I am not necessarily the biggest comic book fan in the world but there are few characters who I would look up to if indeed they existed in real life. Tony Stark aka Iron Man, Oliver Queen aka Green Arrow, and Logan aka Wolverine. However there is one character that in my opinion stands head and shoulders above all others and it’s not because he’s the most powerful. It is precisely because he lacks that power that I admire him so much. It is indeed his bravery, cunning, and sense of responsibility that has me clamoring for him. I am yet another among a million who grew up with a single mother and like many others I collected father figures through out my life. There is no exception here.
I admire the comic book character Batman aka Bruce Wayne so much because despite being born a billionaire he suffers one of the worst tragedies imaginable. Watching his parents be murdered right in front of him. All the money in the world didn’t help Bruce get over this heinous act of violence. Instead, he spiraled into his own pit of despair and self loathing. Just as any child who suddenly finds themselves alone in the world.
Eventually the pain became too much so it came down to a choice between living in self-pity for the rest of his life or leaving his life behind in order to improve himself. To me it is a sign of high moral standards for a man to be willing to drop everything at a moments notice in order to improve his own life and to help others around him. At times this will mean leaving your comfort zone while other times it means escaping pain and suffering. The over all point is that clinging on to what was for overtly selfish reasons is more detrimental to your life than it is to move on and attempt something new.
Doing so is what becoming a free man is all about. This was never going to be easy for Bruce Wayne or any man. This usually means years of wandering aimlessly through the worst the world has to offer. The young man struggled on, not as a trust fund baby, but as any other man would. He may have been aimless at times but still searching for what every man looks for at some point in their life. A sense of pride, dignity, and to become the alpha of his own life. He sought to become the master of his own mind, body, and spirit of which he could then use to fulfill his fathers wishes. His fathers wish was that Bruce would grow up to help others around him. To protect the innocent and drive away mindless thugs and criminal masterminds alike.
However, Bruce was not his father by any means. He desired more than invention, successful businesses, and being a good Samaritan. Bruce desired more agency in his life and once he learned this about himself he began to train his mind, body, and soul to deal with the difficulties that would inevitably arise from such desires. Still, not in full form, Bruce pressed on still wandering but with aim and direction. I think most people reach this point in their lives where they have the ambition and drive to succeed in life yet still do not know exactly what it is they need to do in order to get there.
Once this level of determination is established often we find like-minded people who influence us to move in one direction or another. For Bruce Wayne this was The League of Shadows. Lead by a man named Ras Al Guul this group was a formidable and ancient order of ninjas who religiously sought to wipe out criminality, bad behavior, and immorality all throughout history and into the future. Under the tutelage of Ras, Bruce was able to finally face his deepest fears, train his body, and prepare his soul for what was to come. A challenge with even more severe consequences, choices, and experiences the likes of which would make any normal man falter and succumb to brainwashing and peer pressure.
Once it became obvious to Bruce that The League of Shadows was nothing more than a glorified terrorist group who had no dilemma in killing the innocent in order to wipe out the guilty he had to make a life changing decision. Would he too kill the innocent in order to get to the criminals he sought after. He thought of his mother and fathers killer, his fathers dying wishes, and his own morality and knew what he had to do. He betrayed Ras Al Guul and escaped the League of Shadows.
This must have been a difficult decision, after all, it was The League of Shadows and Ras Al Guul who saved Bruce from his own downward spiral into obscurity and perhaps meaningless death. The League brought Bruce a sense of agency and purpose that he had so long been looking for and Ras was the strong father figure that Bruce really needed when he was at his weakest to teach him how to be truly strong and to be a real man. This dilemma is something we all face in life. We all have a group that we were once a part of or are currently a part of that eventually challenges us to rethink our position within that community. The moral question is pressing and it is thus posed unto all of us at some point. Do you stay with those who’ve helped you grow? Do you bite the hand that feeds you when you realize they do not ultimately stand for what you believe is just, moral, and correct in life? I believe Bruce’s decision was the correct one to make. As a man you must stand on your own two feet and separate from the herd, even if it means complete obscurity, loneliness, or even death.
At this moment, Batman is born and Bruce is a complete man. He has transcended the vision others set forth for him and found what he originally set out to find. Who he is and what his purpose in life is. Eventually Bruce finds his way back home and thus begins the plot so many have come to know and love. As Batman, Bruce is finally able to avenge his parents wrongful murder and live up to his fathers dying wishes. But not at all like his father envisioned which is another dilemma Bruce continuously faces as he presses forward as the Caped Crusader, Batman.
No matter what your position in life is it is you who ultimately makes the decisions that lead you to your ultimate destiny. I believe this is the most important element when it comes to the my hos of the Batman/Bruce Wayne character. That even though he had billions of dollars, a trust fund, and could have simply lived life as a pampered and infantile piece of garbage, he chose to seek something higher than himself. I can’t think of any other character in all of fiction who so deeply fulfills all the important aspects of what it means to be an actual human being and for that I dedicate this entire article for all the men in the world who could have taken the easy route but chose not to.
It is deeply inspiring to me when I see every day people struggling to improve themselves and going out on a limb not to impress others but because they feel something within themselves that life isn’t about finding the easy ways around everything but indeed it is about mastering the correct ways to do things.