How did Bob know that Bruce and Vicki were dating?
Joker had Bob tailing her and Knox. He obviously found out. Also, the dating life of a local celebrity like Bruce Wayne would be newsworthy, if not exactly front-page news.
Why didn't Bruce just tell Vicki he had to go downtown for one minute instead of lying that he would be gone for several days?
He was trying to throw Vicki off and drive her away gently. He's afraid of commitment. He doesn't feel as if he can live a normal life with someone else.
Batman using guns
So, Batman Does Not Like Guns. Okay, fine. Yet he uses a harpoon GUN to help him fight crime. Okay, maybe he just has a thing against bullets maybe? Yet, he also has no problems attaching machine guns, rockets, and lasers to his various vehicles. I've even seen a Silver Age story with him using a gas gun!
His dislike of guns isn't some pathological hatred for anything that can possibly be described as one. It means he isn't going to use guns to shoot people. Simple as that.
I always assumed it was because any guns used in a crime, even in self-defense, get looked at by the cops and have to be registered. Since Bruce Wayne couldn't register guns to Batman, he just doesn't use them.
It varies Depending on the Writer. Sometimes he has an intense hatred of them ( Batman: The Animated Series ), sometimes he doesn't because he refuses to use lethal force (a fair amount of the comics) other times he uses them if they aren't used to kill people ( the Nolan trilogy), other times he uses them against people with the intent to kill as long as he doesn't hold the gun himself (Tim Burton films).
He doesn't like guns...and yet his utility belt is full of pointy, bladed things and explosives. Oddly, he doesn't seem to have a problem throwing THEM at people.
Yes, because it's unbelievably difficult to kill someone with a throwing star if you're trying to, and his explosives are low yield.
Batman with a yellow ring
What would happen if Batman got his hands on a yellow ring and was willing to use it? The man is already terrifying.
I recall in one Green Lantern story (maybe Sinestro Corp Wars?), a yellow ring tried to nab him, but he fought it off. But in answer to your question: assuming he accepted it, he'd become Batman...with a yellow power-ring. Which sounds practically unstoppable, really.
That was in an issue leading up to Sinestro Corps War. The ring chose him and tried to welcome him to the Sinestro Corps, but Bruce fought it off and it went on its way, leaving him to wonder just what that thing had been.
The ring went straight for him, then veered off suddenly because Batman had absorbed too much willpower energy over the years from close proximity to Green Lantern rings. A yellow ring later on ended up choosing Jonathan "Scarecrow" Crane instead.
Ivy and kids
Poison Ivy is always talking about how she wants kids. Why doesn't she simply adopt?
She kinda wouldn't be able to, seeing that most of her time outside of jail is spent as a wanted fugitive. Not that any sane adoption agency would deem her mentally fit to be a parent. If she tried any less-than-legal methods of adoption, it would be kidnapping, which would just lead to Batman catching her and throwing her in jail.
No sane American adoption agency. She could try a Russian one, front the twenty grand, and bam, kid. Or she could go down to Jamaica or Haiti and pay fifty bucks for a kid off the street. After that, stay out of Gotham, and Batman wouldn't do anything about it. Hell, if she took care of the kid properly, he might even approve.
Considering this is poison Ivy we are talking about here, nobody would for a second think Ivy wouldn't turn the child into a plant person, which goes well beyond what Batman would approve of.
The Batman has no jurisdiction.
No, but he does have priorities. I'm not saying Ivy taking a kid and mutating them wouldn't rank fairly highly on those priorities, but he obviously can't be everywhere at once and he can't keep tabs on all of his rogues all the time. His focus is Gotham and what goes on there. If Ivy slips down to Jamaca, off Batman's radar, grabs a kid(either by paying the $50 average they sell them for or by killing whoever's doing the selling), then runs off into the jungle to raise the little tyke in her new tropical paradise, Batman would be none the wiser.
Maybe she just wants the kid to be her own flesh and blood, you know. Although if she really did want kids that much she would likely have found one way or another already.
I believe it's stated that she's sterile. So no, she couldn't have.
Walking through alley in origin
I love Batman but, why in God's name would you take your wife and son through a dark alley in a not so nice neighborhood?
Back then, Crime Alley wasn't as bad as it was during the Batman years, it was just Park Row. The Waynes just wanted to take a short cut to get back to their car. And the odds of getting jumped in a dark alley in a major city is actually kinda low. And depending on the continuity, the mugger was sent to kill the Wayne family or the mugger just wanted to cover his tracks/get some extra cash.
Robin as Nightwing
Here's something I've been thinking about for the last couple of years about Nightwing. We all know, and most of the hero population knows, that he was the original Robin. Does the general public know? I mean, not that he's Dick Grayson, but that he was the original Boy Wonder.
It's a complicated question. Before Zero Hour, yes. Robin/Nightwing was well known as the leader of the Teen Titans, which was reasonably well-respected as a superhero team. After Zero Hour, however, the entire Batman family was retconned into being—and always having been—thought of as an urban legend by the general populace, hotly debated as existing or not. That being the case, the answer is probably no, because people weren't even certain Robin existed until some time after Tim Drake took over the suit (during War Games, I believe). But since War Games, there's been Infinite Crisis and Final Crisis, which changed some history around. In the Dead Robin storyline of Gotham Central, it was not even widely known that there were multiple Robins (a Reporter goes on about how it's obvious given how Robin got shorter every few years, and he even saw a girl wonder briefly). So while it is widely known throughout the hero community, the wider DC Universe does not know.
Batman as an Urban Legend
The Urban legend thing caused a major headscratcher with Tim Drakes origin. Tim deduced that Batman and Robin were Bruce and Dick when he saw TV footage of them apprehending the Penguin and recognised the quadruple somersault that Robin did as one he saw Dick do at Haly's circus years earlier. Then with zero hour Batman had never been so much a photographed, much less captured on video...
The whole "Bat-Family Urban Legend" thing was poorly implemented from the start. It's easy to see what they were trying to accomplish with it: make Batman more mysterious and dark by eliminating past events like Batman accepting the key to the city and being in parades. But they still tried to keep it up.War Games was the "end" of the urban legend thing, but that happened only a few (real time) years before Infinite Crisis. Even if they tried to limit Batman's appearances in the first couple of Justice League teams, he was a well known member of Justice League International. And during Grant Morrison's JLA days, he was prominently featured on posters with the rest of the League. With the post-Infinite Crisis continuity, the whole "urban legend" thing is forever gone, so to answer the original question: yes, people know that Nightwing was the first Robin in a new identity. He was Robin in the New Teen Titans and debuted as Nightwing, so the public would know that it's Robin in a new identity instead of allowing a new guy to lead the Titans.
That's what I was trying to say: DC thought that a character like Batman should be dark and mysterious. But they had events in his past where he accepts keys to the city, participates in parades, hangs out in the open with Superman, and has posters of him which are all over every teenaged boy and girl across America to name such. Zero Hour could have (and very arguably, should have) gotten rid of that. It would have been easy to accept Batman being an urban legend at the start of his career; a good chunk of works covering his early years make it very important. But what Zero Hour tried to sell us was that, after around... what 10 years?, no normal human in the world, including Gotham, believed that Batman existed. This meant that Batman was pretty much removed from the early incarnations of the JLA, but also that we were supposed to by that no one was supposed to believe that Batman and the rest of the Bat-Family existed, despite the Teen Titans, Young Justice, and the extremely media public Justice League International and JLA having at least one or more of the Bat-Family on any one of those various teams. So in short, making Batman's beginning years much more mysterious wasn't the problem, but trying to make the Bat-Family an urban legend in the present when all the laws of causality state that people should accept the Bat-Family exists, especially since multiple public Batman sightings was a major plot point during the No Man's Land arc, was.
If it counts, in Under The Red Hood, a random thug DOES know that Nightwing used to be Robin somehow and he explains it to his fellow-criminal buddy.
Well, lets face it, its not that hard to figure out- Robin is obviously going to get older, and the moment he disappears a new crimefighter who looks just like him in a new costume (complete with Domino mask), has much the same attitude and fighting style, and still acts as Batman's partner appears out of the blue filling his role. Then some time later Robin shows up again but is obviously a new, younger Robin. All the major villains who fight them regularly will figure this out quickly, and its not like any of the heroes are going to hide the fact, especially since Nightwing will probably make remarks to all the criminals he has beat up before, including low-level mooks that he and Batman beat the crap out of every other day. You don't have to be a genius to realise they are the same person.
In "Batman Reborn", it is pretty strongly implied towards the end that Gordon realizes that the new Batman was Nightwing and Robin before that. In fact, through out the Bat-Grayson era, there were repeated hints that Gordon knows Dick's (and therefore Bruce's) identity and has for a long time.
On the flip side, in Gotham Central's Dead Robin storyline, one of the main characters is surprised to learn that there had been multiple Robins. A reporter fills him in on the fact that there were at least three, and for a short time, there was "Robin the girl wonder".
Batman's Nemesis is a Clown
Batman is the greatest detective in the DCU. He's gone all over the world and trained his whole life to become the best at, well, everything. He's one of the top 30 martial artists, he's armed to the teeth with advanced technology and all the resources of a multi-billion-dollar corporation, and fanatically devoted to stopping crime. So frankly, it's always bugged me that his main opponent is a clown... who likes to kill. And that's it. Sure, it's been turned around into some really good stories, but that's just writers fleshing it out, instead of the concept being that great itself. For ultimately, his nemesis is...a clown. Who likes to kill. Ra's al'Ghul is a much, much better opposite number for Batman's main nemesis.
Because Batman is such a badass detective, all of the brilliant, sane, Moriarty-type foes were handled a long time ago. The ones left over are the crazy, unpredictable villains that normal detective work is useless against.
The thing that makes the Joker Batman's most dangerous foe is that all of the detective skills and what not you mentioned of Batman's are absolutely useless against him under most circumstances. The Joker has no psychology, in the same sense of the word that everyone else does. (This is explained, brilliantly, in more detail in the uber-classic graphic novel Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth.) You can't understand him; you can't predict him; you know nothing of his past; little about him gives you the leeway of consistency (except for his consistent inconsistency).
The Joker is supposed to symbolize the ridiculousness of a man dressing up as a bat and fight crime. He points this out frequently. I find him to be the proper arch-nemesis to Batman; they're both equally crazy, except that one of them is functionally so.
That's because the Joker isn't just "a clown... who likes to kill." He is Batman's opposite. Batman is dark, but good, the Joker is light, but very, very bad. As has been noted, they're different sides to a similar mania.
Most supervillains tend to be very similar to their superhero in their origins but differ greatly in style. Nearly all of Batman's enemies are batshit insane: Harley Quinn, Scarecrow, Mad Hatter, Hush, Two-Face, Clayface and most of the others. It just works better because they make excellent foils to Batman's seriousness.
Lex Luthor is an incredibly rich genius who, in a world without Superman, would be the greatest Ubermensch humanity has ever seen. Most alternate continuities have Luthor as the world's greatest leader, without Superman's existence to hold him back. Some comics theorize that Luthor's entire problem with Superman is that Supes is a God and he, being born a man, can not possibly eclipse that— and it's friggin' unfair! Lex to Superman is Satan to God in "Paradise Lost".
There's also the fact that Superman is physically powerful, while Lex is intellectually and financially powerful. The maneuvering Lex does behind the scenes is what maked it so that Superman couldn't truly beat him for a long time. He's like an evil Batman to some extent. Superman is more brawn than brain, and Lex is more brains than brawn; but neither is really lacking in their latter.
In some way LUTHOR is more the "opposite side" of Batman than the Joker. Ironic for Superman in that both his archenemy and his closest friend (at least in the superhero community) are both polymath geniuses with no superpowers and an unlimited line of credit.
I would just like to point out: Harleen Quinzel (Harley Quinn) is NOT insane, she's only in Arkham to keep tabs on Poison Ivy.
I'm not sure if you're being sarcastic or not, but it's pretty easy to make a case for Harley's being insane...
Many of Batman's iconic villains, though, are either sane (Penguin, Catwoman, Bane) or high-functioning (Riddler). Many of them are dark reflections of Batman in other ways; Penguin envies Bruce Wayne, Bane envies Batman, Catwoman is thief Batman, Riddler is the great mystery to oppose the great detective, etc.
Please note that the Joker is also one of the extremely few people in the world who is as smart as Batman. Add in that he is absolutely unpredictable, and its entirely reasonable that Batman sweats blood going up against him. Note that the main dramatic tension of a Joker storyline is hardly ever 'will Batman win the fight?', as its a foregone conclusion that once Bruce gets in punching range the Joker's going to get his ass kicked into the next time zone. The main dramatic tension is figuring out what the hell the Joker is up to before he kills someone else.
It's important to note that the Joker scares the shit out of every other super villain with only a few exceptions (like Lex Luthor). They all list the same reasons for fearing him too, namely his mania and unpredictability.
Even Luthor acknowledges that the Joker is a dangerous ally to have, and once gave his main reason for recruiting the Joker for his supervillain team-ups as that he'd rather have the Joker scheming how to torment his enemies than scheming how to get back at Luthor for the insult of not inviting him.
IIRC, there was some sort of Wordof God interview that stated that, during those teamups of supervillains (Infinite Crisis, etc.), they would scare each other around the campfire by "telling Joker stories". The Joker is easily one of the most scary villains in the entire DCU, to the point where he frightens the crap out of bigger, badder villains.
No, it wasn't that, it was actually someone saying that in-universe.
It was the Trickster, in Underworld Unleashed.
The Joker is also one of the more realistic characters in Batman; his mundanity despite being horrific is what lends him so a menace, thus making him a threat due to simply being creeper. Also, the Joker, while not able to fight Batman hand to hand, is a chessmaster and a psycho at the same time, lending him potency.
Also important to note is that many of Batman's villains represent a little part of the Dark Knight. Scarecrow is how much he uses fear to his advantage. Riddler is for his critical thinking skills which make him the best detective in the DCU. Two-Face is his obsession with his dual identities, like how he says "There is no Bruce Wayne," and how he tries to put out a sense of order into the world. Mr. Freeze represents the tragic past of a loss of a loved one, how it can drive someone to a steely cold personality, and the theme of revenge. Hush and Black Mask are both "anti-Bruce Wayne's", with them killing their own parents and being very rich themselves. Ra's Al'Ghul carries a sympathetic crusade well past the point of sanity. The Joker is the only one who is the anti to everything Batman is, Comedy to Tragedy, Laughter to Gruffness, Evil to Good, Chaos to Order, etc. This shows just how similar they are as well, how both of them just had one bad day to make them who they are. This is what makes him his archenemy. Also, Ra's always seems "outside" the norm for Batman villains, for he never goes to Arkham.
I think Owlman (especially the Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths version) is a good example of 'anti-Bruce Wayne'... he's Bruce Wayne if things turned out just a little differently. And if he was a sociopath.
Batman: [to Owlman] There is a difference between you and me. We both looked into the abyss, but when it looked back, you blinked.
Batman once questioned himself, in TAS when Jim Gordon got shot, while Batman was visiting Crime Alley. He said that if you stare at the Abyss too long, it begin to stare back at you.
On a documentary on one of the DVDs, one of Batman's former writers made the observation that if you put Riddler and Two-Face together, you'd get Joker. I'd actually go so far as to say that if you put pretty much all of Batman's rogues gallery together, you'd get Batman or the Joker.
I'd hate to repeat others, but it's the truth: Joker is not just a clown who likes to kill. He stands for the opposite of what Batman stands for; Joker to cause chaos and Batman to keep order, etc. I like to put it this way, and Joker did too, somewhat; if Bruce had completely let himself sink into depression and found another way to deal with it instead of dressing as a bat with gadgets, Bruce could very well have become the Joker. To paraphrase:
Joker: Everyone is just one bad day away from becoming like me.
Another thing is that, every other villain has some downfall that allows Batman to succeed, whether it be over strength, Batsy's will, his mind, but Joker... there's really nothing to prepare him to fight, he just has to go in.. That's what makes Joker so fitting of Batman's rival; his insanity AND his intelligence keep him level with Bruce, something other villains can't do!
For the purpose of a Death Note, what is Batman's real name?
I'm not following the death note thing, but his full legal name is Bruce Anthony Wayne (Bob Kane named him after the famous American civil war soldier "Mad" Anthony Wayne) and his true persona is more Batman.
The Death Note operates thusly: write someone's name in it and they die. There are rules and shit, but that's basically the long and short of it. One of the caveats is that you have to use their real name. The problem: Batman is obviously not his real name, being a manufactured persona created to frighten criminals. Other people have worn the cape and cowl in the past and will in the future. But Bruce Wayne is not his real name either, as Batman has basically turned Bruce into a mask to wear when he needs to be a civilian. The question is, if you were going to write Batman's "real name" in the Death Note, what would you write?
All right, I understand now. It would be "The Caped Crusader". That really sums him up.
