Batman is a terribly popular character. Maybe due to his wealth and enviable physique. Maybe because he’s human when so many aren’t. Maybe it’s his brain. He’s damn near (if not the) smartest man in DC.
I’ve seen numerous arguments about why he’s the best (or the worst) character in DC canon. Honestly, I’m a fan of the more realist treatment of superheroes. This is especially true of Batman. Partially because I enjoy the noir aspect. Partially because as a student of forensics, I appreciate seeing science in detective work.
At first, I liked him when I was little because he was my brother’s favorite. Now, I like him because people don’t underestimate his intelligence, his resolve, his strength – they underestimate his compassion. How amazingly rare and dangerous is that?
While Bruce Wayne’s play-boy persona fluttered from one shallow emotion to the next and Batman appeared apathetic, Bruce Wayne dedicated his life to saving others. I especially loved the Justice League discussion on Robin in Young Justice. He did not train Dick Grayson – or any of the Robins – to make them like him. He did it in an attempt to ensure they wouldn’t become like him. He succeeded with Dick Grayson. Lost Jason Todd (though Todd found his feet in some canons in the end). Tim Drake – well, more of a gray area though Drake is generally more open than his adult counterpart. The list goes on, but we’ll leave it at the top three.
While his colleagues in the Justice League seem to assume people should just trust them, Batman has back up plans in case someone breaks that trust. Systems he has put in place to keep people safe. Hell, the Justice League is basically a big back up plan to keep the world safe from Batman.
Honestly, all this is why I enjoy Gotham. The young Bruce Wayne epitomizes the endless compassion which forms the foundation of all his comic book and animated counterparts. Even with his quirks (the one’s adult Bruce Wayne learned to hide), his compassion doesn’t change even as he learns to fight, to lie, to sneak – his compassion remains.
We can’t all be as brave or as smart as Batman, but the world would be pretty awesome if we could be as compassionate.