Batman's super power. Discuss.
March 8, 2006 10:41 PM   Subscribe

What is Batman's super power?

For bonus points, what is Darkwing Duck's super power?
posted by TwelveTwo to Society & Culture (78 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
He doesn't have any superpowers, he's just a (very wealthy) human.
posted by knave at 10:43 PM on March 8, 2006

Trick question, right? Batman doesn't have powers. That's the gimmick. He's just a human being at peak mental and phyiscal condition.

Same with Darkwing Duck. Except... a duck.
posted by maxreax at 10:45 PM on March 8, 2006

Response by poster: I am unsure! It seems like Batman does have one, as he certainly isn't as mortal as the rest of humanity. I just can't think of what it is.
posted by TwelveTwo at 10:48 PM on March 8, 2006

Response by poster: Someone, fetch me a Comic Books as Literature major!
posted by TwelveTwo at 10:50 PM on March 8, 2006

Well, theoretically, he's just a human being. His "power", as such, is the Utility Belt, which always has exactly the device he needs to deal with a given situation.
posted by Malor at 10:50 PM on March 8, 2006

Darkwing Duck's superpower is the ability to speak. Most ducks can't do that.

Batman has no super power.
posted by aubilenon at 10:52 PM on March 8, 2006

Batman doesn't have super-powers, thats what makes him so awesome. He has all the gadgets any geek could possibly want, AND he always gets the girl. That, and he is a ninja (kinda-sorta)
posted by dantekgeek at 10:52 PM on March 8, 2006

Batman's superpower is the ability to go around dressed up like an anthropomorphic bat without being pointed and laughed at.
posted by Tuwa at 10:55 PM on March 8, 2006

His money.
posted by kendrak at 10:55 PM on March 8, 2006

Somehow seeming cool while being named Bat Man
posted by cellphone at 10:57 PM on March 8, 2006

Response by poster: I'm unconvinced! If someone could give me an example of a real person that could be compared to Batman, a best answer is theirs. It must be someone that trained as intensively as Batman did. His gadgets aside, if he isn't super, then his accomplishments are attainable by any of us.
posted by TwelveTwo at 11:02 PM on March 8, 2006

You must be thinking of Bat-Mite.
posted by tellurian at 11:06 PM on March 8, 2006

if he isn't super, then his accomplishments are attainable by any of us.

That's always been kind of the point, hasn't? Batman is just a higly trained, skilled, and wealthy individual. There's no more to him.
posted by xmutex at 11:08 PM on March 8, 2006 [1 favorite]

Batman's a scientist.
posted by Robot Johnny at 11:11 PM on March 8, 2006

I'm unconvinced! If someone could give me an example of a real person that could be compared to Batman, a best answer is theirs. It must be someone that trained as intensively as Batman did. His gadgets aside, if he isn't super, then his accomplishments are attainable by any of us.

Batman is a work of fiction. His accomplishments are whatever the storytellers can dream up. It doesn't matter if it's plausible in real life.
posted by hydrophonic at 11:15 PM on March 8, 2006

I've been reading Batman comics all my life, pal. Take my word for it. He's got no superpower. He's just a guy with drive and ambition. That's what makes him interesting and appealing as a character. He's supposed to be "attainable."

Has anyone really become Batman, like, in real life? Of course not. It's called "suspension of disbelief." Think of the character as an amalgam of traits and accomplishments belonging to people who have excelled in various fields.

Here. Mull over this quote from Neal Stephenson:
Until a man is twenty-five, he still thinks, every so often, that under the right circumstances he could be the baddest motherfucker in the world. If I moved to a martial-arts monastery in China and studied real hard for ten years. If my family was wiped out by Colombian drug dealers and I swore myself to revenge. If I got a fatal disease, had one year to live, and devoted it to wiping out street crime. If I just dropped out and devoted my life to being bad.
posted by cribcage at 11:17 PM on March 8, 2006 [2 favorites]

He's not just highly trained, he's also naturally gifted in ways that would be highly improbable (but important to note, not impossible) for a normal person, i.e. he's smart AND he's a gifted happens, but not often.

His gadgets aside, if he isn't super, then his accomplishments are attainable by any of us.

That's not true. Einstein didn't have any super powers that we know of, but it's difficult to argue that any of us could come up with the theory of relativity. Ditto any professional athlete who's set a world record or two.

