The Reasons for My Fascination of Batman and His Universe
Through Two Mediums #2
Video Link: https://youtu.be/hlE_abyfV_k
On most occasions, I would not call myself one who knows a lot about comic books or superheroes. However, I have always had a fascination of Batman from a quite young age. When I was younger, it was most probably because he was a badass. As I grew older, this fascination has grew. There was something about Batman that was just better than any superhero.
The dark and grim tone of the Batman comics set a foundation of the amazing Batman stories we have today. Batman is a hero that is much more than just his abilites and equipment. A lot of layers of Batman exist separate from the suit. Each layer has its own story.
(Spoiler Warning: if you do not want any of the Batman storylines to be spoiled, do not read this)
Bruce Wayne lost his parents, Thomas and Martha Wayne, at a young age due to a shooting in Crime Alley. This point proved to be pivotal to Bruce’s life. Now, he had a drive to free Gotham from its crime and corruption. This is the reason he chose to become the Batman. This story may be cliché but that is not the end of this story. Bruce Wayne, in the form of Batman, can be considered a mentally broken person as much as any criminal in Gotham. The Joker has pointed this out many times himself. The Joker believes that Batman is just as broken as the Joker, himself, is. Both of them had a “bad day” that drove them the brink of insanity. But, a difference exists and this difference can be considered the very thin line between Batman and the Joker. Batman’s insanity makes him fight crime and Joker’s insanity makes him the crime.
Batman’s Moral Code
Most Batman fans know that Batman does not kill. There are some exceptions to this code including The Killing Joke but these were special moments with a pyschology of their own. In the Batman Animated Movie, Batman Vs Robin, the audience sees that Damian Wayne, Batman’s son and one of the Robins, is struggling with the idea of not killing. Batman has instilled this idea of “Justice, not vengeance!” into his mind, but it is not working. Vengeance would be killing the person but justice is different. The boundary of this moral code is questionable for a lot of people. There has to be a point after which the Batman would kill. However, this boundary simply does not exist. When Joker brutally murdered Jason Todd, the second Robin, with a crow bar, Batman did not kill Joker still. Jason was like a son to Bruce Wayne and Bruce Wayne was further broken as a human after this event. He could have easily killed the Joker for revenge but he did not. When Jason Todd comes back to life as the Red Hood, he is frustrated with Batman for not killing the Joker after his death. He questions Batman about this and what Batman says back is very interesting:
It’d be too damned easy. All I have ever wanted to do is kill him. For years a day hasn’t gone by where I haven’t envisioned taking him and spending an entire month putting him through the most horrendous, mindboggling forms of torture… I want him dead — maybe more than I’ve ever wanted anything. But if I do that, if I allow myself to go down into that place… I’ll never come back. (Batman: Under The Hood Story Arc)
The two highlights of this shrunken quote are “I want him dead — maybe more than I’ve ever wanted anything,” and, “But if I do that, if I allow myself to go down into that place… I’ll never come back.” The first section shows me two things. It shows extreme control and the intensity of hate he has towards the Joker. It is the thing he has wanted the most in his life and he can do it; but he won’t let himself do it. He cannot give down to his wants. The intensity of hate also shows through because I would believe the thing that Batman wants the most is his parents. His parents’ death was the reason he became Batman. If he wants to kill Joker more than bring back his parents, that is some terrifying level of hate. The second quote shows that Batman is scared he will lose control even if he kills one villain. He cannot make an exception because he believes he will keep making more exceptions after that.
Gotham City is undoubtedly a living entity of the Batman Universe. Gotham is a corrupted soul with crime at its core. It is a stirring place for the evil. Darkness lures every corner and it is absolutely crazy. A great video on Gotham City is made by a YouTuber known as the nerdwriter1. This video covers some interesting topics that make you think of Gotham as much more than a city and this is totally true. Gotham is much more than just a city. Even Bruce Wayne agrees with this point.
And it’s that this city… I truly believe that if I did it, if I killed Joker, Gotham would just send me someone worse. Maybe even send him back, but worse than before. I know how it sounds, but — (Bruce Wayne, Batman Issue #17 — Death of the Family)
This is some wicked psychology that Batman has. He believes that killing Joker would just result in Gotham City striking back with another villain worse than Joker or Joker in an even worse form. The reason why Batman believes this is because he thinks that Gotham is a living thing that stirs with evil and it will play its next card when one fails.
Along with Batman being my favourite superhero, Joker has to be my favourite supervillian. His insanity and psychology are unmatched by anyone. The Killing Joke is a perfect example of this insanity. The whole premise of the story is that Joker wants to prove a point that anyone, even with the most stable mind, can go crazy with “one bad day”. The Joker had its one bad day when he lost his wife and fell into an acid pit (that’s a very shrunken down version of his story). Now, he was trying to use Commissioner Gordon to prove his point. He went to the Commissioner’s house, shot and paralyzed his daughter, Barbara Gordon. After doing so, he took Commisioner Gordon to an amusement park in which he tortured him. Shooting Barbara was not the only thing he had done with her. He had stripped her naked and taken photos of her with her bullet injury. With these photos, he tortured Gordon by forcing him to see them. This is the level Joker went to only to prove one point and that is honestly crazy.
Robin is the name of Batman’s sidekick and there have been many who have taken the mantle of Robin. Each of them had their own effect on Batman and created an important relationship with him. The first Robin, Dick Grayson, was important to Batman because he got Batman to open up a bit. Their relationship got bumpy as the years passed but he still added to Batman as a character. Even later, when Dick became Nightwing, he was very influencial on Batman as an ally rather than a sidekick. The second Robin, Jason Todd, was like a son of Batman’s and when he died, it played a big role on the sanity of Batman. Bruce Wayne was further broken than ever before. Damian Wayne, the legitimate child of Bruce Wayne and Talia Al Ghul, took up the mantle of Robin also. This was interesting because Batman now actually had his own son. Teaching him his ways was particularly difficult because his bloodline came from one of Batman’s biggest villains, Ra’s Al Ghul.
All these layers are simply the beginning of the great mythos that Batman has and I am sure there are more great things to be added to this story in the future as newer comics come out. There is a lot more to talk about but if I were to do that, this list would never end. Batman is a hero surrounded by some dark psychology. And, in the end, it is this psychology that surrounds him that makes him the hero he is.
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My name is Varun Khatri and my passion to write pulls me to Medium. I write for both myself and for the entertainment of my audience.
I try to write as often as I can, usually meaning once a week.