A column dedicated to The Dark Knight, his Bat-family, and the world he fights and protects… and other silly Batman stuff.
In this reoccurring segment, we dive into the world of The Dark Knight, his friends and enemies, and everything else around him. In this issue, we discuss the non-argument of whether or not Batman is, in fact, a superhero. He is. Deal with it. The author made us put in that last part.
In the world of Geekdom, there are an endless amount of debates that aren’t really debates at all, yet they still pop up from time to time, usually when alcohol is involved. A few examples include: Did Han shoot first? Was the Game of Thrones ending bad? Is Cobb awake at the end of Inception? The answer to all of these non-debates is a resounding “Yes”, but I’ll let you all argue about them over your craft beers while your girlfriends just want to go home. I, on the other hand, am here to discuss another non-debate that seems to have gained unnecessary traction over the years. One that I have found myself in the middle of on more occasions than I’d like to admit, alcohol or not. An argument that I have a very hard time believing is still even a thing. And that is, of course, the question of whether or not Batman is actually a “superhero.” This argument stems from the idea that in order to be a superhero, you need to be “super”. Meaning you must possess some sort of super abilities or powers. So, because Batman does not possess any of these things, he is not actually a “super” hero, and is, in fact, just your standard, not too special, “hero”. This is, of course, a made-up rule. It has never been a thing. However, NeckBeards within Geekdom have done their damnedest to use this “solid evidence” to denounce Batman as a superhero for years now. Well, NeckBeards, I pray to Zod that none of your favorite superheroes include Iron Man, The Punisher, Green Arrow, Black Widow, Star Lord, Nick Fury, Rorschach, War Machine, Hawkeye, and countless other non-powered super-heroes because…well… that would make no Zod damn sense, now would it?
The argument stems from the idea that because Batman does not possess any of these things, he is not actually a “super” hero, and is, in fact, just your standard, not too special, “hero”. This is, of course, a made-up rule.
My favorite excuse for Batman not being a superhero is, of course, “he’s just some guy with money.” Even typing that makes my butt clench with fury. I guess I’m confused as to what it is people think Batman actually does with all his money, bribe criminals into submission? He’s not Venmo-man! I assume what people mean is he uses his money to buy cars, gadgets, and other things and those are what make him so good at what he does. Well, I’m sure you can go on YouTube and find half a dozen
teenage millionaires wearing armor, throwing smoke bombs, and whipping tiny bladed boomerangs at each other, but I do not see them becoming vengeance or the night.
But let’s entertain the idea for a moment that money is the sole reason Batman is successful at fighting crime…please remind me, because my memory must be going, of all the times Mark Zuckerberg disarmed a doomsday device while being shot at or the dozens of various crime organizations Bill Gates shut down with his bare hands or that one time Warren Buffet fist-fought a God-like alien and kicked its ass around town.
Huh! Weird! I just can’t seem to think of any, can you?! The only superhuman thing a billionaire like Jeff Bezos is doing is somehow getting me my Amazon packages yesterday and that’s because I pay him for it.
Now, let’s get down to the good stuff: why Batman is a superhero. Regardless of his fortune and lack of super powers, Bruce Wayne is not “just some guy.” And to think as much would be ridiculous. He spent his entire young adult life training, all around the world, to be the best at, well, literally everything.
After his parents died, he vowed to rid Gotham of crime, which meant pushing himself to the edge, mentally and physically, in every possible way in order to fulfill that vow. The guy has mastered 127 different forms of martial arts, achieved peak human conditioning and strength, gone through various courses and training to raise his intellect and IQ to genius levels, learned detective skills that make Sherlock Holmes look like Scooby Doo, and has a willpower stronger than the knees that broke his unreasonably strong and perfectly sculpted back! We’ve all seen people push themselves harder than we thought possible, maybe because there was something driving them further than everybody else, and Bruce Wayne takes that idea to a whole new level…
I’m sure you can go on YouTube and find half a dozen teenage millionaires wearing armor, throwing smoke bombs, and whipping tiny bladed boomerangs at each other, but I do not see them becoming vengeance or the night.
Some would even say, superhuman levels. See what I did there? Bruce Wayne isn’t a normal person who bought his way into crime fighting, he’s a broken human being who pushed himself to every possible limit there is to be the very best and he used all of the resources at his disposal to aid in his pursuit of a crime-free Gotham. So, the reality is, Batman is a superhero because he doesn’t have any superpowers. He pushed himself to the strength, speed, agility, and intellect of Captain America without ever needing the cheat-code
that is Super Solider Serum to do it. All he needed was some old-fashioned family trauma and an unhealthy amount of strong will. In fact, in basically every iteration of Batman in which he does gain some kind of superpower, it isn’t like, “oh, hey, Batman can fly now.” Nope! The dude becomes a God! Other superpowered beings crap their spandex when “the human” gets all the superpowers you idiots keep complaining he didn’t have before! So, let Batman be a human, ‘cause he scares the hell o tta the other heroes when he does have powers.
And as far as the definition of “superhero” goes, a superhero is someone who fights crime on the same level of others who do have powers. That’s all. No powers required, just the ability to keep up and stay alive. Which Batman, the superhero, has very much done. Thank you for coming to my TED talk.