Batman: Arkham Knight Trailer Feat. Explosions

Batman and his posse of Robin and wait-didn't-that-guy-used-to-be-Robin

Hey, Batfans! It’s the Bat-official Bat-trailer for Batman: Arkham Knight [official site].

Bat-watch it after the Bat-jump:

This might well be sacrilege but I never find myself particularly drawn to Batman. There’s something about the character which rubs me up the wrong way even when individual implementations or explorations are interesting. I really like the high camp of the sixties incarnation and, to some degree, its polar opposite in Nolan’s movies. I’ve also dipped in and out of the cartoons in ages past and had friends wax lyrical about various story arcs or moments in the comics. I never finished it but I remember Arkham Asylum had a really pleasing sense of movement and grace of action.

But despite this variety, the basic Batman template in my head is of a bullheaded, humourless guy, living in a miserable world and whose superpower is white male privilege. It doesn’t bar access to those games or movies, but it adds an extra layer of needing to be sold on a particular concept before I’ll fire the enthusiasm cannons.

Something I do like the look of here (aside from Nightwing, who looks pretty swish) is the dual play combat where, according to Eurogamer, you get to switch between Batman, Robin, Nightwing, Catwoman and other allies as you fight. If the footage in the trailer is to be believed that looks like staging a one person martial arts tennis match with a foe as the ball. I mean, I assume that in tennis the object is to leave the ball unconscious and mangled but definitely not dead on the floor of the court?

Perhaps I should have gone with the “it looks like playing as a two person tag team in a wrestling match” analogy instead.

153 Comments

  1. Orija says:

    The more realistic they try to make comic book characters, the more they look like they belong in a BDSM dungeon.

  2. satan says:

    ‘whose superpower is white male privilege’

    :|

    • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

      Why the pipeface? I thought this was pretty well accepted even among fans: Batman – the least interesting thing about Batman – is basically a rich fascist ninja.

      • Dances to Podcasts says:

        Maybe because his privilege comes from class, not race or gender.

        • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

          So Bruce Wayne is actually a Filipino woman? The costume is better than I thought.

          • Dances to Podcasts says:

            I don’t know how Filipino women fit into this, but I’m pretty sure bats doesn’t use his penis to defeat the joker.

            I mean, I haven’t read it for a while… He could be…

      • Cochise779 says:

        Recognized, maybe, but not really accepted. I would say if Batman had any “superpower” (and he doesn’t, really) is his indomitable mind and determination. He mentally and physically overcomes what would crush other people, and that comes from his unflinching desire to rid Gotham of the crime that killed his parents. And none of that has to do with his family’s wealth.

        • SuicideKing says:

          Yeah but his suit, gadgets, car and weapons are possible because of the money, right?

      • Philomelle says:

        It’s recognized among fans that Frank Miller interprets and writes Batman as a rich fascist ninja.

        The catch here is that most sane people consider exposure to Frank Miller’s ideas to be about as pleasant as having an industrial drill jammed up one’s eye socket.

        • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

          Well, yes, obviously. But so what? That aspect of Bats’ nature was obvious to me before I’d ever read Miller, and I kind of don’t understand the gymnastics people are going through to refute it. It’s not a reinterpretation, deep reading, or application of some obscure critical theory to say his solution to crime is devote millions of dollars to punching people in the face. It’s canon. It’s like 90% of the character.

          • Philomelle says:

            There are no gymnastics. People have simply experienced many stories where what you describe as “90%” is only one out of many aspects of the character and pointed that out, and you counter-argued by claiming that none of it matters so long as the character’s base premise can be reduced to “rich fascist ninja”.

            Should I start listing works with dumb-sounding premises that regularly get analyzed for being more than what they seem to be at first glance?

          • pepperfez says:

            None of the other stuff matters to the claim that Batman is a rich fascist ninja. I mean, yeah, he’s other things too, but he’s always a guy using money and martial arts to dish out brutal justice. You don’t need to deny that to hold that he’s an interesting, complex character.

          • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

            If you’re accusing me of believing that a thing’s premise makes a thing’s premise that thing’s premise, then… yes. I’m believing that.

            Are there stories where Batman abandons his previous course and devotes himself instead to bettering society at a structural level? Are they framed in some way other than “Whoah this is such a change for Bats, what a quirky one-off?” There’s only so far you can stretch the Man Wot Punches premise until it’s a different character entirely.

            I’m a general Bat-enjoyer as a guilty pleasure, but it’s with the knowledge that he’s essentially Mitt Romney and I just kind of need to put up with him to get to the interesting stuff: the villains, Gordon, etc.

          • Deadly Sinner says:

            “he’s essentially Mitt Romney ”

            You’re going to have to point out, specifically, where Batman has oppressed gays, advocated the elimination of entitlements, or said that poor people are inferior.

            Bruce Wayne does fight crime on a structural level: “The Thomas Wayne Foundation is a foundation for medicine and medical help. This foundation gives annual awards for medical breakthroughs and lifelong commitment, similar to the Nobel Foundation. The Thomas Wayne Foundation is also responsible for funding the Thomas Wayne Memorial Clinic in Park Row, Gotham’s infamous Crime Alley. The foundation funds and runs dozens of clinics in Gotham. Bruce Wayne’s surrogate mother, Dr. Leslie Thompkins, runs the Memorial Clinic in Crime Alley and governed the other clinics until she left Gotham.”

            “The Martha Wayne Foundation is a patron and supporter of arts, families, education, and tolerance. The foundation supports and helps to run a number of orphanages and free schools, and provides teachers for those who have learning difficulties. Artists can apply for grants from the foundation to help support them in furthering the arts. The foundation sponsors companies like Family Finders. Family Finders is an organization directed at finding lost people and uniting families. The Martha Wayne Foundation also sponsors and runs dozens of soup kitchens within the city.”

