The 13th Floor

Dark Knight… or Huge Jerk? Five Ways Batman Could Better Help Gotham City

Batman, the Dark Knight Detective, is easily one of the most recognizable literary characters in the world. I imagine just about every grandma knows who he is and what he’s about, what with the fighting crime and being sad about his parents.

From an early age, we all learn about Batman, be it from comics, cartoons, or movies. Kids dress up like him for Halloween. Adults dress up like him for Halloween. We idolize the Caped Crusader; he is a hero to us. But should he be? Is Batman a hero, or a real goofus?

Don’t get me wrong, Batman is a hero. He saves lives, he fights the crimes, he does all that jazz, but is he doing everything he can in the best way possible? Think about what Batman has — a seemingly endless supply of funds and some super tech that no one else gets to use — and think about how much that could help so many if only Bruce Wayne would put down the cowl and realize that fighting one crime at a time does nothing.

Here, in my humble opinion, are five things Batman could do to better help Gotham City.


Be True To His School(s)

Gotham City is a real hell hole. Poverty is a massive problem, and the city is crumbling. One of the hardest hit things in Gotham has been the public schools. This has been shown in various Batman comics over the years, including one of my personal favorites, SEDUCTION OF THE GUN. The schools of Gotham are pure garbage — walls with peeling paint, over-crowded classrooms, and underpaid teachers who have given up.

Now, obviously money can’t fix every problem that a school has, but I’m pretty sure that for less than the cost of a Batplane, Batman could at least repaint every school in Gotham. Something as small as that – as small as having a school that doesn’t look like it is falling apart, can have a positive effect on learning.

To go deeper, Bats, as Bruce Wayne, could do what Harris Rosen has done for Tangelo Park, Florida. Mr. Rosen, a self-made millionaire, transformed the education of the town by creating free pre-school and paying college tuition for every student who graduates high school. Bruce Wayne could do this as well. Instead, he buys more jets to fight street thugs.


Tonight There’s (Not) Gonna Be A Jailbreak

I don’t know if there is a better place for a criminal to be locked up than Blackgate Prison just outside of Gotham City, other than Arkham Asylum, Both places have a near perfect track record of jailbreaks. It seems like every week Two-Face, Joker, Penguin, or any of the countless super felons of Gotham are getting free and causing headaches for Batman.

All of this could be handled with better security measures. For the Justice League satellite, Batman set up top of the line security where members need to use voice and optical verification to get around, but these prisons seem to keep their cells closed with gum. All Bats needs to do is, as Bruce Wayne, is pay for top of the line security measures at Blackgate and Arkham. Sure, there’s always a chance of escapes, but you could certainly cut down on them. Imagine how many lives could be saved if Batman looked into some preventive measures every now and then.


Blinded By The (Lack Of) Light

Gotham City is dark. Real dark. For some reason, it is always overcast, which doesn’t help much, but another problem the city seems to have is a serious lack of street lights. Where they do have street lights, they seem to still run on gas, considering how little light they actually give off.

The streets of Gotham are constantly in the dark, making it easy for Batman to hide in the shadows, which is good for him, but that also means muggers and other baddies have the same advantage. Wayne Corp could quite easily, through Wayne Power, replace the existing street lights with better ones, as well as add some where they are sorely lacking.

BATMAN (1966) 20th Century Fox

The Kids (Aren’t) Alright

Dick Grayson. Jason Todd. Tim Drake. Stephanie Brown. Damian Wayne. All of these kids have three things in common: very high IQs, tragic childhoods, and Batman putting them in danger.

Batman has consistently claimed that he has helped each of these kids by making them Robin, seemingly ignoring that two of them, Jason Todd and Stephanie Brown, died in battle. Batman is sure, for example, that after Dick Grayson’s parents were murdered, the only thing that could help the kid was to put on a costume and punch people. To believe this, Batman needs to ignore his own past and how punching people has not helped him get over the murder of his own parents.

Instead of putting these kids at risk, Batman could, where needed, get them help. I kinda think Dick Grayson would have been able to deal with his parent’s murders with the help of a therapist, and he probably wouldn’t be forever stuck on a vicious cycle of crime fighting and wanting a normal life. Hell, Tim Drake’s dad was killed because Tim was Robin. Tim’s dad would be very much alive if Batman hadn’t made the kid Robin (though fairness to Batman on that one, Tim kinda blackmailed him into it).

These genius kids could all be helping society in far better ways by using their smarts to improve the world. Instead, Batman taught them how to hit bad guys and mope.


(Stop) Waiting For The World To End

Batman has a rocket that can get him to Mars in a matter of minutes. He’s used it only a few times, but it sits there in the Batcave ready to go. He built a space station for the Justice League that has a teleporter.

He does not share any of these things with humanity. Think about how much teleportation alone would change the world. The decrease of car fumes alone would be revolutionary, not to mention how much less stress the average person would have in their lives when they no longer need to deal with traffic.

Even in the comics, no country on Earth has made it past the moon, but there’s Batman with the ability to hop around to different planets whenever he’s in the mood. Does he share this with NASA? Nope. Keeps it to himself.

What a jerk.

Now, I can hear you and your argument on this teleportation and space travel thing — it goes back to the answer about why Superman doesn’t just fix everything, right? That mankind must find it’s own way into the light, but these heroes can help show them the way as long as they don’t interfere. Is that what you’re thinking? If so, let me remind you of something…

Batman is not a superhero. He’s a dude. Just a human who is real smart and real determined. Jor-El is pretty much talking about Bruce Wayne when he told Superman that humans must make their own way. Instead, Batman is being all John Galt about it and keeping these things he has that can help all of humankind to himself because his parents got murdered and he has a fetish for fisticuffs.

That, dear reader, is why Batman is not a hero at all.

*All Photos: DC Comics; Header Photo: THE DARK KNIGHT (2008) Warner Brothers