batman is the best...

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Poodle
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batman is the best...

Post by Poodle » Mon Sep 09, 2019 6:33 am

I recently watched a video talking about the best fighters in the DC universe.
The creator claimed that Batman had mastered every martial art ever and was a better fighter than anyone else in the world?

It seems like there are a lot of amazing fighters, and also that Batman has had his ass handed to him occasionally.
Am I wrong?
I guess he gets brownie points for doing it all dressed as a big bat in a cape.
Last edited by Poodle on Wed Sep 11, 2019 2:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: batman is the best...

Post by Ares » Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:20 am

It depends on the writer.

It's similar to how some writers like Morrison and Loeb will treat Superman as the single most powerful character in DC, when you've got Captain Marvel, Captain Atom, Dr. Fate, Martian Manhunter, Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Power Girl, Mary Marvel, Icon, Orion, Hal Jordan, Kyle Rayner, Guy Gardner, John Stewart, Alan Scott, and other characters who are arguably roughly as powerful as Superman, some arguably more powerful.

Batman is frequently considered the "Superman" of the normal humans, when the only thing he should be #1 at is being the World's Greatest Detective. The greatest fighters in the DCU include people like Richard Dragon, the Bronze Tiger, Lady Shiva and Cassandra Cain. Richard and Ben have wins over Bruce (or at least Bruce found Richard's defenses so good he gave up attacking him), while Shiva and Cassandra have stalemated Bruce. But some writers feel that Bruce is the best hand-to-hand fighter on Earth with some people maybe being his equals sometimes.

Honestly, my preference is more that Bruce is a "Jack of All Trades" save for his Detective skills, and that his real effective comes from being highly skilled in a wide range of skills as opposed to people who have absolute mastery over a few skills. To my mind he's every bit as smart as someone like Lex Luthor or Tony Stark, but he used that brain power to amass a lot of skills rather than focus just on scientific skills. If Bruce tried to build a suit of armor that could do everything Tony's Iron Man armor can, it would take Bruce several weeks where it would take Tony a couple of days, and Bruce's armor would be three or four times bulkier than Tony's, and it would likely still under-perform compared to Tony's suit.

But Bruce while Bruce can't match Tony's scientific skills, he's smart enough that he can follow any scientific explanation Tony could give without any trouble. He's just not the technically inventive genius Tony is. But Bruce is also in peak physical shape, is a master martial artist, expert in stealth, master tactician, world class detective, etc.

My preference would be that Bruce isn't as good as people who are "World Class" in their skills. Nightwing and Catwoman are better acrobats and slightly faster than him. Bane, even without Venom, is slightly stronger than him. Mr. Miracle is a superior escape artist. The first Batgirl is a superior computers expert. Dragon, Shiva and Tiger are better fighters. Nightwing's a better leader. Blue Beetle's a better gadgeteer. But if these people are all 10's in their respective area of expertise, then Bruce is an 8 or a 9 in that skill. Bruce is basically so skilled across the board that he's normally better than most people he comes across. And when he does find himself competing with someone who is better than him at something, he doesn't try to one-up them. Instead, he'll try to change the rules of the engagement so that he can bring his other skills to play, basically forcing them to fight the battle on his terms where they can't make the best use of their abilities.

Then again, Bruce being contingency man who can beat anyone with enough prep-time was old even after Morrison introduced the idea. Even Miller's Dark Knight fight with Superman made it clear that it took Bruce years of prep for a fight that he only technically won due to Clark being weakened and not really taking the fight seriously.

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Re: batman is the best...

Post by Ken » Mon Sep 09, 2019 10:58 am

Betty's good with computers?

I remember a discussion where a friend of mine described Batman as the second best in the DCU. Dick's a better acrobat, Scott's a better escape artist, Ollie's a better archer, Floyd's a better marksman, Sherlock's a better detective (and still alive as on 1984), Selina's better at second story work, Shiva's a better fighter, etc. etc. But Bruce is the second best...
...

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Re: batman is the best...

Post by saint_matthew » Mon Sep 09, 2019 11:39 am

Ken wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 10:58 am
Betty's good with computers?

I remember a discussion where a friend of mine described Batman as the second best in the DCU. Dick's a better acrobat, Scott's a better escape artist, Ollie's a better archer, Floyd's a better marksman, Sherlock's a better detective (and still alive as on 1984), Selina's better at second story work, Shiva's a better fighter, etc. etc. But Bruce is the second best...
Time Drake was a better detective to the point that Ra's stopped calling Bruce "The Detective" & started calling Tim by that name.

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Re: batman is the best...

Post by Woodclaw » Tue Sep 10, 2019 6:36 pm

Personally, the only category where I usually put Batman at the absolute top of the game is forensics and investigations (with only Question really coming any close thanks to weaponized paranoia). In many other fields, he's usually within the top ten, but not in each and every one. For example, I can see Bruce having studies chemistry and physics as functional support to forensic analysis, but I don't think he should even come close to a dedicated scientist, like Ted Kord.
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Re: batman is the best...

