The GeeksverseThe Duality of Batman

The Duality of Batman
Published on Monday, October 25, 2010 by

It’s not just Batman, but others that suffer from this as well. Really applies to any super hero that has a solo book and is in a team book, but is more glaring with the more “street-level” heroes.

Now that thats out of the way…

So something that’s always bugged me a bit about the various appearances of Batman is this: he’s a different character depending on what book he’s appearing in.

In the Justice League, or other DCU books, he’s THE BATMAN. He’s the one with the plan. He’s the one that EVERYONE fears. Batman alone against an entire team of super villians? No problem. He’s Batman. He’ll mop ‘em up and be home in the Batcave in time for dinner.

But in his own book? He’s regularly being beat up by non-powered thugs.

Wait… What?

The same guy that just took down Soloman Grundy without breaking a sweat is now getting the smack laid down by some thugs hired off the street by some guy dressed in a penquin suit.

Seriously?

This is the same character?

I understand that it’s written to the level/style/tone of the book. Batman’s books don’t involve the big cosmic menaces. Having a super team of White Martians running amok in Gotham City just doesn’t work. It’s not the style and tone of the books. But to have that same team of White Martians beat the crap out of the JLA and only Batman is free, and Bats than goes around and takes out the White Martian team. That makes sense and works in JLA (and was the actual plot of Grant Morrison’s opening arc on JLA years ago).

It just always seems odd to me. Its why I have a hard time enjoying the solo books of alot of these street level guys when they appear in the team books.

Superman still fights the same level of menace in the team book and his solo book. Green Lantern is even more cosmic in his own book. I suppose Flash falls under the same category as Batman. We don’t ever see Captain Boomerang giving the JLA a hard time, but the Flash on his own? No problem.

For the most part, the rest of the heroes have the same tone in the team book and their own book. It’s really Batman that completely switches from the JLA to the Bat-Family of titles. It is literally like he flips a switch when he leaves the JLA Watchtower (base/cave/Hall of Justice) and arrives at the Batcave. It’s like he tones down what he can do to match the level of the opposition.

I prefer the JLA Batman. A guy with no powers but his brain and training. And he scares the crap out of everyone. They know there’s nothing he can’t handle. He’s the Man-With-The-Plan. He’s the Go-To guy.

The world’s about to be destroyed in 2 seconds, the rest of the JLA is captured and can’t do anything, but Batman is still free? No worries. That’s 1.5 more seconds then he needs.

But put him in the middle of Gotham and all of a sudden he can’t handle a group of common thugs without getting pushed around.

Which one is the real one?

Go to the Pryde’s forums and discuss this column.

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