I'd say that for Death Note purposes, it's Bruce Wayne. After all, there's a good chance the Wammy detectives in Death Note think of themselves as their code names, but you still have to use their real names to kill them.
Bruce Wayne: At first, I thought I was losing my mind. But then, I figured out someone tried to manipulate me.
Bruce Wayne(with a sly smile): The voice in my head... it was calling me "Bruce".
That's just delicious.
In the comics, it's Bruce (well, technically it's Dick Grayson, but that'll come to an end before too long). Bruce's "real identity" varies from iteration to iteration (and writer to writer) but for the most part, there's Batman, who is the scary, humorless, creature of the night; there's Bruce Wayne, the playboy socialite mask; and there's Bruce, who exists in the brief moments where the cowl is down but the mask hasn't gone up yet. The man who thinks of Alfred as his father and Dick as his son, rather than both as employees and fellow soldiers in his War On Crime.
I think we are missing the point here... the Batman is fucking immune to Death Notes. Why? Well, he is Batman, but he also is Bruce Wayne, for he decided to keep that identity alive, if only just by impersonating, what he belived to be a rich guy. So if someone wrote Bruce Wayne, it would not affect him, because, well, as mentioned above, that's just not him, but the same goes for Batman, becuase Bruce Wayne does exist, even if it's just as a secret identity.
The thing is, that none of the two names are actually fake names, but two parts (NOT personalities as in multiple personalities) of one person.
Speaking of multiple personalities...what happens if you're trying to write Two Face into the Death Note? Not Harvey Dent, but Two Face?
His name is Harvey Dent. "Two Face" is an alias he assumed as the result of a mental disorder. Again, this isn't some magic "the symbolic name of one's true self" system, the note just needs their name, in the very mundane, legal, what's on your driver's license sense. People are making this way more complicated than it is.
Although I like the idea that "Bruce" is his truest identity, way too much is being read into the "what's his real name" thing. There's nothing deep or magical about a person's name in the Death Note universe. It's the note that's magic, and that magic simply won't accept an alias. In every case we've seen, the note accepts the victim's birth/legal name (along with visualizing the person so it doesn't kill everyone else with that name), and that's that. There's no reason to think "Bruce Wayne" wouldn't work just as well; "Batman" is an alias he uses to fight crime anonymously, which would also protect him from anyone who tries to kill him with the Death Note by writing "Batman" in it.
I second that, as one who has read Death Note enough times to know that by "true name" it means the birth name, and nothing more.
But then again, in Batman's mind Bruce Wayne died along with his parents, and Batman was born in his place, hence "Batman" being the birth name of who he is now.
Someone developes multiple personality disorder with two or more personalities each with different name. If you write one of the names other than the one given at birth, does it kill him?
And furthermore, if someone get's the birth name "Joe Smith," is raised for a year being called that, but then becomes an abandoned orphan who nobody knows, till he is adopted and is given the name "William Brown," and forgets his birth name, whats the Death Note going to do?
Responding to my above post, it doesn't matter. It's the freaking Death Note. It works through association of some factor to a person (which is why L tells Light that his name is that of a celebrities, so Light will think of the celebrity instead of him. So a person without a name can still be killed, provided you know the person and you know enough about them. At least, I think so. Been I while since I've read Death Note.
Well, with that logic, L could've been killed anytime just by writing 'L'.
The birth name is required. Even if the person has multiple personality disorder he is given just one name in birth. For the matter, to kill Bonnie Butler from "Gone with the Wind" one has to write her full name, Eugenie Victoria Butler, even though everyone knows her as "Bonnie", and it said that even her parents don't remember her real name.
Since Light didn't (to the best of my knowledge) TRY writing down L is there any solid reason to think that wouldn't work? I don't even remember anything in Death Note that confirms you can't use a fake name if they use it often enough. I suspect that writing down Hulk Hogan would be sufficient.
Ryuk specifically states that the official birth name applies. An alias, nickname or internet handle would be insufficient and leave you with no result. First Name. Last Name. Were Batman ever to have his identity compromised by Light, he would be dead, as he is mortal. There is no dual-personality/mind trickery.my-real-identity-is-a-mask loop that any mortal could escape from although I must admit I am highly amused by people stepping forward with these wild discussion topics. Had the Death Note not been so descriptive, then this would prove an interest conundrum. Alas, this is one of the few things Batman could not possibly hope to stand against. Let's not forget the special deal Shinigami offer where one can halve their life expectancy and, in return, see the real names of every single living person.
My theory: Batman Bruce Wayne. Or possibly Bruce Wayne the Batman. You would need both: Bruce Wayne to identify which Batman you were killing, Batman because that is the true identity.
Okay, I have a better one. You know the similar-to-a-death-note thing Dinky Earnshaw does? You know, the guy from the Stephen King story "Everything's Eventual" (and who also appears in the seventhThe Dark Tower book)? If he wrote Batman a death note of his own weird sort in that weird magical language he seems to have been born knowing, what one word would he use to make it personal so that it could work and not just kill anyone who read it, but only him? He puts in one word that's really meaningful to the reader (even though the reader doesn't know what the symbols mean). So what word would he transcribe to personalize the note he sent to Batman? Maybe "Zorro"?
I'd say "Thomas".
Wait, I know: it wouldn't be the word "Zorro", it would be the phrase "Crime Alley".
I have a better one. "Arkham". Or "Zur-En-Arrh", being the misinterpretation of his father's last words. Before Joe Chill appeared, of course.
Given how often they come up in Bruce's remembrances/descriptions of his parents death... 'Pearls'.
They kind of actually did something somewhat similar to using a Death Note during the Knightquest comic (after Bane broke Bruce's back and Azrael had temporarily taken over as Batman, when Bruce was out of the country trying to rescue his then current love interest who had been kidnapped). He was pretending to be one of his aliases named Sir Hemingford Grey because he didn't want to be seen as Bruce Wayne with a broken back. The villain of the story had some sort of power to kill people based on their identity, and tried using the power to kill "Hemingford Grey." It didn't work because, well, the guy didn't actually exist (but it really messed up Bruce for a bit, and he said something along the lines of "If he'd been real, he'd be dead now.") Later on, the guy tried to use the same power to actually kill Bruce Wayne, but then that didn't work, because Bruce was in a mental state of "My true identity is the Batman." Granted, this isn't exactly Death Note still, so yeah, I'd agree just writing "Bruce Wayne" in the Death Note would do the trick, and writing "Batman" would just be a waste of paper.
Why isn't Cassandra in more things?
Sort of a meta one: Cassandra Cain has been around for 10 years (well, as of this July according to Wikipedia). How come the closest thing she's gotten to an appearance outside the comics is a cameo for a few frames in the Season Finale of Justice League? Is there a copyright issue of some sort?
Naw it's nothing like that, one has to remember that The DCU and the DCAU are two completely different continuities. DCAU Barbara Gordon never got paralyzed by being shot by the Joker, Gotham never had an earthquake, Tim Drake is the second Robin (but has Jason Todd's backstory) and Jason and Azreal don't exist. It's a completely different artistic tangent.
It's primarily a timeframe issue: adaptations simply don't last long enough to go through a whole character arc and then bring in the Legacy Characters. The DCAU was the only one to even get to its second Robin and it ran for a decade, off and on. Given that you're only going to be able to introduce one Batgirl, which would you choose? Cassandra's an awesome character when done right, but she doesn't have preexisting ties to the 'core' cast and it's like she was designed to make studio execs antsy.
More importantly, Cassandra didn't even exist until the series finale of Batman: TAS was four years old, and didn't have a name until a year before Justice League started airing. By that point it was a little too late to start bringing in new members of the bat-family.
Plus, let's be fair; Cassandra Cain is a fantastic character but she doesn't exactly have an incredibly easy-to-work-with back-story or character — and if we're being honest, if they changed anything to try and simplify it they'd immediately call forth a deluge of fans whining about how They Changed It, Now It Sucks. Let's face it, if you're looking for a simple, easy-to-work with candidate for Batgirl in a cartoon or TV series (primarily one aimed at kids) "Commissioner Gordon's spunky daughter is inspired by Batman to fight crime" is a bit more straight-forward and easier to work with than "daughter of the world's greatest assassins, who is raised in isolation to become the world's greatest assassin, who can read body language perfectly fluently but can't read or speak more than a few monosyllabic words, who spurns becoming the world's greatest assassin when she kills a man and understands from his body language what she's done... is inspired by Batman to fight crime".
Okay, we all know why The Joker isn't dead. What bugs me is how the hell he keeps getting declared legally insane. It's pretty clear he knows the difference between right and wrong. It's also equally clear he simply does not give a shit. Also, given the scope of some of his rampages, why is he not in Federal custody?
In a few storylines, he's become sane. Usually, this makes him turn good (until his insanity returns), which would indicate that even if he knows the difference, he can't help himself.
Being insane is more than knowing about the conventions of morality. To the Joker they're a bad joke waiting to be called out, and laughed down. He doesn't see people besides himself and possibly Batman as real, but more like targets in a game of Grand Theft Auto - something that also applies to a number of real sociopathic serial killers. His near-soplisist condition warrants the definition of insanity. Observing from a meta perspective, the Joker is actually right. The people he kills aren't real, and all his actions only exist to provide entertainment for the comic readers. Some scriptwriters have realized this, and call him super-sane, rather than insane. Inside the fictional universe the two are virtually identical, though.
Er, no- legally, insanity is about knowing whether or not you break the law ("right or wrong"), or some related matter. And the Joker knows full well what he is doing is illegal, and even boasts about it. In real life, they would fry his ass.
Also, note that in his earliest appearance, he actually wasn't considered insane, and went to a normal jail (he was even executed once, though his henchmen later revived him as part of a Batman Gambit). There was even a storyline where Batman managed to prove that he knew the difference between right and wrong.
Depending on the state, insanity defenses are not always predicated on "knowing the difference between good and evil". Some jurisdictions also allow for am "irresistable impulse" defense- that the defendent knew what he was doing was wrong, but couldn't help himself. It's also possible that the Joker might be found not competent to stand trial, and would be comitted to Arkham until he is competent.
The Joker is too dangerous to be kept in the same place as "sane" criminals. Keep in mind, one time he was detained with the general population. A guy was going to Prison Rape him. Joker pretended to go along with it, even offering to rim the guy. Instead, he shoves his arm up the man's ass, grabs a hold of his small intestines, and yanks them out.
What the hell issue was that!?
...Scans or it didn't happen.
Well unfortunately there isn't a readily available link to a scan but as it actually happened, the Joker was finally tried as a sane criminal and put on death row (for a crime he didn't commit ironically enough) and one of the other inmates continuously played a harmonica, which annoyed the Joker to no end. He forces the guy to swallow it (off panel) and another much larger and stronger prisoner doesn't take to kindly to that as he liked the harmonica music. Later in the exercise yard this rather large prisoner confronts the Joker implying imminent bodily harm will occur. The Joker winds up beating the larger inmate rather brutally with his shoe.
Herewego! (get 'em before LJ suspends the account!). Now, will someone explain to me just where in these scans does Joker yank out a guy's intestine?
Wow, that third one is one of the most demonically evil depictions of the Joker I've seen. Art looks to be Jim Aparo, can anyone confirm?
Nah, it's Graham Nolan. The scans come from the graphic novel The Joker: Devil's Advocate, mentioned in just about every page on this site where the issue of Joker and execution come up. It's the one where Batman saves him from the death penalty.
That said, the above troper is most likely remembering Brian Azzarello's "Broken City" arc, where Joker somehow managed to get three of Arkham's inmates to literally shove their hands up their own asses and pull their intestines out. Without even leaving Arkham. All because he wanted to talk to Batman.
Can't people who are found to be legally insane still be executed?
It depends on the state. Gotham is occasionally suggested to be somewhere in New Jersey, but I don't know how they feel about it.
No, the legally insane cannot be executed, at least in the United States. The 8th amendment prohibits it. For more information, see Ford v. Wainwright.
For the record; in Azzarello's Joker he's sane and he's still criminal.
Under most legal definitions, Joker is legally insane. He does not understand the nature and quality of his actions. He only understands the concepts of right and wrong on an intellectual level, they aren't internalised like they are with sane people which is why he laughs at the whole concept. Why he isn't in federal custody is anyone's guess though.
Actually, that is enough- psychopaths and people with certain personality disorders are in the same boat as they have a serious Lack of Empathy and little to no conscience (and the Joker is a man with quite a few personality disorders- though, so do most supervillains), but generally these are not considered sufficient grounds to not try them as sane, precisely because they can understand the concepts of right and wrong on an intellectual level (and by "right and wrong" we generally just mean "did you know it was illegal to do X", which the Joker always did). Most psychopaths in fact do not break the law, or at least do not break it in such serious ways as theft and murder and terrorism and whatever else the Joker has done. If a psychopath or a narcissist or a sociopath or whatever is arrested for a crime, they face jail and possibly the death sentence, and in fact putting them in an insane asylum is considered a bad idea because not only are they almost impossible to cure, they are manipulative and disrputive to other patients (and its not hard to see how the Joker makes Arkham Asylum crazier).
There's also the question of why Batman just doesn't cripple the super-villains. Look at some of the physical prowess he shows in Batman: Year One: with a bullet in a leg and arm, Bats moves a support pillar, punches a cop in SWAT gear hard enough to fly through a brick wall, and kicks out a major support column with his injured leg. Why can these guys even walk still?
Because Batman is not Judge Dredd or The Punisher. He has NO legal jurisdiction, the moment he starts placing himself in a position where he is delivering judgement and pronouncing sentences (or even looks like he might be doing that) he moves from (barely) tolerated vigilante to whom a blind eye is turned, to being no better than the insane, costumed-freaks he brawls with. Batman has to use minimum force, because its not just enough for to be clean, he must be seen to be clean. The "Caesar's wife must be above reproach" principle applies moreso to him than the regular cops and regular citizens.
Well for what it's worth, in Batman: Under the Red Hood, Batman apparently beat Joker so badly at one point he was in a body cast for six months. It didn't really seem to help much.
Regardless of whether or not The Joker can be legally executed still doesn't explain that in the period of time that he's locked up, no one has just gone up and shot him while he was vulnerable. I know The Joker's crazy but even the crazies need to fall asleep at some point. Considering all of the people that The Joker has murdered over the years, I'd be really surprised if there is no employee at either Arkham or Black Gate that hasn't been personally affected by The Joker's actions who would pull the trigger.
Because what if you miss? Seriously, want to take out the Joker, fine plenty of reason to do that, you stand over his sleeping body and pause for moment and the horrible thought goes through your mind "what if I miss...?" and you realise just exactly what the Joker will do to you, your family, your friends, your friends' friends... And then you think "ah screw it, I'm doing it anyway", and you pause again and think "what about Harley, if you kill her 'Puddin'' she is gonna go nuts on you? What about the Joker's goons, some of them might genuinely be loyal/brainwashed into avenging him? What about the goddam Batman? He's locked in this eternal struggle with the Joker, and he seems just as nuts as the rest of them, what will he do?" you think "what about the next Gotham nutjob coming down the pike who wants the kudos of taking out the guy who took out the Joker?". There could be a lot of reason to just not try to kill the Joker, and most of them revolve around everyone else in the Joker's circle. Because anyone nuts enough to try and take out the Joker has already pulled on a costume and carved their way into the Gotham crime scene.
The Joker considers himself insane. Last I checked, the mad don't think they're insane.
Arkham - Cardboard Asylum
Really, the real question here is: WHY THE FRAG HAVE THE MORONS AT ARKHAM NOT BEEN SACKED?! The place is the worst kind of Cardboard Prison in existence! If Bruce simply purchased it and beefed up its security, he wouldn't have to worry about Joker escaping every other week!
Isn't it implied at the one point that Arkham is cursed in some way and that's why it's so hard to cure anyone there?
I still fail to see why Bruce couldn't simply purchase it and amp up its security (and maybe hire a competent doctor or two, but still, I think of it as more of a prison than an asylum). And if he does run into the curse, and somehow isn't Crazy-Prepared for it, couldn't he just call in one of his 500 JLA teammates knowledgeable about magic?
One of the often-forgotten tropes of the Batman franchise is that corruption in Gotham City is through the roof. The city government is corrupt, most of the GCPD is corrupt, and it's likely the people who oversee Arkham Asylum are pretty corrupt.
True, take Batman: Arkham Asylum. Gordon bio explain that he has almost managed to completely clean the GCPD of crooks cops. Yet, who allow Mr Jay takeover? Boles, a corrupt guard in Arkham. Gotham is just that corrupted.
It wouldn't matter if Bruce bought Arkham, someone smart enough (i.e. Joker, Riddler, etc) would still find a way to escape. As we can see in Batman: Arkham Asylum, even with the best of Wayne Industries technology, the asylum can still be taken over.
I'd say especially because of the best of Wayne tech...because said best is actually quite low. I mean, in AA, a keycard? The one kind of thing that's easily stolen or pirated? Never heard of retinal scanner, a commonplace tech that only works if the subject is alive (big prob for Mr Jay)?
