So there's a classic argument that Batman's style of vigilantism actually makes Gotham less safe and more crime-ridden, because it indirectly encourages the city's scum to become "super-criminals" obsessed with defeating him, like the Joker and the Riddler. Variations of this argument have been raised by some in-universe characters, often villains trying to excuse their actions, but also by at least one of the good guys:

Batman: We will. We can bring Gotham back.

Jim Gordon: What about escalation?

Batman: Escalation?

Jim Gordon: We start carrying semi-automatics, they buy automatics. We start wearing Kevlar, they buy armor piercing rounds.

Batman: And?

Jim Gordon: And, you're wearing a mask. Jumping off rooftops. Now, take this guy. [pulling out a file]

Jim Gordon: Armed robbery, double homicide, has a taste for the theatrical, like you. Leaves a calling card. [shows Batman a plastic evidence bag containing a Joker card]

In this scene Batman appears to simply ignore the implication. What I'd like to know is: Has Batman ever taken this idea seriously enough to consider changing his methodology? (in any medium)

For instance, has he ever asked a psychiatrist if there are ways he might prevent these sorts of psychos from being inspired by him? Or has he ever tried taking an extended break from crime-fighting to see if the super-criminals get bored without him around?

  • Yes - I've read issues where Bruce wonders about it. – Omegacron May 4 '15 at 16:24
  • You've referenced the movie but not a comic. What sort of answers are you after? – AncientSwordRage Apr 1 '16 at 16:15
  • @AncientSwordRage Any canon/universe works for me. I only quoted the movie because the movies are all I've seen. – Ixrec Apr 1 '16 at 16:16
  • I have often thought more or less the same thing about "Father Brown". – Cascabel Apr 1 '16 at 19:15

Well Yes, he tends to blame himself for that and for the death of his parents (And probably a lot of other things) but then, in the end, someone else (Alfred or some other character) tries to straighten him out as there was nothing young Bruce could do to stop his parents murder OR what crazy people choose to do in Gotham City.

For example, there was an episode of BTAS where he is put on trial called, ah, "The Trial"

D.A. Janet Van Dorn: I used to believe Batman was responsible for you people but now I see nearly everyone here would have ended up exactly the same, Batman or not. Oh, the gimmicks might be different, but you'd all be out there in some form or another that brings misery to Gotham. The truth is, you created him.

And in "Day of the Samurai" from BTAS; Bruce thinks he's no better than the villain he defeated and his sensei tries to set him straight:

[last lines] Sensei Yoru: If you see Batman, tell him I have great respect for him.

Bruce Wayne: Why? He's as much a ninja as Kyodai was.

Sensei Yoru: Not so. Batman offered to help his adversary, and a lesser man would have used the secrets of the Onemuri touch against his opponent. Batman is the essence of samurai, Wayne-san. You would do well to remember that.

Bruce Wayne: [bows] Domo-arigato, Sensei.

So you see, he's harder on himself than anyone else. He takes the prize on brooding.

And I didn't state the obvious; Bruce feels responsible for the creation of the Joker as he had a direct hand in that event. I.e. Batman fights Red Hood imposter and Red Hood falls into vat of chemicals and out pops the Joker.


It may be true that the existence of Batman causes there to be more Super Villains, yet if you go by the comics Costumed villains apparently existed in Gotham way before Batman. So Gotham apparently, like all the cities in DC and Marvel comics are "cursed" to have Costumed Villains and Heroes fighting.

Edit: Okay so I don't have exact references but I do remember in one of the Animated Batman series that this question comes up. That Batman even considers quitting due to the rise in SuperVillains, because he feels responsible for the increase of them.

  • 7
    Greetings, MagnaRyuu, and welcome to the site. This answer is true, but I feel it's not really an answer to the question - the question doesn't ask whether Batman is responsible, but if Batman has ever taken the idea seriously. It's a question about what Batman believes, not about what we do. Could you edit it to address this issue? – Tynam May 2 '15 at 16:41
  • Can you recall which animated series? – Valorum May 4 '15 at 6:53
  • 1
    It was The Animated Series, I remember this episode. It was episode 53 of season 1, "I Am the Night". :) – Stormie Aug 24 '15 at 7:41
  • I recall an old Batman serial where Batman was brooding in the dark about the fact that his presence acted as a loony magnet. – Valorum Apr 1 '16 at 16:20
  • Besides @Tynam's objection, even if some supervillains predate Batman, the question would still remain: is he escalating the costumed supervillain/hero war? Does Batman's taste for theatrics encourage even more theatrics in his enemies? – Andres F. Apr 1 '16 at 17:28

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.