Should Batman Keep Secrets?

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Posted by No_Name_ (16193 posts) - - Show Bio

One of the most well-known and classic comic book rivalries of all-time is that of the Joker and Batman. In a sense, as bizarre as it may sound, these two characters complete one another; and this is exactly the premise that writer Scott Snyder is using to tell his latest BATMAN story, Death of the Family. In the current series, Joker has managed to capture Alfred and lay trap after trap for Batman. And although Bruce may indicate that the fight with the Joker is "between Batman and the Joker," the recent Death of the Family story arc seems to prove otherwise. In fact, it seems that the Joker has made everyone and anyone related to Batman and associated with the character, a target. So how will Batman protect those people around him?

The idea behind Batman was birthed from the greatest loss of young Bruce Wayne's life; the murder of both of his parents. It was through their death that Bruce found his recipe for vengeance and his thirst for justice. Along the way, Batman has gotten quite a bit of help. First, Batman teamed up with the first Robin, Dick Grayson followed later by Jason Todd (the current Red Hood character), Barbara Gordon (the current Batgirl), Tim Drake (the current Red Robin) and last, but certainly not least, Damian Wayne, Bruce Wayne's son and the current Robin. In the eyes of the Joker, the man who has been Batman's greatest rival, his family has "gotten in the way" which is why the character has made each and every one of these characters a target. So by making Batman his target, the Joker has also placed each member of the Bat Family within his metaphorical crosshairs. So the big question remains, how much does this villain know about each of them?

== TEASER ==

The start of this story-arc launched with the abduction of Alfred, the man who practically raised Bruce Wayne. This in itself should be enough of a red flag to signal to Batman that there is a good chance that the Joker knows of his secret identity, and by default, he knows the identities of those closest to him. Yet, Batman refuses to see things that way. In issue #15 of BATMAN Batgirl, Robin, Nightwing, Red Robin and Red Hood all confront Batman together; each of them are under the impression that the Joker knows that Batman is Bruce Wayne, and that by default, he also knows each of their secret identities. This fact is helped since, for example in the case of Batgirl, the Joker captured Barbara Gordon's mother and threatened to kill her. Why, of all people, would the Joker go after Barbara's mother unless he knew that Barbara is, in fact, Batgirl?

In the scene where each of them confront Bruce about this very fact, Bruce remains completely in denial. Even after each member of the Bat family implies that Batman's logic could be flawed, that the Joker very could have made it into the Bat-cave, Bruce refuses to believe that. Not only that, but he refused to tell them of that possibility. This issue revealed that Bruce kept a crucial detail of the relationship between he and the Joker from Batgirl, Nightwing, Red Robin, Robin and Red Hood. In a following scene the five characters explain that by withholding vital information from them, Bruce had ultimately placed each of them as well as those they loved, in grave danger.

The question is, should Bruce have divulged this information to the rest of the members of the Bat-Family?

In the view of both the Joker and Bruce, the rivalry between them is only between them -- and that's just how the Joker wants it. But is it really? Is this rivalry really only between Batman and Joker, or does it extend to anyone that might be close to Bruce Wayne?

In the first few pages of BATMAN #15 there is a moment where a bound Batman states that this fight is between he and the Joker, and no one else. However, when everyone both in close proximity as well as close relation to the character is viewed as collateral damage, then the battle is no longer between just the Joker and Batman, is it? The rivalry between Joker and Batman now extends well beyond these two and touches everyone close to Batman. As a result, keeping those closest to him in the dark regarding vital details about the Joker and the possibility that he might know their secret identities puts them and anyone close to them in a grave amount of danger.

Personally, I think it was very wrong on Batman's part to keep things from the other members of the Bat-Family especially when it might effect them and the people that they love. And although Batman is always right, what if he weren't at the worst possibly moment? What if he is absolutely wrong and the Joker knows exactly who he and everyone close to him is? I'd say that by keeping these kinds of secrets, Batman is betraying those he cares more about and isn't protecting them, but instead putting them in even graver danger. What do you think? Do you think Batman should withold sensitive information pertaining to the Joker? Do you think his actions ultimately protect the members of the Bat-Family, or harm them in the end?

#1 Posted by cacarl (140 posts) - - Show Bio

Yes...because he is Batman.

#2 Posted by GuruOfFunk (459 posts) - - Show Bio

I agree his secrets put people in danger and he probably should have told them but he's Batman. Secrets and keeping things to himself are kinda his thing.

