Tuesday, 25 March 2014

5 Reasons not to love Batman

Firstly, can I say that this is a VERY hard list to make. See, I love Batman. He’s the trainer of Nightwing, who is my favourite DC character, so it’s hard for me to suggest he’s something other than phenomenal.

But let’s face it; there are plenty of pop-culture characters out there who we look at with rose-coloured glasses, and Batman is definitely one of them. We like to think there is nothing wrong with old bat; that everybody loves him; everybody with a brain, anyway.

Fact is nobody’s perfect; even in fiction, so I’m going to give you five reasons to like Batman a little less. 

Please note that these aren’t reasons to hate him, just to admit that he’s not the perfect character.

Reasons I won’t use

I’ll be making no references to movies, Batman and Robin is an awful film, but it is based on the character of Batman; it’s not Batman himself.

I also won’t be saying that you should love Batman less because another character is “better”- that’s way too subjective an answer.

Finally; don’t worry. I’ll be doing this sort of article on a bunch of characters, so don’t think I’m just hating on Batman or even DC Comics.

Let’s get into it.

1.       Inspires nobody
"Hey kid! Wanna be Robin?"

Look at characters like Superman, or Captain America. These guys hold a pretty high moral code, typically. They set a standard for the rest of us and actually inspire us to reach their level of character.
Batman... not so much.

Batman’s all about making people fear him. In essence, he fulfils a fairly adolescent alpha-male fantasy where teenage boys dream of being the most feared guy in the room simply because they’re angry at the world. 

Sure, Batman’s goals are noble on the surface, but deep down, they don’t bespeak a higher way of thinking, or a lofty ideal. He’s there to scare the spit out of bad guys.

But... But... Aw, nuts!

2.       Not a nice guy.

Batman has admitted this on more than one occasion. And he has a point; he recruits twelve-year-olds as
Robins, which he sends out dressed in bright red, green and yellow while he wears black and skulks in the shadows. And what’s the reward for this Bat-internship, two out of four times, it’s the horrific death of said Robins.

Batman’s goal seems to be to get into arguments with everybody. He keeps secrets from his closest allies and devises ways to kill them simply because he trusts nobody. Gee... sounds like a killer at parties...

3.       Overpowered

This is pretty much his answer for everything.
This is a criticism usually levelled at Superman, but Superman’s powers are directly proportionate to the enemies he faces. You wouldn’t want to take on Doomsday as Green Arrow.

Batman, on the other hand, is supposed to have no powers. Yet somehow, Batman is able to shrug off even the most devastating injuries. Take the Court of Owls story arc, for example; Batman gets stabbed through the chest, and later walks around like nothing ever happened.  Normal human beings with no powers don’t do that- they just fall on the ground, bleed out and die. And that’s probably more power than he needs to have, considering that half of his rogues gallery posses no powers at all. Does Batman really need a healing factor to defeat the Joker, Penguin or Two-Face?

4.       Too many books

The New 52 in three year's time.
In the New 52 alone, Batman has had six different books, soon to be seven. He’s in Batman, Batman Detective Comics, Batman the Dark Knight, Batman and Robin and Batman Incorporated. And that’s just books in the New 52. There’s still Batman ’66 and Batman Lil’ Gotham. On top of that, we’ll soon be seeing Batman Eternal hit shelves as a weekly series.

Put simply, it’s too much of a good thing. See, Batman is equal parts saving and destroying the New 52. Sure, Batman sells, and that give DC the money it needs. But for every Batman book, that’s one other book that can’t be written instead. Please, DC, get this through your head: WE DON’T NEED MORE BATMAN!!!

5.       Not that much of a planner, really

For a guy with a plan for everything, he makes this face a lot.
When it comes to the New 52, at least, most of Batman’s plans are really done on the fly. His best stories are when his plans fail to work, causing him to use his other skills. The idea that he is always well prepared hasn’t really had any basis in recent stories.

These aren’t reasons to hate Batman, and if you have started to after reading this, I haven’t done this right, but they are legitimate criticisms for the character. I feel that as consumers it is our job to know where things could be done better, even (indeed, especially) when it concerns the characters we love. We want them to achieve their fullest potential, and that can only happen when we know where improvements can be made.
In future, expect one of these for Iron Man.

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