It's Time For A New Batman! (A Case For Passing On The Mantel)

EDIT!!!: Howdy new reader! I just wanted to inform you of some stuff before you read ahead or jump in on some discussion. I just wanted to clarify that my use of the phrase, “passing on the mantel,” is not meant in a permanent way. I, unfortunately, misunderstood the phrase. I clarify below in my argument that this is simply a temporary pass. I also wanted to make sure that everyone understands that this piece isn’t meant to specifically target Batman. I used him as an example of my overall point, and I think that (along with my title) has led to confusion. I take full responsibility of that. This is more so meant to be the discussion of letting new characters hold onto legacy mantels for a while. I explicitly state this below, but I wanted to put more emphasis on it. Thanks for reading, and I’m excited to hear your thoughts below! :smile:

I know this is a super touchy subject with some fans but try to hear me out and engage in some respectful back and forth within the thread after you finish reading.

I’m actually a pretty BIG supporter of letting mantels be passed on to different people. I think letting some characters take a break and allowing new perspectives to take on old costumes can lead to some dynamic stories. I’ll try to explain this thought process by using the mantel of Batman since it’s such a big deal in the universe. So, let’s talk about Bruce Wayne.

I know everyone loves him; it’s honestly hard to imagine Batman without Bruce. But the title of Batman has been held by him almost exclusively for 80 YEARS! Obviously, there are a few exceptions like when Dick Grayson took over for a bit; but in the grand scheme of Batman’s existence, it’s just been Bruce. I think it’s time to give him a break. That’s a long run for a character, and while I still love Bruce and think there has been some great arcs in recent history, I’m ready to take a moment away from him. I want to see a fresh, new perspective under the Batman mantel. I think letting someone new take on the mantel of Batman could lead to some incredible stories. How?

Well, Batman is an integral part of the DC Universe, but what would happen if a new character took up that name? What would happen if someone took on the responsibilities of Gotham City and the Justice League that comes with the title of Batman, but with a completely different outlook on life than Bruce? There’d be some interesting internal conflicts and could lead to some interesting change within the overall Universe. I’d LOVE to see someone like Luke Fox takeover. I think that’s an interesting character who can come at the Batman mantel and hold it with respect, but still bring something new. It’d be a lot like Terry McGinnis taking up the mantel in Batman Beyond. It also allows for some more diversity to be integrated into the core DC characters and can maybe bring in some new fans.

“But Omni!!! You’re changing a character who’s been established for years. I know Batman as BRUCE! If you want more diversity or different character types to be showcased as superheroes, why not just create completely new heroes and comic series all together?!!??” That’s a response I see a lot when I talk about passing on the mantel. I’d love to address it in two ways. 1.) From a story perspective; and 2.) A business perspective.

I don’t just want to see a new type of hero in the universe, I want to see a new type of Batman (or any hero). As mentioned above, I want to see the internal conflicts that comes with the responsibilities of Batman on a new character with different views of justice and heroism. How would Gotham change? How would crime and the way villains are handled change? It’s simply something you can’t do with Bruce under the mantel because his morals and way of justice is extremely tied to the character. Nor could you explore it with a completely new hero. This is why I think passing on the mantel vs. creating another Batman clone or a new hero for Gotham is so interesting from a story perspective. But, what about a business perspective?

Well, let’s be blunt. Batman sells. It’s much easier to sell a Batman comic than it is to sell a completely new hero and a completely new series. I would love to see new perspectives, character types, and diversity integrated within the universe. But it’s hard to do that with a new character because people tend to not give them the chance. But if people hear there’s a NEW Batman, well that’s a way to sell some new characters, perspectives, and diversity. It’s a way to make sure these interesting story possibilities are read.

Now listen, I’ve used Batman as an extreme example here because I think that’s the best way to amplify and discuss my points. I think because he is such a staple to the universe it could lead to some interesting discussions and story possibilities. But I’d love to see this implemented more broadly with other longtime characters as well. I think it’s nice to let these titles live on and to give the characters a bit of a break.