Actually, retinal scanners and other forms of biological id are notoriously inaccurate, AT BEST a 2% false positive rate and 5% false negative (one of the reasons why the DHS doesn't use them despite all the publicity about such technologies when it was formed). And retinal scanners can be fooled with a dead eye, just like fingerprint scanners.
And that is just what the Joker (or any other inmates for that matter) needs, extra incentives to rip out someone's eyes or chop fingers off.
Okay, I get if "Super" villains like Joker or Riddler can escape, but what about all the other homicidal maniacs? The Arkham Asylum: Living Hell mini-series has Jane Doe kill one of the doctors and use her skin as a disguise. FOR TWO MONTHS WITHOUT ANYONE NOTICING. Are you honestly telling me that Arkham can't even keep in run-of-the-mill killers?
She killed "one of the doctors and" used "her skin as a disguise"? Hardly a "run-of-the-mill" killer, if you ask me. She just doesn't have the sort of press agent the Joker and Riddler do.
On a related note, why are they still using Arkham if it is by its very nature less than conducive to improvements in mental health?
Good question! But that's one of the things I liked about the Return of the Joker movie: since the flashback to Batman's last fight with the Joker took place in the half-demolished ruins of Arkham, at least we know its days are numbered in the DCAU.
We don't know for sure that it isn't conducive to improvements in mental health. All we know for sure is that they've been unable to cure most of Batman's rogues gallery, and that certainly doesn't prove anything. Villains like the Joker or Two-Face have SEVERE mental illnesses. They may in fact be completely incurable. Just because Arkham wasn't able to help them doesn't mean Arkham isn't able to help others with less serious illnesses.
Have you read some of the miniseries, episodes, and issues focusing on it? The founder, Amadeus Arkham, himself went insane, and ended up an inmate- all the while carving symbols into the foundations to bind an evil spirit to the place (if he actually did or not is unknown). The head of security once went insane, and became an inmate by the name of "Lock-up". One of their staff psychiatrists? Harley Quinn. It is named after a city from a story by H.P. Lovecraft. It has a habit of declaring the big-name cases cured and letting them out. One inmate, Warren White, was sane when he went in, but came out as nutty as the rest of them. The staff that we've seen that hasn't gone mad yet are less than completely on-the-ball, to put it mildly. And so on.
A little Arbitrary Skepticism goes a long way. Admittedly, this Troper hasn't read some of the sensitive stories, but if the staff at Arkham writes everything off as superstition, the disturbing reality is that they refuse to acknowledge just what's wrong with the system.
Some of the stories, like Living Hell, are pretty explicit about the idea of a supernatural influence making it a breeding ground of madness. Others, like Serious House, leave it up to the reader, but even if it's just an atmosphere of despair hanging over the asylum, it does a good job of gradually driving inmates and staff alike around the bend. Even without a literal curse, Gotham's own corruption is more or less embodied by Arkham Asylum: graft and money laundering's probably bleeding the budget dry, bureaucratic incompetence and the asylum's bad reputation mean the doctors and staff aren't the best, and being surrounded every day by the most deranged lunatics in the whole DC 'verse, in a setting straight out of a Victorian horror story, would take its mental toll on anyone. I personally think there's a curse, in a vague, Lovecraftean aura of doom sense, but it has such a sordid history and self-defeating reputation that tearing it down and starting over is just a good idea either way.
"Have you read some of the miniseries, episodes, and issues focusing on it?" A few, but as I understand it not all of them are in the same continuity (and many are contradictory) so you're going to have to be more specific about WHICH miniseries, episodes, and issues you're talking about. Regardless, I find it highly implausible that Arkham isn't doing something right. Sure they've had more than their share of fuck-ups and there's obviously a lot of corruption going on, but you claimed that Arkham is "less than conducive to mental health" by its very nature. I took this to mean that Arkham creates more problems than it solves. I'm not convinced that's true. Any hospital with a 0% success rate would've been de-funded long ago.
Arkham can be successful. There are indeed regular mental patients there and presumably Arkham does wonders with them. It's just that people like the Joker and Harley get more attention. Even Two-Face can get better with therapy, he just relapses. And the real question is: Where would the criminals go? In a Justice League prison? Criminals or not, the Bat-Foes are still American citizens with rights.
Where would they go? Federal prison? Somewhere that doesn't have a well-earned reputation for institutional insanity and being a Cardboard Prison?
Seriously, why not at least try making a new prison for people like Joker? Maybe they could have one that would be staffed by the Justice League on shifts, or in a location that's hard to escape from (like in the middle of the ocean), or something. Not putting him in the same place over and over and expecting a different outcome each time; that's the definition of insanity.
They have made prisons specifically for the likes of the Joker and other supervillains. Examples include Iron Heights and Stryker's Island. And both of them have had just as many breakouts as Arkham. Besides, the Joker isn't just a criminal, he's a dangerous psychotic. A simple prison, even one outfitted for superhuman criminals, doesn't have the resources or the training to handle someone like him. EDIT: As for why they've never tried to build another super-human insane asylum, even building regular prisons is controversial enough. They're enormously expensive and just proposing to build a new prison brings out all the various special interest groups that complain about the state of the US prison system. Not to mention, where do you put it? I certainly wouldn't want a super-human prison in my backyard, and I definitely wouldn't want someone like the Joker within a ten mile radius of my friends and family. If they tried to open up a new prison in my home town and they announced they were going to be holding the likes of the Joker in it, personally I'd be out protesting in the streets to stop them.
The underwater idea has some merit, though. Make them Aquaman's problem, I say!
They've already even tried sending the most dangerous villains off to a supposedly deserted planet and all that happened is the various mad scientists collaborated and found a way back, so a change in location is not a guaranteed success.
They also specifically asked Aquaman if they could do just that in Kingdom Come, and he pointed out that he was one man protecting 70% of the world while they had dozens of more powerful people on land and they still couldn't handle it. Vetoed by the King of Atlantis in a big way.
Arkham may look like a stereotypic haunted house on the outside, but on the inside it's much more like a normal asylum. It's just that it's run by a man who is himself half mad and therefore has problems in how the show is run, and the place is supposedly cursed (though the staff doesn't believe it). The supervillains we see are only maybe one percent of the total patient population at the most. It's not like it's comprised entirely of people who constantly break out and are never cured. They're just a few bad apples.
An earlier troper stated Arkham Asylum can be successful at helping people. Now, I don't know much about the comics yet, but in BTAS, a therapist was able to mostly... sort of... help Ventriloquist. Admittedly, Scarface does come back, but eventually the combination of Ventriloquist's desire to get rid of Scarface, the help from the therapist, and Batman really pulling hard for helping him in virtually every way possible, resulted in Scarface dying for good.
Scarface was in fact only pretending to be gone during his stay at Arkham to get Wesker released and declared sane; he just didn't count on his absence causing the Character Development in Wesker to stand up to him for once. So in that case, it was Scarface who "cured" Wesker by not trying to assert control. For what it's worth, the actual Arkham staff are generally shown to be competent (if mediocre) at their jobs so they would have no trouble curing a patient like Wesker who wanted to be cured in the first place.
On that important note, the majority of prominent supervillains interred therein (Joker, Riddler, Scarecrow, maybe Two-Face, etc. etc.) all exhibit varying degrees of narcissism, which is notoriously difficult to cure, because of the simple that one of its symptoms is that the patient likes who they are and doesn't want to be cured, if they see themselves as crazy in the first place, and view attempts to help them as hostile and sinister attacks on their personal idenity. And all of the inmates are sociopaths which is even harder to cure, since it means they are manipulative and will likely just learn to hide their disorder better, pretending to get cured, if they are so inclined; and several are sadists, which in combination with the other two means they enjoy tormenting their own doctors and scaring the hell out of them, which won't help matters. Paranoiac and attention-seeking tendencies, as well as tendencies to violent mod swings, are not going to help matters. Basically, even the average supervillain has three of four personality disorders going on, so imagine how screwed up this lot are that are considered the craziest bunch of lunatics on the planet, and how difficult if not impossible it would be to cure them. Especially since most of them are several times smarter than you and have psychologically or physically scarred, tortured or killed dozens of psychologists before you and know every trick in the book (especially guys like Scarecrow who are, in fact, psychiatrists themselves).
There's a simple answer to all this: Bat-Mite. He loves seeing his hero in action so much, he stretches the boundaries of Cardboard Prison and Status Quo Is God to ridiculous lengths. He makes it easy to break out of Arkham, and keeps anyone from thinking of doing anything about it. Just watch the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Reign of Emperor Joker". That pretty much proves it.
Tim Burton's "Batman"
Minor thing from the Tim Burton movie: When did Joker's henchmen get to the top of the tower?
I like to imagine they were always there. The Joker paid them to hang out up there just in case Batman ever chased him up to the top of the cathedral. Just like that one random sword-wielding henchman in the alleyway. The Joker paid him to crouch down there just in case they ever chased Batman into that particular alley. Seems like something the Joker would do.
Well, maybe not have him wait in that exact position. Remember, there were two cars chasing the Batmobile. One crashed into a vegetable truck, while the other (carrying Bob and three other goons) continued the pursuit. Before the cops showed up, one of the guys from the other car could've gotten out, ran around the block, and got to the opposite end of the alley at the appropriate time. As for the guys in cathedral, Joker should've known that he might have to make a getaway, so positioned guys in the tallest building in the city just in case.
Again, the comic-book adaption clears this up- we see the henchmen heading up the cathedral while Joker is in the process of kidnapping Vicki.
This has always bothered me: Vicki sleeps with Bruce Wayne, but when she sees Batman again the next night (and he holds her in his arms), she doesn't realize it's the same guy she just slept with! How is that even possible? Yes, he can change his voice, and the body armor would change the feel of his body, but the way he smells, the unique scent of his body, would still be the same. For an investigative reporter, she is remarkably unobservant!
Not really. For a start, I don't think most people would recognize someone just from their scent. Also, it can probably be inferred that Bruce would put on cologne for a date. He probably doesn't when he's Batman; and if he does, this is Batman we're talking about, he'd deliberately choose a different one to prevent someone from making the connection. Finally, Batman is covered head to toe in rubber and synthetic armor, which is going to have its own scent and mix with his to obscure it.
Batman's ordinary tech
With all the super genius, alien, an/or magical devices Batman is exposed to all the time, why does he stick with the relatively mundane stuff for his wonderful toys? True, teleport-to-Blackgate batarangs are a bit overkill for random thugs, but he could use much better gear than he has now and still be as much of a Badass Normal as ever.
Trust issues. Bruce hates magic, doesn't trust aliens, and won't use a super genius object unless he knows exactly how it works.
And given that Hal Jordan's alien weaponry turned out to have a brainwashing fear bug in it and Jaime Reyes' Blue Beetle suit was invented for the purpose of evil, it's understandable in many ways.
With all the martial arts weapons that Bruce shows himself to be proficient in, why does he not use them more? I mean, most incarnations of Robin use a collapsible staff pretty effectively, why can't he do the same with another weapon?
It's probably the fact that having to lug some extra weapons around would be a problem. Plus he seems to be sort of a minimalist. Sure he has most everything he could need in his utility belt and on his person but that's usually all he carries 90% of the time.
Personal preference. Same reason Nightwing only uses escrima sticks.
Yeah, but I'm sure he could invent a collapsible sword or staff. He pretty much always fights Ra's al Ghul with a sword, why not with other villains?
I think there's a few things going on with Batman's lack of weapons. One is that he's doing it for a psychological release as well as a sense of justice: he wants to beat criminals up with his bare hands, and using a weapon just wouldn't be the same. Another factor is that Batman lives by a strict Thou Shalt Not Kill code, so relying on hand-to-hand combat to subdue criminals probably gives him more control over the fight and helps him restrain himself.
That... Makes sense. Seeing as Ra's comes back from the dead via the Lazarus Pits, and he is one of the Dark Knights greatest enemies in hand to hand combat...
The Gotham curse
I get that Arkham and Gotham are cursed and pretty much a lost cause. What I don't get is why the curse didn't kick in until Thomas and Martha were killed.
Because the curse was more of a Lampshade Hanging. Also, Gotham still was pretty depressing till they were killed, it was more of the straw that broke the camels back.
When a city as bad as Gotham loses it's biggest humanitarians, crime increase is to be expected. The city didn't get really bad until Batman started attracting criminals of high enough caliber to challenge him.
No, it was pretty damn bad. Muggers were everywhere, police comissioners had dinner with mobsters, the police department acted as muggers and assasins for the mob being able to do whatever they wanted, police commisioners were willing to kidnap an infant to get what they wanted, cops even helped transport cocaine, cops mugged people just for fun, and it was basically a horrible place.
Technically, that's true although Bludhaven was supposed to be worse. At least Gotham had a better honest cop to crooked cop ratio and criminals actually scared of the superhero (Nightwing can kick ass, but he lacked the HSQ that helped Batman out).
It was always that bad, but the reason that it really kicked in after Thomas and Martha Wayne were killed is because they were basically the icons of the effort to improve the city. They were these shining paragons of goodness in a city too grimy for it, but they still worked, somehow. Then they were gunned down in something as senseless as a mugging, in front of their child, and Gotham basically lost hope until Batman and Bruce Wayne came in.
Here's a somewhat related headscratcher. How does Gotham staysoawful? Are you really telling me that years of being protected by Batman and his allies haven't done the slightest bit of good? I can't believe that frigging Batman is that ineffectual.
At least part of this is the nature of comic book story telling and Comic Book Time — Status Quo Is God has been stressed for a good long time, and even if it wasn't then in many ways up to twenty years of comic book stories in the real world amount to maybe five or so years of in-universe stories; it's longer to the reader than the characters. In-universe, a common explanation for this, however, is is along the lines that Batman first started out, he was mainly dealing with corrupt cops and mobsters, and then when they started to go on the wane thanks to his influence and efforts suddenly a rash of garish psychotics started showing up. It's not so much that things stayed awful in the same way as the goalposts suddenly shifted and a new kind of ugliness started showing up.
Misunderstanding of Tourette's
In Arkham Asylum: Serious House on a Serious Earth a doctor describes the Joker as having something similar to Tourette's syndrome. Now I don't claim to know a lot about psychiatry, but isn't Tourette's defined by uncontrollable tics? How is this similar to whatever the Joker has?
His uncontrollable tics involve manic laughter, acid, and killing. Most likely tic being "make person die smiling".
But this is not how she describes it, she says that he creates himself every day because he has something where he can't regulate the information he takes in (as in, he takes in everything) so he can't deal with the chaotic barrage of everyday life, ergo, he is completely random, not he has tics about laughter, acid etc... Maybe the author didn't really know what Tourette's is?
A Serious House On Serious Earth was written in 1989, so it could just be a case of psychiatry marching on. But I'm not sure I'd trust the Arkham doctors to even treat a fear of cats. Serious House showed us the bang-up job they did with Harvey, Maxie Zeus and the rest of the inmates; the place is cursed, and its curse seems to hit the staff as hard as the patients.
If I recall correctly, the line says that she suspects he isn't insane, but has a "neurological illness, similar to Tourette's syndrome". She may have simply been using Tourette's as an example, to distinguish between neurological problems and insanity, not implying that the Joker has Tourette's or anything related. (Or she could just be trying to shoehorn a diagnosis of any recognized illness because the Joker has them totally stumped.)
It's similar to Tourette's in that it involves unpredictable impulses in one's behavior.
You're not supposed to find anything the doctor says credible. She's a critique of pop psychology; her explanations of the Joker's behavior sound suspect at best and ridiculous at worst because she's in completely over her head. The big tip-off is when she postulates that the Joker might not be insane at all, which is the point at which the reader is supposed to lose confidence in her abilities. In fairness, though, something else she postulates on (the Joker re-inventing himself) acually became canon (Notably in "Going Sane", and "Ri P", the latter of which is also by Morrison), so the line between nonsense and actual knowledge is blurred for modern readers.
The Joker Keeps Escaping
Okay, I don't mean for this to sound like complaining about a work I didn't see, as most of what I've heard is secondhand information from other reviews, so maybe the question has a valid answer, but...how does the Joker manage to keep getting out of Arkham Asylum over and over again? How many different ways can you come up with for a guy with no superpowers to somehow effortlessly defeat any and every conceivable security system mankind can devise? Do we even see how he does it, or is it just Hand Waved every time a writer wants to use him? And for that matter, some of his exploits seem really over the top-in Batman #663, for instance, did Grant Morrison even explain how he orchestrated the murders of all his old compatriots while still being interred in Arkham? How does he know that his victims will react a certain way when he does things-it's one thing if he can intuit how Batman or Commissioner Gordon will act, but it seems like he can somehow have a complete psychological knowledge of people he's met for all of thirty seconds. It seems like he's able to predict almost everything flawlessly, including Gambit Roulettes that he never should have seen coming. Is that really the case?
