DC Comics continues to circle not only the creative drain, but the moral drain as well with their latest Batman comic, Batman: Fortress #1, which sees Batman flee from an Antifa and Black Lives Matter style riot.
The comic written by Gary Whitta with art work by The Boys’ Darick Robertson sees Batman investigating an alien interference that causes global blackouts.
As Batman attempts to figure out what is the cause of the blackouts, he is also called on to protect Gotham City after the entirety of the prisoners in Arkham Asylum are unleashed upon the innocent citizens.
Batman’s first stop is to a rooftop overlooking an electronics store that is being looted with neighboring buildings, some of them appearing to be apartments, being set on fire. The rioters are even shown waving blunt objects in the air.
Batman rationalizes that he shouldn’t put a stop to the rioters because there are more than likely bigger fish to catch out in Gotham City, despite having no knowledge of where these big fish might be, given the power and communication black outs.
Whitta writes Batman’s interior monologue, “Haven’t seen a night like this in a while. Last time it was this bad was with that damn fear gas in the water supply. Only so much I can do. Need to prioritize. Hunt the big fish. Protect the little fish.”
“These places all have insurance. Not my job to protect their profit margins. In my father’s day, the American Dream used to mean something. An honest wage for honest work. Food on the table. Liberty and justice for all. Now it’s an illusion, a carrot on a stick, attainable by a few, dangled just out of reach for everyone else.”
“A bigger TV. A faster car. Shiny objects to keep the masses distracted, while the world burns. You want to blame them for grabbing the carrot when the lights go out? Go ahead. But don’t look to me to stop them. That’s not why I do this,” he concludes.
While Batman leaves these looters and rioters to burn down the city, he does randomly track down a number of Joker thugs who are threatening to kill an innocent family.
He also randomly shows up at Gotham Harbor and stops Penguin from drowning a blonde woman.
From there, he also stops Joker who has hijacked a school bus in the middle of the night. Batman stands directly in front of Joker on a bridge as Joker seeks to ram him with the bus.
As Joker closes in, Batman deploys a giant flash that blinds Joker and sends him and the bus nearly careening off the bridge, putting the children’s lives in danger. Joker, not wearing a seatbelt goes flying through the windshield.
While the children are saved, Joker dangles from the bumper of the bus about to fall into the water below. Batman grudgingly rescues him rationalizing that if he let Joker he wouldn’t be able to explain his actions to the children who are watching him.
It’s unfortunate there weren’t any children watching him allow the electronics store and the neighboring apartments, more than likely filled with innocent citizens, get burned to the ground.
Nevertheless, Batman ends his night by heading to Crime Alley where he beats up a criminal who appears to have shot and killed a couple and has begun to loot their bodies.
While prioritizing certain crimes over another is practical, the way the story actually plays out, the rationale doesn’t make any sense. Batman has no idea where these big fish are because of the power and communications black outs.
He might have one of his satellites up and operational, but he tasks Alfred with using it to scan for exoterrestrial activity. He does offer Jim Gordon a way to counteract interference disrupting the communications, but he makes it clear he will be using it to contact the GCPD so they can bring in the criminals he captures.
Batman chooses to ignore this mob in favor of seeking out other possible crimes. Instead of stepping in and stopping crime that he sees happening in front of him, he chooses to ignore it in the hopes he will find other more horrific crimes being committed.
On top of that, he actually sits and ponders the crimes being committed and justifies ignoring them when he could have actually been putting a stop to it.
However, the comic also depicts the crimes being committed by the Antifa and Black Lives Matter-like mob as worse or could be arguably worse than the crimes committed by Joker and Penguin. The mob isn’t just looting an electronics store, it appears to be burning down apartment buildings too. It’s also unclear if there’s any staff in the building that have already been brutalized by the mob.
Penguin is attempting to murder one woman and Joker has a bus full of kids. How many women and kids are in these apartment buildings that the mob is burning down?
Not only can you look at Batman’s rationalization for ignoring the crime, but his decision to not put a stop to these criminals also shows that he’s a hypocrite. The beginning of the book actually opens with Bruce Wayne and Alfred beating down a bunch of thieves who attempt to loot his manor believing that he’s not home.
If Batman actually believes the rationalization that Whitta gives him in his interior dialogue, why isn’t he allowing these thieves to loot his home. After all, Bruce Wayne surely has insurance, right?
Nevertheless, the biggest crime of the book is the fact that Batman didn’t find a way to not only stop the crimes being committed by the Antifa and Black Lives Matter-style mobs, but also round up Joker, Penguin, and other criminals attempting to take advantage of the black outs in Gotham City.
Batman’s smart enough to figure out how to put a stop to the mob and move on to the next criminals. Instead, Whitta and Robertson sacrificed Batman’s character in favor of lecturing readers about the American Dream and trying to paint a violent, angry mob as sympathetic.
This is just the latest piece of evidence that DC Comics no longer actually tells stories about heroes, and they go out of there way to disrespect their own characters.
What do you make of Batman ignoring and fleeing the scene of a crime without attempting to intervene?