In canon, it's been said that he has the hands of a concert pianist or neurosurgeon. Those AREN'T things that "any of us" can do, but they ARE things that SOME of us can do.
posted by juv3nal at 11:18 PM on March 8, 2006

Not a real person but a comparable superhero-without-a-superpower is Ozymandias from Watchmen. Actually most of the Watchmen heroes have no real powers (except Dr. Manhattan). Ozymandias comes closest to Batman though with his above average wealth, intelligence and physical ability.
posted by zanni at 11:27 PM on March 8, 2006

His gadgets aside, if he isn't super, then his accomplishments are attainable by any of us.
I think that's sort of the point, at least from the Batman comics I've read. Batman's driven by a purpose and a morality that often verges on zealotry and/or psychosis, but other than that he's just a dude.
I think the closest you're going to get in looking for real person is Bruce Lee or Chuck Norris or someone comparable. They're the sort of people who have trained for years according to a certain dogma or discipline, and could probably have dispatched a number of petty thieves while in their respective peak physical conditions.
But then again they're just dudes too.
Batman is supposed to be ultra-intelligent as well as an ass-kicking machine and wealthy to boot, so that's where you run into trouble finding a real world analog.
(on preview, what everyone else said).
posted by Hadroed at 11:27 PM on March 8, 2006

Lately, in the comics, Batman's super-power has been the ability to take down anyone who dares to go up against him, regardless of their power level. Three White Martians, each more powerful than the Martian Manhunter? No problem. Amazo, the android with all the powers of the Justice League? In five minutes. Superman? Several times.

He's generally written to be the most cunning man in the world, if not quite the smartest, with near-infinite resources and a skillset so huge, it's like he's the top people in a hundred different disciplines all rolled up into one. He plans years ahead. A rogue Green Lantern is tearing up Star City? He's got a plan in place. Every supervillain in the most maximum-security prison in the world escapes at once? He's got it covered.

This is a far cry from the Batman of the 70s and 80s and early 90s, where he was just a detective/martial arist/scientist who got down with every lady who caught his eye, and occasionally got his back broken or had a sidekick killed. The last ten years or so he's been the King of Monsters, the mack daddy of the cape-and-chest-insignia set.

Now, he always wins, against anyone. That's his super-power.
posted by solid-one-love at 11:31 PM on March 8, 2006

Ozymandias comes closest to Batman though with his above average wealth, intelligence and physical ability.

You forgot "insanity".
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 11:37 PM on March 8, 2006 [1 favorite]

posted by rudyfink at 11:49 PM on March 8, 2006

Depends on your definition of "super power". If you stick with the text-book definition and want to lump him in with Superman, Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern, etc., then he's only human.

However, if you think about it in the "what makes him different from me", then he's the World's Greatest Detective (hey, they had a comic called that, fer chreeeist's sake), he has the limitless resources that only a billionare could have access to, and (stealing from Hadroed), is "driven by a purpose and a morality that often verges on zealotry and/or psychosis".

I think that originally, he Bob Kane just wanted to create a character that people could find believable... pushed too far by criminals, so he fights back in the best way that he can think of. But in the nearly 67 years since he first arrived on the scene, he has become more of a super-powered hero than once was.
posted by Jim T at 11:51 PM on March 8, 2006

Shamelessly stolen from a Wikipedia article:

Super Powers: None. However, he is a genius, in peak human physical condition, and has vast personal wealth and access to custom equipment. He is also a master detective and one of the greatest martial artists in the DC Universe.

Powers and abilities

Unlike Superman and most other costumed heroes, Batman is a human being who does not possess any superhuman abilities. However, he has elevated himself to near-superhuman status through years of rigorous training. Physically he is at the peak of human ability in dozens of areas, most notably martial arts, acrobatics, strength, and escape artistry. Intellectually he is just as peerless, being at once one of the world's greatest scientists, criminologists, and tacticians, as well as a master of disguise. Given his lack of superpowers, he often uses cunning and planning to outwit his foes, rather than simply out-fighting them.
posted by Jim T at 11:57 PM on March 8, 2006

Actually, in at least one comic book, there was a story on the origin of Batman that had him creating some kind of drug which gave him enhanced physical abilities. What remains of the question then, is the extent and nature of these enhancements.