Post by Poodle » Wed Sep 11, 2019 2:00 am

If he is so amazing, why is Gotham such a major sh*thole, Sociology, psychology, urban planning, etc... You would think such a supersmart guy would work out that what he is doing doesn't seem to be working.
Heck, maybe he would achieve more if he became mayor.

I acknowledge that is a whole different conversation about superhero tropes.

I do acknowledge that I always thought he was a little silly.
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Re: batman is the best...

Post by Ares » Wed Sep 11, 2019 2:44 am

Generally speaking, Gotham is portrayed as being much better than it was prior to Batman's involvement. He did a lot of work to take down organized crime, deal with corrupt politicians and a corrupt police force. And he deals with all of the super criminals that normal cops would be unable to deal with. This does vary based on setting and presentation, but generally speaking Gotham has gone from a place overrun with crime and corruption to a place basically no worse than Marvel's New York.

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Re: batman is the best...

Post by Poodle » Sat Nov 09, 2019 9:17 pm

Yeah but Marvel New York is still a sh*thole in lots of areas with high crime rates and lots of organised crime. Who are the superheroes dealing with? Is it the classic big guy vs big guy and everyone else gets ignored scenario?

My theory is that (especially in Gotham) you go out, commit a crime, get caught by Batman and beaten up. You can't be charged because the whole process is pretty unlawlful even with vigilante laws. You then sue Gotham City and batman and receive accident compensation for injuries and emotional trauma. Get your pay out and wait until you are out of cash before committing your next crime, just to get caught by Batman again.

I am sure a legal expert could point out the errors in my thinking.
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Re: batman is the best...

Post by Shock » Sat Nov 09, 2019 10:19 pm

I'm not sure how you sue Gotham City for Batman's actions

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Re: batman is the best...

Post by Ares » Sat Nov 09, 2019 10:39 pm

I'm no legal expert, but that's not really how it's shown to work in the comics themselves. The crooks and criminals the heroes apprehend do go to jail rather than getting off on technicalities, which makes sense. It wouldn't work in our world, but both Marvel and DC have had superheroes be an active and visible part of the world since the 1930s, so laws designed to accommodate superheroes make sense. Several of She-Hulk's books have been based around how the legal system would change in a world like that, while even the average Spider-Man issue will occasionally have someone mention that his cab was insured against "Alien Invasions and Superbrawls".

The organized crime and areas riddled with street crime are mostly writing conventions, much like how certain supervillains haven't been executed yet despite the massive risk they pose to people and the willingness they've shown to kill. Crime still exists because crime-free utopias are boring and break verisimilitude, and because fighting crime is a longstanding tradition of superheroes. The existence of organized crime is explained by the fact that most heroes can't move on crime bosses without hard evidence of their crimes, and a lot of the crime organizations are smart enough that only the lower ranking members get caught. And when the major crime figures are taken down, they tend to leave power vacuums that other criminal groups try to fill, so taking down entrenched criminal organizations require a lot of time and systematic efforts to ensure that something as bad or worse doesn't take the place of what was just defeated.

It's honestly why I prefer a lot of Bronze Age and early Post Crisis books, where it was shown people like Superman, Batman, Spider-Man and the like had made great strides in reducing the crime rates of their respective cities, so that the only people still committing crimes were the die-hard, life long criminals who were usually part of larger criminal organizations, or were supervillains brazen and powerful enough to stand up to the heroes. The idea of heroes only focusing on big events and having a negative impact on their cities due to criminals suing the police and government might fit with a Zack Snyder film or Garth Ennis comic, but it's nothing that makes sense with or that I'd want to see in a standard superhero setting.

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Re: batman is the best...

Post by mrdent12 » Sat Nov 09, 2019 11:08 pm

Applying real world legal frameworks to super heroes, while represented in graphics novels and comics, is not done in the whole super hero genre simply because legal technicalities are rather boring to most people. On top of that, it invalidates the escapism some seek from the medium. I am not saying stories with real world applied to comics don't appeal to some people, they clearly do, but some just want to enjoy Superman beating on Nazis, Batman matching wits with the Joker without regards to legal process, and everyman types(ie Spiderman) taking on criminal masterminds without worrying about court rulings on probable cause.

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Re: batman is the best...

Post by Poodle » Sat Nov 09, 2019 11:24 pm

Those are all absolutely fair comment. In Japan there are well-known black belts whose hands are registered as deadly weapons so I guess it could be applied to superheroes too. I agree that a world with superheroes SHOULD be better. As you say though, Utopia's are boring. I guess a struggle is deciding who is a superhero and should be able to help out and who is just some vicious nutjob in a mask and what is the screening process. Also the other issue is enforcement. If superman doesn't want to pay his library fines, who is going to make him? I know this was all addressed in 'Civil War'.
I think Heroes should be Good, but unfailingly good like Superman just gets a little dull (Justice League, I am looking at you). I think that moral complexity, doubt and humanity make for more interesting stories. Batman's relentless drive for Justice can be a bit monomaniacal, but is obviously one of his defining features.
I find Spiderman more interesting. I find Beast more interesting than Wolvering I like a well-written punisher but when he is just a nasty psycho he is less complex and certainly not the sort of hero I know you prefer. ;P
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