            The thing is, “Bruce Wayne speaks at a charity function” does not make for a very exciting story, which is why the charity side of things is not focused on. These are crime stories at heart, as indicated by the title of the publication where Batman began, “Detective Comics.”

            And, for some reason it doesn’t sound like you know this, but Earth in the DC universe is significantly different than the real life earth. Most of the threats that Batman faces aren’t caused by “structural problems,” at least not ones that Bruce Wayne could fix. In fact, Batman generally doesn’t concern himself with petty crime, he specifically targets criminals that cause death and destruction, who the police are unable to deal with. The closest he gets to fighting real life crime are the mob families, but even then, they are way more powerful than they ever were in real life.

    • Synesthesia says:

      I chuckled when i read that. I never thought about it that way, but it fits the bill nicely.

    • Bishop149 says:

      Yeah I think its fair to say most of Bruce Wayne’s privilege based superpower derives from him being a Billionaire.
      This may of course relate to his being white and male, but there are a rather significant number of people with those privileges that AREN’T billionaires.

  3. Jumpyshark says:

    I’d rather play as Catwoman, frankly (with a more sensible zipper position!). Her movement around Arkham City was a joy, and I enjoyed her simplified combat style. A game involving her stealing stuff, going after animal abusers (and teaming up with Poison Ivy to take down environmentally unfriendly people) while dodging/aiding Batman would be so much fun.
    I’m also not feeling the vehicle combat at all in this game.

    • Llewyn says:

      Agreed, the combat timing and movement for Catwoman just seemed to flow much more naturally for me. While I’ve enjoyed all three Arkham games, I can’t help feeling I’ve done that now and that maybe I don’t actually need more. A decent Catwoman game (ie City quality with enough content for a full game) would be a full-price purchase though.

  4. kalakukko says:

    “whose superpower is white male privilege”

    Why did you feel the need to inject this into your article, it was completely fine without it. Some days I really wonder if you’re deliberately trying to rile up and alienate your readers.

    • gibb3h says:

      This is basically par for the course on RPS now.

    • thrake says:

      Well, I’m inclined to disagree that the article would have been fine without it — without it and the remarks that came with it, it would have been little more than a post advertising a game. I read RPS precisely because it often provides something amusing and provocative where other websites wouldn’t.

      • kalakukko says:

        You know, I agree. That’s why I’ve gone to RPS for all of these years, because they’re provocative and are willing to state their opinions and damn those who disagree. However, when your argument of choice ends up being the only thing you use to create an interesting article, can you blame your readers if they think that you’re a one-trick pony?

        • SuicideKing says:

          Depends on how you see RPS I guess. I see them as a bunch of like minded individuals, never as one entity. The fact that, over the years, most of them end up thinking along the same lines either means that they’re all clones or that they’re coming to the same or similar conclusions in life.

          Though honestly, I don’t think they’re a one-trick pony. Pip and Alice are considerably different from Jim or Nathan, for example – in thought process or writing style. They all have different personalities, and oh gosh I love them.

          Never feels like you’re reading this cold bit of what’s accepted by an editor (I write for a mainstream tech site, it’s awful what becomes of my articles).

      • Orija says:

        You don’t really visit other game sites, do you?

    • SuicideKing says:

      How? It’s not something I thought of before, and it’s something I did pause for a minute to think about. I’m not a white male, and I don’t think I agree with her (though yeah, he is a rich whether dude fighting crime – it’s not ever mattered to me because I think for me it was always the cool awesome stealth and I could wear an imitation of his costume and pretend to be him) but I don’t see how it alienates anyone.

    • Philippa Warr says:

      I’m trying to explain why I’m not particularly interested in Batman and his adventures. The idea of having a superhero who doesn’t technically have any super powers is intriguing and a challenge to be overcome but then he’s also got the advantages of a privileged position in society, a heck of a lot of money, and a whole heap of free time.

      People do cool or interesting or fun things with the character and I enjoy those but what I’m saying is that at a very basic level Batman’s story doesn’t draw me in. I’m sharing that because other people might feel similarly, or they might utterly disagree but explain why.

      • Grandimandibula says:

        What does race have to do with anything? Honestly, it sounds as if you’ve been rightly called to answer for your throwawy remark, and you’ve got little to justify the sentence you’ve chosen.

        Batman is an equal-opportunities hero, his only bias is crime. And I’m removing RPS from my bookmarks again.

        • Dolphan says:

          ‘rightly called to answer’ for the heinous crime of INSULTING BATMAN.

          • Synesthesia says:

            YOU’VE BEEN REMOVED FROM THE BOOKMARK BAR

          • Sarah_imPalin says:

            I always thought I was a true fan of Batman, but the outrage in these comments has shown me that I was nothing but a hollow pretender.

        • LennyLeonardo says:

          Haha, yeah. Batman fans like brutal, out-of-proportion reprisals, particularly when the offender has mildly left-wing opinions. Surprise!

        • SuicideKing says:

          That’s a terrible answer to a what was a decent response.

        • AngoraFish says:

          It’s easy to dismiss white male privilege when you never get pulled over by the cops for driving your expensive Batmobile in the upmarket part of town with the wrong skin colour. And when you never experience people discussing the cut of your superhero outfit in vastly more detail than they do talking about the supervillains you’ve vanquished.

          • silvertiger27 says:

            It’s easy to dismiss bigotry towards white males when mass media and a divisive government have told you it’s okay to do so.

            But that’s okay. It’s not like a bunch of easily-led people have ever bought into a fallacious and fundamentally divisive ideology resulting in great tragedy before, right Germany?

          • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

            @silvertiger: You. Are. Adorable.

          • icarium says:

            I bet Cyborg never has to worry about getting blasted back in time by the Omega Sanction.
            Talk about black male privilege, a I right?

          • Det. Bullock says:

            You mean that he is rarely a relevant character in crossovers?

