We’ve all got an early memory of the Dark Knight lodged in our mind somewhere, whether it’s from a stack of a father or sibling’s old comic books, watching re-runs of the purposely gaudy 60’s T.V show or from one of the many movie adaptations or animated series available for audience consumption. He’s a character that’s so embedded into our collective subconscious that these days it’s difficult to get through a week without hearing about his exploits in some form or another (although I’m not sure exactly why you’d want to).
Yes, it’s a good time to be a Batman fan; a great time in fact. Rocksteady’s phenomenal new open world brawler Arkham City is currently lighting up the gaming world, making it possible to actually feel like the Dark Knight himself. And love it or hate it, there’s no denying that Christopher Nolan’s modern re-imagining of the iconic Caped Crusader has captured the attention of the entire world. The Dark Knight’s current lifetime gross is reportedly over a billion dollars and the franchise’s third instalment, The Dark Knight Rises, which is due for release in summer 2012, is looking poised to destroy the box office all over again.
There’s little doubt that Batman is one of, if not the most commercially successful comic book character in history, with over 20 monthly affiliated publications, a booming movie and T.V brand and enough merchandise on the market to give George Lucas a semi-on. Obviously commercial success doesn’t always guarantee quality, but we at WhatCulture believe that with the Caped Crusader, it totally does. And there’s never been a better time for us to make the case that Batman might well be the greatest superhero in existence.
For those of you who agree with our point blank assertion, we present you with fifty of the many reasons why Batman clearly pops a grapple in the competition. For those of you who don’t, here are fifty statements that are probably just going to piss you off…
For maximum Bat-effect, run this video before you read on:
1. He’s Just A Man
If Batman were to miss his grapple (he wouldn’t, but saying he did) and hit the ground from a sufficient height, he’d die like the rest of us. It’s as simple as that. Other Superheroes may also share this base humanity, but generally when they don their alter-ego they enter altered states and become impervious (a la Green Lantern or Iron Man).
We can never know what it’s like to attain this invulnerability, or to fly or feel super-strength but we can and do strive to reach the pinnacle of our potential. That’s why Batman is so effortlessly relatable; it isn’t his frequent feats of strength or athleticism so much as the fact that even in the cape and cowl, he’s still one of us.
2. The Symbol
It’s more recognizable than almost any other symbol on Earth, in fiction or otherwise. You’ve drawn this from memory more than once I’ll wager, on school books and message pads. It’s simple, stark and in an instant conjures up notions of justice and compassion. In short, it’s everything a symbol should be.
3. The Human Mind As A Superpower
So he’s just a man, right? That’s not to say that Batman doesn’t have a superpower. His mind is his power; within it lurks a deadly, but prefectly balanced combination of insurmountable anguish, indomitable conviction, unparalleled genius and just a sprinkling of mental instability. Rarely in comics do plight and power marry so seamlessly.
4. He’s a Master Tactician
Batman often works angles that can barely be observed until they’re passed, but in a story’s closing panels, when all is revealed, there’s consistent delight to be found in the tactics that he’s employed. Even up against a rogue Superman, you’ll rarely see Batman dispatched with ease because he’s planned for the eventuality years in advance.
Batman is a predator, his prey: cowardly, superstitious criminals. He stalks from the rafters, watching, planning; singling them out and using the Batman legend against them, rendering their brawn or power as practically useless.
How often have you wished you could confront someone on your terms instead of theirs? Batman often lives out that very fantasy for us.
This article was first posted on November 8, 2011