Friday, June 25, 2010

Just How Awesome is Batman?

Unlike my usual practice of the title of the blog post having nothing to do with the content I have posted a relevant title today. And also, there's nothing about electrical engineering or computers or code or controls or math in this post (except insofar as Batman can do any/all of those things awesomely) - just Batman.

Truly, Batman is amazing - he's crazy prepared at all times. (Note: I reference the Justice League cartoon when I'm talking here - haven't done much comics reading). When AMAZO stole Superman's powers, Batman nonchalantly whips out kryptonite from his belt and fends him off - prompting Wonder Woman to ask "You carry kryptonite around with you all the time?" Of course he does - he's the Goddamn Batman. If Supes suddenly went rogue (as opposed to going rouge which involves cross-dressing) then Batman would be on it. His utility belt is like Schroedinger's cat. While the cat is both alive and dead at the same time, his belt does and does not contain every single item in the universe - particularly the one that would be most useful. He's just lucky enough that when he opens a specific compartment the probability waves collapse into the exact item he needs. Or not - he'll just MacGuyver up something from whatever he finds in there. I mean, it might be pocket lint and somehow he'll defuse a nuclear bomb and give everyone ice cream cones (with sprinkles).

It's a well-known fact that Batman has a way to defeat every single Justice League member if they turn evil. But this brings us into the barber paradox of the day: Can Batman defeat himself? The logic of the situation is similar to the barber paradox but instead of shaving it involves death served cold. We start from several assumptions:

1) Batman is always prepared. Always.
2) Batman doesn't want to die
3) Batman has plans to kill every member of the Justice League himself
4) Batman is in the Justice League
5) Batman is the Goddamn Batman

So, some conclusions. From 1 and 2 we surmise that Batman will always have a plan ready to prevent his demise. This only makes sense - who wants to die? And by adding in 5 we can assume that this plan will always work. It always has in the past. In the 80+ years of his comics I don't think he's ever died. I mean, Bane broke his back but he didn't die - he healed up again and went on being Batman. That's about as close as it gets. Maybe in some alternate timeline or something he dies. I hear the Joker got reality-warping powers once somehow and might have killed him but that didn't work out for the Joker because the whole mess was cleaned up by the end of the comic and Batman was alive again. Yes you heard that right - when Batman and reality itself are in conflict Batman wins. That's tough.

From 2 and 3 we surmise that Batman must have a plan to kill himself if he goes rogue and by adding in 1 we can surmise that he's ready to follow it through. It makes sense. I'm sure he's been under mind control or something often enough to want to have a backup plan in case he starts acting all evil. Most likely if he really needed to die he'd just have Supes or WW pummel him to death or slice him in half with heat vision (or lasso him to death somehow - not effective, but kinky and I think he'd like to go like that. Plus he can't lie when the lasso is around him so he'd probably admit it turned him on).

So this gives us two contradictory conclusions: Batman can't be killed and Batman has a plan to kill himself that will succeed. Both of these can't be true. I'll throw out a few examples:

Batman knows that he needs to go down if he turns evil, so he tells Supes to beat him to death under a very specific set of circumstances - maybe some kind of mind control that can only be broken by blending his brain into a milkshake or something. But! We know that Batman really doesn't want to die AND he has a plan to kill Supes. What stops him from just going through with that plan? Not much - he's Batman. So Supes is dead, and then Wonder Woman, Green Lantern - pretty much anyone who gets in his way. That's not a very effective plan. Maybe the ENTIRE Justice League could jump him at once but hell I just thought of that in ten seconds - Batman probably considered that one when he was still in the womb. I'm sure he has a plan for the whole Justice League turning evil at once. In fact I'm sure there's a precedent for that somewhere in comics history. And I'm sure Batman resolved it with ice cream again. So scratch that.

Okay, so maybe Batman can just kill himself. If he was evil he wouldn't consciously want to do it but maybe he implanted some post-hypnotic suggestion triggered by a code word that would force his heart to stop or something. And then he makes himself forget about it somehow and only lets certain people know. People like... Superman again? No, because if he really fears Supes going evil (enough such that he keeps kryptonite on his person) then he's not going to give him a kill switch. And even if he did do that whole hypnotic kill switch thing and forced himself to forget about it what stops him from one day discovering that someone implanted a hypnotic suggestion in his mind somehow and rooting it out? He doesn't know that he put it there - it could have been Grodd or someone else's insurance policy. Just yell 'Steeplejack!' in their next battle and Batman makes tea for him instead of delivering a beatdown. Can't take that chance.

I wouldn't even put it past Batman to install a tiny computer with a tiny AI in his suit somehow prevents him from stabbing himself in the chest, or replacing his heart with a nuclear bomb (the Goddamn Batman needs no capacity to love, or circulate blood. The blood moves on its own because it fears what will happen if it doesn't) that goes off as a last resort and his consciousness transferring through the ether to a clone tank on the moon that he put there and made himself forget about so no one could sabotage it. HE'S FREAKING BATMAN PEOPLE! He put a space station with a fusion laser in orbit a week after Martians attacked Earth. The buses weren't even running but apparently Wayne Enterprises had orbital capacity. Fusion technology didn't even exist! He invented it and then did it and surprised the hell out of the rest of the league and was all like 'Oh you like this space station? Yeah of course I can afford it. I'm the Goddamn Batman. Go to your quarters - the mattresses are stuffed with money and I can flood your rooms with poison gas if you get out of line. I mean, strike that last part. I'm Batman.'

Does anyone have a logical resolution to this mess?

Quick question: In a fight between Batman and Chuck Norris who wins? Answer: No one wins - there are only losers. Specifically, you and everyone you love.