The Trouble With Batman. If he is the yang to the impossible to write well Superman, then it should be easy to write him. Indeed it is, because Batman – psychologically stunted insufferable know-it-all in tights is rarely the lead character in his own comic. He certainly was not in his own film. The Quentin Tarantino quote in Kill Bill 2 regarding Superman is much more true of Batman. He is not Bruce Wayne, Bruce Wayne is just a mask, an alias he needs to get his night job done.

Of course what with Batman being a man of few words they soon had to find a way of bringing him out of himself. And so they gave him Robin. Forget the homoerotic subtexts or the nonsense of a grown man risking a fourteen year old in tights, Robin existed to give Batman someone to talk to in the shadows. And it worked. So they got in a few other sidekicks. They allowed the writers to examine the various aspects of Batman (the Man, the father figure, the general in a war against crime). But it came to a point that certainly fromt he writers point of view the sidekicks were more fun to write than the tortured Bat himself. After all he cannot change, the sidekicks can. And have done.

So now we get a new Robin. The fourth. The first now calls himself Nightwing (and has done for twenty years) and has a sidekick of his own. The second died and the third is knocking around for some big plot reversal (the new Robin is his ex). There is a new Batgirl, the old one got shot and now does very nicely in a wheelchair as info sidekick Oracle. Catwoman is running round semi-reformed, and Gotham City has two or three other vigilantes to get going with. All this without mentioning Alfred. So much for Batman as the ultimate loner.

Ironically all of these sidekicks can change, while Batman’s nature – tied into public recognition, via cartoons and films cannot. So he remains defined by an act of violence and a set of ridiculous rules of his own (beat the crap is fine, but no killing) which perpetuates a cycle of violence. The contradiction inherent in the character is that he is supposedly the worlds greatest detective, a man who gets the villainous psychology. Yet if he just went for a little bit of analysis himself he would soon be happy and stop running around dressed up as a flying rodent.