Many of us have grown up with Batman lore in our lives. Whether it be from cartoons, comic books, toys, or our parents Bruce Wayne is as common a household name as Ralphie during Christmas time. Throughout his publication, Bruce has been taken into very many conflicts both internal and external. Using wit and reasoning to determine and defeat every challenge he’s ultimately up against or besting them in single combat with his superior martial arts, Bruce always finds a way and pulls through.
Today, we are here to question Batman’s methods in hopes to shed light on the situations they create. A light that I think you’ll find to be eye-opening and a bit informal of the reality that Batman reflects back to us, to see if Bruce really does bring justice to Gotham. Or if in reality, he’s the greatest villain of all time, having us and everyone in the DCU believing him to be benevolent.
I think its safe to say that I don’t need to explain Batman’s backstory. It’s tragic and the very foundation for the hero as a whole. For almost a century we’ve been consuming the stories of the world’s greatest detective on a level that I would personally say puts him in the American God’s pantheon. We all know his stories, his mythos, his general sense of direction. He fights crime to make Gotham a better place, but is it a better place? Recently, his comic writers would tell you, no. You see, he’s been on a bit of a hit streak since being left at the altar by Selina Kyle (see Batman #50) and it’s clear that he is NOT okay. However, when reading these issues something struck me, that these cases of Batman going over the line are not new. In fact, I’d say these actions are the very things that defined Batman back in his early days. In the three issues following the wedding debacle (Cold Days Arc Batman #51 #52 #53) Bruce takes a front row seat as a juror in the appeal of Victor Fries. With Batman’s brutality in this case, which I will note is a common occurrence, being the lynchpin for the entire appeal, citing evidence tampering, coercing confessions, and obstructing justice.
Bruce sees through this window in horror as if he wasn’t aware of what he was doing, while his fellow jurors have clearly normalized these incidents and were very well ready to keep Mr. Freeze in prison for the rest of his life. Being the symbol of justice that he is, Bruce makes great effort to try to get these people to understand that Batman was in the wrong. Makes us all wonder how often this really happens, how often does Bruce overstep the line?
And therein lies the real question, with Batman’s infallibility as a symbol of justice, can he properly deliver such justice? At this point, can Batman just lock up who he wants and get them a life sentence, trying to though away from the key? Sounds preposterous at first, but as Bruce himself has taught us. If there’s a possibility, we must consider it as a certainty. With that being said, you don’t really have to dig deep to see what common process I’m talking about. Watch any one of the Nolan Batman movies then read the Cold Days arc and you should come to the same chilling conclusion. Batman can lock up who he wants, with evidence that anywhere else would get thrown out of every courtroom. Which leaves us to ask ourselves, is a totalitarian vigilante pyramid scheme of corruption really what we want to be aspiring to? Is Batman essentially Barbaric Barbeque Becky? Beating people trying to feed their families and getting them locked up for it. With the end of Cold Days, we can see that Tom King is trying desperately to break from this mold.