Newsarama Note: This column expresses the opinion of the writer, and does not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of Newsarama or anyone but the writer.
What is Batman? Is he a person or an idea? Man or myth? Depending on the person you’re asking, real world or fictional, you’ll get a varying degree of answers but one thing has always been true. Batman is one person. Until he wasn’t. Oh god, this is going to make my brain hurt, isn’t it?
Surprise of the year! (insert sarcasm) Bruce Wayne will be returning not only from the dead or the time stream or his acid trip but to his old job as Batman. Yes, comic fans already knew this was inevitable so what’s the big deal? The NY Post reported earlier this week that Bruce’s protégé Dick Grayson would not be taking off his clothes. I mean, removing his costume. I mean, stepping down as Batman.
Not that Dick staying on as Batman was a huge surprise either, most of us knew that was one of the possibilities from the second he took the job. Now that it’s actually upon us though I’m remembering how dumb I thought that idea sounded in the first place. Two Batmen? From a Gotham city perspective I can’t see it doing much good. Even if Bruce takes on some grand global campaign like they say, sooner or later the villains are going to figure it out. Then what?
Your Jokers, Penguins and Two-Faces would pretty much know immediately. They see Batman as a thorn in their side so adding another to their playing field will just make them up the ante as well. The only issue there is, most villains don’t trust anyone so teaming up or recruiting their own Boy Wonder is out of the question (Could you just imagine the candidates for that job?). The street level thugs on the other hand mostly see Batman as a monster, so once they realize what’s up he immediately looses a lot of credibility. Not that the Batmen still wouldn’t beat them to a pulp mind you but just like finding out Santa Claus isn’t real, it takes all the fun out of it.
And what’s this “franchising” that’s supposedly going to happen in the new Batman Inc. title? "Grayson's role really is the protector of Gotham City," Dan Didio told the NY Post. "But we thought it only made sense for Bruce Wayne, a billionaire, to take a more global view." Yeah, Batman had that. It was called Batman and the Outsiders. If you try and go more global than that, you might as well just call yourself the Justice League because with the villains you’ll be attracting you’ll need heavy hitters on your side, not just guys dressed as bats.
Besides, doesn’t Bruce realize he has a network already? In addition to Red Robin and Robin you’ve got people like Oracle, Batgirl, Batwoman, Commissioner Gordon, Huntress, Cassandra Cain, The Question and Jason Bard not to mention Man-Bat and Catwoman who can sometimes help.
Don’t get me wrong, I was originally a big skeptic but I think DC’s writers have done some amazing work with Dick as Batman and I love his dynamic with Damian but who’s to say that couldn’t work if Dick took on the role of Nightwing again? Obviously Damian would bitch about how “Nightwing and Robin” is a dumb idea (maybe it is, I think it would work) but he’ll probably bitch about not being teamed with the “real” Batman when he comes back anyway. Though I think the best part of Bruce’s return will be his interaction with Damian. Or rather, him having to actually acknowledge the kid is here to stay.
If I might step into Dr. Arkham’s shoes here for a moment, where exactly does this desperate need for doing more come from? Bruce comes back from the “dead” feeling like he needs to do more to help the world? Sweetie, you broke your own solemn oath and killed a GOD with a magic bullet thus saving not just your friends and the universe but reality itself. I’d call that a job well done. Maybe it is time he did retire and let the kids take over. Oh god. Don’t tell him I said that.What do YOU think? Click the "Leave a comment" button below to vote in our poll and sound off! So, will the "Batmen" or "Batmans" work? Or is 2 already one too many? Click to vote in the Poll!