#3 Posted by Novemberx2 (505 posts) - - Show Bio

these things would't happen if it was just batman and Alfred.

everyone else complicates everything.

#4 Edited by Outside_85 (13575 posts) - - Show Bio

He should have mentioned it even if he was certain, in my opinion, because he cant afford to run the risk that he is wrong. Like the members of the Bat-clan can feel at relative ease when they are in civilian (which is one of the points behind the masks), by leaving this out the Joker could have opted to take them all out in a much easier and less extravagant fashion than what he is trying now. Since right now he appears to be targeting the people behind the masks and not the masks themselves.

#5 Posted by thenexusrebound (264 posts) - - Show Bio

Yes, his secrets put people in danger, but at the same time it's batman. If you took that away he wouldn't be the same character.

#6 Posted by dondave (40534 posts) - - Show Bio

@GuruOfFunk said:

I agree his secrets put people in danger and he probably should have told them but he's Batman. Secrets and keeping things to himself are kinda his thing.


#7 Posted by AtomEarth2 (3 posts) - - Show Bio

he should keep the secret that his story is old now as is superman, spider man, wolverine, captain america, and iron man the ff...etc...just my opinion ;)

#8 Posted by StMichalofWilson (5301 posts) - - Show Bio

@cacarl said:

Yes...because he is Batman.


#9 Posted by kid Apollo (858 posts) - - Show Bio

Batman is NOT always right. the Court of Owls proved that

#10 Posted by judasnixon (9961 posts) - - Show Bio

You know if Batman stopped Bringing little kids out at night, to fight killer, rapist, armed robbers, and other unsavory characters, he wouldn't have to worry about that $h!t.

#11 Posted by bob808 (6846 posts) - - Show Bio

Batman should tell them the truth.

#12 Posted by Twentyfive (3052 posts) - - Show Bio

Secrets are good for my money!

#13 Posted by roboadmiral (576 posts) - - Show Bio

I think it has to be decided either one way or the other. Either he needs to bring them in and be close and share secrets or go it alone and be self sufficient. Grant Morrison with Batman Inc. was definitely pushing things toward the former and that was establishing the status quo that Snyder came into who seems to prefer the loner Batman.

#14 Posted by GothamRed (2615 posts) - - Show Bio

He can still keep secrets just not one's that affect the people closest to him. He knows these people, he's trained most if not all of them, they can handle the secret just as well as he can and they've earned the right to know anything that could affect them in anyway.

#15 Posted by SiycoBat (162 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm like this.

Batman wouldn't be Batman if he didn't keep secrets. He has done that since as long as I've been following the character. At times, most secrets are better off kept in the dark because they complicate things, distract from the primary objective and create unnecessary drama which is what I respect about Batman. However, certain secrets cannot be kept in the dark and if they prove threatening to everything you hold of value in the future, it will come back and bite you in the worst way imaginable. This is what is happening to Bruce.

Secrets that could jeopardize not just his identity, personal life, and work he's done as Batman but the Bat-family's identities and personal lives and work as well was, admittedly, a stupid mistake on Bruce's part. Honestly, he's been Batman for five or six years and thinks just because he's the best non-meta superhero that does better detective work than possibly Interpol, has better tech than the world, and knows how to cover his tracks, he thinks he doesn't have any flaws or weaknesses or chinks in his armor, so to say. He thinks he knows everything, he thinks he's too good to leave any openings. Bruce is about to get the worst wake-up call anyone can get and all because he did the stupid mistake of underestimating his opponent and overestimating his own abilities.

#16 Posted by mattwing87 (441 posts) - - Show Bio

I like that about Batman. He keeps to himself and is dark and mysterious. He doesn't trust anyone, even Superman and Nightwing who he is really close with. Alfred seems to be the only one Bruce trusts but I am sure he has even kept secrets from Alfred.

#17 Posted by snootchie_bootchies (148 posts) - - Show Bio

its not the first time Batman kept a secret. Did he tell anyone about Brother Eye? Well Alfred knew, I think.

#18 Posted by SnowyMountain (207 posts) - - Show Bio

Secrets are necessary. That's reason why superheroes wear the mask is because it's supposed to protect your identity. But their villains are often the most dangerous, the most destructive when they know the person behind the mask. They can exploit their weaknesses; which is often the people around them, their friends and family. Look at Norman Osborn and Spider-Man for example.