As a not-too-much-of-a-comic-book-reader myself, I can't provide a straight answer, but there's a lot of Memetic Badass that goes into the whole thing. As for the psychological profiles, I guess I don't have a specific context for it, but the implication seems to be he has a plan for any kind of reaction, making sure everything that ends up happening plays into some kind of plan.
It's unclear how many times the Joker actually has escaped from Arkham. It's possible he's only escaped a few times and spent extensive amounts of time as an underworld fugitive running his gang until being captured again. (Obviously this isn't counting the Silver Age when the "villain escapes from jail" plot happened every other day.)
Grant Morrison has established that the Silver Age stories happened in a sort of phantasmagoric way only, in Batman's mind, and not in actual fact.
Keeping a small (not close to half the times he's escaped) checklist of the times he's escaped:
Batman #1: Used chemicals hidden in two false teeth to create a bomb and blow his cell door open (officially ret-conned to Earth-Two)
Batman #25: Cooperating with Penguin, pestered the guard into giving him a broom to sweep the cell with. The pair proceeded to remove the wire binding the broom's whisks together, fashion it into a hook, slip it through the bars of the cell, and "fish" out the guard's ring of keys.
Batman #260: Somehow sneaked Joker Venom into the guards' coffee, and grabbed the keys when one stumbled too close to his cell laughing.
The Joker #1: Used a special balloon to float over Arkham's walls. Also somehow swapped all the guards' guns with pop guns.
The Joker #2: Used a Sleeping Dummy. Arkham's director actually calls out the guards on it, says it's the fifth time they've let him escape, and sacks them.
Batman #426: Mentioned to have mixed Joker Venom out of stuff in a janitor's closet.
Robin II: The Joker's Wild #1: Got a lawyer to smuggle in a bible that sprayed tear gas. Also swapped coats with said lawyer to aid in his getaway.
Detective Comics Annual #5: Busted out by Ventriloquist and Scarface and a whole bunch of armed thugs.
Batman #491: Busted out by Bane and his stooges, along with everyone else in Arkham.
Batman #544: Was allowed access to Arkham's laboratory for "good behavior". Mixed up Joker Venom in there.
Catwoman vol.1 #64: Mentioned to have wired the cafeteria sausage at Arkham into the security system's conducting wires.
Shadow of the Bat #82: Let out by Arkham's director after an earthquake has ravaged Gotham and the city is declared "No Man's Land", due to said director unable to stomach the thought of the inmates slowly starving to death while kept inside with the steel quake-proof shutters. He makes Joker and the inmates promise to not go to Gotham. Naturally, all of the inmates, including Joker (with the exception of Riddler) break the promise.
Gotham Adventures #10 (in DCAU continuity): Escaped by hijacking Poison Ivy's escape plan (seeds that made giant vines sprout from the ground within seconds of touching water).
Legends of the Dark Knight #142: Busted out by Talia al-Ghul and Ubu, posing as officials from the National Institute of Mental Health.
...Pop guns? A hot air balloon? Wiring cafeteria sausage into the conducting wires? Okay, once again I hate for this to sound like complaining, but these are some of the most ridiculous and contrived methods I've ever heard of, even by comic book standards. To me, all this does is confirm the Joker as some sort of Mary Tzu whose Gambit Roulettes turn out almost flawlessly every single time. He never miscalculates, he always reads a situation perfectly, Contrived Coincidences always turn out in his favor, and his ridiculously circuitous plans are never derailed by some Spanner in the Works. I mean, at least with Batman we have some sort of explanation of Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?, and a background that confirms his training. But the Joker's exploits are far too much for me to accept from a guy with no discernible powers or resources. Granted, maybe I shouldn't be reading these comics, since I was left extremely annoyed by what seemed to me to be Gambit Pileups in stories like Hush and The Long Halloween, along with It Just Bugs Me! moments like how Calendar Man could possibly have known who the Holiday Killer was...
To be fair, the pop guns/hot air balloon thing was during the Silver Age. And it's not like Joker is the ONLY one to pull this off regularly. Two-Face, for instance, once waltzed out of Arkham by breaking a chair over a guard's head and stealing the guy's uniform. Hell, the Ventriloquist and Scarface once actually dug their way out with spoons. Way I see it, Arkham is just that damn leaky.
And no established resources? Gotham is practically a shopping mall for criminals. If you know the right people (Penguin, Black Mask, etc.) and have the right amounts of cash, you can get practically anything through Arkham's walls, up to and including explosives.
Yeah, it's not that the Joker is a Villain Sue with the Gambit Roulettes and everything, but that every Batman villain is like that. And about The Long Halloween: IIRC, we never actually find if Calendar Man knew who Holiday was, or if he was just pretending.
The Joker never miscalculates because it's implied that he's superintelligent, maybe one of the smartest character in the DCU. Granted, that's not much of an excuse for why he never makes a bad judgement, but as a reader, would you really be satisfied with a story where he screws something up and doesn't get to escape in the end?
The Joker can't fail because every plan works like this: Step One, do evil. Step Two through X, ???. Step X+1, lulz. As long as he gets a kick out of it, he won.
I'm also a non-comic reader (still breaking into it), but I know it's been indicated that Joker has Medium Awareness - It's possible he knows everything/can break out of anywhere because he uses a mixture of Dangerously Genre Savvy and can literally manipulate the medium and characters to his advantage.
Also some of those escape attempts sound fairly plausable; real life escape attempts work on equal parts brilliance and Refuge in Audacity. Using either minimal resources in unexpected ways (the sausage) or resources they wouldn't believe you'd have (the hot air balloon). Not to mention you can't call the Joker a Mary Tzu / Marty Stu for doing exactly what Batman does in reverse. The sheer impossibility of half of the shit Batman pulls would rank him up a dozen times on any mary sue test if it weren't for the fact that he's popular. And the fact that his enemies(especially the Joker) get the same exception because if his enemies didn't prove to be as capable or nearly as capable as he is, he'd be boring. Now, would anyone accept that Batman could be held in Arkam? No. He'd take apart the bedsheets and twine them into a baterang and carve through the cell walls with it.
Outdated naming for Arkham
Why would people go around calling a modern mental health facility Arkham Asylum? I realize that in the then-future of The Dark Knight Returns, it's called "Arkham Home for the Emotionally Troubled" to be cartoonishly politically correct, but for the sake of professionalism, wouldn't someone have changed the name to something along the lines of "Arkham Psychiatric Hospital" by now?
It may be a Lampshade Hanging on their atrocious track record and tendency towards increasing insanity rather than decreasing it in both faculty and patients- people don't go there to be cured, they just go there to be given a place to be safe and cared and kept away from the real world.
Alternatively, its because it has been shown repeatedly that the faculty is completely nuts itself on numerous occasions, like whenever there's a series that focuses on the Asylum, and the nutso management isn't on-the-ball enough to handle something like that, as busy as they are with more pressing and less reasonable matters.
I'd say the chaps at the Other Wiki know what a henge is.
It's probably just a old name that's stuck and is widely used in local conversation, regardless of how correct it is. Same way as, for example, many people call what is actually and officially the Clock Tower of the Palace of Westminster in London "Big Ben". That's not technically correct, and by now most people probably know it's not technically correct (if for no other reason than what would seem to be an army of pedants ready to swoop in and correct people who use it incorrectly at a moment's notice), but they still use it anyway because it's hung around and, even if it is technically incorrect, everyone knows what is being referred to anyway. It probably is or has been officially renamed to something like "The Amadeus Arkham Institute of Psychiatric Care" or something, but as far as everyone in Gotham is concerned, it's "Arkham Asylum" and that's all there is to it.
Batman and limited tech part II
Bruce Wayne is one of the wealthiest, intelligent and most tech savvy people in the DC Universe. He knows many people in possession of hypertechnology, from the Earth-born Steel to Superman and Mr. Miracle. He never shies from using gadgets and gear that are often just shy of techno-magic. So why does he restrain himself to Earth-manufactured polymer outfits and techno-ninja gadgets? Even if he doesn't want to go full Iron Man due to not wanting to rely on powered armor, that doesn't at all explain why he doesn't build suits from miracle materials that are impervious to normal weapons and energy blasts, and why he doesn't routinely carry advanced sensor arrays and ranged stun weapons. Or is Bruce Wayne's kung-fu egotism more important than being more effective at saving lives and the occasional Universe? If he's really that paranoid that he won't accept stuff from Scott Free and Superman then why not reverse engineer it and at least make some primitive copies? Given what run-of-the-mill scientists in poorly funded secret labs manage to pull off routinely, you think he could do better than a kevlar ninja outfit and smoke bombs.
Bruce is a genius, but he's not that much of a technological genius. He's exceptionally clever, and he has clever people working for him, but the reality is that he doesn't understand everything to do with, say, Steel's armor. He might be able to identify weaknesses, figure out how to use it, even agree to put it on in a pinch, but he's not going to regularly use anything that he doesn't understand inside and out. He does, on occasion, whip out the glider cape or the Bat-Jetpack or what have you, but he mostly holds those in reserve because either they have flaws that he doesn't want taken advantage of or because he doesn't really need them.
Actually, he built a flying strength-increasing batsuit sometime before the start of Batman Begins.
Um, most of the time he does use advanced sensors, ranged stun weapons, and suits built out of miracle materials. He just doesn't use the really flashy stuff that other tech-based heroes use. His hat is that he uses stealth and psychological warfare against criminals. Spamming repulsor rays and sonic blasts everywhere is counteractive towards that purpose.
Batman is also heavily into self-reliance. He doesn't like to rely on anything that he cannot fix by himself, if need be. So using hypertechnology created by other superheroes is never going to be on Bruce's game plan; if he did, he would then be dependent on that other superhero for tech support if the thing ever stopped working, was broken, or was sabotaged. Bruce hates being dependent on other people.
There's no real reason in universe that Bats can't have Superpowers, considering all the technological, mystical, and biological ways that he could gain superpowers. In fact, Batman could probably invent some himself for that matter, voiding the "Batman's obsessed with self-reliance" excuse. The real reason is that Batman being a badass normal and being mostly realistic is pretty much his entire allure. The idea that we could become Batman if we really tried hard enough is the draw of Batman, and doing the above would rob him of that.
During "JLA: Foreign Bodies", Bruce was temporarily mindswitched into Superman's body and had to handle some of Superman's work load. There is a scene during that sequence where Barbara asks Bruce how he's enjoying having superpowers, and Bruce's answer is summed up as 'Are you kidding? I can't wait to get back into my own body. I stay in Clark's too long and I might get into the habit of relying on raw power instead of skill and discipline, and no thank you.' Whether or not its actually true Batman certainly believes that having superpowers will make him end up falling into a When All You Have Is a Hammer trap, and so he deliberately doesn't want any.
Supervillains without powers
So, why are we calling Black Mask, Two-Face or Scarface "supervillain" anyway? I dont see any super-thing about them. Sure, they tough (well two of them.), but they're far to Badass Normal status. Actually I barely can accept Scarface as the real villain.
Well, probably for the same reason we call Batman a "superhero". There's nothing "super" about him. He's just a normal man who happens to make a hobby of punching bank robbers and purse snatchers in the face.
But, he fights real super villains from Poison Ivy and Mr Freeze to Grundy or Copperhead. Did these guys ever faced a super hero and stood a chance?
How does Mr. Freeze count as a supervillain? His only "power" is that he dies in warm temperatures. Sure, he can live in environments too cold for normal people, but seeing as how that restricts him to two locations on the planet as opposed to everywhere else that humans live, it hardly counts.
My guess is that it's because they're out of the ordinary. Two-Face and Black Mask have their facial trauma, and Scarface is someone's split personality. That makes them more "super" than someone like Roland Dagget.
Black Mask, Two-Face, and Scarface are larger-than-life criminals, with weird psychoses and disfigurements who engage in cartoonishly complex and widespread acts of crime. If they're not super-villains, what are they?
You could make the case for Black Mask and Two-Face, but Scarface and the Ventriloquist have never really moved beyond ordinary crime. He/they started out dealing drugs, moved up to dealing arms, and... that's about it. No deathtraps. No henchmen in funny costumes.
There's still the rather larger-than-life element of a gangster ventriloquist's dummy controlling a criminal organisation, though.
To paraphrase Megamind the difference between a villain and a supervillain isn't powers...it's presentation! And if there's one thing Bat-villains know how to do, it's present.
Riddler and Two-Face compulsions
Most of times Batman fights with Riddler he can find him, or beat him, because Riddler leaves clues and plays games, so Batman can cheat. Simillar if Two-face didn't throw his coin he would kill Batman ages ago. Is that mean that these two are more smart that all other villains Batman ever faced?
OCD is Batman's greatest ally.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought the Riddler is a villan more for fun and less for profit.
Pretty much, he has the compulsive need to make riddles which is what fuels his crimes. Back to the original topic, Batman is hardly cheating with the Riddler because the latter leaves the clues so they can be solved. It'd be like saying solving a crossword puzzle using the descriptions for each of the numbers is cheating. As for Two-Face; if he didn't flip the coin he wouldn't be two-face and thus not a threat. And even in the cases where the coin landed scarred-side up Batman still beat him. So neither of them are smarter than the other villains, just crippled by their own insanity.
Or, more succinctly: The Riddler commits the crimes, but Edward Nygma leaves the clues out of guilt. In my eyes, the Riddler is more of a "flashy alter-ego" than a true villain, and is just doing this for his 15 minutes of fame.
Tell that to the hundreds of people he has tortured or killed over the decades. Or Green Arrow who caught him trying to set off a nuclear weapon in his city. The OCD thing isn't actually that big a part of his character- usually, he is written as a massive egomaniac and Attention Whore and is driven by a need to outsmart Batman by coming up with that one puzzle that Batman can't solve, and he doesn't see a problem with putting innocent people in mortal danger (or just flat-out killing them) to achieve that end- if they were smart, they would have been able to escape on their own (yes, this kind of thing predates the Arkham games). Even the Frank Gorshin Riddler from the Adam West show was a giggling sadistic psychopath who loved plotting horrible deaths for Batman and Robin. Quite simply, the Riddler is a bastard homicidal maniac and most stories portray him that way.
Because they're insane, duh.
Well, Joker did imply once that he's been letting Batman win the whole time because Victory Is Boring.
Why doesn't Batman make a prison?
Batman's civilian identity is swimming in money. His company's R&D department develops all the neat little gadgets he uses on his war on crime. And most importantly: Batman has designed individualized traps and contingencies specifically designed to deal with his allies in the Justice League (to say nothing about the whole OMAC/Big Brother system), meaning despite their godlike powers, they have more to fear from him than he from them. It is not inconceivable, nay, it is entirely sensible, that Batman, if he put his mind to it, could construct and design the prison of prisons (or insane asylum of insane asylums) that was escape-proof and capable of holding his foes indefinitely, then use his company's connections to convince Gotham that his prison was a better alternative than Arkham, which has more holes than 50-cent's chest. If he can design contingencies against his metahuman allies, he should be perfectly capable of designing an Tailor-Made Prison to entrap his worst enemies (and before anyone responds listing the various ways it might possibly go wrong, remember that a) he is the Goddamed Batman, who has already gone through the hundreds of possibly worst case scenarios you can think of in the 10 seconds it took him to come up with the idea and has developed contingencies for those outcomes too, and b) with Bruce's money and connections, he could still support any number of other common-sense, long-term initiatives to improve Gotham's social services, modernize the police force and reduce crime in the long run).
I tried really, really hard to think of a reason why that wouldn't work...but I can't. I got nothing.
In some continuities, Bats, as Wayne, spends tons of cash every year on constantly improving Arkham's security. The trouble is, security means nothing when half the staff is easily threatened or bribed into letting villains just waltz out whenever they please.
^Pretty much this. At the end of the day such a prison will always fail as long as their is so much corruption in Gotham. The only way around that is to make it run completely by machines, which can be hacked easily.
Also, all the talk on this page for the back up plans the man has; he's probably taken into consideration the possibility of one of his enemies somehow getting him locked up on Arkham or otherwise trapping him inside (like a certain video game...), and while he may invest in upgrading its systems, he'd never upgrade it to the point where he himself couldn't beat it, just in case he ever had to. And because some of his enemies are as smart, clever, and resourceful as he is, if he can beat it, so can they.
As for the notion of using Wayne money to clean up Gotham's corrupt system, wouldn't it be hypocritical to do so? Footing the bill for new social programs or applying leverage so they'll hire more cops wouldn't be making the government or cops less corrupt, it'd just shift the corruption from being paid off by mob money to being paid off by corporate money. He wants Gotham's dishonest authorities to be supplanted by people of integrity, not just to take their bribes from someone more presentable. He'll back clean politicians' campaigns, but he won't arbitrarily throw money at the incumbents.