      • aoanla says:

        The thing is, it’s not even a particular unusual origin/”superpower” for a male pulp hero.
        From the same kind of era as Batman’s origins, we have The Phantom, The Green Hornet, The Lone Ranger (who did inherit a silver mine), The Shadow (who did, at least, have Mental Powers)… from a little earlier, we also have Zorro (who is a direct inspiration for Batman, and many of the others, keeping an “obviously useless rich playboy” persona as their alterego) and the Scarlet Pimpernel.

        I’d argue that Bats has survived to become much better known in the public eye than those other examples because his character has other, positive, aspects in addition to the generic “guy in position of power in society uses it to fight against bad things using a disguise” thing. At least Batman doesn’t have some of the “mighty whitey” problematic aspects as many of his peers…

      • Orija says:

        I don’t really get the racial politics of the western world, but if you dislike Batman just because he’s white or male, I would call you a bigot.

        • karthink says:

          A misreading of Pip’s comment (and the original article), I think. Dislike != “Not particularly interested”

        • SuicideKing says:

          And dislike != intolerant of other people’s opinions, which is what “bigot” means.

          • silvertiger27 says:

            Actually, no, a bigot is one who is prejudiced towards another based on who or what they are. Opinions have nothing to do with it. Sometimes, being intolerant of an opinion merely means you’re smart.

            Nice try with the Orwellian word redefinitions though. Next you’ll be calling someone who doesn’t agree with you a domestic terrorist, because it’s easier to dehumanize and oppress them that way.

          • Asurmen says:

            “a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially :one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance”

            You were saying silvertiger?

        • silvertiger27 says:

          Thank you for stating what should be common sense. Notice how fervently it’s dismissed by these bigots.

          If Warr had said the same thing about any other race or women, she’d be crucified. But it’s okay here, because white males aren’t really people, just racists and sexists for mass media to encourage hatred against.

          • Professor Science says:

            In what reality is mass media encouraging hatred toward white males? Your persecution complex is hilarious.

      • Jenks says:

        “he’s also got the advantages of a privileged position in society”

        Sometimes I’m watching Batman kick ass and I’m getting into it, but then I catch myself. What if Batman got pulled over for speeding, would a cop just let him go? Would he even get pulled over in the first place? Fuck Batman.

        • LaurieCheers says:

          The chase sequence in The Dark Knight is a pretty good illustration of what would happen if the cops tried to get batman to pull over.

        • Bereil says:

          Somewhere Batman has a massive hidden stash of unpaid speeding and parking tickets.

      • Philomelle says:

        I think what took a lot of people aback is that you dropped a very awkward character critique. Your tone implies that Batman’s privileged position in society is taken for granted within the narrative, even though the character’s entire motivational arc is that he is acutely aware of his privilege and that is why he spends his time, money and ridiculous tech on trying to help people.

        I know the grotesquely misguided Christopher Nolan movies pull away from that, but that is mostly because they drop absolutely everyone’s human core and focus on characters as symbols in order to let Nolan… rant about superheroes as symbols, I guess? But that’s not what the actual character is about at all. The actual character is someone who once had a very bad day and has now dedicated his entire life to ensure that people who cannot protect themselves wouldn’t experience the same.

        Tangentially, but the one time the comics did hit up the whole “Bat as a symbol” idea, they had Batman spread his resources across multiple people who would uphold his cause. So we did have a black Batman for a while.

        I’m also not sure where “humorless” and “miserable world” come from, given that original Batman comics were raw camp, his iconic animated series had him written with a distinct sense of humor and his last well-received show gave us Aquaman’s rousing song of heroism.

        • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

          “I think what took a lot of people aback is that you dropped a very awkward character critique. Your tone implies that Batman’s privileged position in society is taken for granted within the narrative, even though the character’s entire motivational arc is that he is acutely aware of his privilege and that is why he spends his time, money and ridiculous tech on trying to help people.”

          It’s a pretty standard and well-established critique of the character. And traditionally, Batman’s “helping people” has mostly meant “beating up poor people for committing petty property crimes,” instead of any number of more useful things Bruce Wayne could do with his vast fortune. Batman attacks symptoms, not causes… which is par for the course for pulp and noir stories, so, whatever… but the pearl-clutching in the comments here is a bit funny. The origin story is literally “Rich white dude, blinded by a fear of crime, devotes his life to crippling muggers and drug dealers.” Pip didn’t really have to dig too deep.

          • Philomelle says:

            Like I said in a comment below, I feel the problem here is that Pip’s delivery of the joke wasn’t especially funny. Gunny1993 linked almost the same joke and I laughed at that, but this article mostly made me raise an eyebrow. I’m neither offended nor upset by it, I simply found Pip less funny than usual this time around.

            Of course, humor is purely subjective and I respect that other people found the joke funny.

            I’m aware about that character critique but while you can definitely call it well-established due to how old it is, I’m not sure you can call it standard anymore. Batman’s portrayal as a character shifted over the years and various authors did try to show him combating more than just symptoms through ways such as charity, engaging Wayne Corp in projects beneficial to the community and reaching out to other superheroes. In that sense, I would call the critique a very valuable one because it made many writers take a good look at Batman’s character and try to flesh out his approach to the problems.

            I do understand that a lot of people wouldn’t be aware of those shifts, however, given that the most famous portrayal of Batman we have right now is those vapid Christopher Nolan movies. I don’t count the Arkham games because they’re all set during apocalyptic incidents. It’s not like Bats has the time to stop and think about something else during them.

      • Felix says:

        “privileged position in society, a heck of a lot of money, and a whole heap of free time”
        Those all sound like the same thing!

      • jrodman says:

        IMO it’s a perfectly reasonable thing to point out about the character, but the phrasing presents it in a way that I think doesn’t communicate well. I believe you were aiming for jocular, but it comes across as off-key.

    • jonahcutter says:

      No, it’s a cogent observation about Batman. The problem is she’s both right and wrong in her analysis.

