The Big Question ♯7

This week, we're going to be tackling a question that I can't really answer. Why is Batman so popular?

If we look at this logically, it doesn't make sense very much. Ok, he is the second longest surviving superhero of all time and one of only two too survive the late-40's/ early-50's, but the other one is Superman and we all know that Batman always beats Superman, no matter how impossible that scenario is. He's had multiple movies, good and bad, but so have Superman, Spider-Man, X-Men etc., so that can't be it. Granted, his arch-nemisis is the best villain in comic book history, but his rogues gallery is not any more diverse and unusual than any other hero, he still has stupid villains like everyone else (stand up Ten-Eyed Man). He's dark and moody (unless you live in the sixties), but isn't every hero these days, he might have started the trend in the 30's but he lost it immediately when they introduced Robin and by the time he'd got it back Daredevil, Spider-Man, Wolverine had come along and carved up the Batman niche for themselves (dark and moody, angst, being a bad-ass respectively). So if it isn't any of them, what is it about him that make him so great?

Power's wise he isn't anything special. If we compare him to characters in the Marvel universe he could be paralleled to three heroes. In terms of being a peak-condition human with great hand to hand skills, he's equal to Captain America. Both a great tacticians, but Cap is a leader, where-as Batman may come up with the plans and be respected, he never was the leader of the Justice League, he let Superman do that job.

In terms of being a street level hero with a weird and colourful selection of psychopaths trying to kill him, Spider-Man is an obvious comparison. But in a fight, Batman would be in trouble, because whilst Spidey's less experienced, he's got basically the same level of smarts as Bats only with less resources. Add that to Pete's power-set, Batman wouldn't stand much of a chance.

Talking of resources, Iron Man would be Batman's real parallel in the Marvel universe. Both have heaps of cash and use it to make gadgets to fight crime. But being Tony Stark seems more fun some how. He knows how to live, he gets the girl and manages to keep her and not have her either die (movies) or teach his son to try and kill him (comics). Besides, Iron Man does the Superman size villains in the Marvel universe, whilst it's Spidey who does the Batman size villains.

Even in his own universe, Batman is hopelessly underpowered against most of his Justice League team mates. Green Arrow is probably the only one he'd have a legit chance against (unless he manages to get rid of Hal's power-ring). The only reason he really gets one over on Superman is because the big blue dope gave him some kryptonite (and in the greatest Batman-Superman battle, Bat's still had to get Green Arrow to help him out). But still he manages to get away with it (probably due to what I like to call the Wolverine Effect, it doesn't matter what he faces, the hero will always over come even certain death if he's popular enough). Gotta love the writers huh.

But still, Batman is probably the most popular hero in circulation. It'd be nice to explain why, because I want to know why I found it so hard to come up with reasons why he isn't/ shouldn't be. I know there are some Batmaniacs out there, so can you please let me know.


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