As to why Batman doesn't just donate lots of money to the authorities so they can improve existing prisons — as outlined above, he already does and its still not working due to human element. As to why Batman doesn't make his own prison and throw the worst of his villains in there? Because he thinks it would be morally wrong. Batman sees his job as to help the authorities catch the bad guys they can't catch by themselves, not to set himself up as judge, jury, and executioner over the whole process. Remember, there was a Bat-Villain whose entire shtick was 'the prison system is not doing its job, I will make my own prison and kidnap these guys and put them away forever': Lyle Bolton, aka "Lock-Up". Bruce punched Lock-Up in the face a lot and tore his prison apart and shipped the bad guys kept in it back to regular jail, which kinda nails down what Bruce's opinion is about that type of thing.
When technology marches on
So, as technology in the real world gets better and better, what will Batman's new policy be? For example: there are, at the moment, actual prototype exoskeletons that give humans something approaching super-strength. Not widespread now, true, but if the world ever got to the point where every bank-robber around had one, what would Batman's policy be?
The arms race mentioned in Batman Begins will invert itself. Instead of criminals advancing to match the Bat-tech, Bat-tech will advance to match the criminals.
Someone pointed that Batman is a minimalist. He prefers the harsher method; of course he is Crazy-Prepared, but his intent is to be always an optimal vigilante, who doesn't depends on anything beyond himself. No more batarangs? He'll improvise a javeline. Much stronger opponent? Aikido. Is he on his Bruce Wayne identity and without time to wear the bat-suit? He'll just start kicking asses and later will tell everyone that has been lucky. Probably he would even let himself to be hit a couple of times to make it plausible. Doesn't want advanced tech; he's the Goddamned Batman.
I would guess that Batman's new policy will be the same as his old policy: use standard tech that he can understand and maintain without having to rely on others. If personal exoskeletons get to that point, I don't see why he'd be any more reluctant to use one (while being ready to do without if the situation so dictates) than he is to drive around in the Batmobile instead of walking or rope-swinging everywhere he needs to go (with the same caveat about being prepared to fall back on the latter if the former is unavailable or contraindicated).
Doesn't Batman already have villains that have superstrong exoskeletons, like Mr. Freeze? That's less the world overtaking Batman era tech and more catching up to it.
Alfred.He's Batman's only true friend (Nightwing,Batgirl,etc are co-workers)and he's essentially the only surviving parent that Batman has. Why isn't he trying to stop Bruce Wayne from wasting his entire life on a cause that can only end in frustration and disappointment? Even assuming that Batman wouldn't be killed, he would certainly suffer a serious mental and emotional toll when he finally realized that despite his best efforts, Gotham City is just going to get worse as time goes on. How can somebody that cares for someone stand around and let that happen?
Because when someone is hell bent on something you can't stop them, just mitigate the damage. Alfred is smart enough to know that. One of the few decent lines in Batman Forever was from Alfred to Bruce on this subject regarding Robin's own vengance quest and Bruce trying to stop him.
And he's not just standing around and letting it happen. If anything, Alfred is there to work against that "serious mental and emotional toll," by encouraging him to be human whenever he can. If it weren't for Alfred, Bruce would probably be Batman all the time, while Alfred provides him with human contact, and keeps nudging him toward a more normal life. In Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, for example, he seems to be encouraging him in his own subtle way to get with Andrea.
Look what happened in Batman Beyond once Alfred was out of the picture, even with the Batcave all shut up and the Batsuit back on the peg Bruce retreated into an increasingly bitter shell of being Batman without being able to be out there.
Plus, well...he's Batman. If he decides he's going to be Batman, then he's going to be Batman until he's physically unable to continue. Nothing short of Alfred knocking his ass out and dragging him to Arkham in a straightjacket would prevent it, and even if he did Bats is an escape artist and could probably break out of Arkham before his first psychiatric interview.
What are you expecting? Alfred to tell Bruce "Cut that shit out and move on!" or something? I doubt Bruce would respond well to that. He'd probably fire Alfred on the spot and slip further and further into his anti-social shell, ending in a nervous breakdown at best and a full psychotic break at worst. Also, two things: 1. Nightwing, Batgirl, etc. are much more than "co-workers" to Bruce. They may not be as close to him as Alfred but they're just as much a part of Bruce's surrogate family (especially Nightwing). 2. There's no reason to assume Gotham will inevitably get worse as time goes on despite Bruce's best efforts.
While the girls may be coworkers, especially Barbara now that she's become Oracle, Bruce considers Dick his son, and he officially adopted Tim. Then you have Damien, who literally is his biological son.
There's also the simple fact that Alfred, on some level, supports what Bruce is doing. I mean, we can go backwards and forwards on whether Bruce is actually insane, or merely dysfunctional, or whatever else — but the fact remains that whatever the cause and whatever the absurdity, Bruce Wayne risks his life on a near-nightly basis to protect the innocent from those who would prey on or harm them and to secure justice for them. That's pretty much what a cop does, with the added benefit that in doing so, he has also created a very powerful guardian angel and symbol of hope for the downtrodden people of Gotham City to gather around in times of need. That's nothing to be sniffed at. Is the complete abolition and eradication of crime a mere pipe-dream? Yes. Does Alfred worry about Bruce near-constantly? Almost certainly. Does the Batman even have unintended side-effects such as escalation and the inspiration of super-villains? Quite possibly. But all things considered, Bruce Wayne has devoted himself to a pretty good purpose for living his life, and while there might be genuine and valid issues about it on the whole it's probably something that Alfred, with reservations, can more or less get behind.
Several of the Young-Batman series have focused on this. Specifically, Batman Earth One and (from teasers) Arkham Origins centered around Alfred's initial attempts to stop Bruce from this Batman nonsense and his story continues with him accepting Bruce's quest by the end.
Batplane's bad aim
So, in the 1989 Burton movie, was Batman really trying to splatter the Joker all over the pavement with the missiles and guns on the Batplane? And, if so, how did he miss so spectacularly, especially with what seemed like a pretty solid weapons lock on the guy?
Yeah, the Burton Batman was far more lenient on the whole 'Never kill anyone' policy. The Bat-Plane just kinda sucks.
This makes a lot more sense if you apply Fridge Logic, leading to Fridge Brilliance (or not). It's a scene that effectively (if a bit awkwardly) dramatizes the moral differences between Batman and the Joker. Batman (at least in this continuity) does not shy away from killing, it is true - but he refuses to kill anyone unarmed, or at least who has not attacked him first. His harmless targeting of Joker in the street below is his way of showing his enemy that, in effect, he could be just as ruthless as any of the criminals he hunts, but he won't, because he is (provisionally) the good guy. The Joker knows this, which is why he acts as if he is unarmed for the moment.
That makes sense given that the Batplane's likely meant for fighting other aircraft or larger targets than one guy. Seriously, the weapons on that thing are pretty widely spread out.
All the villain bases
Why does Gotham City have a never-ending supply of abandoned themeparks and toy and game factories? Are people starting up these businesses as tax shelters, then foreclosing them so they can resell them to supervillains?
Presumably this is the Broker's evil plan. The Carpenter also exists, and makes a living from renovating and designing deathtraps and lairs.
There are probably only four or five of each, and supervillains just keep renovating the things. The toys are easily explained by a thriving toy industry at some point in the past, and the theme parks were probably part of Wayne Foundation urban renewal projects that failed utterly.
Sane villains in Arkham
Why the heck do the writers insist on putting clearly SANE Batman villains in Arkham along with the loons? Fetishes and superpowers aside, people like Catwoman, Penguin, or the Hagen Clayface are in complete control of their faculties, so should go into regular prison (or a prison designed to contain superpowered crooks), not in among people like Harley Quinn (whose series demonstrated a rather severe disconnect from reality with Harley Vision), Wesker (who thinks his ventriloquist's dummy talks to him), or Two-Face (has displayed at various times, a distinct (and ironic) monomania concerning the number 2, a crippling obsession with chance, and MPD). People like Poison Ivy or Mr Freeze, who have clear and distinct obsessions, but don't seem pathological, at first blush, are a borderline, but the first handful are really undeniable.
Some writers seem to be unaware that Blackgate Prison exists, and so use Arkham as the default "supervillains go here" penalty box for Batman characters. It may also be that Arkham is better equipped to hold the characters with the weirder powers (Mr. Freeze, Clayface, Poison Ivy).
Plus, I'd argue that it's pretty difficult to get turned into a giant goop monster without some attendant mental trauma. Maybe not enough to be classified legally insane, but possibly enough that it'd be deemed preferable for them to end up somewhere with lots of psychiatric experts.
You don't really see Penguin and Catwoman in Arkham much, if at all, anymore to be fair. Clayface is another issue.
It's mostly because Arkham has much better security than Blackgate, so anyone with superpowers or special needs (like Mr. Freeze who needs to be kept in a subzero tempreture to survive) can't be held out Blackgate with the rest of the non-powered inmates.
Penguin and Catwoman's respective sanity varies Depending on the Writer. Penguin has a strange obsession with birds and an extreme Napoleon complex. Catwoman is a kleptomaniac who dresses up like a cat. (Batman's sanity has often been called into question for similar obvious reasons)
Why don't bystanders kill Joker?
Yet again a JBM with the Joker. While we fans know why he'll never die, and that Batman won't kill him why do the characters in-universe never try anything to rid themselves of Mister Giggles? There are super-vigilants in the D Cverse, after all. Heck, given how corrupt and brutal the Gotham PD is, why do you never see half a dozen PO'ed cops go down to holding and unload their guns into the Joker because he was "attempting escape" or whatever excuse they could come up with?
They're scared shitless of him?
To expand on this: why do people persist in abusive relationships? Why do larger, stronger people sometimes submit themselves to verbal abuse to smaller people or spouses? Why did Green Bay continually pine for Brett Favre? Why won't some normal person kill the Joker? I'd say the entirety of Gotham is like the Joker's abused spouse.
Alternatively, they're scared shitless of Batman. Think about it. Any super-vigilante with half a brain knows that if they go onto Batman's home turf looking to gun someone down he will find them and break them. And if they run across the Joker outside of Gotham City they know Batman isn't going to be far behind, which puts them in the same situation. Even if they manage to kill the Joker they've now got The Goddamn Batman on their tails. That scares me just thinking about it.
Or if you go in, blast at the Joker...and he somehow survives? Your family is going to be hamburger on his next escape attempt, even if it's six months from now.
Yeah, would you want to run the risk of suddenly being the focus of Mistah Jay's complete and undivided attention? There isn't enough money on the planet to make someone risk that.
While the Joker is personally formidable enough that nobody who isn't a very skilled opponent has any hope of killing him instead of dying at the Joker's hands in the attempt, that still doesn't explain why none of the friends or relatives of the Joker's endless parade of victims hasn't been rich enough to simply hand a couple million bucks to Deadshot or Lady Shiva or David Cain and say 'Go kill that guy'. There are mercenary assassins available who will gladly go head-to-head with Batman, and are either crazy enough to not care or just that damn good enough to not be afraid of the Joker. And yes, while my hired assassin will just want to take their paycheck and leave, Batman won't just go after them but also come after me for hiring them. Here's the plan. As soon as the Joker is dead, I'll just go straight to the police station and turn myself in to the GCPD. No jury in Gotham City will ever convict me.
For all we know, they have tried it before, it's just that nobody bothers anymore because he won't stay dead.
There actually was a Batman comic (or Animated Series tie-in comic, possibly) about a rich guy who actually did do this. Batman's response when he found out was to get the Joker, lug him around to protect him, and then dump him at the rich guy's feet, telling him that he wasn't going to let the rich guy buy himself a murder and keep his hands clean; if he wanted the Joker dead, he was going to have to do it his own damn self. Yeah, Batman still isn't going to let you get away with pulling that kind of shit.
A cop DID shoot the Joker once, right in the head. Well, a cop who thought he was Batman, but still. The thing is, the Joker survived, it's kind of his thing.
It bugs me that Scarecrow doesn't have a profile page. What happened to it?
Profile pages are restricted to villains that have outgrown their hero- gotten their own miniseries or series, menaced the DCU as a whole on a semi-regular basis and became a fixture in several unrelated storylines, etc. Scarecrow rarely if ever appears outside of Bat-family books.
Damn. Then it bugs me that he's only a minor character.
Batman's Jason Todd hallucination
During the Knightfall saga, how did Scarecrow's gas cause him to hallucinate Joker beating Jason Todd with a crowbar? The gas forces him to hallucinate his worst fear, but he never saw what Joker did to Jason besides blowing him up.
A crowbar would probably leave pretty distinctive wound patterns, Batman being batman I wouldn't put it past him to be able to recognise that, from there it's just how he imagined it would have looked?
Batman's fear is of loss, which is why he doesn't let himself get close to other people easily, and acts like an assmuncher around them when he does. At most times in his life this fear is made real to him via hallucination with the biggest and defining loss of his life, but for a while the tragedy of losing Robin replaced that as a current central image.
I can accept the Lazarus Pit being a human-body reset clock, as Batman has been tossed into it a few times. But...Batman routinely recieves injuries that should if not kill him, leave him unable to stand. But many times he takes a huge blade (Superman/Batman, Batman:Cacophony) continues fighting. And of course, if he's supposed to be such a huge badass, he'd never let those blades or beatings happen in the first place.
It's called dramatic license... The same excuse that allows film noir detectives to take repeated blows to the head without developing brain damage.
This isn't strictly a Batman criticism, but it bugs me when a superhero/villain doesn't wear a sufficient disguise. Robin, in some incarnations, wears something around his eyes and his costume; most people who had seen him out of costume wouldn't have any trouble recongising him in it. In some incarnations, Catwoman also wears just an eye mask. Superman takes off his glasses and wears a costume. Most of the time, his glasses are normal and non-distinctive (if the glasses are unusual, seeing a person out of them sometimes makes the person almost unrecognisable), and I doubt he's never taken them off in public around other people. Wonder Woman has no mask, but I'm not sure she has a non-super alias, so, perhaps, in her case, it's forgivable. Even in one episode where Lois got powers, her mask consisted of the eye thing. Now, Batgirl, at least in the 1960s series, wore a fuller mask and the wig, the latter of which wasn't necessary but was smart in throwing off anyone who was looking for women matching her physical characteristics.
There's a whole trope for this, Clark Kenting, which discusses exactly this and the various justifications for why it actually works in pretty much all the cases you mentioned.
In regards to Robin in particular: How many people have actually seen both Robin and his alter-ego? If they haven't seen both and gotten a chance to compare and contrast, they can't exactly recognize him out of costume, now can they? For that matter, how many people who have seen Robin got a good look at him in the first place? Most of the time he's tackling muggers and drug dealers in the middle of the night. Between the darkness and getting punched in the skull by Batman and Robin, how many people who see him could actually remember his face?
Again in regards to Robin - I admit I'm not much of a comic book reader, but I can barely tell the difference between Jason Todd, Tim Drake, and Damien Al Ghul even without the costume one. Most superheros tend to have fairly vague facial characteristics - and recognizing a person is difficult enough even WITHOUT a disguise or costume.
Bruce's legal guardian
Who was Bruce's legal guardian after his parents died? Whenever we see glimpses into this period of his life, it seems like he's running his own life from age ten, living in a big empty manor house with nobody but the butler. Has it been formally established that Alfred was Bruce's guardian? And if so, doesn't make their formal master/servant employer/employee thing kind of dysfunctional?
Batman Begins does say that Alfred became Bruce's legal guardian after his parents were murdered. Beyond that, I have no idea.
Yeah, it was Alfred. Remember that Bruce started at an early age training for his quest for justice (the exact date I don't know), so Alfred didn't see him all that often.
It's typically said that Bruce lost his parents at age ten and went training abroad after dropping out of college. That leaves a big enough gap to make Alfred and Bruce's relationship flat-out weird. Are there any comics, canon or not, that cover that period of time? Or does Batman geniunely have "lost years", like Jesus?
This probably wasn't as easily explained in the Golden Age comics, where Alfred had never even been to Gotham or met Bruce until a few years after he had been Batman.
Pre-Crisis Bruce's legal guardian was his uncle Philip Wayne, and he was mostly raised by the housekeeper, Mrs. Chilton, who was also Joe Chill's mother. There are some weird things hanging out in the backwaters of continuity...
And also, now that I'm thinking about it... how exactly would Alfred have wound up with custody of Bruce Wayne in the first place? The Waynes were supposed to be one of the most influential and socially prominant families in Gotham, as were the Kanes, right? So where did all of his other relatives go? Would any court really grant guardianship of a child worth billions to a non-relative with so much to gain by feigning interest in the kid? Wouldn't the kind of legal battle you'd inevitably have to go through to gain custody of a famous billionare 10-year-old be cost-prohibitive for someone on a butler's salary? Help me out, tropers. I'm losing sleep. Someone out there must have a juicy rationalizaton for this, right?
It's not like Alfred came out of nowhere. He had been the Waynes' butler for years before Thomas and Martha were shot. It's perfectly possible, even likely, that he was explicitly named as Bruce's guardian in their Will if anything should happen to them. It is a stretch that they didn't have any other suitable relatives willing or able to take care of Bruce, but it's still possible.
