Is Batman a Superhero?

                At a first glance, one conclusion comes to mind on the thought of whether or not the famous vigilante is a superhero, and that of course is yes, he is. But try to take a deeper look into the question by using attributes such as “powers” and good-doing.

               Let’s start with a definition. The definition says that a superhero is, “a fictional hero having extraordinary or superhuman powers.” Now, I find that definition valid only to a certain point. You see, the word superhero comes in two parts; super and hero. Super is just a synonym for awesome, amazing, great, extraordinary, etc. and a hero is someone that puts another person or thing before themselves in a way to save them, emotionally or physically.

1939 Batman logo. 2010-06-04. Online image. Downloaded 2/11/15
1939 Batman logo. 2010-06-04. Online image. Downloaded 2/11/15

               Batman, among other things, saves people, and you can’t argue that hes not good at it. What you can argue, however, is how much good he’s actually doing. What gives him the right to blatantly disobey the law, make a mockery of the police force (like early  in Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One when the police were humiliated trying to capture the Dark Knight) and expect no consequences earned by such actions?  With a mere saved-life under his belt, does that make up for the mass amounts of destruction, and other problems that he may have caused on his path to “justice?” I don’t think so. Can one even call himself a hero after these situations arise? Just because you haven’t committed murder does not mean you’re not a criminal. The only real difference between Batman and any of his foes is that Batman has some sense of morality, and even that begins to fade in the heat of battle.

               There’s no doubt in that Batman has the skills required to be considered a superhero. With years of massive amounts of training, intelligence beyond imaginable, and detective work only second to Sherlock himself, there’s no shortage in the “super” category. Heck, in the Tower of Babel storyline, written by Mark Waid, with illustrations by Howard Porter, Batman defeats the entire Justice League of America (consisting of Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, the Flash, Aquaman, and Plastic Man). Even with such impressive achievements like the creation of Red Kryptonite by exposing Green Kryptonite to an extensive amount of radiation, the famous Utility Belt, and every piece of technology from the Bat Computer to the Batmobile. Even after all of that, a common problem that we keep coming back to is, to be a superhero, you must either be a mutant, cyborg, or have existential powers. I think that you can have one of them, but its not necessary and they just add another interesting quality. Batman is not alone in this category. Iron Man also lacks the defined requirements to become the stereotypical, “All-American” superhero with only his suit as his . Tony Stark and Bruce Wayne both don’t have actual powers, but the money that they earn funds the doo-dads that act as their superpowers.

Howard Porter. "Tower of Babel" 2000. Online image. Downloaded 2/11/15
Howard Porter. “Tower of Babel” 2000. Online image. Downloaded 2/11/15

Therefore, although some factors lead others to believe differently, I believe Batman to be a superhero based off of his dedication, purpose, abilities, and actions taken towards crime in Gotham. I would love to hear your opinion on the topic, so leave a comment down below on what you think! Thanks for reading, and until next time, adios!

13 thoughts on “Is Batman a Superhero?

  1. Very interesting post Liam! I personally don’t know a lot (more like anything) about superheros but your post makes me want to learn. Now I want to watch the batman movies and decide if he is a superhero or not!

    1. Thank you for the comment! That’s the beauty of blogging in a class, you can learn new and interesting topics! I do highly recommend you to watch Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, it is excellent. And even if you can’t make the commitment to the (literally) 458 minutes of the movies, I also recommend checking out the ’66 Batman TV show with Adam West! If you aren’t really for that, there are also several comic series that you can pick up for a read. Examples include any of the New 52 series, the spinoffs like Nightwing, and Detective Comics, or if you’re really going to go deep, collect around the 300 mark and up of the first volume.
      These are just some ideas to think about.
      Again, thanks for the reply and good luck on your quest to find the answer of if the Dark Knight is in fact a superhero!

  2. Liam, you have a foundation here but I’d like you to explore this idea deeper and with a more critical lens. Provide specific examples from Batman’s career in Gotham and what he has accomplished with the Justice League of America. What exactly was the reasoning behind his battle with the JLA? Also, in your first paragraph, you say that Batman is a superhero but then go on to say that he, and Tony Stark, don’t fulfill the criteria to be heroes or, at least, super heroes. This seems contradictory. Type ‘Batman hero or villain’ into Google and do a little more research into this topic. It is hotly debated online and there are many intriguing thoughts, ideas, and arguments. Also, be very specific when you say that he mocks and embarrasses the police force. Where is your proof of this? The definition of superheros and your inclusion of mutants and cyborgs takes your thought process in a whole new direction. Consider removing that aspect of your argument in order to focus solely on whether Batman deserves the title of hero or not. The Joker, and Gotham’s ‘Rogues Gallery’ cannot be absent from this conversation, either.

