When it comes to “Superheroes” one of them stands out to me above any other. From DC to Marvel and beyond there is no hero like Batman. There are plenty of more powerful, and there are those who believe this is not even true, but let me go over just why the best of all heroes is the Bat.
Originating in 1939 through Bob Kane & Bill Finger, Detective Comics #27. The iconic character has lived through 80 years of telling, re-telling, remakes, spin-offs, and otherwise. There is a particular reason that it has a peculiar following of fans. Is it the simple narrative of a Dark Knight versus villains of a variety? Is it his detective stories of intrigue and mind games? Or is it something else entirely?
Unlike Superman, Batman holds a major difference. You see unlike most heroes The Batman does his duties without actual praise. While it would be easy to see paper headlines, “The Batman Strikes Again”, and such, there is no direct praise or recognition for his work. He continues as Gotham’s vigilante, and does so from the shadows not seeking any recognition other than he was there. More to send a message to other criminals the Batman was there, than to virtue signal. He does it without being asked. He made himself do it, go out every night in a crime addled city and fight each day.
That is what makes him better already. He pushes himself to continue a persona that is duality. Bruce Wayne is a Billionaire playboy that showed no interest in Batman’s doings, and more than once made fun of the Batman. Bruce Wayne often would do things like buy restaurants and hotels, just so he can play around with it. However, his alter ego being The Batman, it is quite the opposite. He presents a cold, calculating, methodical presence of intimidation and fear. He is not loud, boisterous, or hysterical. He is focused and driven, and there was no stopping him if he was set to it. We all have these kinds of sides to ourselves, and when one can be productive the other may be otherwise. Regardless duality of Batman is evident and very relatable.
Another feature that sets Batman apart is unlike many of the other heroes, he has no super powers, no super abilities granted to him from rings, serums, spiders, or ooze. He as human as any one of his fans, and as human as anyone can be. With a depth from his past where his parents were killed, to becoming the Dark Knight of Gotham, he has a rich history, and story-line. However in his rich history, he pushed himself to stand on the same team as Superman, and Wonder Woman. The idea is he is a human that has pushed his body and senses to become superhuman. Not that he could actually hear super human but his inventiveness and ingenuity created more than enough for his setbacks.
A story-line of Batman was an alternate dimension where he had no money and he still became the Batman. He crafted his gear, albeit it was a bit less flashy, and maybe somewhat rugged, it still let him become the character man he was intended to be. This is what is so interesting, it’s not his money that makes him super, it’s his mind. He continues to use it, to strengthen it with tests from Riddler, Joker, Penguin and more. He is nightly faced with the challenges of these villains of Gotham, as well as fighting for a belief he has.
Gotham is not a good city. It’s riddled with crime, and often wet with rains. The streets just as clogged and congested as any American city. However in this (fantasy) world there is dangerous element of villains, and their following. That’s not the city Batman fights for, he looks at the city with the thoughts of those children like him. To the ones who may lose their parents if he doesn’t go out and do what must be done. He thinks of the husbands, the mothers, the people of the city trying their hardest to be good despite the hardships of their city lives. He considers all the innocents that he wants to protect, and the people who need him. If even one life was saved that night, Batman made a difference.
The last credit to the icon of many various movies, television, comic, and other merchandise is that the character of Batman is also one who made an oath to himself. He vowed not to kill. So despite how many times he was shot at, no matter how many times he was beaten or blown up, no matter who he was with, he vowed he would never kill. The idea of a hero that would fight even the most vile of villains like the Joker, and still the game of Joker wanting Batman to break that oath, he wouldn’t do it. No matter how much he felt it, no matter how justified he was, he knew that if he was to do it – he would become it.
It’s easy in this world to do something for you and be selfish, to only care about yourself because no one else does. And while this is true to some degree it’s a selflessness, a sacrifice that makes heroes amazing. If you choose to be the individual of the world that is bad because that’s all you got from it, then you become the villain. Where you always have a choice. You always have the choice not to let yourself become that villain, and make different path for yourself.