I think it's the term "butler" that throws people off. When people think of a "butler" they think of a low-status, low-paid servant. But historically a butler could also be the head manager of all the household servants, or even the entire household itself. In addition to sweeping the floors and making dinner for the Wayne family, Alfred may also have been the equivalent of the majordomo of the Wayne household. Not an insignificant title.
Guardianship provisions in the wills of Thomas and Martha Wayne naming Alfred as guardian if something should happen to both of them. This is implied in multiple continuities and explicitly stated in Batman Earth 1.
Vicki's outfit in Batman
In the first Tim Burton movie, Vicki Vale goes to cover the parade, an event she knows is likely to be under super-villain attack. You would think she would therefore dress relatively practically so she can run and move about easily (indeed, this would be sensible for a photo-journalist on the job even discounting imminent super-villain attack and her own predisposition towards hostage-status). So she arrives dressed in a knee length dress, ankle length flowing jacket and four-inch heels. This from a woman whose meant to have covered wars.
Much like Lois Lane, who likes to be in the center of the action to get her stories, Vicki does the same.
Yeah, but what in-character reason is her for going into a potentially highly dangerous situation dressed like she's going on a night out? This is symptomatic of a more general headscratcher in that Vicki is introduced as this tough, resourceful woman whose been on the front-line of wars, but spends most the movie as a Distressed Damsel / Screaming Woman. It's just seems like the character is described one way but actually acts another.
She was an idiot, but so was everyone else in Gotham, Cops included. At least Vale was intelligent enough to stay a safe distance from the parade to take her photos. That saved her life.
In defense of the cops, they had to be that close to perform crowd control.
Batman is Sinestro
A character that uses violence and fear to defeat his chaotic enemies. Wait, we're talking about Batman? I thought we were talking about Sinestro. The core of Batman is the same as Sinestro, but Batman's use of it is generally appreciated, whilst Sinestro is demeaned for it. Christ, the reason why Batman hates Hal and the other G Ls is the same reason that the Sinestro Corps hates them: they oppose Fear. It's touched on a few times (Batman tries a GL ring and can't use it because he can't get over his parent's death, Batman gets a Sinestro Ring, Parallax sees Batman as his Disciple and takes him over), but not enough for my taste.
Yes, they both use fear, but they don't use it to the same ends or for the same purposes. Batman uses fear to protect innocent people and to take down criminals. Sinestro uses fear to rule, take over, and generally do bad things. The core of Batman isn't the same as Sinestro, just one of Batman's methodologies is similar to Sinestro's modus operandi.
I would disagree, and say your analysis of how the two characters use Fear is exactly the hypocrisy I'm talking about. Sinestro still considers himself the Greatest Green Lantern, and his Corps is merely an extension of that: protect the innocents by scaring the bejesus out of the criminal element. Batman is one Power Ring away from ruling / taking over Gotham.
Except Sinestro doesn't want the criminal element to fear the Green Lanterns. He wants everyone to fear the Green Lanterns. It's a subtle but crucial difference.
Also, you're still disregarding the respective reasons why Batman and Sinestro each want people to fear them. Again, Batman inspires fear so he can fight for justice. Sinestro inspires fear so he can maintain power and control. He may claim, he may even believe that he's doing it for the greater good, but Hitler probably thought the same thing.
It could be argued that Batman frequently uses fear to inspire hope - his ability to "scare the bejesus" out of criminals creates hope in the rest of the populace that Gotham could, one day, maybe, become good again. Sinestro is just fear, pure fear, and EVERYONE is supposed to fear him.
If you really want to draw parallels like that between two characters, this troper would say Sinestro and Owlman are the same. As a Green Lantern Sinestro deemed that the best way to protect his home planet was to rule it with an iron fist. Owlman deemed the best way to deal with crime was to take over organized crime.
Fear is just a weapon, like a gun or a sword. Both bad guys and good guys can use them. Just because you use the same weapon as a villain doesn't make you a villain.
Well, Batman was a candidate for the Sinestro Corps. But more to the point, the difference is what they use that tactic for. Bats uses it to try and make Gotham safer. Sinestro pretty much does it For The Evilz
Two-Face's binary thing
Enough with the mature and thoughtful questions. Is Two-Face bisexual, or what?
Well, given that we've never once seen him show any sort of attraction towards another man (that I know of), probably not. Though I would not be surprised if he prefers to have sex with two women at the same time.
That would just make him a standard heterosexual male, wouldn't it? (Yes, yes, crap and obvious joke, but someone had to do it, and I couldn't resist.}
Third Batman film played with Two women part.
Okay, but considering his pathological obsession with the number two seems to be thing on which he bases all his decisions, it's got to have at least occurred to him. Why would he sleep with only one gender when he could sleep with two? Obviously, his sexuality is what it is and he can't change that, but he certainly he could sleep with people he's not really attracted to as a heterosexual just to fulfill the requirements of his villain theme. It would be crazy, natch, but Two-Face is crazy, and it certainly wouldn't be the craziest thing he's done in the name of his obsessions. Since we're generally led to believe that this brand of psychosis carries over to all aspects of his life, sexuality would be an odd omission.
His pathological obsession is with having/getting/doing things in twos, not in exploring every option. Two-Face is fueled, in essence, by the conflicting urges of Harvey Dent and Big Bad Harv, and if neither of them are gay or bisexual, there's no reason for him to sleep with a man.
He is if the coin tells him that he is.
Ra's and Ivy
Why have Ra's Al-Ghul and Poison Ivy never teamed up? They have extremely similar goals and a comparable hatred of mankind. And don't even get me started on the things Ivy could do with the Lazarus Pits . . .
Ivy is nuttier than a peanut factory. Ra's Al-Ghul would probably consider her an unreliable teammate.
Maybe I just haven't read enough of the comics but she never seems insane in anything else. All of her Animated personas have some anger issues but aside from that she's usually rather calm. A damn good planner, she doesn't have a case of back stab fever. She can be a bit immature at times which might be part of the reason. Ra's is a very somber fellow. Still it's odd that considering their similar goals that they've never so much as accidently ended up working on the same project to prevent some bit of rain forest from being plowed or that it never occured to him to guide her to things she might not have noticed but that he wanted done.
I'm not entirely certain if this is generally the case, and I'm sure it varies heavily between canons, but I think it's how far they're willing to go in their goals - Ra's would want to cut down on the human population by a significant amount, while still leaving people alive. Meanwhile, Ivy's only concern is the plants - to use Arkham City as an example, upon finding out that one of her plants was destroyed, she threatened to go on a homicidal rampage and destroy Gotham. For one flower. She'd probably be too volatile for Ra's to work with, is my thinking.
On a tangent from the above why has it never occured to say ANYBODY to perhaps see what Ivy would do if she had money and could pursue her goals by purchasing the land legally or transplanting the exotic plants to locations that weren't about to be developed? I understand why it's never occured to HER that she could make a fortune just growing food for people. It just hasn't and a lot of times that's a good enough answer for why someone hasn't done something but Bruce could easily annoymously open the Pamela Isley Foundation throw a million bucks at it and when it turns out to be a wast of a million bucks he can shrug and remember he's got at least nine hundred ninety nine more where that one came from.
It might be a bit of a cop-out answer by this point but, well, cop-out or not Ivy's fucking insane. She's an unstable psychotic maniac who believes (in most depictions that is) that she's essentially a plant made human (or even an Earth Goddess) come to Earth to liberate plant-life, and doesn't give a toss about anything else; give her millions of dollars for a scheme like this, that's millions of dollars you've given her that she'll most likely end up using for some kind of mad plant-themed genocide attempt because that's who she is and what she does, and she's done it countless times before. You'd do more good if you just threw it out the window to the streets below. She doesn't think about using sane and rational means such as this because she's not a sane and rational person, and it would just as insane and irrational to give her money like this knowing full well that she's probably not suddenly going to turn around and do something sane and rational with it.
Why so much hate for the 1960s show?
It seems that people take the 1960s show far too seriously than it was intended. When I saw the 1960s series reruns as a kid, I saw it as part satire, and so did my parents when they saw it in its original run. They saw it as a satire of the Batman comic books; comic books adapted to TV and taken Up to Eleven. But I get the impression that people now think that the 1960s TV series was intended to be taken completely seriously and the show was a serious, dramatic representation of Batman (like the original Tim Burton or the Nolan films' intention), to the point where everyone makes fun of it, like criticizing and parodying "Weird Al" Yankovic because that song about Daring to Be Stupid told people to do all these impractical things and now deserves ridicule.
When the "satire" completely overtakes the original source and becomes what the general public think of when they think of Batman, I'd say people are right to make fun of it.
The original source at the time really wasn't that different. The show didn't invent the idea of Batman as a beloved Gotham celebrity who gives Boy Scout lectures alongside his cheerful young sidekick and uses goofy gadgets and Insane Troll Logic to solve crimes - that's what comic-book Batman was actually like in the years leading up to the show. The TV series just lampooned the situation and made it hard to keep taking that version of Batman seriously, which ironically did modern Batman fans a favor by forcing DC to bring the character back to his noir roots (quoting the The Other Wiki: "Starting in 1969, writer Dennis O'Neil and artist Neal Adams made a deliberate effort to distance Batman from the campy portrayal of the 1960s TV series and to return the character to his roots as a 'grim avenger of the night'".) And yeah, the series is an over the top parody of early Silver Age Batman. The television writers weren't blind to how cheesy and ridiculous the stories were: that was the whole point. Making fun of the '60s series for being campy is like making fun of a clown for having a funny face.
Except according to The Other Wiki page for the Adam West show, that isn't actually the case. That page says that the '60s Batman series was created in the style of a show called The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (which I have never heard of so I won't comment on it). It also says the executive producer William Dozer, quote, "loathed comic books" and "concluded the only way to make the show work was to do it as a pop art camp comedy". And it also says that the comics had already started turning away from the Silver Age campyness by that point anyway. If the Adam West series was intended as a satire on the Silver Age Batman comics, I don't see any evidence of it. At least not on Wikipedia.
Read "The Joker's Comedy of Errors". Even putting aside the avalanche of Accidental Innuendo that turned it into a meme, it plays exactly like an episode of the 1960's TV show. And it was written in 1951. For another example (along with more meme-inducing innuendo), check out "Batman's Marriage Trap" from 1969, a year after the show ended: despite a few modern elements like the Gotham mob, PR manipulation and real murder threats, it's still almost Schumacher-level craziness. During the show's run, this was the version of Batman imprinted on the mainstream public consciousness.
Seriously the Batman comics were goofy long before the Adam West show. People getting mad at the show for making the public conscience see the character as goofy makes no sense, considering the show was reflecting the tone of the comics at the time except the comics were even more over the top with Batman regularly fighting aliens and the like.
Okay, let's try to put this in perspective. For one thing, from what I understand, U.N.C.L.E. became a self-parody over time, but started out seriously. A better comparison would be Get Smart whatever Wikipedia says. Yes, the comics could get incredibly silly in the Silver Age, but it ware more a case of being aimed at kids on a sugar high than an attempt at comedy. Also—and everyone seems to forget this—in 1964, they'd toned it down a notch, getting Batman involved in more crime-oriented stories and down-to-Earth mysteries. It still wasn't "dark" by any means, and the look of the series was actually well-captured by the series, but it was still not supposed to be comedic (in fact, I believe Alfred died early into that revamp) so the idea of camp for camp's sake was an invention of the show.
It's ironic that people keep mentioning alien opponents as the main reason why Silver Age Batman was so goofy, when in The Dark Knight Returns, he battles a certain alien.
I've watched The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and it wasn't as goofy as West and Burt were.
Freeze escaping Arkham
How does Mr Freeze ever break out of Arkham? His cell is kept cold so he can survive in it, so presumably they don't let him keep his special suit. So how does he escape without dying from the heat?
Some comics depict Freeze as having a gang of minions. They could bring his freeze suit along with them when he breaks out. Alternatively, they can't keep him in one room forever. They have to let him out from time to time so he can eat and exercise and all the other things human rights groups would complain about if they didn't let him do. And in order to let him out of his cell they have to have a way for him to walk around without dying. A low-grade freeze suit kept near his cell would work for that.
Supported by Young Justice, where Freeze is given a prison version of his containment suit in Belle Reve.
Why the Batmobile?
Setting aside the Rule of Cool for a minute... has the Batmobile ever made any sense? What keeps criminals from just following it to determine Batman's identity? Shouldn't Gothamites have noticed by now that it routinely passes through certain neighborhoods nearish to Wayne Manor, even if they don't suspect Wayne specifically? It seems like it'd be much safer to drive into town in a relatively inconspicuous car and then change in the field, Clark Kent style. If you don't want anyone to know you're Batman, what advantage is there in driving directly from your home address to the scene of the crime in a custom bat-themed car?
I know it's an Ink Stain Adaptation for most people, but the 60's TV series actually handled this one. The Batmobile comes up through a tunnel (with a flip-down construction barricade) on a remote county road (Gotta figure that not all of the Batcave's tunnels are close to Stately Wayne Manor).
But doesn't that just delay the issue? What happens when someone follows him to the entrance of the tunnel? Presumably, the tunnel would have to lead directly to the Batcave, otherwise Batman would be pretty inefficient in an emergency.
The Batmobile is a high performance car with a rocket engine, and enough sensor equipment to make the CIA jealous, and it's driven by the most paranoid person on the face of the planet. "Just following it" wouldn't be nearly as simple as you make it sound. And how, exactly, would changing "in the field" with potentially thousands more witnesses, be a better way to hide his identity than always appearing in the Batmobile?
Okay, so that means tailing the Batmobile wouldn't get you anywhere. But if a villain with enough resources really wanted to know, I'm not sure what would keep them from just putting pins in a map everytime there's a Batmobile sighting , posting lookouts all over the city, or even staging a series of crimes soley with the intent of observing which direction he arrives from or departs in. Eventually, it would become clear that the Batmobile spends a disproportionate amount of time either (a) in the upscale area of Gotham where Wayne Manor is located or (b) near the "remote, out of the way" tunnel entrances. (As for changing in the field, Batman is a ninja. I find it more plausible that he could steal away to some dark corner of the city and pull off a quick change than drive a similar route every night in a large, conspicuous car without anyone ever making a note of where he turns off. But conceding that Batman's large amount of gear would make this tricky in most incarnations, I instead submit the idea of merely driving a different ordinary-looking car from Wayne Manor to the city every night. Heck, as things stand now, even a poorly-timed Google Earth photo could screw things up for Batman.
In fairness, the Batmobile originally essentially was just a slightly customized and souped-up but otherwise fairly regular sports car; not something that everyone owned, perhaps, but reasonably unremarkable. It's only over time that it's become the highly customized and unique motor vehicle we now think of. However, the above point about Bruce Wayne being one of the most hugely paranoid people known to humanity still applies; several comics show that he keeps several different Batmobiles in the cave alone, so it's not unreasonable to suggest he has a few stashed around the city in hidden locations under highly-concealed dummy identities to avert precisely this problem and make it unclear as to where the Batmobile usually appears from (and also because he doesn't necessarily know where he's going to be when Batman needs the Batmobile, so it's a good idea to keep one close to hand wherever he is in Gotham), so even if you did do this kind of study all you would get is that it looks like it could theoretically appear from anywhere.
I always wondered that too. It would make sense for Batman to have some sort of vehicle, but doesn't making it huge and adding Bat-decor clash with the whole "stealth" thing? Any villain, police officer, or regular citizen with enough resources could just shoot a tracking device or something onto it, since it stands out so much in traffic. It would make more sense for the Batmobile to be a simple black sports car with tinted windows and weapons that open out whenever they need to. He could drive to wherever he's needed at night, park it in an alleyway somewhere, get his job done, and drive back arousing less suspicion. The entire car chase in Batman Begins would have been avoided.
Point of fact, the original Batmobiles were just high-end sports cars. It wasn't until around the 60s that they started getting the prominent bat motifs, and the 1989 movie is where it really took off.
Scarecrow's legal culpability
I know this sounds really lawyery, can Scarecrow be charged with any kind of crime? I can't think of any.
It's probably a crime to expose people to mind-altering drugs without their consent, there's attempted murder, and all his helping of other Gotham criminals is probably a few felonies in itself.
Kidnapping: he gets tests subjects someway; murder: said test subjects don't always make it. Theft: chemicals are expensive.
Torture. He's all about explicitly tormenting people with their fears, after all, so psychological torture is definitely involved. There's usually an element of physical torture involved as well.
He's also straight-up killed quite a few people. It's not his main thing but when he first appeared as a villain he went and killed a bunch of people who wronged him ... including pretty much most of the female members of his family, most of whom deserved it. It's a messed up family. He also apparently killed his first person when he was seventeen.
Possession, maybe? I'm sure at least some the chemicals he uses to cook up his fear gas must be kind of sketchy.
