As a very recent comic book fan, I felt compelled to read everything the major companies (DC, Marvel, Vertigo) had to offer. I saw icons such as Superman fall from grace, Wonder Woman kill, and too many heroes spring up and then fade into obscurity. While I will most likely spend the rest of my life reading comic books (and I have yet to adequately thank the nerds that turned me onto such an obsession), there is one group that I believe will forever stay near the top of any list. No, it’s not The Avengers. It’s the Bat-Family.
The Bat-Family, or Batman’s cadre of sidekicks, devotees and occasional psychopaths, in the case of Jason Todd. Extremely dysfunctional, not always likable, but always they must be taken into account. With Scott Snyder’s current run with The Court of Owls and Death of the Family, we are seeing more and more why Gotham City seems to bring out the best (and most dramatic) elements in humanity.
So here they are, 5 reasons the Bat Family remains relevant.
1. Learn From The Best And Darkest
Is it any wonder this is number one? One always has to look to the source for the reasons of greatness, and for the Bat-Family, they’ve always had one billionaire crusader to look up to. No matter how far flung the family has gone, there is always a sense that looking over their shoulder is that scowling Batman ready to fling a batarang at the nearest problem.
Batman is the source, the root of almost everything that makes up the Family. Many of the heroes from the Family can trace all they have – be it training, finances or even personal ethics – back to Bruce Wayne’s personal approach to life. He moulded these men and women to be forces against the criminal element, and while his social skills seem to be lacking, it’s almost impossible to argue with the results.
Consider the Robins that have grown under Batman’s care. Currently, Dick Grayson is a millionaire, Jason Todd has taken over or dismantled tens if not hundreds of criminal organizations, and Tim Drake has compiled a network that is able to track meta-humans across the planet. It makes one wonder how Damien Wayne is going to grow up, having already learned what martial arts the Batman could teach him. The fact remains, no matter what happens beyond Gotham City, the number one reason the Family will stay successful is their training, and learning all they possibly could under the World’s Greatest Detective.
This connection that each and every one of the characters has is something to be admired. They are all connected to a higher purpose, a higher battle that sometimes is being fought even above our heads. This connection stems from a source that any reader can innately know and respect. If Batman is not the most well-known superhero of all time, he is a close second. Being able to draw from this helps the Family immensely not just in the story, but in readership as well.
This article was first posted on January 7, 2013