  3. I’ve read your post and it’s very well done :). My opinion on this is by definition of Webster’s Dictionary Batman is not a superhero, but none the less I agree with what you say Liam and would absolutely categorize Batman as a super hero in terms of what he’s done. Along with beating the Justice Leauge, Batman has defeated so many super villains( the ones unarguably having super powers) in the most villain-concentrated city it’s uncanny. He’s beat Bane, Killer Croc, Poison Ivy, Man-Bat, Clay face, Killer Moth, Ra’s al Ghul, Court of Owls, and he’s even defeated Dracula himself, just to name a few. Looking at the comic book universe Batman I have to say personally is a super hero (by my own definition) because of what he’s accomplished and has more than proved himself to be a cut above the rest of your ordinary citizens. This guy is on par (if not more skilled) than the Justice Leauge, I consider that to be pretty super 🙂

      1. What are those accomplishments, though? You haven’t stated any beyond the fact that he defeated the JLA. Help us to understand those accomplishments so that we can form our opinions from those deeds and actions.

    1. I agree, Jeremy! Batman more than fulfills the criteria of superheros not only by his actions, but also by the fact that “He wears a costume and keeps his real identity a secret; he has hidden headquarters; he uses special equipment, ranging from miniaturized devices he keeps in his utility belt to vehicles like the Batmobile and the Batplane; he has the legal status of a deputy; he associates with other so-called superheroes and is a founding member of the Justice League of America, a team of “superheroes”; he often fights individuals who qualify as super-criminals; he defends common people and will risk his life to protect the common man; he can be summoned by the police through the use of a special signaling device (the “bat signal”); he has special skills which he uses to fight crime, ranging from a mastery of certain fighting skills, to the use of disguises, to the mastery of certain forensic sciences, to a unique understanding of psychology of the criminal mind, and he is a very good detective. Batman also answers to a higher moral code than does the average man. ” (

  4. But a rainbow isn’t rain. It’s an optical phenomena- it’s the dispersion of light. So the compound word superhero having the definition of “a fictional hero having extraordinary or superhuman powers” is perfectly reasonable. Here’s an interesting excerpt from Wikipedia- “…That is, in familiar terms, compounding occurs when two or more words are joined together to make them one word. The meaning of the compound may be very different from the meanings of its components in isolation.”. But this isn’t that significant in your conclusion, I just wanted to briefly comment on that. 😛
    I look forward to reading your future posts on this blog!
    And btw, what’s your YouTube channel that Mr. Puley mentioned in class? Just out of curiosity 😛

    1. I understand your reasoning, but a rainbow was not named because people thought it was actual rain, it was named because of its occurrence after rain. Be careful when you use that quote because when it says, “the meaning of the compound may be very different from the meanings of its components in isolation.” It says may. As in, might. I agree it isn’t significant, but I just want to clarify 😀 If you must see my YouTube channel, I must warn you… It was created in 2012, so I would appreciate it if you could try not to judge too much. LOL! Here it is… you’ve been warned! 😛

  5. Interesting article, although I slightly disagree with your definition of “superhero”. Just because a compound word is composed of two words, doesn’t mean it directly is defined by the words. Take the word “rainbow” for example. It’s made up of the words “rain” and “bow”, but would it be correct to say that the definition of “rainbow” is a “bend or curve of moisture condensed from the atmosphere that falls visibly in separate drops”? Other than that though, I agree with what you have written, and I liked what you said above- “Tony Stark and Bruce Wayne both don’t have actual powers, but the money that they earn funds the doo-dads that act as their superpowers.” .
    Concerning the criminal part of your argument, from playing the Batman Arkham video game series I have learned that, although Batman doesn’t necessarily “kill” anyone, he does break their spines, smash their heads, and detonate explosives near them. 😛

    1. First of all, thank you for reading my post! Second of all, I appreciate your feedback and I take it into account. Everyone has their opinion, and I’m glad you mostly agree with mine. About superhero and rainbow… while you say all sophisticated, “would it be correct to say that the definition of ‘rainbow’ is a ‘bend or curve of moisture condensed from the atmosphere that falls visibly in separate drops’?” I believe the way you worded it to be only in your favor. A rainbow forms after it rains, and its in the shape of a bow… that’s all there is to it. As with superhero, it’s the same concept. A hero that, could you say, was a bit more “enhanced.” My point is proven by the alterations of how it’s spelled. Super-hero, super hero and superhero are all correct forms of spelling the word.

      Also, in the context of the article, I broke the word down for the sake of better understanding.
      Thanks for the feedback Alex! I appreciate it! 🙂

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