of a being like Superman or the Incredible Hulk would prevent any damage he could do with just his own body. If anything, Batman fighting a super-powered character would most likely end up like his fight with Wonder Woman, or worse.
Don’t get me wrong, I like to see Batman overcome the odds once in a while and really kick a super-powered being’s ass. (Tower of Babel, anyone?) But as a character, I’d like to see him move more to his roots as a detective, as a street-level crime fighter. A more intelligent Punisher. A more frightening and intimidating Spider-Man. Although it’d be hard for me to move past Spider-Man being my favorite character, Batman could easily be one of my favorite characters again. Well, at least more than he is now. He shouldn’t have a solution for everything, a contingency plan for everything. It’s why we liked it when his back was broken by Bane. It’s why we liked that his ward, Robin, was killed. It’s why we liked that his parents were dead (you cruel, evil bastards). Now he basically may as well HAVE super powers. At least that’d be an interesting development.
Whenever someone suggests that Batman could take out Galactus or Silver Surfer, they always back it up by saying “With prep time, Bats wins 10/10”. Well, with “prep time” – anyone can beat anyone. Of course if you know someone’s weaknesses you’re going to be able to beat them if you can think out a basic plan and they are unaware that you’re coming for them. Sure, he’s a great tactician, but this is also the same guy who had his back broken by Bane after not being able to connect the dots because he was too busy trying to put escaped criminals back into Arkham Asylum.
Writers, DC Editorial Staff: Bring back the human side of Batman. We like to see him flawed, we like to see him beat up a bit. In my opinion, the Court Of Owls storyline was more what I like to see done with the character. Aspects of Hush aside from the Kryptonite ring, obviously. (I like that Batman’s skull was fractured from a simple fall) Don’t give in to the fan pressure to have him unrealistically going up against vastly overpowered enemies. In doing so, you’ve had to make Batman overpowered to compensate.
Reel him in, guys, and you’ve got a classic, relatable, humanized character on your hands that I would read the hell out of.
Graduated from Saint Joseph's College Of Maine with a Bachelor's in Fine Arts - Creative Writing as well as Stonecoast, a low-residency MFA program through University of Southern Maine. Has several screenplays, a novel, graphic novel and a memoir all in development.