Who among you could be The Batman?

One of the most compelling aspects of Batman is that he, unlike the vast majority of fictional superheroes, is not the possessor of some kind of mutant, magical, supernatural, alien or what-have-you superhuman ability to defy the laws of physics. Along with Marvel Comics’ Iron Man, he is basically a very gifted and dedicated mortal human who has tempered his own iron into steel.

So… Could it be done? Given the time and resources, could one truly become Batman? I just caught wind of this book coming out soon delving into that very question, written by a professor trained in kinesiology and neuroscience:

Becoming Batman: The Possibility of a Superhero

The old joke is that Batman wins any conflict if he has “prep time.” I think this is largely based on Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns in which Batman finds a way to overcome physical deficiencies in a number of situations (including defeating Superman, albeit with some help) by analyzing his opponents’ weaknesses and exploiting them. He is sometimes called “The Dark Knight Detective” to emphasize his reliance on strategy and tactics to defeat his opponents. He’s clearly a genius and a master of combat strategy. He’s been depicted (in admittedly alternate futures) as developing Iron Man-like battle armor as well. Why he hasn’t done this before, I don’t know. He’s also depicted as a master in several forms of martial arts, the mastery of which realistically should take decades. How he has time for science and study AND mastering martial arts is one of the great comic book mysteries of all time. Anyway, the point is that no one realistically could match Batman. Although he is depicted as being without superpowers, I think his level of intelligence combiined with his physical prowess make him superhuman on some level.

Nobody could become the current uber-Bat, because nobody could have the time. The most irritating thing about Bas nowadays is that he is supposed to be absolute tops in every conceivable subject: a better fighter, engineer, physicist, chemist, pilot, etc. than anyone who commits their entire lives to just one discipline. He’s no more realistic than Superman; in fact he’s less, because at least Superman is explicity a fantastical demigod, whereas Batman supposedly isn’t.

It was not always thus. Years ago, he was the world’s greatest detective, and that was the only thing he was absolute tops in. He was expert in hand-to-hand combat, driving, piloting, and so forth, but not the absolute best. One of my absolute favorite JLA stories involves Batman, alone on monitor duty, having to solve a world crisis all on his own and musing that he really needs a world-class scientist like Ray Palmer, or godlike powers like Kal or Hal. He solves the problem, of course, but not without a great deal of self-doubt and worry; he was, in short, human.

I miss that Bruce.

What I’d sort of like to see some time is a Batman-like superhero who, despite public appearances, is actually a super-team. You’d have perhaps a half-dozen people, each a world-class expert in their own field of specialization, and which one wore the suit on any given day would depend on the nature of the mission. They’d all be in secure radio communication, of course, and if an unexpected situation came up, the appropriate expert back at headquarters could talk the suit-wearer through it, or possibly even take over portions of the suit via remote control. So, for instance, the cat burgular might break into the computer complex, and then turn over control of the suit cameras and hands to the hacker, who grabs the data off of the computer.

Meanwhile, of course, nobody would know that it’s a team of people behind the suit, so the hero could build up a Batman-like reputation of being the best there is at everything.

Agreed. What we need is a Bat-reboot.

I could do it. I’m retired with lots of time on my hands, have a “Bat-Cave”, like to drive real fast in cool cars and motorcycles. I have no friends to suspect I have an alter-ego.

I don’t think I’d be very attractive in tights, however. And I tend to favor the “evil” side, too.

I’m more on the supply-side of crime, myself.

(My bold) To be fair, there are explicitly 4 characters who are better fighters than him (Lady Shiva, Batgirl, David Cain, and Bronze Tiger, IIRC) in the 21st century.

But I agree with the quoted portion in all but that one minor nitpick - and it’s only fighting that he’s said to have any betters in. I’ve ranted about this before, and I thank you for saving me the time of typing it out again. >_>

Some other fields he’s mastered: Escape artistry, botany, history, xenobiology…

Mr Terrific, currently, is what Batman should be, a genius, an expert at a handful of fields - he’s a good fighter, a top-level electronics engineer, and a better than passable medic, off the top of my head - with somewhat more shallow knowledge in other fields, properly applying that expertise to stand toe to toe with metas.

And have all that angst? No thanks.

That’s an awesome idea.

Could you tell me what issue that story is in?

Isn’t there a quote that says something along the lines of “up until a certain age, every man believes he could become the ultimate tough-guy”?

I think I passed that age… recently. Maybe three or four years ago, I might have thought ‘yeah, I could hit the gym, learn kung-fu, whatever’ but now I’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen.

Also, I’m not a billionaire. Nor am I a licensed driver.

I have two friends that are a) really smart guys and b) in really good shape. If they were billionaires with personal-vengeance issues, they could be Batman.

Titans villain Trident was like that - there were 3 of them, with different skills, pretending to be one person.

There’s also the Tangent Joker - again, 3 people, one identity, who bring different things to the job - Madam Xanadu’s material resources, information gathered by reporter, Lori Lemaris…I’m not actually sure what Mary Marvel brought to the table, actually. This is a reversal of her original premise, where it was one person with 3 civilian identities, though.

Neither Trident nor Joker was on quite the scale you’re proposing, and they mostly used the multiple selves to confuse people as to where and who they were, with their differing skills being only a minor contribution, and I’d definitely like to see it on the scale you’re talking.

It’s from Snow Crash by Neil Stephenson:

I think a person of special character could become a Batman-lite but random chance would always be a problem.

I could be Batman:
Fabulously wealthy: check
Tall, dark and handsome: check
Super genius: check
Perfect education: check
Mansion with cave underneath: check
Escape artist: check
Super ego: check
Night owl: check
Martial artist virtuoso: check
Absolutely fearless: nope, big chicken.

So much for that idea.

Hello, Die Fledermaus!

I’m not at home, but I can narrow it down a little; it has to be after issue 161, because Zatanna was a member. 4 of the League’s 5 powerhouses (Superman, Wonder Woman, GL, & Flash) + the Red Tornado were on trial at the UN at the time, and it was a two-parter.

I could be Kaiser Bill’s The Batman but nothing tougher.

You’d fair much better being The Punisher. Sure, you’d still have to be in top fighting form, but you’d get to use sniper rifles, sub machine guns, pistols, explosives, and realistic body armor (I think). Oh, and you’d get to kill obviously. Being Batman would be difficult enough with Batarangs instead of firearms, but NOT killing people would be damn near impossible in the long term. For instance the police cars Batman runs over in Batman Begins - how many times can you pull that off without giving someone a messy death?

It sounds like issue 170, but it doesn’t look like a two-parter. Here’s a link to the cover.

That’s it. Issue 169 is the first part. The League is on trial, and there’s a riot at the UN which they escape from custody to calm, and then return to their cells otu of respect for the law. Which sounds impossibly noble until you think about it.