I'm no comicbook fanatic. I don't know from 'canon'. All I know is what I read in the comicbooks.
posted by Goofyy at 12:06 AM on March 9, 2006

Actually, in at least one comic book, there was a story on the origin of Batman that had him creating some kind of drug which gave him enhanced physical abilities. What remains of the question then, is the extent and nature of these enhancements.

I'm guessing that was part of the "Venom" storyline, where Batman tried a super-steroid when his natural abilities fell short. After various narrative hijinx ensued, he spent part of the story detoxing and was eventually back (as he has been since) to human maximums without pharmacological boost.
posted by Inkslinger at 12:12 AM on March 9, 2006

Oh, clearly I've missed the boat here.. I always thought Batman had some sort of bat/flying powers somewhat like Spiderman has spider skills. Oops :)
posted by wackybrit at 12:15 AM on March 9, 2006

I believe the superpowers emanate from Robin's Nipples. Don't try to talk me out of it, because I'm still enjoying Robin's Nipples. Also, it's fun to say. Try it.
posted by Zendogg at 12:16 AM on March 9, 2006

His superpower (one that he shares with a lot of other heroes) is an aura that attracts criminals and danger in general.

Any normal human could walk the streets of a major city for hours without encountering a crime, but his aura either draws him to criminal acts, or draws criminals to him to commit their acts.

Even a man with all of his skills and talents would spend an enormous amount of time sitting around waiting for something to happen without this superpower.

(and yes, I realize that sometimes he arrives late at the crime scene and gets to do some detective work, but as often or not he just happens to be nearby when something goes down)
posted by tkolar at 12:19 AM on March 9, 2006

I agree that Batman doesn't have a whiz-bang metahuman power, but that doesn't make him 'an ordinary person' or really make his (yes, yes, hydroponic, fictional, but if we're incapable of suspending disbelief for five minutes we might as well just crawl under a rock and die) feats achievable by anyone else. Batman might not have superpowers you can see, but he's far less human than someone like Superman or Wonder Woman. Look at the recent Batman #650:

(spoilers ahoy!)
where Bats seriously wounded former Robin Jason Todd, who he'd thought dead for the past few years, to prevent him shooting the Joker. DC finally laid out in front of us the truth about Batman (the pre-Infinite Crisis one, at any rate) - that his aversion to guns and killing was never a conscious moral decision, but that the man is so psychologically damaged as to be incapable of even allowing someone else to kill one of his foes, and even in a situation where the death would save scores of innocents.

In other words, the childhood trauma and, even more, all the subsequent hardships and trials Batman's put himself through have made him something other than human in the way he thinks and acts. The obscene levels of preparedness, determination and doggedness he shows are more of a superpower, in that they're literally extra-human abilities that couldn't be replicated without re-creating the exceptional circumstances that led to their generation, than any radioactive spider bite or exploding homeworld. The guy absolutely has superpowers, and the sort that probably couldn't be achieved by anyone else without the same sort of unintentional, gradual shedding of human traits over a lifetime immersed in pain, conflict and the worst of humanity.

I mean, the guy recently took on Darkseid and put him in a position where he had to admit defeat. Show me the Question doing that and I'll give credence to the idea that Batman's 'just human'.
posted by terpsichoria at 12:35 AM on March 9, 2006

Goofy - That drug was Venom, which was later used by the villain Bane.

Cribcage and Neal Stephenson nailed it.

Imagine you have nothing else to do with your life, don't want to do anything else with your life, than learn how to kick ass.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:37 AM on March 9, 2006

terpsichoria: hydroponic?
posted by tkolar at 12:47 AM on March 9, 2006

Bat man has the same superpower that, say, John Rambo has in the Rambo movies. He is really strong, able to sustain damage that would kill most mortals, smarter than most, seemingly psychic (as Roger Ebert points out, whatever tree you happen to be passing under is the exact tree Rambo is hiding in so he can jump down on you, even though there are thousands of trees in the forrest.) He's also an unbelievably good shot.

These skills are not usually treated as superhuman, and most action heroes share them, which is why action films exist in an unreal world where superheroic feats can happen without comment, and it is presumed that anybody could do the same thing, given the right amount of gumption and training.

But you're right. These actually are superpowers, and I would call them the ability to be Badassss.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:50 AM on March 9, 2006

Sorry, that should have been hydrophonic, and I would have linked his comment earlier in the thread if I'd had my coffee.