I know it’s scary to see change when it comes to things you love, but change is good in the long run. In the past, the passing of mantels has led to some GREAT additions to the universe and shaped it to be what it is today. Imagine what the DC Universe would be like had Alan Scott remained the only Green Lantern. No Hal Jordan, Jon Stewart, Kyle Rayner, or all of the other great heroes we’ve come to love. We wouldn’t even have OA nor all of the insane cosmic developments that are heavily integrated into the DC Universe. Or what about Robin? If Dick Grayson never moved on, we wouldn’t have Nightwing or Red Hood, or Red Robin, or Damian. The list goes on and on: Jaime Reyes as Blue Beetle, Wally West as The Flash, Kaldur’ahm as Aqualad, Stargirl, Steel, and so many more characters would never have existed without a passing of the mantel. This concept has built the universe we know and love today.

I think we should maybe try to be a bit more open to letting these legacy characters of Bruce Wayne, Clark Kent, Diana Prince, or any of the big players to take a break from their mantels. NOT GO AWAY! Just take a break. Let them rest after decades of carrying the universe. Allow for some fresh new stories and a better DC Universe to grow. And then allow them to come back in a special way after a little bit. At the end of the day, you can always just go back and read the DECADES worth of stories from the same characters. Those won’t ever go anywhere.

Thank you for reading and hearing me out. I really appreciate. Feel free to respond to my points or create some new counter arguments of your own; and I’ll try my best to respond and engage as much as possible. I’d love to see as many different perspectives here as possible (so long as everyone’s friendly of course). And if you agree with me, let me know why. Are they for the same reasons or for some different ones? :smile:

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no.

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Care to elaborate or point out any specific things you disagree with in my post? Maybe we can have a good discussion. :smiley:

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Honestly, I get what you are saying in terms of legacy and letting other characters have the spotlight. And I like the idea, but I have middle ground approach, at least for Batman.

Why not have Batman Inc. make a come back? Bruce would still be Batman and in Gotham. But now there are multiple characters that carry the Bat Symbol and name all around the world. There are so many fun characters in the universe to play with, so let the writers play with them. This would let these legacies shine without having to take down the ‘main’ characters that everyone knows.

This could also work with other characters too. It would be a slightly different approach, of course, because I think Batman is the only one that would willingly organize that. But there are plenty of characters that wear Superman’s symbol or Wonder Woman’s symbol. They would all have their own cities or areas, but work under the same symbol.

But this is just my own thoughts. I loved Batman Inc. and I would read a ton more of it if it started coming out again.

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They’ve already changed Batman. Multiple times. All it results in is fan whining and complaining. Just like Wonder Woman, Flash, and Green Lantern. Comic book fans are the whiningest group in the world and fear change. It’s not worth it.

I think it would be great to see something different. Maybe if Batman ran comms like Oracle and had the Bat Family/The Outsiders in the field.

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That’s certainly an interesting middle ground I wouldn’t mind seeing be played out. Though I do believe there is a difference between just carrying the bat symbol and being Batman. There’s different responsibilities and such that comes with that specific title. Something I’d like to have different perspective on.

That being said, definitely good idea! And I really appreciate you reading my post and putting this out there. Definitely something I’d like to think on too! :smiley:

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Well, I don’t think it’s fair to generalize comic fans like that. But that’s kind of the point of my post. To encourage people to give it a chance by going more in depth on the topic. I also explain why these changes and the previous passing of mantels have ultimately been good overall. I think it’s just an idea people need to warm up to. :slight_smile:

But, I’m curious, what are your own personal thoughts on the subject?

I don’t know if you’ve read the series Batman Inc. It has been a while since I’ve read it but I loved it and I recommend it. Basically, you had multiple people who held the title Batman. Bruce was the only one in Gotham, but they were all spread out over the globe. I don’t think all of them took the exact title Batman, but they definitely were the ‘Batman’ of their area.

And no problem, I love conversations like this.

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I don’t want to argue. My favorite character in the DCU is a replacement Batman. I’m personally fine with changes and retcons and replacements. But you can search this very board for Harley/Ivy/Kiteman stuff or Donna Troy and see people freaking out about change.

@Row.Harper It’s definitely been a bit since I’ve read it, so I’ll try to re-read it based on your recommendation. But, with that said, I’ll stand behind my point of there being a difference between being the Batman of a certain city and being Batman. The role that Batman plays in the overall DC universe between the Justice League and his insane rogues gallery is something that I’d specifically like to be tackled with a new perspective/character in the costume.

@Batfam1013 That’s definitely a good way to integrate a new character such as this and still please old fans. It worked for Batman Beyond and was a concept alluded to at the end of The Dark Knight Returns. Good idea!

