After watching some of DC's animated movies (Under the Red Hood and The Dark Knight Returns), I began wondering: Why don't other super heroes such as those in the Justice League help Batman? Or for that matter, why does each hero, in his or her own respective storyline, have to bear the burdens of crimefighting on their own shoulders?

While watching Batman getting brutally beaten in fights, I couldn't help but ask: Where the hell is Superman and co.?

Sorry if this question is out of place or is unnecessary. I've always just been curious about this.

  • DC superheroes often have storylines on their own. I'm not really sure what this question is asking. – Valorum Nov 28 '14 at 10:22
  • So are the storylines independent from one another (meaning that heroes don't interact with one another)? Or do they all coexist in the same continuity (kind of like in the Justice League)? I recall from watching The Dark Knight Returns Part 1 that the news anchorwoman references Lana Lang from Metropolis's Daily Planet, which made me think of Superman. What I'm asking is why is it so rare for one hero to assist another in a different storyline (e.g. Superman helping Batman during The Dark Knight Returns)? – Alex Nov 28 '14 at 10:27
  • The problem with including Superman in a film is that mundane villains like the Joker and Bane would be no threat to him, at least in their Nolan incarnations. You'd ruin the movie. – Valorum Nov 28 '14 at 10:37

Specifically on The Dark Knight Returns, it’s set in a “future” universe where Batman is coming out of retirement, and Superman (possible spoilers)

is working for the US government.

To some extent, part of the premise of The Dark Knight Returns is that other superheroes aren’t around any more.

But in general, comics (and now comic book movies) kind of require the audience to accept that all the superheroes aren’t available all the time to fight every menace. If they were, there wouldn’t be room for differently powered superheroes, and that would suck.

Here’s the best explanation of the premise that I know of on this site. Go vote that answer up.


The Batman story is kind of a 'Christ' story like Neo in the Matrix. It's Batman's personal quest to transform himself in order to transform the sinful city. Batman's adversaries tend to be also individuals or small ragtag gangs, so having a bunch of other superheroes would outweigh the odds too much. Batman is also a human underneath so it's an 'ubermensch' story of a human becoming superhuman and 'winning out' against the odds. It's also in the ideology of individualism, not collective action.

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