As a quick addendum, as I realise that my earlier answer doesn't make an incredible amount of sense, I think the batman of a few years ago was very much human-attainable, and was a relatively stable (if damaged and neurotic in more ways than he made apparent) guy. Things like the death of Jason Todd at the hands of the Joker, the earthquake and subsequent No-Man's Land and his mind-wipe at the hands of the Justice League (and the complete collapse of trust that caused) have all contributed to his descent into the state the mainstream DCU finds him in right now - so poised, trained and prepared as to be 'super-powered' beyond the point anyone else could reach, but also inhuman, broken and massively distanced from the people he claims to protect. I mean, his current Robin is terrified of him.

From the very little we've seen of Batman one year later (and likely post-retcon), he seems to be very much back to the human-attainable, scary-but-essentially-heroic version of himself, which is great if it's the case. I like the obsessive, creepy, terrifying Batman, but it feels like his story's been told now.
posted by terpsichoria at 12:58 AM on March 9, 2006

"What is Batman's super power?"

He's Batman.

Which is to say, he's not only a human trained to physical perfection.

He's not only an ultrarich human with lots of cool gadgets...

He's Batman. But why a Batman, and not just a guy in battle armor with neat gadgets? Because, he wants to drive fear into the heart of his enemies... not in some unnatural way, like Scarecrow, but with his appearance, stealth, strength, speed, and almost supernatural ability to get through any problem and still bring his prey to justice.

(It's very odd, when you think about it, that Batman never integrated elements of Scarecrow's arsenal into his. Perhaps he doesn't want to be too reliant on high-tech gadgets. You could create a criminal with the gadgets of dozens of Batman's enemies, and Batman would still find a way to win, simply because of his inner strength. I mean, he went mano-a-mano with Superman and busted his ass up. He nearly died in the process, but his heart kept beating.

Batman obviously scares off most common criminals... which probably explains those enemies he does fight are frickin' insane. Raging psychopathic killers aren't so easily detered.
posted by insomnia_lj at 1:14 AM on March 9, 2006

Alvy Ampersand: It wasn't something which caused him harm. This was in a comic from the 60's, which I'm citing, which may have been showing much older work (the artwork looked old, IIRC). It was his _origin_ story, not a side story.

Not that I have a pony in this race. Robin was favorite. I liked his sequined briefs! I tried amazingly hard to get my mother to make me a Robin costume for Halloween.
posted by Goofyy at 1:19 AM on March 9, 2006

In The Dark Knight, Frank Miller did imply that there was something supernatural going on betwixt Bruce Wayne and this mysterious force that lives down in the batcave or something. At one point, Bruce goes down into the cave and encounters this mystery bat force (or whatever the fuck it is) and comes back minus a mustache. The implication was that it was making him younger and stronger so that he could go back to jumping off of buildings and what not.

But anyway, if my reading of DK is correct, then the force just keeps him young and strong so that he can continue to do the things he does. That's kind of like a superpower.

Oh, and there are those who would argue that one of Batman's advantages is that he's a total nutcase.
posted by Clay201 at 1:41 AM on March 9, 2006

If Batman has a superpower, then Lance Armstrong has a superpower.
posted by macdara at 2:13 AM on March 9, 2006

You could say that Batman's superpower is not superhuman, but rather a composite in that he possesses the peak human capacity in nearly every imaginable physical and mental discipline, without the need to maintain each one individually to the Olympian levels he tends to achieve.

Most people, if they train with great discipline in what they naturally excel at best, can achieve Batman's level of competence in that one area. They would still fall short in nearly all others. It's not beyond human capacity, but it's beyond any one person's capacity. It's not impressive on the surface, but it's a composite that outstrips a large number of superhuman superheroes.

Batman's superpower is being really good at everything.
posted by Saydur at 2:30 AM on March 9, 2006

inverted slumber.
posted by rob511 at 2:46 AM on March 9, 2006

Comic book characters were originally pigeonholled into a number of genres. Superheroes were really "crimefighting adventurers" back in the 30's and 40's, much like updated versions of Robin Hood. Not all had incredible powers, but over time, the superhero moniker became an all-encompassing term.

