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Core points of Gamers

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Core points of Gamers

Batman Believes Bruce Wayne is His Greatest Weakness


The psychology of Batman has been a subject that fans, writers, and even psychologists have dealt with extensively. Watching him struggle to determine which side of himself, Batman or Bruce Wayne, was the true personality at the core of his being has always been an important part of his story. However, recent issues featuring The Dark Knight have not only suggested that Batman is the true personality, but also actively tries to suppress anything that would strengthen the part of him that is Bruce Wayne.


At night Issue #98 (by Tom Taylor, Daniele Di Nicuolo, Adriano Lucas, and Wes Abbott) had a moment where Nite-Mite, Nightwing’s fifth-dimensional imp, summoned the real Batman to use as a warning. He claimed that Batman denies himself any kind of happiness, from love of family to even carbohydrates. While it’s a humorous moment, it may have unintentionally struck at the heart of the Batman/Bruce Wayne dynamic. What if not that Batman doesn’t deny himself happiness, but that he denies anything that strengthens the Bruce Wayne part of himself? In essence, Batman refuses to be happy because he believes that it would make him weak.

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Batman sees Bruce Wayne as a weakness

Proof of this can be found in the back-up story “I Am a Gun – Part Two” from bat Man #129 (by VC’s Chip Zdarsky, Leonardo Romero, Jordie Bellaire, and Clayton Cowles). It details a moment earlier in Batman’s career when he created a backup personality to take over in case his mind was compromised: the Batman of Zur-en-Arrh. What separates the two is that Zur is Batman without the influence of Bruce Wayne. The compassion, empathy, and morality that his parents taught him were stripped completely from this “pure Batman” to create the ultimate vigilante.

This reveals that Batman believes that if his mind is compromised, the only thing strong enough to resist anything that could control or break him would be a Batman without Bruce Wayne. A Batman without the weakness. If he can find a way to separate Bruce from Batman, then his efficiency as a vigilante would skyrocket, as there would be no need to worry about the limitations Bruce places on him. Nor would there be any other business or personal commitments demanding his attention beyond protecting Gotham City.

This theory is promoted by Dark Crisis: Worlds Without a Justice League – Batman #1 (by Simon Spurrier, Ryan Sook, and Troy Peteri) where Bruce Wayne literally split himself in two, so he could live both lives. He lives one as a vigilante, and the other as the architect of the last safe place on Earth. It was a way to lead both lives and explore what kind of happiness those paths would bring him, and while it wasn’t the most stable solution, both men were ultimately content. The fact that this is his ideal world proves that he believes they would work better as two separate individuals.

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The Tragedy of Batman’s Self Denial

Zur-en-Arrh-Takes-Over-2

What makes this so heartbreaking is that Batman is desperately trying to deny the existence of an integral part of himself. He views Bruce Wayne as weak because Bruce cares, but this goes against everything Batman stands for. More to the point, Batman only exists because Bruce cares so much about it. He may not be the inveterate vigilante, but without that night of trauma, Batman would not have been born, nor would he remember why he swore to fight criminals. It wasn’t to punish the world for what had happened to him, it was to make sure no one ever suffered like he did. Empathy for others is the foundation of Batman’s entire existence.

However, Batman continues to do everything possible to deny Bruce Wayne happiness at any opportunity. He chose not to marry Catwoman, deliberately puts distance between himself and his loved ones, and even apparently refuses to eat carbs. All of this indicates that this might not just be a form of self-denial, but self-hatred. Batman would only go out of his way to deny himself any kind of joy if he believed he didn’t deserve it. Maybe it’s a manifestation of survivor’s guilt. Bruce Wayne was too weak to save his parents from being killed by an ally, but Batman could have done it, so Batman must take the reins.

This, of course, is a tragedy, as it essentially blames a child for not being able to stop something that was beyond their ability to control. Batman’s failure to acknowledge this has not only cost him many opportunities to find his own form of peace, but has also negatively impacted those closest to him. He holds himself to an impossible standard, and when he inevitably falls short, he takes it out on himself.



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