      Batman has always had a fascist edge to him. He is an expression of “privilege”, as the term is used (rightly or wrongly) by progressives. But the “privilege” he expresses isn’t because he’s white, nor male. It’s because he’s *wealthy*. The subtext to Batman isn’t the control of others by white males. It’s the control of others by the wealthy, who think they know better and that the rules shouldn’t apply to themselves.

      • swerty says:

        If “observing that the protagonist of a videogame is white and male when that is the case” is cogent then the bar for meaningful commentary on social topics is really damn low

        • MrWolf says:

          Welcome to the internet. You must be new here.

        • jonahcutter says:

          Yeah, “cogent” is probably a poor choice of words on my part.

          Basically, Phillipa gets halfway there. Batman can be interpreted (partially) through his “privilege” (as social justice advocates use the term). But if so, then his “privilege” is defined by his wealth. Race and gender are largely irrelevant in his case.

          • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

            That’s not how privilege works. He has race and gender privilege whether he wants them or not, and it’s hard to imagine them not playing a part in his wealth.

    • Kefren says:

      1 Writers can write what they want. People can avoid reading articles by writers they don’t agree with. It’s a simple system that keeps everyone happy.

      2 If you are angry after reading this article, Go To 4. If you were not angry, Go To 3.

      3 The comment “whose superpower is white male privilege” made me laugh. I took it as humour. As I often find with humour, I am amused but also revisit the words and think about things a bit more. It doesn’t matter if I agree or not. It doesn’t matter if I fully agree, partially agree, or don’t agree at all. It’s nice to have a think. I would hate to be an RPS writer and be subject to such scrutiny and seriousness when it isn’t intended that way. Go To 5.

      4 Don’t be so serious. Go To 3.

      5 Let the writers put whatever words they want down. Go To 1.

      • Asurmen says:

        That somewhat misses the point but ok.

        • Kefren says:

          Fair enough. I should have been brief and responded to the OP with: “I am a reader. I was not alienated. I liked the words. The injection of words made the article more memorable to me. Feel free to inject words any time.”
          (Off-topic, injectable words are the new bonus for RPS Supporters).

      • Philomelle says:

        I was neither offended nor alienated by the words, but I felt they were a tad… misplaced? I usually adore Pip’s writing but this time felt like a joke was dropped far too flatly, and it doesn’t help that its humor collapses when exposed to five minutes of analysing Batman as a character.

        I laughed out loud at the below-linked Youtube of denouncing Batmans as a conservative’s wet dream because of how well it was delivered, but the only things I felt about Pip’s paragraph were a raised eyebrow and a “This is going to ruffle some feathers”. It surprised me; this is the first time I felt that way about her writing.

      • scannerbarkly says:

        It’s possible to like a writer, and what they wrote, and still want to talk about it. I’m sure as writers that the folk who work here at RPS are aware that articles generate discussion and I doubt they are that afraid of it as a possibility.

      • silvertiger27 says:

        I want to see this post reposted in the next article where someone calls out the author as racist or sexist against minorities or women.

        Ten bucks says you won’t.

    • Det. Bullock says:

      I like how everyone is offended by a sentence that I read a lot of times in forums about comics in countless variations, and that’s said by one who actually likes reading Miller’s Crazy Steve as they call it.

  5. swerty says:

    “…and whose superpower is white male privilege.” Yes, we are batman

  6. Advanced Assault Hippo says:

    “..and whose superpower is white male privilege”

    Sweet jesus. It’s like this site has gone full circle and is now simply a parody of itself.

  7. scannerbarkly says:

    I’ve been really looking forward to this game, my only concern is that the scope of it becomes so wide that it loses focus and, as such, a degree of it’s interest. Sometimes I feel that Arkham Asylum worked so well because it was so claustrophobic.

    As for Batman’s superpower…interesting take but I think the larger appeal of Batman has been that he doesn’t actually have a super power. Over the years he has slowly morphed into a well prepped super scientist who just happens to be the worlds greatest detective and the fad for “ensemble” pieces has him hanging out with more superpowered beings, and fighting others though, so steps must be taken to justify the abilities of a normal guy to get work done against the godly.

    I’d also argue that the biggest separation between Batman and the folk he protects would be the same as Ironman…it’s wealth priviledge as opposed to the white male thing. You can be as white and as male as you want, if you haven’t got the cash to play the game to make up for a lack of superpowers then you will be relegated to sidelines. lol I know we are not supposed to say that though, because pointing out that monetary privilege is a thing makes rich folk who want to get ahead in the games industry super mad on Twitter.

    • Geebs says:

      Batman’ superpower is that he’s completely invulnerable to interesting analysis; that’s why he only works either played completely for laughs, or as the straight man to a flamboyant villain.

      I can tell that the designers for this game wrestled long and hard with themselves over whether to include bat-nipples, and I think the decision to go for the bat-Linkin Park look instead impoverishes us all.

      • scannerbarkly says:

        I actually think Bats is far more open to interesting takes than a lot of the comic book universe if I am honest. :)

      • gunny1993 says:

        Well I’d argue that Batman isn’t about Batman in the slightest, it’s about the villains

        (I’ve also heard it said that thew villains in Batman are all elements of his psyche, but at the time someone was telling it to me I was drunk and can’t remember their reasoning properly.)

        • Emeraude says:

          For me, if you try to read Batman as direct depiction of a potential reality, it fails.

          Gotham as representation of the collective Psyche of a given social body – with batman as ego, Joker as id (see on that front the old map off Gotham published with Arkham and the Wayne manor almost aligned and equidistant from Crime Alley), and every villain as a fragmented aspect of the neuroses the social body has to deal with works much better.
          Batman is the product of a social body whose authority figures has been killed and whose been left unable to properly cope with the superego. With authority and community.