That being said, Bats is a touch on the paranoid side, I expect that he will always keep secrets from people--heck, I seem to remember that he has kept secrets from HIMSELF through the use of post-hypnotic triggers to keep telepaths from ferreting out his secrets--that's how paranoid he is. The thing is, is it really paranoia when there are people out to get you? What we call paranoia, might be a highly developed survival instinct.

However, I will agree that there comes a point where keeping a secret is less important than someone's life. Bats' paranoia has at times affected not just him but a lot of other people--well, providing that the whole "Tower of Babel" incident ever happened in the new 52 universe. But against someone like Superman or Wonder Woman, or a person armed with a Green Lantern ring--against someone just in a cape and cowl; I would want to have some sort of tactic or strategy in my reserve to take them down if necessary. Because you know that there are times when he might be forced to. Pretending that it will never happen is ludicrous.

The real question is if Batman was justified here in this situation. Did he keep a secret because it was necessary? Or was it simply arrogance that he did so?

#19 Edited by annafh (22 posts) - - Show Bio

He definitely should be telling them everything; just look at the recent Batgirl issues, and especially knowing how the Joker's screwed with Babs and Jay in the past.

#20 Edited by ccraft (12018 posts) - - Show Bio

I hope that it doesn't turn out that the Joker doesn't really know their secret identities. The Joker hasn't said who they are yet, but he has been attacking their friends and family, like in Batgirl. But what is going to happen to the Joker after this? He knows their secret identities, is he going to die, disappear. or is he just going to go into hiding for another year?

And CV what do u guys think about the jokes appearance? Will he some how get his face reattached? It would be a great discussion. :)

#21 Posted by Fantasgasmic (1092 posts) - - Show Bio

Batman should keep EVERYTHING secret from EVERYBODY.

#22 Posted by Brazen_Intellect (1157 posts) - - Show Bio

There are secrets that make sense, and then there is this one. No matter how remote the chances were that Joker had penetrated his defenses, and now had critical information such as the Bat-Families secret identities, all of them not only deserved but needed to know. It should not be Bats call to potentially leave his allies and everyone close to them in danger and be completely unaware should things prove to be the worst case scenario.

Whatever harm caused by the warning being a false alarm were far outweighed by the benefits were it a true threat. I'm sure Batman's hyper focused paranoia thinks otherwise, but good luck defending that viewpoint.

#23 Posted by InnerVenom123 (29887 posts) - - Show Bio

@cacarl said:

Yes...because he is Batman.

#24 Posted by Mr. Kamikaze (811 posts) - - Show Bio

Batman without secrets? When you get rid of what makes him such a bad ass, then what's left is just bad....or ass...whatever.

We can't have a dark and brooding heroic archetype without shady secrets, naturally. I like that he digs himself a hole while simultaneously solving crime, it's him taking one step forward and then taking two more steps while elbowing his friends out of the way, cause to hell with them, they should learn to keep up...

...what am I saying?

#25 Posted by Oedipus_Rex (42 posts) - - Show Bio

You're not taking into account that the act that makes them think the Joker made it into the cave happened before Dick Grayson became Robin. If Batman were sure the Joker didn't make it into the cave at that time, why would he bother telling anyone about it? In his mind it wasn't an issue.

#26 Posted by G-Man (40763 posts) - - Show Bio

Even his secrets have secrets.

#27 Posted by thiagofonseca (45 posts) - - Show Bio

I think this is a secret that Batman has kept from us. I'd say it's some kindd of retcon, but maybe it's just part of the untold stories of the new 52.

#28 Posted by Shipster360 (59 posts) - - Show Bio

the way i see it one of three things would have happened if Batman told all of them: Red Hood or Damien would have tried to kill him and potentially been killed. Nightwing , Red Robin, or Batgirl would have attempted to lock him away and potentially been killed. Or finally absolutely nothing would have happened because what exactly could they do? In the end, Batman's motives were very arrogant but in a way he was still protecting them from the level of paranoia he lives with day to day or even death.

#29 Posted by Icon (2247 posts) - - Show Bio

Keeping secrets which can endanger those close to you only proves Batman can be as wrong as anybody, but that's not entirely bad because it also proves he is human and has human flaws (in this case his arrogance).

#30 Posted by Dernman (19303 posts) - - Show Bio

It depends on the secret.

#31 Posted by SupBatz (2151 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm just not a fan of the way Snyder writes Bruce as a character. He's a great writer who makes for very interesting stories but his Batman, as a character, just comes off as inept and unintelligent to me. In this particular example, Bruce definitely should have told everybody about this incident with the Joker - especially after Alfred was kidnapped. His not even entertaining the possibility is just flat out denial of the situation and endangers everybody close to him.