As Batman wears a costume, carries fancy accessories, and drives in a unique number of vehicles, he's really no more powerful than a real-life SWAT team; in the trappings of the funnybooks, however, he's as much of a "super" hero as Tony Stark/Iron Man, Dan Garrett/Blue Beetle, or Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. .
posted by Smart Dalek at 3:49 AM on March 9, 2006

Oh, yeah: Oliver Queen/Green Arrow. No uncanny powers beyond the range of most mortals, but is actually a guy who actually dresses up as Robin Hood.
posted by Smart Dalek at 3:56 AM on March 9, 2006

"actually a guy who actually...". It's too early in the morning for me.
posted by Smart Dalek at 3:57 AM on March 9, 2006

Is everyone missing the obvious answer? From Detective Comics (featuring Batman) in the 60's, he was always billed as the "World's Greatest Detective". Apart from that he is obviously the greatest costumed character ever invented.

If there wasn't a Batman, then we'd have to invent one.
posted by 543DoublePlay at 4:11 AM on March 9, 2006

Doesn't he have super hearing?
posted by pollystark at 4:31 AM on March 9, 2006

If someone could give me an example of a real person that could be compared to Batman

Maybe Joe Eigo.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:34 AM on March 9, 2006

Holy shit, C_D. I've never heard of Joe Eigo before, but that was amazing. Why is he just doing stunt double work, instead of starring?
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:02 AM on March 9, 2006

His power is that he's a Main Character. This means there is no obstacle he can't overcome in time and no villainous act can lay him low for more than a few issues.

His superpower is that he is an Iconic Main Character which causes his ability to overcome and defeat to swell into legendary status. He cannot be beat by anything created by the current crop of comic writers.

His superduperpower is that he is still a Fan Favorite Iconic Main Character which means that not only he can overcome and defeat legendary threats, but he can do so in such a dramatic and total manner such that fans yell "Fuck yeah, Batman!"
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:08 AM on March 9, 2006

If someone could give me an example of a real person that could be compared to Batman

As mentioned in a related AskMe thread: Jay J. Armes, Super Barrio , and the Terrifica vs. Fantastico saga.
posted by Smart Dalek at 5:15 AM on March 9, 2006

Batman's power is his internal anger and turmoil. Plus, as many a ninja has demonstrated, as well as Houdini, there is a point at which technique becomes so perfected that you slip temporarily into the realm of supernatural ability. It is never explicitly stated, but it's there if you look for it. Batman's power is his alliance with his own internalized capacity for evil. He is the Dark Knight--but in the service of good. Kinda like hellboy in that sense.

Sherlock Holmes--same basic situation. Like Lance Armstrong, one of his "superpowers" is the deal he made to renounce his basic humanity in order to achieve supernatural excellence. So even when he wins, he loses.
posted by craniac at 5:17 AM on March 9, 2006

Upon preview, what Terpsichoria said.
posted by craniac at 5:34 AM on March 9, 2006

If someone could give me an example of a real person that could be compared to Batman

You might be interested in the episode of This American Life that contains this segment:

Act Two. Wonder Woman. Kelly McEvers with the story of Zora, a self-made superhero. From the time she was five, Zora had recurring dreams in which she was a 6'5" warrior queen who could fly and shoot lightning from her hands. She made a list of all the skills she would need to master if she wanted to actually become the superhero she dreamed of being. Sample items: martial arts, evasive driving and bomb diffusion. She actually checked off most things on the list... and then had a run-in with the CIA. (16 minutes)
posted by mikepop at 5:34 AM on March 9, 2006

I'd have to argue that solid-one-love nailed it. I've said for years now that having super powers as a result of being rocketed to earth as the sole survivor of a planet with a red sun is more realistic than the scenarios in which Batman continues to survive.

robocop's answer is close, only it does not address the fact that Batman is more of an iconic main character than DC's other iconic main characters.

On the other hand, I feel obliged to point out that, in the last few years, the pendulum has started to swing the other way, with a number of writers (most famously among them, Identity Crisis' Brad Meltzer) feeling obliged to "take Batman down a peg."
posted by kimota at 5:39 AM on March 9, 2006

Also, Lance Armstrong is a mutant. In the Marvel universe, he would be shunned.
posted by kimota at 5:41 AM on March 9, 2006

Batman's power is his internal anger and turmoil.

Close -- Batman's power is his insanity.