          It’s interesting that the structure is old- Batman is basically St Martin the thaumaturge (the batmobile is the magic horse, the tech gizmos are the power-bound relics) beating up on fairies nd pushing their chaos back to the constraints of the woods – out of the village.
          But the batman structure is interesting in that the wood equivalent – Arkham – is integral part of the city. The chaos cannot banned outside, it can only be repressed inside. Because it’s acknowledged as an integral part of what the city produce by existing.

          • Geebs says:

            Yeah, but he’s still a grown man in a ridiculous suit. Suspension of disbelief works either when he’s a pure caper character, or when he’s played straight, but if his villains are insufficiently wacky (I’m looking at you, Bane) or cod psychology gets shoe-horned in it just becomes dumb. People have tried to paint on these extra layers but they just mix together into an art-room-sink-brown mess.

            That’s why Pip’s ‘controversial’/observant-but-dull crack that’s elicited all of the usual knee jerk responses upthread doesn’t work as an analysis, or even really a joke; there’s just not enough to the character to add up to anything interesting.

          • Geebs says:

            To expand: there’s nothing you can say about batman as a character that can’t be instantly and irrevocably countered with “so?”. For example:

            “Batman’s gay!”

            “So?”

            “Batman’s straight!”

            “So?”

            “Batman’s a carnivorous plant….and a woman!”

            “So?”

            See? There’s no comeback because none of those things matter to the character, since they don’t conflict with anything we already know about Batman, or any of his/her/plantself’s motivations.

          • Emeraude says:

            Yeah, but he’s still a grown man in a ridiculous suit.

            You mean like a judge sitting in office ?

            To expand: there’s nothing you can say about batman as a character that can’t be instantly and irrevocably countered with “so?”.

            I’d be tempted to follow my original point and argue that’s because Batman isn’t a character, but really there’s nothing you can say about any person or character or even fact that can’t be instantly and irrevocably countered with a contemptuous and uncaring “so?”.

            “Spiderman is a black boy!
            – So?”

            “Obama is a black man!
            – So?”

            “750 million people around the world lack access to safe water.
            – So?”

          • EhexT says:

            “To expand: there’s nothing you can say about batman as a character that can’t be instantly and irrevocably countered with “so?”
            This is true for literally every superhero. like this:

            Superman is a dog! so?

            Superman is a woman! so?

            Superman is a Samurai! so?

            Superman is a Communist! so?

            So what was your point again?

          • Geebs says:

            I don’t think we’re really disagreeing, but it’s not that somebody can respond with indifference, it’s that in Batman’s case there’s no second line of argument, like:

            “So, that changes the dynamic with his family and work. Also, his quips have improved somewhat”

            “So, that’s empowering for a lot of people. Let’s make it a woman next time”

            “So, that’s bad, because they might get sick and that’s a basic inequality”

            “Batman’s old, now”

            “So?”

            “Err, well, so, nothing, he’s exactly the same. But it’s a leap year, which is super-important for Calendar Man”

          • Emeraude says:

            @Geebs

            a)I think this very thread is proof that some people *do* care, even though you and I do not. Philippa Warr said that Batman was a hero whose superpower is white male privilege. And the answer wasn’t a resounding, unanimous “so?”.

            b) It’s interesting to consider that permanence of basic traits in spite of any changing variables as a full fledged feature of what makes the story work for so many people – see “Neil Gaiman’s Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?, in which through all the various incarnations, the meaningful defining trait happens to be the permanence, the will to never falter in front of the horror and absurdity of existence.

          • pepperfez says:

            The nerd-culture-comment-section definition of “so” is “Shut up shut up shut up you’re not allowed to criticize that!”

          • Geebs says:

            @Emeraude: Yeah, but even when they do care they’re not able to actually say or derive anything articulate or interesting from Batman, and the debate degenerates immediately into people wrangling over their own prejudices.

            @EhexT: Superman is just Batman without the hat. He lasted for two movies on charm and energy alone, and then nothing of interest would stick to the character (notable attempts: growing a mullet, “you’ll believe a man can walk!”)

            Anyway, I mostly just wanted to talk about bat-nipples, and how ludicrously over-engineered those suits look without them.

        • scannerbarkly says:

          Oh absolutely, depending on what you read, play or watch regarding Batman one of the most interesting takes for me is how Batman eventually creates the Joker thereby ensuring that he will never find peace for himself as the Joker is a destruction machine with no offswitch and Batman is unwilling to take the steps to put him down permanently.

    • pepperfez says:

      Stark Industries was also passed down through exclusively male heirs dating back to antebellum America, so Tony’s position is absolutely the result of white male privilege.

      • scannerbarkly says:

        Oh absolutely, same with Bruce Wayne…but that is not the point that Pip raised…the point is that the white male privilege is his superpower. So, lets remove the cash from the equation for a second…what both Stark and Wayne inherit from their parents is…well, very little…which is what the average person inherits from their parents. They are just normal guys, both intellectually gifted…maybe they both get a scholarship to be able to make it to college. So…they might have gotten an education that was close to what their wealth allowed them, maybe. But after that they were in the system, in need of funding, in need of time. No time to train because they had to work, no time to learn because they had to sleep. I would happily argue that I could write either Stark or Wayne as a female, or as a different ethnicity and while it would fundamentally change them as a person it wouldn’t remove their ability for self empowerment to overcome grief by playing at being superheroes.

        If I tried to rewrite them as poor, normal humans….well, they would end up looking more like an extra in a page of The Boys than they would superheroes. For me, I see the cash as being the lynch pin in their own personal tales if I am honest. It’s like Spiderman without the bite…the crux element that facilitates the characters ego and desire to “overcome”.

        • pepperfez says:

          Sure, they could be children of Lakshmi Mittal or something, but they aren’t. They’re scions of American old money, which at various points was legally limited to white people, ignoring any informal structural racism. And their wealth was passed down from father to son, again ignoring any additional benefits they reap by being men. Even if they were women, they would be benefiting from the repeated decisions of their ancestors to let sons rather than daughters inherit. So while one could write “super-rich no-superpower vigilante” as any kind of person, the ones we’re talking about here are very much defined by the benefits of maleness and whiteness.