This troper is now deeply disturbed by the fact that someone seriously can't tell that there's something wrong with what the Scarecrow does. Lets keep an eye out for murder by deadly chemicals wherever that guy lives, shall we?
This probably shouldn't disturb you any more than any other case of Draco in Leather Pants. It's actually not quite as bad as DILP-ing the Joker.
Keeny family names
Family names pass from father to child. So what the hell happened with the Keeny family. The name is passing from mothers to daughters. Where are the dads? Are they used for sex then killed? Do they keep sons around to ......Squick...never mind. Maybe that's why Scarecrow is so messed up.
Family names passing from father to child is not some immutable law of nature that, when not followed, means something is horribly wrong. It's a societal custom that some people just ignore. There are matrilineal societies out there, and it's entirely possible that the Keeny family custom was the woman kept her name.
....Eh, alright. I'll buy that. Doesn't make ther family any less fucked up though.
That's kind of the point. Scarecrow is arguably the least screwed up member of the family, and that is incredibly terrifying.
You're preaching to the choir friend. Anyone who responds to the birth of their illegitimate grandson with "Let's bury it alive" has some issues. The fact that Jonathan even lived into adulthood is an acomplishment.
Given the usual Dumb Blonde portrayal of Harley Quinn, how on earth did she ever manage to become a psychiatrist? The less-than-stringent hiring practices of Arkham Asylum are one thing, but what about the years of studies and research required to get a doctorate?
I think one comic not so subtlely inplied she slept her way through college. Or, she's faking the Dumb Blonde act.
Said portrayal tends to be after the Joker has driven her mad. That might have something to do with it.
Exactly. Harley Quinn isn't stupid — she's crazy. Harleen was presumably an intelligent, promising young doctor before the Joker broke her with his mind games. Being very smart is no protection against being mentally fragile. Also, there's definitely some Obfuscating Stupidity going on: whenever she comes up with an idea that's better than the Joker's, he flies into a rage.
Note on intelligence not affecting mental stability; case in point, most of Batman's rogues seem to have what appears to be genius level intellects and yet have all managed to have completely lost it at some point in their lives.
Obfuscating Stupidity did cross my mind as well. I can buy going insane radically changing a person's behaviour, but having one's IQ drop 50 points and forgetting years of scientific expertise less so. Compare her to other Batman villains who are insane scientific geniuses, such as Scarecrow or Mr. Freeze; clearly they still retain their scientific knowledge and the intelligence to apply it, twisted as it may be. On the other hand, has Harley ever shown the kind of medical knowledge or insight to the workings of a person's mind you would expect from a psychiatrist? I admit I am not well-read on her and would love to read stories where she does that.
She did manage to trick and capture Batman in Mad Love.
Yeah, as Batman said to the Joker afterward, "I have to admit, she came a lot closer to killing me than you ever did." Batman only escaped by exploiting her insanity (her desperate need for the Joker's approval), though the Joker throwing a temper tantrum over Harley's success is probably why she took to mostly playing dumb. And though it's a different continuity than the comics, she was heavily involved in torturing and brainwashing Tim Drake in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, and there's a subtle, Fridge Horror hint that her role in the process (probably that of giving some twisted form of comfort, given that we heard her singing lullabies) may have had more to do with breaking him than the Joker. Tim was able to resist and turn on the Joker, but he obeyed Harley without hesitation.
Speaking of her being a psychiatrist, how come she did not expect the Joker to have an abusive father? Isn't that the first thing she should have expected? Or did she mean that she didn't expect he'd tell her so readily?
Let me just say that I don't exactly know everything that's happened in the Batman universe, having only been alive for 19 years. But Dick Grayson was a "ward of the state" to Bruce, and that means he basically let the kid live with him and paid for him to go to school and made him his sidekick and whatnot, right? But, at least in all the modern adaptations I've seen, Bruce and Dick (and usually all the other Robins, too, but I'm sticking with him here) seem to have a father/son thing going on (again, I don't know if their relationship was like this in the beginning, but that's usually how it's portrayed these days). So my question is, why exactly does Bruce NOT adopt him? I mean, it just seems like the obvious thing to do. Have they ever discussed why Bruce doesn't want to adopt Dick? At least in the more recent adaptations I've seen (like Young Justice), Dick seems to basically think of Bruce as a father figure, and since he's a troubled kid and all, you'd think adopting him would sort of give the message that Bruce does actually care about the kid, which he isn't great at expressing most of the time.
The current canon is that Bruce has, in fact, legally adopted both Dick Grayson and Tim Drake.
Cassandra Cain, too. One wonders how these serial adoptions look to the rest of Gotham.
"Gee, its kinda sad how rich orphan over there keeps adopting every other orphan he meets for no reason. I guess its some psychological thing, but he's rich, so its not crazy, only eccentric."
Oooh, okay! Thanks for answering my question.
The adoption thing was actually a point of conflict between Dick and Bruce as early as the introduction of Jason Todd. Jason was the first to be legally adopted by Bruce and Dick wondered why Bruce never asked him.
He didn't want to replace Dick's real father. Said so in a DC Encyclopedia.
Mob soldiers with steel masks
In Batman #3 (New 52), the Ukraniane mob solders steel masks over the lower jaws of recruits as part of their training. Batman notes that they cannot remove these masks for at least a year. How do they eat?
Feeding tubes, maybe.
Why don't the police kill supervillains?
Why isn't there an Omega Directive in place for every law enforcement body in Gotham to kill super-villains on sight? You would think after all the trouble the Gotham police and citizenry would be itching to get rid of them, even to the detriment of whatever hostages they have. If they were truly serious about stopping them for good they would throw everything they have and kill them at all costs. We all know the city is corrupt, so it's not like they really care about the constitution. Furthermore, why do they let them just chill in Arkham until they escape? The national security apparatus of DCU America should be taking a special interest in these guys and want to destroy them ASAP. I understand why DC wouldn't want to kill the Joker, but there's no reason why every resident of Gotham isn't taking pot shots at the clown every chance they get.
I think the question of why private citizens aren't itching to take on a man who has killed scores of innocents and evaded justice countless times speaks for itself. But as for why they don't bend the laws to permit the slaying of supervillains — I have a hard time imagining how that could get through the courts. Just what, under the law, is a supervillain?
In addition to the above, giving a police force with a notorious reputation for corruption like GPD — or indeed, anyone — giving them what effectively amounts to a license-to-kill-undesirables with the easy potential for abuse is just asking for trouble. If a cop was so inclined, what's to stop them from from murdering whoever they want and claiming that they were a supervillain in order to get away with it? You might solve one problem, but at the expense of making another problem potentially just as bad if not worse. Put bluntly, it's a fucking terrible idea.
Eh, you probably wouldn't have to legally define a supervillain- you would probably just have to say "okay, if you have killed this many people and keep getting away with it, you get the chair". Also, it probably isn't that hard to come up with a definition, and if you are going to frame somebody as one you will probably need to have a bunch of gimmicky gadgets at least on hand to make it convincing, and pray to God that Batman doesn't find you (he will). Given the massive amount of death and destruction supervillains are responsible for, I doubt there would be that much resistance if I'm being honest, or at least a law that makes it easier to execute them. The problem with the OP is that the police don't actually need such a law, since if you come across a supervillain in the DCU odds are they are in the middle of committing a felony or are attacking you- seriously, its simply that comic book cops are worse aims than Stormtroopers; they constantly find themselves in situations where killing the bastard is okay (hell, even the rules), but they never, ever seem to hit them (assuming they fire in the first place). Usually, this is when the villain starts piling up cop corpses.
There's a big difference between corruption (which happens behind the scenes) and a police department declaring open season on somebody. The latter would have to be public knowledge, and that would attract attention from, umm, state and federal authorities.
Where did Batman begin his training at?
Which Batman in which continuity? That said, there probably isn't a straight answer to this, because unless I'm mistaken there hasn't been much written about that part of Bruce's life.
Robin doesn't fit the theme
Why Robin? I mean, we've got the Batmobiles and Batarangs and the Batjet, Batman and Batwoman and Batgirl and Robin. What does Robin have to do with bats? Hell, I could understand if they went with moths or owls or something because Batboy is sort of generic, but Robin? Not only that but besides the copious amounts of red and the feathered glider I've seen him with recently, Robin's costume doesn't match that theme well either.
I think Dick Grayson picked his own name and costume(the colors were the same as his parent's trapeze act). Every Robin after him was a Legacy Character.
Also, he isn't named for the bird but for Robin Hood. It's the reason for the colors and medieval style of the original costume. One of the creators was drawing it from memory of a book of illustrations about Robin Hood.
Robin is the nickname his mother used to call him. (The Robin Hood inspiration is only in the All Stars Batman and Robin.)
Concerning the King Tut character from the 1960's TV series: When Professor William Mc Elroy gets hit on the head, why does he think he's King Tut of all people? Tutankhamun died at age 18 and the professor is middle aged at least.
The fact that he believes he is an ancient Egyptian Pharoah is evidence that he is crazy enough to think he is 18, don't you think (or that people only think he died at that young age)? Also, don't know my Egyptian historiography all that well, but its possible that in the 1960's people did not know what age Tutankhamun was when he died, or at least debated about it. Its also possible that "King Tut" is meant to be a different pharoah entirely, one made up for the show.
He has a head injury. He's delusional. Delusional people generally tend not to question the logical foundation of their delusions that closely.
New 52 timeline
The New 52 continuity confuses me a bit. So, Damien is still Robin, right? But Batman has only been Batman for about 5 years or so. Damien is older than that. Did teenage Bruce have a fling with Talia, or what? I know the Bat-titles didn't get as rebooted as the rest of the line, but that just doesn't add up
I took it to mean that Batman's only been publicly known for around 5 years(working with the Justice League and having the bat-signal up at the police station) but has been around longer, everyone just thought he was an urban legend before he went public.
FWIW the rebooted Justice League has several of the other superheroes express astonishment that Batman even exists, suggesting that he's generally been considered a rumour or an urban myth up until that point.
I'm surprised to see this isn't here already, and I know that it's been retconned out, but what's keeping Barbara Gordan paralyzed? There's the Lazaris Pits that can apparently cure just about anything, Sci-fi level medical technologies all over the DCU that can cure just about anything, and failing all those numerous types of Ironman-like suits used by both heroes and villains that could give her the ability to walk again. Why did it take a retcon for Barbara to walk again?
Barbara Gordon stayed paralyzed because she's unwilling to get special treatment that isn't available to everyone else.
Which is just an asspull by the writers to keep Barbara crippled.
And now she can walk again.
Why don't the rich run?
Why are there so many upper crust types still living in Gotham when (non-criminal) millionares seem very nearly as vunerable to supervillains as the destitute who presumably can't afford to leave? Even aside from Bruce's parents I've lost track of the number of industrialists or tycoons who get targeted and at least one (Una Nemo/The Absence) turned to crime herself after being shot. Yet Gotham still seems full of socialites.
People still drive cars even though auto accidents happen everyday. In a city with a population of millions the chances of meeting a supervillain are lower than they seem.
Joker and the death penalty
Okay,we established that the Joker will escape any place you put him and has(possibly)the highest body count in the strip and Batman goes by Thou Shalt Not Kill but the people of Gotham are held to do such vow. So why on Earth are those people not getting together to make the death penalty legal?...Besides Joker Immunity of course...
Given the Joker's record of surviving fatal accidents, would YOU want to be on the jury that condemned him to death? Supposing he survived - they YOU AND YOUR FAMILY would be the next one on his "To Torture, Maim, Break and Kill" list. People are far, far too scared of what the Joker might do to them to condemn him.
Gotham State does have the Death Penalty. The Joker just isn't deemed eligible because he is believed to be criminally insane.
On that note, has anyone ever tried to determine if Joker's insanity is the result of whatever chemicals bleached his body instead of any psychological trauma he may or may not have suffered?
I don't know if they ever looked into it, but they did feature Batman visting the factory where the Joker's accident occured in The Man Who Laughs. He meets someone who has been partially splashed by the same chemicals and has permanent white stains on his skin now; he discusses similar accidents happening to other co-workers and does not appear to be crazy.
Michael Green's "Lovers and Madmen" retconned his origins so that the chemicals in question were primarily anti-psychotic drugs - too much of those could easily throw a man's brain out of whack. Meanwhile, Chuck Dixon's Joker: Last Laugh, several years earlier, had a pair of doctors note that the CAT scan of Joker's brain was a "road map of lesions" or some such (of course, since the CAT scan in question was forged, who can say?).
Two-Face's two sides
Two-Face is supposed to have a good side and an evil side, and he is supposed to flip his coin in order to decide whether to do good or evil. But most writers replace his 'do good vs. do evil' debate with 'do evil vs. don't do evil'. In his Golden Age appearences, he really did good when the good side of the coin came up (e.g. donating to the charity), but nowdays if the good side comes up, he simply does nothing. I know Golden Age Two-Face is a different character, but why do people still say he has a good side and an evil side, when he actually has an evil side and a lazy side.
Fridge Brilliance: The good side just can't fight him like that anymore, which is why Two-Face never stays cured. Its possible that Harvey Dent just thinks its easier to surrender to the madness since, if he ever conquers his demons, then he has to face up to the reality that he is one of the worst and most dangerous madmen in the whole of Gotham City, so he only puts up token resistance. There is no longer a good side and a bad side; there is a bad side and a weak, horrified side.
Alternatively, Dent might not be evil, but he is practical. The Harvey side knows that Two Face has crossed too many lines too far and that there's no going back. For example, in Arkham City, the internal debate was between torturing Catwoman for pleasure and shooting her quickly to gain respect and fear (and thus, security from the other gang lords).
There was a storyline during Batman: No Man's Land where he had string of good tosses and wound up helping Renee Montoya pick up after the disaster.
Ivy eating plants
David Hayter asked this one. Is Poison Ivy a vegetarian, or is that hypocrisy to her, since she's have to hurt plants to eat them? Or if she is, does that make her a cannibal? But then, if she eats only meat, that can't be healthy.
Tissue/food can be harvested from plants in a way that doesn't really harm them, like leaves, and seed-based foods are specifically meant for consumption, fruits, nuts, beans, etc. She's probably vegetarian and just keeps away from the "kills the plant to harvest" stuff. Also, she's probably at least partially photosynthetic.
An odd one, but: how does the Batcave stay so clean? For a cave, anyway.
Why, in some continuities besides the Silver Age, does Batman wear blue? I know the Real Life reason is that the comic artists felt blue highlights flowed better or something like that but in-universe? What does blue have to do with bats? Batman's black and grey costume makes sense because bats can be black and grey but they cannot be blue. Dumb little nitpick but why does he wear blue? It makes no sense.
Dark blue is actually a better color for night camouflage than black. Nights are rarely perfectly dark so the black tends to create too much contrast. Blue dulls the surrounding light better.
That's the best explanation I've heard of. I'm assuming Batman knew what color was best in night time work so he chose that.
Why does Batman have more than one vehicle at all? Seems to me it would be way more practical for him to just utilize his Bat-Cycle or his Bat-Copter. These would be the most manuervable and useful in an urban setting, yet these are rarely used in place of the Batmobile and Bat-Plane. The Batmobile is so useless, I'm surprised Batman even has one, let alone multiple. What good can a car do in a city? Batman would be stuck in traffic constantly and if a villain goes off-road, Bats can't follow. Then there's the Bat-Plane. What can the Bat-Plane do that the Bat-Copter can't? It's redundant and it would be a nightmare trying to store and maintain that in the Batcave. Then there's the Bat-Boat. Oh, goodness, the Bat-Boat. Why? How many villains does Batman fight over water? Why can't he just land his Bat-Copter on the larger boats he's pursuing or use his re-breather to swim to smaller ones?
I know that's the real reason, but why, in universe, does he use all these redundant and ridiculous vehicles?
Moichendizing on the part of Batman Incorporated for purposes of raising funds for the other batmen?
The Batmobile can stuff in more gadgets and provide more protection than a motorcycle. And it's a stretch but traffic may be less in Gotham at night.
Okay, that explains the Batmobile but what about the Bat-Boat? And why does he need both a helicopter and a plane?
To adjust to different situations. A plane is faster than a helicopter. A boat can stand idle in the water while he dives off.
Batman's all about being Crazy-Prepared. A motorcycle might allow for greater mobility in an urban environment, but a car allows for greater armour (not something to sniff at if your enemies are going to be frequently shooting machine guns at you); ergo, he has both depending on what he might need in a given situation. He's also depicted as customizing his cars in order to overcome a lot of the issues identified above, or having multiple variants if necessary to address them. A plane or a helicopter is kind of useless if he needs to be actually on the water (and the Bat-Boat often is depicted as being capable of converting into a submarine for when he needs to go under water, something a helicopter probably wouldn't be able to do); ergo, he has a boat as well.