It's one thing to try to humanize Bruce more but it's an entirely different thing to make him incompetent.

#32 Posted by Hazlenaut (2096 posts) - - Show Bio

When Batman started time travel for his revival I think he needs to start revealing some secrets because they are even beyond him. Now question to ask are which secrets he should reveal becoming time traveling is a first because for the sake of time traveling missions. He should have level rank for what secrets are need to be revealed on certain situation. He is a detective first he suppose to revel dark secrets to save lives and make sure those who endanger lives are punished.

When Bruce died allot of those secrets he hid were exposed for someone else to do the job. The Batman Incorporated are taking over that part.

#33 Posted by JayJayCAW (371 posts) - - Show Bio

ofcourse Batman should have secrets that he doesn't tell anyone, he's Batman, thats what he does lol

#34 Posted by BlackArmor (6231 posts) - - Show Bio

Yes and this is one of the times where "Because he's Batman" is actually a valid reason

#35 Posted by MadeinBangladesh (11639 posts) - - Show Bio

Why not?? He is Batman god damnit

#36 Posted by frozenedge (1465 posts) - - Show Bio

Batman can keep all the secrets he wants but if they concern the others secret identities he should at least tell them about it.

#37 Posted by YourNeighborhoodComicGeek (21409 posts) - - Show Bio

@annafh said:

He definitely should be telling them everything; just look at the recent Batgirl issues, and especially knowing how the Joker's fucked with Babs and Jay in the past.

Watch the language please, or at least censor it.

#38 Posted by comicace3 (9697 posts) - - Show Bio

Batman's secrets are only to protect the one's he loves just like any other superhero.

#40 Posted by BulletStorm (3 posts) - - Show Bio

I don't read Batwoman, so could someone explain why she isn't part of the family?

#41 Posted by cameron83 (8093 posts) - - Show Bio

@GuruOfFunk said:

I agree his secrets put people in danger and he probably should have told them but he's Batman. Secrets and keeping things to himself are kinda his thing.

#42 Posted by AdamWarlox (11 posts) - - Show Bio

As mentioned above, Batman indeed isn't always right, and I think that's the point. This is yet another story by Scott Snyder undermining the very strengths that make up the character. With the Court of Owls, Batman's almost blind belief in his own powers was more of a harm to himself. Here, it's much more dangerous, as it affects the entire bat Bat-family.

Should Batman keep secrets? Well, just being a superhero, I think you have to. You hide your identity to protect yourself and those close to you. The crux of the matter here is whether Batman has done more harm than good by keeping this particular secret. Did he keep it because (a) For strategic purposes, or (b) because he was in denial that the Joker one-upped him? I think the latter, and that's going to make for a much more interesting story. Good article !!

#43 Posted by Shinjiro15 (30 posts) - - Show Bio

he's batman

#44 Posted by MuyJingo (2828 posts) - - Show Bio

The secret Bruce was holding wasn't a secret, and the family didn't need to be told. Bruce is confident he is 100% correct in this instance, and I think in that case he didn't need to tell them. I think he would have if there were a chance and he felt they needed to know.

#45 Edited by irmensul (42 posts) - - Show Bio

Um..yeah! Batman should keep the odd secret..but he becomes a bit stiff & one dimensional if they overdo all that stuff

#46 Edited by mrdecepticonleader (19476 posts) - - Show Bio

There are certain things that he should keep secret.

#47 Posted by frankcmu (37 posts) - - Show Bio

I have read a couple different articles about this... I like how Batman's over confidence is his greatest weakness... We have surly seen this over Snyder's New 52 run... loving every second of this book.

#48 Posted by BatWatch (4936 posts) - - Show Bio

@irmensul said:

Um..yeah! Batman should keep the odd secret..but he becomes a bit stiff & one dimensional if they overdo all that stuff

This.@MuyJingo said:

The secret Bruce was holding wasn't a secret, and the family didn't need to be told. Bruce is confident he is 100% correct in this instance, and I think in that case he didn't need to tell them. I think he would have if there were a chance and he felt they needed to know.

Also this. The question is whether or not Bruce is right.

#49 Posted by NightFang (11416 posts) - - Show Bio

@cacarl said:

Yes...because he is Batman.

Perfectly said.

#50 Posted by Joygirl (20856 posts) - - Show Bio
Batman is a character known to be illusive, but is he hurting those closest to him by keeping them in the dark?

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