          • scannerbarkly says:

            See, this is why I like to discuss these things on the internet…some really cool points raised. Thanks!

  8. gunny1993 says:

    Heh, tbf, Batman is an extremely wealthy man who instead of using his money to try and better society (like his parents) instead goes around at night beating up street level criminals. He’s basically a conservatives’ wet dream.

    (Shamelessly stolen from Reginald D Hunter) (link to youtube.com)

    • scannerbarkly says:

      Whilst certainly funny it’s not really accurate due to the assorted philanthropic efforts of the man behind the mask,

      • pepperfez says:

        That’s why Batman is a conservative’s wet dream. All he does is buy weapons and beat up punks. Philanthropy is for that Wayne sissy.

        • scannerbarkly says:

          Hey, he doesn’t just buy them…he is also a self made entrepreneurial vigilante who develops and produces his own weapons without any funding or intrusion from that pesky of gubbermint!

          • pepperfez says:

            “”””””””self made“”””””””
            Yup, the perfect conservative.

  9. Piispa says:

    “…whose superpower is white male privilege”

    WTF did I just read?

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      A relatively common observation.

      • Kentauroi says:

        Not really a good one though.

        I don’t read a Batman comics, but the main complaint that I’ve seen is that Batman uses his wealth in a selfish manner to justify his own sense of justice. If Batman was changed into a hispanic woman she would still be the same exact character, because Batman’s wealth and accompanying social power didn’t come from his gender or race, they were inherited alongside the massive enterprise of his dead parents.

        I have nothing against critiquing Batman (Cracked did a great After Hours video on the subject that was hilarious) but this one just doesn’t seem to hold up.

        • pepperfez says:

          Not his parents’ enterprise, his father’s enterprise, the one passed down to male heirs for generations. It may not matter that Bruce is a man, but it sure as hell matters that all his grandfathers were.

          • gunny1993 says:

            Now, I might be basing this on one episode of Downton Abbey, but aren’t the Americans Historically fine (at least legally) with giving stuff to their female heirs.

          • pepperfez says:

            Maybe! I have no idea, but the fact that the name of the owner of Wayne Enterprises has always been Wayne means that in this case it was passed down through the male line. Unless we’re to understand that never in the nearly 200-year history of the company was the eldest child a girl, then there’s a series of decisions to pass wealth to men instead of women.

          • Philomelle says:

            For what it’s worth, there are at least two female heirs in Gotham mythos. Martha Wayne was actually an heir to a chemical company, and she was apparently well-off enough for rumors to circulate that Thomas Wayne married her for the money (Batman R.I.P.).

            There is also Kate Kane, alias Batwoman, whose wealth, technological resources and crime-fighting approach are pretty much identical to Bruce Wayne. Kate is a Jewish lesbian; while she’s the sole heir, her father actually pronounced her as the only worthy heir due to how that last bit came to be revealed (she was discharged from the military for denouncing her superiors’ attempts to bully her into signing papers that condemn her sexuality).

      • EhexT says:

        A wrong one, common or not (I’ll go with “not” since I’ve never seen that claim).
        His power isn’t white male privilege it’s being rich. Want proof? Here it is:
        Could he still do Batman things if he was black? Yes.
        Could he still do Batman things if he was a woman? Yes.
        Could he still do Batman things if he was poor? No.

        There you go. Stop trying to insert racism or sexism where there isn’t any.

        • pepperfez says:

          He couldn’t do the things he does if he weren’t at least partly white, since Wayne Enterprises was passed down from a white founder to his white son and so on.

          • EhexT says:

            Would it still work if it was passed down by a black father? Yes.
            Would it still work if it was passed down by his mother? Yes.

            The rub is in the inheritance, not the color or gender of the family. And if you want to keep digging at this ridiculous thread, no, Wayne didn’t make his money “being white” or “being male”. The core of Batmans source of power is money. Money made by his family if you want to be nitpicky – but not money made on the slave trade, or whatever strawman you wanna conjure.

            Batman is a rich bastard, but it’s his bank account that matters. Black female lesbian rich batman would still be Batman as long as the RICH part is still there.

          • pepperfez says:

            He wouldn’t be rich if he weren’t white, though: His wealth comes from a family corporation begun when black people in America were slaves. And while he may still be rich if he weren’t a man, the fact that his name is the same as the company’s founder’s means it was passed along the male line. If any of his paternal grandfathers had been women, he’d just be another guy with a rich ancestor. So his position is the culmination of generations of men being preferred in inheritance, ignoring any other advantages he personally enjoys as a man.

          • EhexT says:

            The point is that the origin of his families wealth doesn’t fracking matter to Batman. His ancestors could have been slave owning plantation owners or they could have been black african miners – the origin of the money does not change batman, just like his gender or skin color doesn’t. The existence of the money is what makes him possible. And guess what – Black Panther is also a rich vigilante and he’s not got “white privilege”. The MONEY is Batmans source of power – it’s the only thing you can take away that would stop him from doing Batman things. It doesn’t matter where the money comes from – it wouldn’t change a thing about him.

          • pepperfez says:

            Just because he could have ended up where he is in a different way doesn’t mean that it’s irrelevant how he actually got there. It’s no less relevant that Batman is white than that Black Panther is black, and it’s not a slur to say that being white was part of what allows Batman to do what he does.

          • Kentauroi says:

            It really isn’t irrelevant to how Batman got to where he is now though. Batman can be Batman because he is rich by inheriting his dead parent’s (or father’s, whatever) assets. That is an entirely different subject than how those assets came to exist in the first place. Maybe you are correct that the Wayne fortune was originally amassed thanks to white male priviledge, but if Wayne Enterprises and it’s fortune was built from the ground up by a hispanic mother it wouldn’t change anything about Batman.

