Is Batman a superhero or just a hero? That is the question the Free For All guys and myself found ourselves encompassed by. Sides were given, points were made, and lines in the sand were drawn. It. Was. Intense. But when talking about such a beloved character among geeks, what do you expect?? You can’t help but stick up for Bats if you feel as though his capabilities are being questioned! I mean, the guy witnessed his parents being murdered as a kid, swearing to avenge them. Then began to train extensively to attain physical and mental perfection, mastered martial arts, learned detective skills, and is an expert on criminal psychology. Costumed as a bat to prey on his enemies fear and utilizing a high-tech arsenal, the legendary Batman was born! (FIST PUMP) BUT, is he a superhero? That is the question… Now similar to most political debates, unfortunately no matter what I say, I will more than likely not change your opinion if you find yourself in opposition to me. That is fine. But hear me out if you will. Give my opinions and views careful consideration and thought. After that, if you still don’t agree…. Let the debate, BEGIN!
Ok. Let’s start at the beginning. The word superhero. What does it mean? Here is where I think it gets a little tricky… Now the first definition some might give, is that the word superhero means that a person must posses super-human capabilites and/or traits. True. I will give that total agreement… But is it that easy? I don’t think that it is… If you look a little closer, you’ll notice that the word “superhero” is a compound word. Let’s seperate the two words and see what we get. The word “super” is defined as “very good or pleasant, excellent”. The word “hero” is defined as “a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities”. SO, Batman… Is he super? Master of hand-to-hand combat… Check. Genius intellect… Check. Physical perfection… Check. Sounds pretty super to me. Is he a hero? Saves Gotham on countless occasions… Check. Has access to the Justice League’s men’s locker room… Check. Definitely pretty heroic stuff. So in review, super + hero = Superhero. Batman = Superhero.
But I am not going to stop there. If you look at other superheroes apart from Batman, we may find a slight hole in the Batman nay-sayers theory. Take Green Lantern for instance. I think it is safe to assume that this guy is a superhero, right? He can essentially form anything he wants from the ring he posseses. But without the ring, what is the Green Lantern? He is Ryan Reynolds. Just kidding… Is Green Lantern still a superhero? Most people would say yes. Take a look at Thor. Aside from being a god, how effective is he without his hammer? Still a superhero. I would think so. Are Green Lantern’s ring and Thor’s hammer tools that are used to gain an advantage and help them take down the bad guys? Obviously. Batman uses his utility belt, his brain, and his braun (which is nothing to sneeze at) to help him fight his numerous enemies. Are these not tools Batman used to gain an advantage as well? Duh. Now at this point, you might be thinking “Well, what about Iron Man?”. If a metal suit is all it took, then yes, Iron Man is a superhero. His suit is a tool for crime-fighting, yes. But he doesn’t let his whole being take care of the work unlike Batman. Out of the suit, he is nowhere near the physical peak of Batman and his detective skills aren’t on par either. Nevertheless, he can still kick some kick some serious butt. But he does so, in a metal suit… So, yes there are limitations and expectations in order to achieve superhero status.
Lastly, let’s talk villians. As stated earlier, Batman has saved the city of Gotham on countless occasions. He has faced off against some of the toughest villains out there. He has also faced off against (arguably, sure) the most stereotypical superhero in all of comics, Superman. And WON! Don’t worry. Even I will admit that I find that to be a stretch. But hey it happened! We all saw it go down! It was documented! But, back to villains. And my point here is simple. If the Gotham police force felt as though they could take down guys like Killer Croc and Bane and Solomon Grundy and other villains who we can all agree qualify as “super-villains”, then why would they call on a guy who is just a man in a suit? Because he is a SUPERHERO!
Still don’t agree with me? That’s ok. People used to think the earth was flat, too.