An urgent news bulletin by Rob Hackney
Batman. Even if you haven't read the comics, even if you haven't seen the movies, you know who he is. Basically you would be aware that he wears a shit scary badass superhero costume, hangs out with the JLA, and beats suspects at roughly a Rodney King level of brutality. But what makes Batman more special than, say, not Batman?
He has no super powers
In your rush to assume that you were already more than familiar with how Batman operates you may not have considered that he in fact possesses no super powers. So how does he do all of that amazing stuff? Simple, he trained long and hard for the majority of his childhood and all his adult life.
Batman is trained in almost every conceivable art of fighting. Hell, he's even a ninja. And one thing that’s certain about ninjas is that they never, ever screw around. Unless you pay them specifically to screw around.
Sure, it's easy to beat up your run-of-the-mill graverobbers and bootleggers and tubthumpers with ninja skills and gizmos, but then Batman also beat up Superman. Yeah.
He can beat up fricking Superman
In Frank Miller’s Elseworlds tale 'The Dark Knight Returns', an aging Batman faces a bleak future where gangs of hooligans are killing in his name, getting about Gotham city with their violence and their skateboards and their rapster lingo.
Superman meanwhile has become the US Government's official lackey, strong arm enforcer of shady policy and the like. When Bruce Wayne once more decides to take on the mantle of the bat, political unrest sees the President send Superman after his old friend Bruce, with orders to stop him by any means.
Of course, Superman knows that Batman will never be brought in alive, and so, the two battle it out in an epic struggle punctuated by nuclear ICBMs and snappy one-liners as all hell rains down around them.
It’s here that the veteran underdog’s heart begins to give, but it won’t quit on him before a final chance to wipe the shit-eating grin off Superman’s shit-enjoying face, pummeling Supes with a handy set of kryptonite gloves—engineered years ago for just such a contingency.
"You're beginning to get the idea, Clark. This is the end, for both of us. We could have changed the world. Now look at us. I've become a political liability, and you, you're a joke. I want you to remember, Clark in all the years to come in your most private moments I want you to remember my hand at your throat I want you to remember the one man who beat you "
And then… Batman dies. Or does he? No. He totally fakes it. He rocks up six months later living under an assumed identity, teaching wayward street toughs how to fight crime. Just like Andy Kaufman.
He's the world's greatest detective
Batman's not just trained by the best fighters on this or any planet, but also the greatest criminologists and forensic psychologists. Bruce Wayne spent his adolescence travelling around the world, using his vast inherited wealth to study under skilled detectives and scholars of subterfuge.
He learned about the criminal mind from the inside out by getting in amongst the seedier element of society on the ground floor of Gotham’s gritty underbelly—to observe, and acclimatize.
Waiting for the moment when confidence and opportunity would align.
He recovered from a broken spine
When the super-criminal Bane busted all the inmates out of Gotham's Arkham Asylum, it fell upon Batman to round them up. Each death at their hands was another for which he blamed himself, and by the time that the last was recaptured, Batman was weak, battered, mentally exhausted, and just aching for a wank.
Only then did Bane strike, tracking Batman to his secret “bat’s cave”-themed lair, known as The Batcave, and with the aid of the super-steroid 'Venom'(tm Marvel Comics), defeated the Dark Knight in hand-to-hand combat. Hoisting Batman high above his sizeable frame, Bane brought him down hard with a knee to the spine, fucking Batman’s shit all the way up.
Most people don't come back from a broken spine. I can think of only two, and one is Bruce Lee, who is awesome in his own right, but quite unfortunately dead. Therefore, while fictional, Batman remains the only living person that I know of who has recovered from a broken spine. And it was a long, hard road back to good health and fighting form, but he returned triumphant, having sex with Bane’s sister and posting it on the internet.
He never loses
Batman is not only mentally and physically honed to perfection, but relentlessly driven by a score which can never be settled. When his parents were murdered in front of him as a boy, Bruce vowed to avenge their deaths with his indefinite war on crime. If he were to ever stop being the bat, he would be breaking that promise to his dead parents. If he were to lose, he would no longer be Batman. Therefore, Batman always wins. Physics.
Criminals are a cowardly and superstitious bunch, and thank God for small favors, as that cowardice manifests itself as a crippling fear of bats for an almost suspiciously high percentage of Gotham’s criminal underworld. Maybe the phobia of bats is a self-fulfilling prophecy, or maybe Bruce just got incredibly lucky, thanks to the environmental factors of a moderate climate and plentiful caves lining up perfectly with a population both enthralled and terrified by Sir David Attenborough’s recent, Bats: Nature’s Draculas.
He will haunt you
If by some miracle you beat Batman, you will spend the rest of your life looking over your shoulder. He will always find a way. The guy is literally mental, it’s not even worth the grief.
He has a pretty expensive computer as well
In closing, Batman’s great. Just don’t screw with him. Don’t rob a Gotham bank or kill a Gotham city prostitute because Batman will be there to wreck your life. It’s unclear where he stands on circumventing DRM or grey market imports but I personally wouldn’t take the risk.
Batman will keep on fighting, and punching, and detecting the shit out of crimes, until the day he either dies, is replaced by someone with a scarier costumer, or resolves his emotional issues.