Batman: A Tragic Hero

I was an avid reader of Batman comics. Today while watching a Batman movie on HBO (didn’t quite catch the name as I was in middle) I realized the movie depiction of Batman is significantly different from my perception and understanding of Batman character. Let’s ponder for a moment who Batman is.

Batman is always a detective first. He showed excellent deductive and inductive reasoning in his earlier stories. He, unlike say Phantom, didn’t rely on punching people in a bar to get the names of victims. Neither does he possess any extra-human skills like super-hearing, super-speed or super-anything for that matter. Whereas Superman is just a pea-brained boy-scout with huge muscles, Batman must rely on his brains and athletic skills alone.

Unlike other detectives Batman is more hands-on with criminals. Down the road Batman was portrayed more and more as a vigilante which I don’t think does much justice to his character. He is law abiding. He relies on the law to lock away the victims even when his intelligence tells otherwise. He simply doesn’t have enough faith in the capabilities of the protectors of law in keeping his city safe.

His playboy image is a thin disguise which hides a deep personal tragedy. He often forces himself to non-violence (as in non-killing). If he was a terminator there would be no recurring series of Joker / Two-face / Riddler. It is probably a comic book code where heroes never kill. Even Harry Potter, a non-comic book hero, never kills. A true vigilante by definition should take justice in his own hands.

Batman is a kindred soul but he is not someone you would like to share a drink with.

Batman is a fighter at his core with whom many of us can associate. This is probably what makes this character most endearing. There were several writers of Batman over the years; some were excellent but some failed to catch the essence of Batman character. Even catwoman doesn’t suit his character. Batman is too traumatized be a romantic type. He is a tragic hero.


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