Why Batman is Not a Vigilante

I’m a comic nerd and Batman is, hands down, my favorite superhero. It’s been argued that Batman isn’t a superhero, but an anti-hero or vigilante. I think it’s a totally crap argument. A vigilante is any person that takes the law into his own hands to avenge a crime. Well, this isn’t Batman. He works with law to fight crime. Sure, he often disregards what the Gotham Police tell him, but most of the police in Gotham happen to be criminals. An anti-hero is any person lacking heroic attributes such as nobility or attitude with purpose. Well, this isn’t Batman either. He’s called the dark knight for four great reasons.

He has rules.

Okay, only two rules. No killing and no guns. Sure, he’ll break eighty-six bones and destroy your property, but he won’t kill you. A vigilante breaks bones because he can. Batman breaks rules because he has to. There is a higher purpose behind every person he lands in the hospital, and as such not anti-hero behavior.

He doesn’t avenge his parents.

The only reason Batman fights crime is because he hates crime. Crime isn’t a person; it’s an ideal. Sure, his parents getting gun downed in front of him was a motivator, but he set down his desire to avenge them and took on a higher calling.

Superpowers aren’t all that.

Oh, please. I hate this argument. Some think superpowers is a superhero requirement. Batman can master any skill he sets out to learn. A superpower simply gives someone the ability to do something no one else can. Batman does things not even the rest of the JLA (Justice League of America) can do, such as think of everything. Good enough for me.

He is a symbol.

All superheroes share in common the ability to become something more. More than a man, in Batman’s case. He is an idea. That idea is that anyone can fight against corruption. Batman inspires. Often, Commissioner Gordon would turn on the bat signal for no other reason than to remind everyone that Batman exists.

Narcissist and jackass are better words for Batman than vigilante and anti-hero. He is in fact, the textbook definition of a superhero. He always does what is right over what is best. Yes, he might punch a woman in the face but he’ll only do it to serve the greater good.

Twitter: Paul Wetzig
Why is you article titled 5 reasons? You seem to be implying that Vigilante and Anti-hero are the same. Why not also define Anti-Hero? An Anti-Hero will fight for what’s right as long as it can coincide with there own convictions. Unless you only know the adam west batman from the 60’s, how can you say that batman isn’t a vigilante? He does not work with the law. Sure occasionally Jim Gordon has asked him for help, and are you really using the bat signal as an argument? There have been many times batman has refused to help when the police have called for him. Jim Gordon protects Batman not because they are really friends(though they do have mutual respect for each other), but Gordon would rather keep him close because of how dangerous he could be. All Cops are ordered to arrest Batman on sight for taking the law into his won hands, or in other words he’s a vigilante. Batman is an Anti-hero because he does this to try to achieve his own idea of what Gotham should be, so he is always trying to achieve his ideals. Also to avoid working with cops he started up his own team of other caped crime fighter. Yes he is a symbol, but he is trying to inspire the people to take control of the city. He understands that people need something strong to believe in to get strength. So batman is wanted by the law and does not work for it or with it, but sometimes their paths do cross and at that point Gordon will keep the law away.

Facebook: Charles O’Keefe
Hi Tasha 🙂 I agree with you, I love Batman dearly as well. I submit though in several issues of “Legends of the Dark Knight” he does uses guns, though they are loaded with rubber bullets so they don’t kill. He is an ideal and a symbol of hope. His hatred of crime and corruption defines him and I enjoy comics the most when it’s just him, Alfred and Gordon. Newer ones with many Batmen (Batman Inc) just don’t have the same appeal to me, though I did enjoy for the most part a graphic novel I just read called “Battle for the Cowl”. I think Frank Miller and Grant Morrison have done some of the very best Batman stories but I’m rambling. I really enjoyed your post, I hope Batman is in the JL movie (if it ever comes out!) 🙂 great post, talk to you soon!

I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I l like your point about the rubber bullets in the gun. For me, that’s the same thing as no guns. We can amend it to, no guns that kill people. I hope he’s in the new movie as well, I’ve been waiting for that for quite some time. Thanks for your comment!