Batman Is More Of A Fantasy Character Than You Think

by Benjamin Hall

[*Spoilers for various Batman stories including Dark Nights Metal (2018), Batman: Knightfall Vol. 1 (2012), The Dark Knight Rises (2012), among others.]
To say that Batman is a realistic character, one that anyone can become with enough money and training, is false. This is because Batman has, since the Golden Age of comics, been a character of fantasy. For example, one of Batman’s earliest foes, The Monk, is a vampire character (Detective Comics #31 [1939]). The likelihood of encountering such a supernatural foe in our world is non-existent. Another fantasy element that has existed since the Golden Age is the Batcave (Detective Comics #83 [1944]). Yet in the real world, there are challenges such as demand for money, time needed to maintain health standards, as well as the difficulty of maintaining secrecy to conceal one’s headquarters.

[Batman #24 (1944) Cover Art by Dick Sprang, Lettered by George Roussos]

However, these fantasy elements are not limited to the Golden Age of comics. There are also details of Batman’s abilities that are fantastic, such as his ability to accurately swing across cities without falling. In this case, the chance is high for injury or death due to miscalculating when aiming. Not to mention that even if one is correct in their aim, there will be structural damage where a grappling hook strikes a building. Thus taking a routine route would eventually result in death.
Next, we have the case of injuries from Batman’s fights. Batman has survived pretty much every type of violence, including a broken back (Batman: Knightfall Vol. 1 [2012]). Heck, the movie The Dark Knight Rises has Bruce Wayne being diagnosed with a lot of severe injuries. So many that, realistically, he should probably not have survived until the end of the movie.

Speaking of realism, Batman has  become even more of a fantasy character with the events of Dark Nights Metal. This change in Batman’s status from being a peak human to being a meta-human is due to fictional metals he encounters before this event series (Dark Days: The Road To Metal [2018]). For example in Dark Days: The Casting (2017), it is revealed that one of the metals prevented Batman from dying. There is also a supernatural element involved, with the evil deity Barbatos having engineered Batman’s creation via a centuries old plan.
In conclusion, the process of Bruce Wayne becoming Batman is a weird mix of destiny centered around a supernatural conspiracy, funding, and training. So trying to either become him, or write about him in a purely realistic way, will cause anyone to fall short of the mark.

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