The reason he has the drive to push himself to both the physical limits and spend the time to acquire his mental skills is simple. He's insane. He was driven around the bend by the murder of his parents, and he's has a strange version of OCD.

Thus, (in geek speak), he's got 18s in every stat, because he was crazy enough to be able to work out and study enough to get those 18s.

The money thing sure helps, but one gets the sense that the impoverished Batman wouldn't have stayed so long -- he'd just become the killer daytrader, along with the super-athelete and scientist.
posted by eriko at 5:45 AM on March 9, 2006

It has been alluded to above, but Batman's superpower is that he has writers. Writers make sure that the supervillians he fights have at least one exploitable flaw. Writers make sure that when he leaps from a building there is a gargoyle statue that he can cling to. Writers make sure that the villians leave behind that one vital clue. Writers make sure that that stray bullet only leaves him with a flesh wound.
If we had the proper writers, we could all be Batman.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:54 AM on March 9, 2006

Batman himself is a metaphor for the evolution of mankind. Neither Batman nor the ruman race itself has a superpower, but that is exactly the superpower. That's why the biological concept of man is so successful: the lack of any specialisation. No fur, no fangs, slow runner, can't climb so well, bad swimmer and so on. So evolution has forced man to make up for all his lacks. That's what makes us and Batman so super. (Yeah, I know: loads of reasons why we are not so super - but that's the concept behind Batman, I think.)
posted by ollsen at 6:17 AM on March 9, 2006

Batman has been renvisioned so many times now, that I don't think you can fairly speak about the Batman. I prefer to think about a Batman in the minimalist way possible. My Batman isn't even the most strongest, most smartest, most bestiest guy in the world, he's just a very smart, very strong, very rich, very crazy man that is very good at a number of martial arts. He inhabits some quasi-1920s American city full of organized crime, is absolutely fucking nuts and so decides to fight the crime by becoming a frighteningly costumed vigilante, and ends up inspiring the criminals just as much undermining them; they start terrifying the city and other criminals with the same methods started by Batman. The city is too rotten to the core, the police force too corrupt for Batman to actually "win", and he probably even made things much worse by helping transform crime into almost a celebrity theatrical art, as much as anything to do with material gain. It's like why American is one of the only countries with serial killers, why we get carefully planned "school massacres" and others don't, why we get Jerry Bruckheimer directed looking attacks of planes flying into buildings and others don't - I think we secretly invite sensational "blockbuster" crime: celebrity villains and supervillain mayhem. Batman is the apotheosis of this.

There is nothing in this version of Batman I actually find unrealistic, which is what I like about it.
posted by dgaicun at 6:29 AM on March 9, 2006

Obviously he's fearless, lucky as shit and, like all "superheroes," never seems to age.
posted by Pressed Rat at 6:34 AM on March 9, 2006

God I miss Darkwing Duck.
posted by yerfatma at 7:02 AM on March 9, 2006

Anyone remember the Superfriends episode where Batman is put on guard duty outsided some fort or something, and the supervillian disguises himself as a soup vendor? He drugs the soup, approaches Batman with his cart and asks him (I think Wonderwoman was there too) If he would like to buy any soup. Batman actually asks if it was fresh.
posted by sourwookie at 7:02 AM on March 9, 2006

Terpsichoria--That's interesting what you pointed out about Batman's aversion to guns, since in the early days, he was routinely depicted packing a pair of 45s. I don't follow the series, so this was news to me.

C_D, FoB: You might be interested in checking out some videos of parkour.
posted by adamrice at 7:15 AM on March 9, 2006

Ditto to what Cribcage wrote and quoted. It's all about training, wealth, smarts, and athletic ability. And insanity. I still like that one line Frank Miller gave Bats as he's crouched in the shadows on a stair with bad guy with an automatic weapon descending from above. "There are seven defenses from this position. Three of them kill, three will result and one of them really HURTS." He chooses the 7th option, and then mocks the gasping criminial as he's going through the guy's pockets.
posted by Ber at 7:37 AM on March 9, 2006

I miss Frank Miller.
posted by craniac at 8:23 AM on March 9, 2006

Batman, Superman, and maybe even Wonder Woman all have the same power, superpower, and superduperpower I mentioned above. Nothing will lay them low for long (heck, Supes died then came back!).

If you have these powers, how you overcome your foes (superstrength, batshit crazy dedication, marvelous bosoms, etc) is just a special effect.

