Why I Love Batman

Why I Love Batman

It was posed to me today, via the delicious social networking orgy addicto-sphere that is Twitter, why I like Batman so much. Like any deep love, the answer to that question is multi-faceted, complicated, and extremely personal. Here’s the breakdown:

1. Batman is a super hero sans super powers. Batman was not born on a distant planet that imbued him the ability to leap tall buildings in a single bound. He wasn’t bitten by a radioactive spider, and even if he had been he probably would have punched that spider in the neck, severing its carotid artery, and then Alfred would have sucked out the radioactive venom with his mouth. Batman isn’t the only popular super hero to fight crime without having a leg up on humanity, but he certainly does it with the most flair. Although some would argue that a vast family fortune, friends in high places, and a cave at one’s disposal would qualify as sort of super human, let us not forget that the only reason Bruce Wayne has these things at his disposal is because his parents were murdered. Bringing me to…

2. Batman’s sense of morality is as muddled as his villains’. Batman spends great swaths of time sitting around mulling his place in society. He is self-constructed, and yet has become a circularly perpetuated necessity. The Joker has pointed out that most of the villains in Gotham City only exist because Batman does – he created them; having espoused himself as above the law drove the bad guys toward a sort of hyper-villainy to counter him. Batman’s morals are not so cut-and-dry as Republican Abercrombie model Superman, and he struggles with whether “legal,” “moral,” and “right” can be conflated. Batman doesn’t kill people; that’s not his modus operandi. He has, however, questioned why not. Death is a relatively arbitrary line to draw for a man who is about as vicious as they come. His moniker “Caped Crusader” takes on a certain poignancy when you realize with what zealotry Batman Old West-style prosecutes bad guys for whom he himself has acted as judge, jury. Who needs the executioner when you’ve got Batman?

3. Batman’s an emotionally volatile whiny boy, which is the scariest weakness of all. Wayne bowed out for a number of years to train to peak physical condition, during which time he apparently didn’t work real hard on getting over mom and dad’s murder. He returned to Gotham City fit and ready to kick some baddie’s asses, but his emotional state was so stunted he could think of little else outside crime fighting other than the loss of his parents (and the occasional booty call from Selina Kyle, Talia al Ghul, and maybe Poison Ivy depending on how strong her mind control serum is). Decades and decades worth of Batman comics show the terrifying ramifications of now allowing one’s self to heal. Batman regularly wakes up from the recurring nightmare of the day the Wayne’s were shot. He takes on a confused, heavy-handed, and sort of disturbing parental role with Robins Jason Todd and Dick Grayson (the most giggle-worthy name in all of superhero-dom). Not to mention Batman’s penchant for freaking the fuck out whenever anybody mentions Alice in Wonderland, the book his mom used to read to him when he was young (making The Mad Hatter one hell of a psychological trigger, and the villain by whom Batman is particularly disgusted).

When Batman’s punching henchman in the face down by the docks, he’s thinking of mother dearest. Batman also bemoans his perpetual bachelorhood, citing his vigilantism as the trade-off for a life spent in solitude. Alfred might be able to set broken bones, whip up some mean Earl Grey, and remind you of the Batcave passcode when you come home punch drunk after a night spent with Killer Croc, but he’s no big-boobed redhead Pamela Isley.

4. The science of Batman is terrifying. Bruce Wayne may have a state-of-the-art crime fighting setup deep in the bat-infested bowels of Wayne Manor, but that’s science’s squeaky clean, highly efficient, vaguely communist existence in the Batman universe. In the seedy underbelly of Gotham City, science festers and grows, like a cancer, unchecked by nature. It is grotesque, horrifying, something good gone terribly wrong. Science’s pendulum is always oscillating precariously between constructive and destructive. Science may have put petroleum-filled tires on the Batmobile à la armored cars, but it also seriously fucked up Bane’s brain (which, oddly, doesn’t explain his taste for Mexican wrestling masks). Science experiments resulted in the bat-ifying of Dr. Kirk Langstrom, mild-mannered bat scientist by day, hideous man-bat killing machine by night. Plus don’t even get me started on Scarecrow, whose fear gas is the pinnacle of humanity’s misuse of science and who has actually given me nightmares.


Batman is a dark, brooding, single-minded, scary as balls motherfucker. He will kick all y’all’s asses.

Katie Sisneros