            What’s important to Batman’s character is only that he inherited a fortune and is rich which enables him to dispense street justice. HOW that fortune came to be before he was even born isn’t any more important to his character than if you learned Luke Skywalker once had a cat named Mittens.

        • LennyLeonardo says:

          I guess you can choose not to think of Batman as a symbol of white male privilege, just as you can choose not to think of tomatoes as a fruit.

          • pepperfez says:

            I LIKE KETCHUP AND WILL NOT STAND FOR YOUR VICIOUS CALL TO BAN ALL TOMATO CONDIMENTS

          • Ejia says:

            Come to think of it, what is a “vegetable”? Is it just a savory plant? Then any fruit used in a savory dish is a vegetable, isn’t it?

          • jrodman says:

            Vegetable/fruit is an odd thing. Botanically fruits are well-defined, and tomato is one. Vegetable is not botanically well defined. Culinarily, vegetable is typically stalks/leaves and sometimes roots of plants we eat, though the border is fuzzy at times. Is tea a vegetable? Are potatoes a vegetable? Culinarily for fruits, we sometimes borrow the botanical definition, but sometimes we don’t. Are peanuts vegetables? Are peas fruits?

            Basically it gets messy because we’re mixing classification systems kind of arbitrarily. The good new is it doesn’t matter!

    • silvertiger27 says:

      Another bigot getting away with racism and sexism because it was directed at white males.

  10. Dolphan says:

    Pip does not personally like Batman. Gives brief explanation of her feeling towards the character, as per what RPS does and always has done, while posting Batman trailer. Comments promptly explode.

    I need a drink.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      It helps to imagine that Bruce Wayne is in the Batcave furiously creating multiple accounts and posting all these comments himself.

    • silvertiger27 says:

      I want to see you post this in an article where a white male gives his unpopular opinion about a minority or female character and is then met with backlash.

      Ten bucks says you won’t.

  11. pendergraft says:

    Smells like white male impotency in here.

    • Synesthesia says:

      I’ve found the brand of these particular comments particularly hilarious. Maybe depression is waiting to set in, though.

      • Synesthesia says:

        Dammit, this was supposed to go to dolphan, up there. Goddammit RPS, fix this thing!

  12. Premium User Badge

    gritz says:

    “My superpower is incredibly thin skin skin” – PC Gaming Enthusiasts

    • Splattercakez says:

      *Gaming Enthusiasts

    • silvertiger27 says:

      Think it’s a weird coincidence that minorities and women are never accused of having thin skin when it comes to bigoted remarks?

      • gwathdring says:

        Er … they ARE accused of that. All the time. Mostly by white men with with power and privilege who are annoyed that they aren’t allowed to say sexist or racist things without people getting annoyed at them for being awful to other people.

        Women who don’t like being catcalled are told that “it’s just a compliment, lighten up.” Minorities who complain about racial slurs or race-themed frat parties where people dress up as gross caricatures of various ethnic or racial groups are accused of not being able to take a joke and making everything about race. Because, of course, painting your face black and calling people racial slurs ISN’T making everything about race … but complaining when people doing that makes you personally feel like shit IS.

        You’re a real piece of work.

  13. Fitzmogwai says:

    People! Surely you remember that side mission in Arkham City where Batman visited the country club to round up all of Gotham’s white collar criminals?

  14. Emeraude says:

    One thing I can say about the Arkham games Batman incarnation: he’s an uncaring dick and I don’t really like to play him (it culminated in Origins, where I found some villains were more sensible than the Bat… not to mention, you know, that moment when a man you beat up desperate enough to go out in a winter tempest so cold, so violent there’s a military curfew for security reasons, to rob an ATM for the sake of buying his daughter Christmas presents

    • Emeraude says:

      /grumble no edit and accidental posting because I mistakenly hit tab.

    • Philomelle says:

      I generally don’t like to treat Origins as canon. It doesn’t mesh with the rest of the series very well, maybe because Paul Dini wrote Asylum and City as a sort of “endgame” to his work on the animated series.

      That said, Dini does love to write old Batman as a terse paranoid jackass. Canonically, Beyond only happened because Bruce’s obsession with his crusade eventually led to him alienating absolutely everyone who ever cared about him.

      • EhexT says:

        Yeah Batman Beyond is a wonderful example of the logical progression of Bruce Wayne. Eventually he’ll be angry old man still mad at the world because crime still exists and even his young protege is going to be a softer kinder batman. He’s very much a non-homicidal Rorschach.

      • gwathdring says:

        I love how in the DCAU Justice League, Batman frequently shows up, snarks and people, and then leaves to do his own thing. Except when he absolutely needs to stick around to deal with something in which case, as you say, he displays wry condescension and paranoia.

        There’s a lovely moment in one of the episodes where Diana essentially asks Batman out and his response is a numbered list, one of the elements of which is “You’re an amazonian princess. I’m a rich kid with issues (pause) Lot’s of issues.”

  15. Creeping Death says:

    “and whose superpower is white male privilege”

    You forgot straight!

    Congrats Phillipa, on getting almost 100 comments on what is essentially an article posting a random trailer. Clever.

    • pepperfez says:

      Oh, come on.

      Nobody thinks Batman is straight.

      • scannerbarkly says:

        Yeah, you could very easily have Batman come out of the cave should a writer be so inclined.

  16. Elliot Lannigan says:

    Nice summary of my own feelings about Batman, Pip :)

  17. pilouuuu says:

    Well, Black Panther is similar to Batman, considering he uses his wealth AND training to fight criminals. And do you know what, he is not white.

    I think the observations about Batman were pretty accurate, only that part of the comment was uncalled for.

    Regarding the game, it looks amazing, but won’t it give a strong deja vu feeling to play it? I hope they make a Justice League next time!

    • pepperfez says:

      But Black Panther is Black Panther, not Batman. Saying a white guy wouldn’t benefit from racial privilege if he were a black guy is pretty trivial.