Evidence for having thais power include:

A) Being around as a title character for 50+ years.
B) Still being "the same character". So no Barry Allen/Wally West type stuff. Bruce Wayne is Batman. Period.
C) New characters constantly use them as a measuring stick. Whatever turdlet that drips from 's ass will invariably be able to beat up Superman on their first meeting just to show how tough he is. Yet Supes will still be around in 5 years.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:25 AM on March 9, 2006

Someone once asked Frank Miller if he thought there could ever be a real-life Batman. He said (something like), "No, I think he'd die pretty quickly."

I was prepared to argue that he doesn't have any special powers, but there's no way he could ever exist in the real world. So I'm going to say that he does have a super power: luck. It's not much, and he still works his ass off, but with that many people shooting at you, a stray bullet would get you sooner or later.

Alternate answer: you'd have to be completely insane to devote that much of your life to training with no real reward.
posted by Sibrax at 8:28 AM on March 9, 2006

Batman's superpower is to get gorgeous women to fall in love with him and have them still remember him fondly even after he ditches them in a cloud of batmobile fumes.
posted by like_neon at 10:46 AM on March 9, 2006

Batman is an interesting character because he doesn't exist in this world, at least not in any meaningful or obvious way.

Buckaroo Banzai is the same way. Would he be quite so interesting if he wasn't a neurosurgeon, physicist, and guitar/trumpet player?

That said, I believe that every human being has a super power--some ability which sets him or her apart from the general population. It doesn't mean that the super power is necessarily useful in fighting crime or even in daily life. It just is.

My super power is my inability to hit a stud with a nail or screw through drywall, even when using a stud finder. Which is surprising because I'm pretty dang handy.
posted by plinth at 10:49 AM on March 9, 2006

His superpower is to make everyone think he's straight.

Aside from that, crazy, crazy, crazy. And he fails every now and then too.
posted by klangklangston at 4:53 PM on March 9, 2006

He's insanly angry. And rich.
posted by JamesMessick at 6:57 PM on March 9, 2006

I think that solid-one-love pretty much nailed it. If you're looking for something straight from the comic, in the recent OMAC TPB Blue Beetle hacks into Checkmate's computer. This computer has information about all the "metahumans" across the planet (including secret identities, powers, associates, etc).

Batmans listing has this:

Powers: Genius
Abilities and Equipment: Hand-to-Hand Combat (A1), Martial Artist (A2), Utility Belt (Tech Factor A2)

For comparison Superman's Strength is also listed as A1, so the Batman is no slouch in the kickin' ass territory.
posted by freshgroundpepper at 7:27 PM on March 9, 2006

Do I get my 'best answer' now or what? This question was totally a joke, right?
posted by knave at 9:50 PM on March 9, 2006

Best answer: I'd vote for "force of will".

I vaguely remember some storyline wherein Batman prevents a Green Lantern (probably Guy Gardner) from using his ring just by willing it so.

That's gotta be a superpower, and it's consistent with his general demeanor and most of his other feats.
posted by Caviar at 9:52 PM on March 9, 2006

Best answer: So. Batman's super power are any of the following:
Crime Aura
Childhood Trauma

Utility Belt
The Bat Force
Jack of all Trades, Master of All
Main Character
Inner-Anger and Turmoil
Simply Insanity
Force of Will
Being a work of fiction

Darkwing Duck's super power:
Being able to talk

And so, I have answered my own question by giving me a list. My own conclusion of which one it is? Force of Will. I think the insanity is the side effect to it, and that the childhood trauma directed his incredibly will.
posted by TwelveTwo at 2:48 AM on March 10, 2006

Wouldn't that then make my answer the best one?

Just curious.
posted by Caviar at 8:40 PM on March 10, 2006

Response by poster: I was amused by just giving myself best answer. But I SHALL GIVE IT TO YOU!
posted by TwelveTwo at 12:41 AM on March 11, 2006

And now you know my superpower, too.
posted by Caviar at 3:39 PM on March 11, 2006

I would say Batmans superpower is his god like will power. He acts, thinks, endures, trains, and triumphs because he can will himself to do almost anything possible. Injuries, pain, whatever, are feeble obstacles because he can push himself through anything. Only the complete destruction of his body would stop him, but only because he would be unable to express his will.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:39 AM on March 12, 2006

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