Bruce has no domestic skills
Something always bugged me about Batman's backstory. It's been established that Bruce Wayne, for all his super detective skills and martial arts prowess, is completely useless for simple domestic tasks. All his life Alfred has taken care of the cooking and the cleaning and everything else, and on his own Bruce can't even make a sandwich. Of course, that's part of the joke: Batman is basically what happens when you sacrifice a normal human life to be a Crazy Awesome crimefighter. But something about that doesn't jibe. Before he became Batman, Bruce Wayne spent the bulk of his youth traveling the world, improving his mind and training his body to their peak performances. Surely, at some point during all that, he must have had to make his own dinner or do a frigging load of laundry! Alfred didn't come with him on his entire journey. Did he just forget how to take care of himself once he got back to Gotham?
Forgive my skepticism, but you'll have to cite a canon example of what you're talking about (preferably scans). Bruce is probably not the greatest cook in the world, but I daresay he could figure out how to put meat and cheese between two slices of bread without Alfred's assistance.
I could imagine that such skills likely deteriorated after a while, in a way. I mean, I'm not sure how old Bruce is or how long he's actually been doing this (though, since he raised Dick from childhood up, I'd assume he's been doing it for roughly ten years at the very least), but assume that he spends all his time either prowling the night, working on a case, or making appearances as Bruce Wayne, and the only time he eats is when Alfred takes food down to him, then its posible he'd be so out of practice he'd screw up. Not to mention that, while travelling, he ether still had access to his fortune (and therefor could afford to pay for meals every day) or he made the food via traditional means (IE, cooked over an open fire, skills that are useless in the art of sandwhich making). As for laundry, probably the same; he either paid for new clothes/to have the clothes washed, or possibly he learnt to wash them via traditional means, such as dunking them in a lake.
This is more directed at, not so much Batman and such itself, but to the general fandom and critical standpoint on something: Why is the fact that Batman has no powers seen as a reason he's relatable? For that matter, why does merely not-having superpowers make a character relatable at all, since Batman isn't the only one who gets this, but for some reason, a lot of the time when people describe Batman, they mention the fact that, as he lacks powers, he's more realistic (not really, but I can see why people get this) and relatable, especially when compared to the unrealistic (I'll give that) and 'unrelatable' Superman. But, frankly, that's bullcrap. The guy was emotionally killed when he was eight years old, he spent the rest of his life studying how to become a weapon against crime, and spends all his time either beating up criminals, training youngsters, hanging out with the Justice League, or pretending to be a rich guy. Absolutely nothing about Bruce is relatable to any normal person. I mean, even if he doesn't have powers, he still has a load of training, Charles Atlas Superpower training I might add, a shit ton of gadgets, he's filthy rich, he's a genius, and his best friends include gods, cyborgs, and aliens. Meanwhile, Superman, who's godlike power makes him 'unrelatable', is a humble farmboy who grew up with two parents who couldn't give him everything he needed, he worked hard to get where he is financially, he's a Nice Guy who gets by in the world by being as nice as he can, he's dealt with bullies, and he's a massive dork. That all sounds petty relatable to me. Why does the fact that one has powers and the other doesn't retards the fact that the powered one is a hard working everyman while the other is a super rich guy with no identifiable characteristics?
Because Superman can still fly, can still melt things with his eyes and freeze things with his breath, and (without Kryptonite) is still invulnerable to 99% of the things that would kill or seriously maim his readers. Superman is nicer than Batman, certainly, but we don't just relate to fictional characters based on how nice they are — we relate to them based on how whether or not we can share their experiences, and fact is that no matter how personally nice Superman is, none of us will ever fly under our own power, melt things with our eyes, freeze things with our breath or be completely invulnerable to bullets. This is not to say that Superman is completely unrelatable, but on some fundamental level, the reader will never experience the world the way Superman experiences it and vice versa, no matter how nice and pleasant he is, and no matter how hard he works at his job. Conversely, to say that Batman has 'no identifiable characteristics' or that 'absolutely nothing about Batman is relatable to a normal person'? Frankly, that's bullcrap; there are plenty of people in the world who have lost their loved ones to crime (even at a young age), people who have emotionally closed themselves off to trauma, people who are geniuses, people who tinker with gadgets and invent things, people who train themselves to peak physical and athletic perfection in a particular field (athletes anyone?), people who fight crime (police officers anyone?), people who are wealthy, or some combination thereof. Even if the reader doesn't themselves meet these characteristics, they probably know of someone directly or indirectly who does. Batman is exaggerated, certainly, and there are probably very few people who meet all these characteristics, but theoretically if you trained long and hard enough you could become a martial arts expert or a brilliant detective or a world-class athlete, theoretically you could lose your loved ones to violent crime or invent something quite clever. Unlikely, perhaps, but a lot more likely than you developing the ability to fly unaided or to melt things with your eyes. Also unlike Superman, Batman possesses our weaknesses; to see Superman breaking a sweat or bleeding or injured is a sign of extreme circumstances for him, to see Batman doing so is just another night in Gotham. Batman is relatable and (for want of a better term) more 'realistic' not because he's a nicer guy, but because he experiences the world around him in the same or a similar way as his reader does / would. (And on a final point, trying to use the fact that he hangs around with godlike aliens as a reason why Batman is less relatable than Superman is a bit of a double standard considering that Superman is one of those godlike aliens; if hanging around with godlike aliens makes it impossible for the reader to identify with you, then wouldn't being one of those godlike aliens make it more so?)
Two things: 1) It's subjective... and situational There's no scientific formula as to why someone's easy to relate to or not, and sometimes when I'm feeling really obsessive, I can relate to Batman. When I'm trying to help someone, I relate more to Superman. These examples aren't great, but you see what I'm saying? 2) The gold standard of "relatable superhero" used to be Spider-Man because of his personality. It didn't matter that he could lift ten tons or stick to walls. Bad stuff kept happening to him, he couldn't resist making little jokes, and he has lots of errors in judgement. Now, again, not everyone's going to relate to him, but magazines like Wizarduse to hammer people over the head with "Spider-Man is so relatable! Spider-Man is so relatable!" and Batman was awesome more because of his intensity.
Let's say that both of them are at about the same level of relatability. Superman is relatable in personality, and Batman in his "human-ness". Neither of them are really meant to be examples of the common person—Batman is obsessed, extremely wealthy, and supposedly trained to the peak of mental and physical perfection. Superman is a god-like alien (country boy origins aside). They both fight unrealistic villains, whether it's other, superpowerful aliens or psychopaths defined by poorly understood, outdated psychiatric ideas. To answer the original question, the reason why Batfans continually praise Batman's "relatability" over Superman's is because they're fans of Batman, they don't like Superman, and people see how well you can identify with a character as being a more positive trait (alongside being "realistic") which they can apply to their favorite series. Simply put, I don't think most of the people who say it actually think about whether it applies or not. It's just another way of saying they prefer one character over the other.
Also, while rationally speaking you have just as lousy odds of becoming as badass as Bruce Wayne as you do having Kryptionian powers like Superman its still a lot easier to fool yourself into believing its theoretically possible, because in Batman's case you at least don't have to break any actual laws of physics. Or, as Neal Stephenson put it in Snow Crash:
Neal Stephenson: Until a man is twenty-five, he still thinks, every so often, that under the right circumstances he could be the baddest motherfucker in the world. If I moved to a martial-arts monastery in China and studied real hard for ten years. If my family was wiped out by Colombian drug dealers and I swore myself to revenge. If I got a fatal disease, had one year to live, and devoted it to wiping out street crime. If I just dropped out and devoted my life to being bad.
Where did Bruce go?
Ever notice how they never tell you anything about what happened between that night when he was 8 and when he was training around the world? I know in at least one version states he was at least in high school when he left. Actually, they never even show you how the training starts. They always just bring us to midway through. What's up with that?
One reason is that, simply, this isn't the story that most people are interested in; most people are more interested in what Batman does once he's actually Batman rather than watching the entire process of how he comes to be Batman. It's why movies have Training Montages that quickly show the process of how the hero becomes the hero rather than films that are entirely about the protagonist training to be a hero before they actually do anything heroic (and why one of the relatively few complaints about Batman Begins is that Batman didn't actually show up for an hour into the film); because ultimately for most people the process of how the hero becomes the hero isn't as interesting as what the hero actually does when he's the hero. We arguably already know the important details about how Batman came to be Batman (the death of his parents, swearing a vow to avenge them, etc) — the rest is just filling in details we can pretty much surmise. Most people ultimately would rather watch Bruce Wayne in the cape and cowl foiling the Joker's dastardly plot rather than watching him arduously learn forensic science or increasing how much weight he can bench press, so these details can be dealt with fairly quickly (or explored in a bit more depth if the plot calls for it) so we can get to the interesting stuff.
Bruce is obviously Batman
How has no one noticed Bruce Wayne is Batman? He has the money, the right age, the physique, he always disappears right before Batman shows up, (in a much more obvious way than most superheroes) he sleeps all day, and, worst of all, he vanishes off the face of the Earth for about twelve years for reasons unknown then Batman shows up only a few months after he gets back. At least Green Arrow wasGenre Savvy enough to think of that.
Because there's a grand total of maybe six people who know all of that about Batman, and five of them are his sidekicks. Bruce Wayne's whole deal is that he doesn't let anyone get close enough to him to put those things together. We know it because we see him all the time. 99.9999999% of Gotham only sees Bruce when he shows up for some big gala event. He's a public figure, but one that's almost never seen in public.
(Original poster:) That doesn't answer the last one. Everyone knew Bruce was gone for a long time. (Batman: Year One and Penguin's interview tapes in Batman: Arkham City confirm this) Nobody knew why or where he went. Again, at least Green Arrow was Genre Savvy enough to notice.
Without knowing the other details, that last one isn't enough to amount to anything at all. It only means something if you know to look for it. If it were that Batman showed up the night Bruce publicly announced he was back, that might be something, but Batman showing up months afterward? Why would anyone link the two at all?
I would bet that nine out of ten people, upon learning the news that Bruce Wayne is back in town after a long absence, would most likely think "Huh, that rich guy's back in town? Bet he enjoyed himself lying around on all those beaches with his billions. Lucky SOB." and then return to their lives and forget all about it. Because really, when you get down to it most people don't really care that much outside of the gossip columns, and even they'd move on soon enough once the story stopped being new. The guy's richer than God, doesn't really have any responsibilities he can't hire other people to deal with and wanted to get out of Gotham — the place where his parents were brutally murdered — for a few years? Who can blame him, really? They probably assumed he spent a lot of time lying on beaches or dabbling in exotic religions or 'finding himself' or doing whatever rich people do when they've got plenty of time on their hands and money to waste, then got bored or homesick for his mansion and came home. Then, when Batman turns up, no one really makes the connection because people have moved on.
As for Batman, for most people Batman's a shadowy figure who appears out of the darkness for brief moments then disappears just as quickly; they don't have time to really notice his age or his physique, and in most of the circumstances they're likely to encounter him they're more likely to be thinking either "Holy shit Batman's turned up to stop me mugging this guy!" or "Holy shit Batman's turned up to stop this guy mugging me!" to really stop and make comparisons to Bruce Wayne.
Several people, most notably Lex Luthor, had deducted that Wayne is the money behind Batman even before Bruce announced it in the Batman Inc launch. However, Bruce's playboy persona is significant enough that no one thinks that he's the Batman himself. If you look at the The Dark Knight's blackmail scene, the accusation should logically be "You and Wayne are banrolling and outfitting Batman", not "Wayne is Batman". He had proof of the former, but no reason to believe the latter.
Why is Robin there?
How does Robin help Batman at all? His costume provides no protectional value, destroys any chance of stealth, and Robin himself is just a kid. A well trained kid but still just a twelve year old. Seems like in a combat situation, Robin would just get in the way and Batman would have to stop crimefighting and rescue him. So why did Batman think it a good idea to send him out fighting crime.
Depends on the Robin, but for some he has the Boy Wonder go crime-fighting with him so that the kid doesn't go crime-fighting by himself and get in trouble.
Because generally Robin proves himself to be invaluable in aiding Batman? Because there's never been a single time in all of comic history when Robin's regular costume is depicted as being less armoured than Batman's? Because at the end of the day, Robin could kick your ass. Because the only Robin who was taken in with the specific purpose of being a crime fighter was Jason? All the others started doing it so Batman decided they were better off with him than on their own.
Damian breaking Bruce's cover
How did Damien not break Bruce's cover as Batman? Sure, the fact that Billionaire Playboy has a child out of wedlock isn't exactly shocking anybody. But nobody managed to find out that Bruce's babymama was Talia al Ghul? Damien the spoiled raised-to-be-an-assassin-in-the-shadows-and-nothing-else never accidentally let something due to sudden mass spotlight?
The Penguin uses a lot of trick umbrellas but the most common one is the umbrella that doubles as a machine gun. It's cool and all but where are they fitting the magazine on that thing? It still looks like a regular umbrella with no extra attachments or anything. And wouldn't that thing be a pain in the ass to aim with its umbrella shape and automatic rate of fire? Seems to me, Cobblepot should have converted his umbrella to a one shot rifle or something. That way, at least you could fit the one bullet in there.
How in the name of all that is holy according to Burt Ward is Batman able to carry an arsenal of weapons in his effing belt!?! I could see it with the ninja stars in the tool belt, but that's about it. From the late '30s to the mid-'90s, his belt had these tiny capsules in which to store things. Things that, we're supposed to believe, include batarangs (presumably the size of a regular boomerang), a "rebreather", a torch, infer-red flashlight, smoke and tear gas pellets, and a "batline reel" that's apparently long enough and sturdy enough to support a 210ish lbs man swinging from one skyscraper to another.
Why doesn't Joker murder every super villain in Gotham
If he doesn't want the other criminals to kill Batman, why does he allow Scarecrow, Riddler, Penguin, and Two-face to run around and cause havoc? Was he counting on Batman to survive their attacks? Why not burn Arkham Asylum to the ground(with them in it) if he wants Batsy all to himself?
Maybe they're too much fun.
Joker wants someone to gloat to when he kills Batman. Also, he wants to prove he's the best out of everyone, not the best by default because everyone else is gone.
If other supervillains didn't exist in Gotham, Batman would free to hunt the Joker 24-and-7. The man does like to sleep every now and then.
There will always be a Batman and Joker
So if you go back in time and alter history, there will still be a Batman and Joker in the present, right? If that's true, then wouldn't it make the original Batman and Joker less unique? They would be just another Batman and Joker. Even if time travel was possible, there's no way your father or anyone else would come up with the same persona and gimmick. People have different brains, wouldn't matter if they are father and son. That's like having Uncle Ben become Spider-man after Peter died in a robbery attempt.
Tim Drake and the New 52
Are we to assume New 52 Tim Drake and Pre 52 Tim are the same person? In the New 52, "Tim Drake" is a pseudonym used while Red Robin's family is in witness protection. So, in order to properly believe this Tim and old Tim are the same person, I have to assume Barry Allen's trip through time SOMEHOW altered the last name of a family that probably dated back centuries, and yet by sheer chance Red Robin STILL gets the name Tim Drake... See what my problem is here?
Harvey must have a damn good optometrist
I can believe that maybe he applies some kind of ointment to prevent infection, but Two-Face doesn't have a left eyelid. How come his eye hasn't dried up and fallen out of his head yet?
Did the Robins ever attend school back in the old days?
I'm assuming Dick, Tim, and Jason ran around the city with Batman after midnight dozens of times. Wouldn't the teachers and staff have questioned the kids on their injuries and tireness? I'm surprised Bruce didn't get in serious trouble. How did he get out of that? Okay, I can see the 1960s campy Batman giving them a curfew, but not the modern day Batman, the man who is obsessed with crime fighting.
There have been entire issues of the ROBIN solo title driven by Tim dealing with just these kinds of problems in high school. And IIRC there was at least one late Silver Age arc with school authorities noticing that Dick kept showing up with occasional bruises (received during fights as Robin, natch) and Bruce having to defuse suspicions before Child Services got on his case.
There's also that Bruce can just say he's home-schooling them if it ever becomes necessary to pull them out of the school system for a semester or so. Nobody's going to seriously question the richest man in town if he wants to 'hire private tutors' for his kids, and all of the Robins have really high I Qs and could pass any standard high school assessment test ever made with no teaching and just a couple weeks of cramming. And given Bruce Wayne's reputation for being a rich idiot subject to lots of whims, its not going to raise too many eyebrows if he keeps going 'Home-school! No, prep school! No, ordinary high school! No... what was I saying again?'
Why does Batman still look young?
Jason Todd and Dick are grown up, but Batman still looks like he's in his mid 30s. Shouldn't he be in his late 40s or early 50s?
Maybe he just has one of those facial bone structures that keeps youthful good looks even well into late middle age, and we already know he's got the world's best workout program and won the jackpot in the genetic lottery.
Batman also got an involuntary Lazarus Pit dip during The Resurrection of Ra's Al Ghul arc, although that may not be in-continuity for nu52.
Joker Fish: how is that even possible?
Fish poisoned to look like the Joker's face? Do fish even have the required facial muscles? Or teeth?