Debate Club: Batman Has No Super Powers. Deal With It.

Earlier this week Chris decided to troll me by posting this ridiculous article

about how Batman really does have super powers.  Obviously he was joking, as no one in their right mind could actually believe such nonsense.  That said, in the highly unlikely event that he’s deluded enough to actually believe that drivel, here’s a bulletproof rebuttal of his points.

First off, yes Bruce Wayne is obscenely rich, and yes he has access to a company that coincidentally produces many of the same types of gadgets that would be useful to a vigilante crime-fighter.  That however, absolutely does not constitute a superpower.  There are plenty of rich individuals in this world, from the Donald Trumps and Warren Buffets to the Michael Jordans and Gordon Beckhams.  Some of them have the athletic ability, some have the brains, but have any of them donned the mask and cape and made the carrying out of justice their life’s work?  Nope.  So money doesn’t automatically equal superpower.

That’s not to say that money plays no role in Bruce’s development though.  Sure, if he were born to a middle class family without the means that the Wayne family had, perhaps his life would have been different.  That said, the money gave Bruce as much chance to implode as it did to excel.  It would have been easy to fall prey to drinking, drugs, and a decadent lifestyle, burying the pain in a bottle of pills and whiskey.  Instead though, Bruce Wayne used the means he was given to cultivate what he needed to become the caped crusader.

Sure, Bruce Wayne is physically gifted, he’s an excellent fighter.  Yes, the money played a role in that to the degree that he was able to drop off the face of the earth for years in order to learn plenty of different types of badassery.  The skills he learned though, were in fact…learned.  He didn’t wake up one day with the ability to scale walls, lift a car, or punch a thug through a wall.  Any fighting ability he has is learned, beaten into him, the scars of which he carries to battle every night as he defends Gotham.

If there is one thing that could be said to be even close to a super power, it would be Batman’s intellect.  He definitely was born with some good genes when it comes to the mind.  That said, there are plenty of geniuses out there.  The Riddler, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Bill Gates, that guy who won Jeopardy like 50 times in a row.  Genius isn’t a superpower, it’s simply a gift given to but a few.

The defining characteristic that makes Batman decidedly powerless is this though; if you were to sneak up on Bruce Wayne while he slept (granted this would be difficult, to be sure) and you shot him in the head, what would happen?  Of course, he’d die…because he’s a normal human.  Superman wouldn’t die.  Wolverine wouldn’t die.

Batman is the best superhero ever created because he’s the best parts of you and me.  Sure he’s smarter, stronger, and wealthier than we’ll ever be, but he’s still essentially, like us.  And above all of that, it’s his will that makes him special.  No spider bite or genetic mutation made him special.  He’s mortal, just like the rest of us.  Every night, he dons his suit and he fights crime to protect and defend the people of his city, and every night he puts himself at great risk, much greater than those other bums who just like to use their cheat codes to win.