In this week’s podcast, we look at arguably the most popular superhero in the DC Universe. Batman has been a staple in the world of superheroes for decades; not only in comics, but also in movies, TV shows and video games. So what makes the Caped Crusader stand out from the rest of the DC pantheon?
The essence of a good story is that it is relatable. We should able to come away from a story with something we can relate to or challenge in our own lives. One of the biggest difference between the Marvel and the DC Universes is that Marvel maintains the humanity of its superheroes. Batman is the exception to this. He is relatable not only in his humanity but also in his lack super powers or a fantastic origin story. While there are those who aspire to emulate those superheroes with fantastic powers and origins, ultimately it is impossible for them to gain those powers. Batman wasn’t created by a radioactive animal, lab accident or being born on an alien planet; making him the only reproducible superhero. He is the essence of what it means to be a disciple. Jesus’ call in the Great Commission1 is that as disciples our faith would be reproduced in others, who in turn do the same. Being reproducible as a disciple is only possible because Jesus is relatable2. We see Batman reproduced in The Sons of Batman 3 as we see Jesus reproduced in the Disciples and the Church.
Batman’s mission is not one of “discovering how to use power” or “gaining humility despite the great power”. He isn’t struggling with “with great power, comes great responsibility”. His mission comes from his past and his resolve to protect others from experiencing the pain and suffering he experienced as a child. As Alfred observes in Under the Hood 4, Batman’s enemies fear his incredible resolve more than they fear his appearance or his strength. Batman is a man who always keeps his promises—and that makes him more than a man in the eyes of his foes. Batman’s promise anchors his mission in the past; his commitment to keeping this promise gives him a backward-looking reason to carry out his mission, night after night and villain after villain. Furthermore, while it’s undeniable that he wants Gotham’s citizens to be safe from marauding criminals; Batman clearly also wants wrongdoers to get what’s coming to them. In a similar way as Christians, we have a backward-looking reason that anchors us. Our mission draws from the work that Jesus did on the cross and the promise of the Gospel 5.
We hope that as you look at the story of Batman, it gives you motivation to strive after being a disciple of Christ. That others would see Jesus in you and in turn follow after Him.
“Even if we never achieve our dreams, we are always shaped by those dreams, and the higher the purpose, the stronger the person”- Erwin McManus
- https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+28%3A16-20&version=NIV ↩
- https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews+2%3A14-18&version=NIV ↩
- Miller, Frank, Klaus Janson, Lynn Varley, John Costanza, and Bob Kane. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. N.p.: DC Comics, 1986. Print. ↩
- Winick, Judd, Doug Mahnke, Shane Davis, and Eric Battle. Batman: Under the Hood. New York: DC Comics, 2006. Print ↩
- https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1 John+2:25&version=NIV ↩