Maybe we can't just excuse all those things that make Batman, Batman. Maybe we shouldn't be celebrating the antics of a billionaire playboy who can afford to build fancy gadgets and then go beat up innocent civilians who were probably driven to a life of crime because they lacked Bruce Wayne's privileged upbringing. Maybe Batman has always been a total jerk, even at his very core, even overlooking Silver Age weirdness, mind wiping and imaginary stories.
Mark Waid, prolific writer and the man who brought you JLA: Tower of Babel, certainly agrees. Waid himself asserted that Batman was a fundamentally broken character, in an interview during the run up to the continuity-resetting Infinite Crisis:
"We're sick to death of heroes who are not heroes, we're sick to death of darkness. Not that theres no room, not that Batman should act like Adam West, but that wont be the overall feeling. After all this stuff, after everything shakes down, we're done with heroes being dicks. No more we screwed each other and now we must pay the consequences. No, we're super-heroes and thats what we do. Batmans broken. Through no ONE persons fault, but hes a d**k now."
It's hard to argue with Waid's opinion, but we'd go further than just that Batman has become a jerk in recent years. Because he's always been a jerk. He's, for one thing, shrugging off years of mental trauma (and probably delusions) in favour of illegally chasing after criminals, the due process of the courts be damned. He consistently runs off with orphans and trains them up against their will. He spends his wealth not on improving the police department and social resources of his city, but on making wonderful toys for himself. He treats all his friends poorly, not to mention his butler. Yeah, this guy has a butler. You know who has butlers? Jerks. And Batman is one of those. A jerk, not a butler. His whole existence is pretty much dedicated to being a jerk, is built on being a jerk, and in his future, will always be a jerk.
Do you think Batman's a jerk? Be sure to let us know in the comments below!