  18. blackmyron says:

    I don’t think that his ‘privilege’ has really stemmed from anything other than someone who experienced a terrible personal tragedy. In that, he isn’t that different from his Marvel near-equivalent (or at least whom he seems to be paired with in crossovers), the Punisher – who was a middle-class Italian-American vet. Their reactions were based upon their personalities, not their personal circumstances. In the various iterations of Batman, Bruce Wayne comes across as someone who also tries to do good as the head of Wayne Enterprises (in almost all iterations I can recall, his parents are lauded as being strongly humanitarian and philanthropists in Gotham). He adheres to a personal code of honor (except in the Millerverse, of course) and while he’s certainly a vigilante, he makes an effort to have a working relationship with the police.
    Also, the common ‘crazy rich man playing hero’ argument doesn’t really take account of the world that he lives in – and the ‘common thug’ isn’t his main enemy, it’s the costumed, thematic villains that the police aren’t able to deal with. It’s a familiar trope, but Bruce Wayne is playing by the rules of his world.
    I highly recommend Warren Ellis’ take on Batman – really, all the various Batmans – in the Planetary/Batman crossover he wrote years ago.
    (And it appears that, unfortunately, another Frank Miller “Batman” tale is on its way).

    • silvertiger27 says:

      Yeah, but Warr’s been conditioned to only see white men as the evil oppressor, if she starts seeing them as actual people and personalities and not some stereotype the mass media has painted them as, her entire bigoted worldview will come crashing down. Can’t have that.

      • gwathdring says:

        No, you’ve been conditioned to see people recognizing and remarking on privelege as a broad attack against men everywhere and representative of an inability to see people as individuals.

        You are the one conflating the specific with the generic and then blaming other people for your own small-mindedness.

        Batman, like most superheroes, is a power fantasy. Like many power fantasies, when you think about it too much Batman ends up seeming like a complete monster. What you need to remember here is that Batman is not a real person. Batman is not a real human with individual traits we need to empathize with and come to understand. Batman is a mythic figure, an amalgam of countless interpretations, rewritten canons, novel characterizations, and popular portrayals.

        Batman is not a human being. Batman is not a single, individual character. He is many characters under a single intellectual property.

        But yes. Someone making a quip about some of the most recognizable and consistent parts of the batman figure (using wealth and technology to overcome obstacles–things that give his civilian identity immense privilege) is CLEARLY a sign that they are incapable of understanding that men are people.

        Because, you know, how people feel about Batman is a great representation about how they feel about actual human beings they interact with.

        • swerty says:

          That’s the thing, though. You’re choosing to see Batman as an amalgam of traits and shit, and not ever as an individual character, even in a particular incarnation. That’s reductionist, and there isn’t a single story that can’t be unwound by that kind of pithy analysis.

          And it’s so, so easy. It’s just obnoxious, petty trolling.

    • gwathdring says:

      Bruce Wayne is not, by any stretch of even Marvel’s canon, middle friggin’ class.

  19. Fontan says:

    Since everyone is freaking out with Pip’s comment, I too have one thing that really bothers me: why did they change everyone’s faces from the previous games?

    • scannerbarkly says:

      I’ll be honest, Im not really seeing people freak out tbf, just talking for the most part. Also, this is the most interesting dicussion i have had around Batman in some time. lol

    • gwathdring says:

      That was bothering me too. :\

  20. silvertiger27 says:

    Click on an article to see a trailer of a game, get a racist and sexist screed instead. Yup, par for the course for modern gaming “journalism.”

    Yeah, white males have privilege all right. The privilege of being threatened, bullied, silenced, and attacked with social impunity from the “tolerant” ones.

    I wonder how many of you fools would lambast a minority or woman for being “thin skinned” if they were offended by a casually bigoted remark like this author’s.

    Batman just proves that you can be a hero and a philanthropist, but the social justice bigots will only ever see you as your gender and skin color.

  21. Spacewalk says:

    I thought that Batman’s super power was causing bombs to not explode by running around carrying them in a goofy fashion.

    • Ejia says:

      No no, that was just a case of running out of bat bomb-repellant/defuser spray.

  22. Jalan says:

    One line in the article and people pick it up and run with it as if it were a bomb and they were Adam West… wait, someone already made that reference.

  23. vlonk says:

    I would characterize Bruce Wayne as someone who struggles with the heritage and tradition of his powerful family. Wayne Corp and his father did a lot of good things for the city. But Bruce believes in a different approach for bettering the city and that is by battering its nasty parts. His family tradition always was projecting their influence on the city as their responsibility. His conflict is one of a priviliged person that is choosing the way he wields his power to influence the world. He already made his choice that his actions should influence others and that he has the right to make those decisions and rule over them, so you could call him a fascist of sorts or at least an arrogant self rightous crusader. He is also utterly boring and humourless. If we go far and deep into the historic canon of the Wayne family I might conjure up relations to “old dirty ill gotten gains” but that side is so far off the main persona Batman/Bruce that I would disregard it as a character defining trait. Unless you are a comic book pro you will never hear this story at all! Yet batman als a legend works without that backdrop. The Wayne family is mostly there to bring “rich, reliable and responsible” to the table in the form of the work of the father and “Wayne manor”. So its a father/son tradition+ambition / responsibility+expectations /cannot argue with my dead because he is dad thingie. I would not blink an eye if a batman rethinking would see HIM arguing with a picture of his dead father about his approach to Gotham and ruce going insane over the dialogue ala the green goblin. That is almost the same story of a privilged son being in conflict with the views of his father. Just the one guy is breaking apart over it and turns into a villain.

    Can’t spot the racist part without heavily introducing american history into a fictional world, I feel white male privilege is only a tangential thing for the Bats. It was a very interesting thought nonetheless! Thanks Philippa for that angle, I never though about it this way before. I guess I came away from this with a different point of view : )