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As a child, Bruce Wayne witnessed the murder of his parents Thomas & Martha Wayne at the hands of a mugger.  From that day on he vowed to rid Gotham City of crime and evil, and as he grew up, backed by his family’s fortune, he trained himself to reach the peak of physical and mental fitness around the world.  He became the world’s greatest detective, and a fateful encounter with a bat gave him the inspiration for his crime fighting guide.  He would strike fear into the hearts of the paranoid and fearful criminal element as Batman, the Dark Knight.  Despite his dark persona, he believes strongly in humanity, and in his brighter eras, is an inspirational hero, if enigmatic at times.  He would ascend to being one of the greatest superheroes in the world alongside Superman and Wonder Woman as well as being a prominent member of the Justice League of America, and has trained and raised several partners and successors who have, mostly, become great heroes in their own rights.  They have all had the mantle of Robin, and have made it their own throughout the years.  Batman is merely a man, not gifted with superpowers, but continually demonstrates that it is the man that makes the hero.

Batman is my definitive favorite of all time.  I’ve grown up with the character watching the movies, many of the animated series, and so much more.  I was only nine when Tim Burton’s original movie was released, and was not allowed to see it theatrically.  I had to wait for the VHS release as a Christmas present in 1989.  Ever since then, I have seen all the theatrically released Batman movies in a theatre.  However, Batman: The Animated Series would truly be what solidified my fandom and breadth of knowledge of the character.  Kevin Conroy will forever be the voice of Batman to me, and it is the voice I hear when reading Batman in comics.  The Christopher Nolan films have been great!  I loved Batman Begins and was further blown away by The Dark Knight.  The upcoming film leaves a lot of questions out in the air for me, pre-release, but I can’t imagine Nolan letting me down at this point.  Every new film he makes it better than the last, and Inception was mind blowing to me.

I believe Batman to be a great, positive message to people, despite his back story being grounded in tragedy.  If you want to achieve something bad enough, and devote yourself to it fully in mind and body, you can ultimately achieve it.  It could take you years, but it is possible.  Bruce Wayne devoted himself to training his mind and body to their absolute peak so that he could become Batman.  Critics get all huffy about how Batman is always portrayed as some nigh invincible character based solely on the perceptions of being a bad ass.  Those people don’t understand.  Batman has the undying determination to rise above adversity, to not give into defeat.  You can see this in the Knightfall storyline where Bruce refuses to give into Bane, he will not quit, he will not scream his name despite months of physical and psychology wear down to the point where he just wants to die, but he won’t give Bane the satisfaction.  And even though he doesn’t give in, Bane still breaks his spine in two.  This can also be seen in the current Night of the Owls storyline where Batman is again psychologically dismantled and physically busted up, but he finds the inspiration and motivation to fight back, escape, and recover from this to prove that Gotham is his city. This is also why I believe that The Dark Knight Rises will see Bruce Wayne broken down, but then, rise back up to ascend to take back his city and achieve his legendary status as Gotham’s protector.

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All original content is ©2016 Nicholas J. Michalak
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