World's greatest detective doing some horrible detecting


A problem with the depiction of most comic book characters is that they are usually pretty well portrayed within their own titles, but when they appear elsewhere in the universe they often are fit into the story instead of making the story fit them.  I think one of the characters that this affects the most is Batman, who is unlike most other heroes except when he interacts with them directly.  This means that JLA Batman is pretty much different from Gotham Batman.  Another aspect of this though is when Batman's shows up as and does detective work which is either done horribly or mostly pointless.  As an example of detective work which was done horribly is when he snuck into Belle Reve prison in the 1980s Suicide Squad to steal some files but left behind the slip cover for his sloppy disk.  The more recent and completly pointless use of his detecting abilities was in an issue of Wonder Woman where she calls him in to help find a murderer at which point he proceeds to check the videotapes where he sees it was Doctor Psycho.  It seemed strange to me that she had to call in Batman to check video tapes - does she not have an intern for those kind of things?  Of course all characters lose something of their characteristics when they are portrayed elsewhere - Superman can be displayed as a superstrong hero that only knows how to punch things, which ignores the complexities of his character, or Wonder Woman is shown as a shrewd warrior which ignores her mostly pacifistic nature.  Still with Batman this is one of the defining aspects of the character and it seems like if the writers can't write good detecting then they just shouldn't bother.   
7 Comments
7 Comments
Posted by azza04

Yeah I notice this alot with Superman. In his own title he often displays what could be called genius level intelligence (or above genius, seeing as he has access to highly advance knowledge and technology.) He is also sometimes portrayed as being able to learn things very quickly. But when he is paired up with Batman his intelligence is dumbed down to the point where you think he has only average human intelligence and understanding.

I don't really mind it as such, it just seems unlikely when you consider all Supermans gifts and the way he can view the world through eyes which can see pretty much everything. I think it would be better if Supes was just portrayed as someone with above average intelligence but know more. He has enough cool powers without being super smart as well.

Posted by Primmaster64
@azza04: Just to make Batman look better.
Posted by azza04
@Primmaster64: Yep, I don't mind it that much. It's just when they make it look like Superman can't even comprehend Batmans thinking. One minute Supes is reverse engineering highly advanced alien technology, the next he's staring in awe at some gadget Batman pulls out of his belt. It doesn't make sense.    
Posted by CATPANEXE

As always, a character is only as intelligent and educated as the person writing them.

Posted by cosmo111687

I agree. A character's essence is usually diluted whenever they are shoe-horned into a team book - and even worse when they make cameos (which is often more a business decision than a creative one, since having two popular heroes on the cover could boost sales.) Although there are times when a team book or cross-over is great because they can reveal new sides to the character that haven't been seen before through their interaction with different characters. I think a lot of it has to do with how economically time is given to each character and how much the writer understands each character. 
 
By the way, I would love to be Wonder Woman's intern. Where do I sign up? :)

Posted by Sydpart2

um he did great detective work in Morrison's run on JLA...I think it's more of a writer thing than a character thing...

Posted by MisterMollusk

When it comes to Superman and Batman, I think that while Superman is really intelligent, he doesn't have the gift for lateral thinking and ingenuity that Batman has. Also, Batman is a stone-cold mother fucker and his mind just goes about things in ways that Superman would never even consider. Conversely, I'm sure Superman could develop technologies that Batman could never make.