Up@dawn 2.0

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

#10- Batman and Philosophy PT 2

All right! Well, here we go with the second installment of Batman and Philosophy.  In the first installment( which you can find here) we discussed the fault in the Michaud book Batman Superman and Philosophy. That fault being the inconsistency of comic books that it is impossible to get anything straight from it through to the plethora of writers, retcons, and universes. So for a clear cut look into the character of Batman, we are only looking at the Batman from the 1990's animated series Batman: The Animated Series(BTAS), and it's universe the DC Animated Universe(DCAU). Now, this installment is going to be long because I have a lot to talk about.

Also in the last installment, we discussed Bruce Wayne and his ties to the figure of Batman. One that does not stem from the murder of his parents. Bruce Wayne who has had everything given to him since infancy has nothing in which he has created except the persona of Batman and everything attached to it. It wasn't anything that his father, Thomas Wayne, does during his lifetime. It was bruce who created something groundbreaking and huge.

One of the main themes of the BTAS is the fact that Bruce is given many different chances not to be Batman or stop being Batman. There is no one holding him to such a job, and no one could blame him if he ever decided to stop. He's done so much and saved so many lives. It's actually common for Superheroes to eventually retire in this Universe, as The Flash on occasion has mentioned the fact that he is not the first Flash(In comics he is the third, however, in the DCAU he is the second). So why doesn't he? One could argue that his job is not done, but after all the work he's gone through the people who have been hurt and friends that he has lost why won't he stop? We see this clearly in the late 1990's animated Series Batman beyond, Where an elderly, Bruce Wayne(Mid 60's) Can no longer physical be Batman and is forced to hand down the cowl to a young 17-year-old high school junior by the name of Terry McGinnis.

However, this Bruce Wayne is very different than the young one we left in the Justice League Unlimited animated series. This Bruce while still strong willed, hard working, is alone. Before Bruce was surrounded by friends and loved ones, even though most of the time it was only Alfred. Bruce had not only Alfred but Batgirl, Robin, Nightwing, Commissioner Gordon, the Justice League, Catwoman... the list goes on, but in Beyond, Bruce is for the first time truly alone. His adopted sons, Dick Grayson(Nightwing), and Tim Drake(Robin) are, while alive, no longer on speaking terms with Bruce. Barbara Gordon(Batgirl) who is now the police commissioner is on slightly better terms, but would rather not spend time her former partner, who is(unfortunately, and never canon before in comics) also her Ex-lover. Alfred has died, and many other circumstances lead to Bruce either pushing away people or they are gone forever with no hope of returning(*Sheds a tear for Wonder Woman stuck in Justice Lord universe*). Bruce has no one until Terry saves him from few thugs. So Why continue being Batman? The people he loves are gone, he doesn't have to protect, in fact, he did his job so much that he drove them away and he's aware of that. He stayed Batman until he was physically unable to keep going, and he shouldn't have had to do that because he had not only one but two proteges who could have taken the cowl years ago.

Was it his drive to make Gotham a better place? Well arguably, Gotham is a much better place to live, Most super powered villains are no longer a problem until the start of the series, and crime had gone down. It should be pointed out that retirement is not the only out Bruce has had from being Batman. In fact, he almost wasn't Batman at all. In the Cinematic movie, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, we find out that Bruce almost didn't become Batman after returning to Gotham in his mid 20's and meeting a woman named, Andrea Beaumont, whom he loved enough to forgo his plans of being the Dark Knight and marry her instead and actually be happy. Bruce Wayne was engaged, and instead, choose that his promise to his deceased parents was more important than his own happiness. This self-sacrificing part of Bruce's personality born from the trauma of The Waynes' Murder is what of course caused him to be Batman, and it is what keeps him there even when it would be best for him, and maybe his loved ones if he stopped, but what happens to his loved ones if he stays as Batman?

The problem with this is that he is too self-sacrificing. Not only is he willing to sacrifice himself, but he puts children and young adults in harm's way. Barbara Gordon was only in college when she started being Batgirl not to mention that Dick, the first Robin now Nightwing, was somewhere between 9 and 13 when he began his tenure as Robin. The final Robin, Tim started at about 11 or 12. Batman was unconsciously willing to sacrifice the safety of these three young people in order to fight against crime in Gotham. While He means well and obviously care about his "Batfamily" He places them in situations in which could get them killed or worse, and yes in comic books there is a worse.  Nightwing took a bullet to the eye for Batman, and poor Robin was taken as a child by The Joker, tortured, and brainwashed. Knowing this, is what he does still worth it?

So should Bruce Wayne keep being Batman? And to think the harm that being Batman causes stretches even farther when you look into the comics. Is the price too much?  Is it worth it in the end? Think about everything you know and have read and decide for yourself.

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