@bd1 Gotcha. Sorry if I’ve come off as confrontational or argumentative. I was just trying to hear out different perspectives in a nice discussion. Thanks for sharing yours, I really appreciate it. :slightly_smiling_face:

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I guess that is true. I didn’t think of it terms of the Justice league and such. I also need to add Batman Inc. to my re-read list now. I hadn’t though much about it til I saw this post.
I just love the idea of all those characters getting a chance to shine again. There are so many under or not used at all characters right now in DC. It would be great to have a series be a home for at least a certain group of them.

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If Batman passes on the mantle, does the new Batman get new villains, the classics, or do they pass their names on too?

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I’d assume a mix of both. I’d love to keep all the old rogues because they allow us to compare this new Batman’s tactics with the old ones. How does whoever takes on the mantel handle Joker compared to Bruce. This would be a great way to showcase the internal conflict of the character and give us a frame of reference.

BUT, we’d also need some new villains. Ones that specifically target this Batman’s weaknesses. If he has a different way of handling crime than Bruce, well different villains may come along to challenge these new ways.

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On the topic of Legacy, I’d like to see some newer people step into the Rouge’s Gallery too. I feel like Batman’s don’t have many newer ones who have taken over old titles. (Unless I’m super wrong, but I can’t think of any right now) So that could be fun. How they would mix with the ‘older’ villains would be interesting.

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That’s a really great point. I think maybe one of the issues new writers may face when writing for Batman at the moment is that each of his rogues perfectly counter a specific aspect of his tactics, personality, and morals. So what new things can you attack about him?

I think the easiest/most interesting solution to this for me is passing on the Batman mantel OR passing on one of the rogues’ mantels. I mean, I haven’t thought about it like I thought about the Batman example, but what would a new Bane or a new Penguin or even a new Joker look like?

Yes, I reference Terry in my original post. :slightly_smiling_face:

Here’s the quote:

I’d LOVE to see someone like Luke Fox takeover. I think that’s an interesting character who can come at the Batman mantel and hold it with respect, but still bring something new. It’d be a lot like Terry McGinnis taking up the mantel in Batman Beyond.

Yea saw that after I posted, Batman has stood the test of time and when you have a character like that you don’t Change it. I think elseworlds and the multiverse is good to scratch that itch of a different Batman, but Bruce Wayne is Batman and Bruce is his disguise. He is Batman!

Gotcha.

Well, I personally think the reason why so many people associate Batman strictly with Bruce is because no one else has had the chance. Sure, Elseworlds are a nice, short escape. But I want to see some lasting changes. A lot of cool and interesting stories can come from a break like this. As I explained towards the end of the post, so many established characters and aspects of the DC universe as we know it are entirely linked to characters passing on the mantel for a bit. I’m sure if the DC Universe was as big when Jay Garrick was the Flash, no one would have given Barry Allen a chance. Think about what the universe would be like without Barry Allen.

Let’s have Bruce take a metaphorical vacation and allow the writers to experiment a bit. A lot of good can come from it. :smile:

@OmniLad you have a lot of great points. I personally prefer when writers create new heroes, or when characters find their own identities. To me it feels more organic, and less like the writer is constantly comparing the new wearer of the mantle to the old one. I feel like a lot writers will constantly try to prove how much better the new person under the mantle is instead of honoring the past wearer. On the other hand there are a handful of times the new hero is genuinely better, like Jack Knight, Wally West, and Kyle Rayner. I also get what you were saying about “Batman sells”. It’s so much easier to sell a Batman book then a new hero. I do think people should be more open to the idea of a new Batman and Superman. If I were to choose a new Batman, I’d pick Cassandra Cain, or Terry McGinnis. It would be awesome to see Cassandra step up and become a living urban legend. I think she could be darker and play up on the whole urban legend part of Batman, maybe use a form of fear gas. As for Terry we have a whole show that shows us why he’d be a good Batman. I’d also like to suggest an aged up Billy Batson for a new Superman. Billy is such a lovable character, with an infectious optimism that’d make him a perfect Superman replacement. In conclusion. I prefer when characters find their own identity, or writers make new heroes inspired by other, but I know without characters passing on their mantle a lot characters I love wouldn’t exist. So I’ll keep an open mind to the idea of a new Batman.

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