« Open Thread Dark Knight Returns | Main | Kingdom Come Open Thread »

January 04, 2005

Comments

Michael

If we allow for the fact that no amount of deterence will completely eliminate crime as it will occur to some level regardless, then it becomes apparent that in order to fight crime it is necessary to transform society either by altering human nature (not easily possible) or by establishing some sort of big brother police state (Two different examples would be Batman's Gotham and Flash's Keystone in Kingdom Come).

DKR is a story in favor of the police state outcome.

The origin and motivations of the DKR Batman stem from a traumatic event in his past. The death of his parents shows Bruce Wayne that the world is an unjust place (emphasized by his obsession with newspaper articles about deaths/murders that often are a characterstic of his in between years) - in response to this Bruce attempts to right all that is wrong with the world (read: everything) by becoming the Batman. He is an inverse of how Dr. Wolper describes Two Face and the Joker. (Wolper and the talking heads in DKR assume that Batman is the one in charge of his actions while the "villans" are responsive - basically I argue that Batman is responsive to society and society is responsive to the Batman in the form of the villans)

The problem with Batman, however, is how does he go about creating justice in an unjust world.

Superman says at one point, "When the noise started from the parents’ groups and the sub-committee called us in for questioning—you were the one who laughed… that scary laugh of yours… 'Sure we’re criminals,' you said. 'We’ve always been criminals. We have to be criminals.'"

Batman believes himself to be beyond the juristiction of politics. Batman is justice/ethics while Supes represents politics. Superman's irrelevancy in society is demonstrated by Russia's launch of the nuclear warhead (nuclear war - the ultimate symbol of the political process breaking down). What is needed is the primacy of justice/ethics.

Primacy of ethics... Batman/Miller is starting to sound a bit like Ayn Rand.

Batman doesn't start out quite like an Objectivist though. Batman begins basically as an anarcho-capitalist libertarian essentially believing that acting as a vigilante is superior to utilizing governmental force.

However, Batman quickly learns that this is not quite the case. As we see in his battle with the Mutant leader, Batman begins to recognize the importance of leadership, armies and teams - changing from an anarcho-capitalist to a minarchist or even a Randian Objectivist. Batman sees that it is foolish to believe that the government can be done without - a police state is necessary to guarantee justice.

Batman takes the Mutants and shapes them into his own army - his own governing force.

One of the most important aspects of Batman's method of fighting crime has always been fear. Batman alternately "rules Gotham" and "rules the night" striking fear into the hearts of evildoers and all the jazz. This fear of the Batman is utilized as a deterrent. The next logical step from fear is actually the ability to strike anywhere at anytime - essentially the police state Batman creates in Mark Waid's Kingdom Come.

(Yes, I know I'm stretching things here saying that The Sons of Batman will evolve into the army of automatons in Kingdom Come, but esentially the serve the same purpose)

The Sons of Batman are Miller's (and any Libertarian's) ideal form of government. They guarantee things like property rights and civil liberties but have basically no influence over other things - they are limited to seeing that justice is served.

"It begins here - an army - to bring sense to a world plagued by worse than thieves and murderes... This will be a good life... Good enough." Miller leaves Batman with his army, preparing to pursue justice for the sake of justice.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Site Info

  • Join the conversation
    Please join in the conversation! This blog is primarily for students in the Comic Book Politics class - for now - but everyone else out there is very welcome to join in. Please do!
  • Thanks
    ... to Abu Aardvark for hosting this site
  • Contact
    comicbookpolitics@yahoo.com