Batman (Bruce Wayne) has lived in the mainstream comic spotlight since the dawn of Superhero Comics. Making his first appearance way back in 1939 (‘Detective Comics #27’), Batman helped kickstart the Superhero genre and continues to be a cash cow for DC to this day. Throughout his history, Batman has teetered on the edge of what it means to be a hero. Often lurking in the shadows, Batman does not go about business in typical hero fashion. He does not seek the spotlight and neither does he want credit for his actions. He does not work with the law (with the exception of James Gordon). He lives above and around the law and is free to do so. So then, if he does not follow any of the standard “Hero” guidelines, is he really a hero or a vigilante?
Batman is, by the mainstream definition, a vigilante. He operates outside the boundaries of the law and often apprehends criminals in quite brutal ways. However, he can also be perceived as a hero since he protects the citizens of Gotham, and even though he goes up against some of the evilest and most deranged villains in DC comics, Batman follows a strict moral code and doesn’t kill. He still objectively is not fully a hero due to his paranoia, techniques of apprehending criminals, and his approach to crime fighting.
Of course, many of you might think he follows the “Anti-Hero” guidelines. I challenge you to think about Batman in a different way for just a moment, and you may find that you agree with me. If you’re interested in more, keep reading!
Batman is a well-known vigilante.
Dictionary.com defines vigilante as “any person who takes the law into his or her own hands, as by avenging a crime.” Dictionary.com must have taken that directly from the life of Batman.
Batman is a vigilante who lives life by his own moral codes and ethics. He is the judge, juror, and executioner.
If, for whatever reason, you have trouble believing me, go watch Christopher Nolan’s ‘The Dark Knight‘? More specifically, watch the scene in which he makes an attempt to get The Joker to talk. A normal hero would allow the police to do what they must do. Batman?
He walked into the room and beat him up. So, is Batman really a hero?
Batman has no powers.
Batman has no gifts or powers, unlike his counterparts in the Justice League (Superman, Wonder Wonder, The Flash, etc…), who have powers to spare.
Bruce Wayne uses his money and technological knowledge to create the tools he needs to get the job done. Before you get upset, I’m not saying that this isn’t smart.
However, he can’t fly, run quickly, shoot lasers from his eyes, lift a building, or any other heroic trait.
Batman is a menace.
Tell me this: If Batman did not exist, would his enemies exist? Frank Miller doesn’t seem to think so.
In one of the most famous Batman storylines, ‘The Dark Knight Returns,’ Bruce Wayne is 55 years old and long retired as Batman. In a moment of uncertainty, he returns to the life of crime he left. His return awakens The Joker, who has taken residency at Arkham Asylum. Now awake, The Joker convinces his caretakers to allow him to go on a talk show, where he murders everyone.
Let me now ask you once again; is the sole reason for the existence of the villains in Batman’s universe because Batman exists?
I propose that Batman leaves them alone and lets them carry on with a normal life. So, is Batman really a hero?
Batman deliberately kills, well, at least he used to
In the very FIRST issue, Batman wrapped a chain around his enemy’s neck, attached the noose to his plane, and took off. In typical Batman fashion, he then proclaimed, “He’s probably better off this way.”
By the way, it doesn’t end there.
He has been caught:
- Crushing an uncountable amount of people under cars
- Driving cars carrying passengers off cliffs
- Stabbing people in the head
- Leaving enemies to starve to death in inescapable rooms
Does he knowingly kill? Yes, but Man of Steel doesn’t count. Only good movies count.
I ask; if a hero is supposed to do all the right things while remaining on the positive side of justice, why does it give Batman the right to kill? So, is Batman really a hero?
Batman keeps “How To” files on all his Justice League Members.
Yes, you read that right.
Inside his computer, he keeps files on how to take down each member of the Justice League. I suppose he has trust issues and wants to be prepared if one of them ever goes rogue, but really? If I could choose a partner, Batman, and his trust issues would be at the top of my list.
If, throughout his existence, all these signs pointed at Batman not being a hero, how does society still cheer for this guy? I can’t speak for you, but I won’t be rooting for this criminal anytime soon.
Do you consider Batman to be a hero, vigilante, or an anti-hero? Let us know in the comments below!