Batman: billionaire plutocrat vigilante

Not totally accurate, but the article begins to touch many of the key problems with superheroes at large.

via Boing Boing by Cory Doctorow on 2/1/11


On Tor.com, comics editor Steve Padnick has some trenchant perspective on Batman as a plutocrat vigilante who inherited half of Gotham, is the town’s major employer, and who unilaterally overrides temporal and elected authorities to expel and defeat underclass villains who aspire to his wealth and privilege.

True, it’s a very American version of aristocracy, based on wealth rather than divine right, but in practice it’s basically the same. The myth of aristocracy is that class is genetic, that some people are just born good enough to rule, and that this inherent goodness can be passed down from generation to generation. It’s long been established, and Grant Morrison’s recent “Return of Bruce Wayne” miniseries reaffirmed, that there has always been a Wayne in Gotham City, and that the state of the city reflects the status of the Waynes at the time. The implied message of Batman: Year One, and Batman Begins, and The Dark Knight Returns, Batman Beyond, and so on is… if the Waynes are absent from Gotham, the entire city falls apart.

This gives Batman’s origin an Arthurian “king-in-exile” element. “Banished” from Gotham by the death of his parents, Bruce Wayne returns to reclaim his throne and redeem his land. But instead of reclaiming it from usurping uncle or foreign invader, Batman must take Gotham back from a rising underclass.

Batman: Plutocrat

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