ACAB: All Cops Are Batman

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I like it! It has a very “Cory Doctorow”-ian sensibility :slight_smile:

I would like to see a more MacGyver-style Batman, just a regular guy who uses his engineering skills and “outsider insights” to solve crimes. A sort of film noir Jonathan Creek, but with “villains”.


I like that take on the Batman backstory, though criticisms of Bruce Wayne/Batman aren’t new. Batman is basically the ultimate white man fantasy of being a billionaire that also gets to beat up thugs and is above the law but doesn’t do anything meaningful to actually solve or address the root issues of why Gotham is the way it is. Tackling crime with immense violence doesn’t solve anything if the social and economic issues are untouched, Bruce Wayne spends his fortune making weapons and surveillance tech instead of investing in the city and its people. As such Batman is actually the problem in Gotham despite any inherent corruption or crime it might have had before, he’s actively feeding the chaos in order to justify what he’s doing.


In older comics (70s era, I think) , Bruce Wayne was definitely involved in social programs for the benefit of Gotham. Granted, this didn’t take up many panels of the comics, but it was there.

I still prefer Green Arrow. He even had a nifty beard.


Which is also why the “Good Cop that doesn’t play by the rules” trope is so common? Rote police procedure makes for pretty boring entertainment value for most.


Bring back the Adam West version of Batman!

  • Deputized officer of the law, not a vigilante
  • Doesn’t kill anyone
  • Solves crimes with his detective skills instead of heavy-handed interrogations
  • Doesn’t break the law in pursuit of justice (even jaywalking)
  • Personally sponsors programs for criminal rehabilitation
  • Refuses to put innocent lives at risk to protect his own… even when those lives are ducks



I’m imagining the scene where Batman is like a horror movie monster, picking off the bad guys one by one (non-lethally, of course), except it’s the middle of a police riot. You can really focus in on the one pig who suddenly discovers that he doesn’t have any friends, anymore, and who’s suddenly disarmed (by batarangs) and surrounded by angry protesters…

… who march right past him. Because it was never about him.


With improvements in forensic science, especially the fictional kind, Batman is pretty much squeezed out of the World’s Greatest Detective stakes. I could see there still being some wiggle-room for him due to the speed with which he can process his samples and sort his data; however, I really like the idea of doubling down on the philanthropist angle.


The best Batman stories have always had Wayne being a philanthropist, Batman taking great pains to avoid killing anyone, and have also made a point that GCPD is a very corrupt organization, with really only a handful of good cops and a whole lot of bad ones. I don’t recall any versions that had Chill be a cop, but there were certainly plenty where that storyline would’ve fit in nicely with the overall tone that nobody should trust GCPD (at least until Gordon cleans it up later in the storyline).


Well, keep in mind he’s the “World’s Greatest Detective” in a world where almost no one is able to figure out Superman is Clark Kent.


What?! SPOILERS, dude!


Not that far off from my idea of a retro Batman (EDIT: to clarify, set in the 1950s or 1960s) who uses “futuristic” stuff as Batman because it has to be tested, and a vigilante can be excused if something doesn’t work. More light-hearted. With Jim Gordon as the actual detective, the costumed Wayne running interference.


When the new film was announced, and they said they were going back to Batman’s detective roots, I was hoping for somethink like an old Republic* serial from the 1940s, or, even better, a German Expressionist style Batman. Like Cesare from “The Cabinet of Dr Caligari”, but with a cowl; battling Gwynplaine from “The Man Who Laughs”

*Edited to correct faulty old brain dribble.


So a less-militarized, philanthropic Punisher?

Or he could have “wonderful toys” that set him apart from the police force, emphasizing battles against similarly-heightened supervillains with ray guns and magic plants and exploding rubber ducks.

Good times.

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It really was a great thread. And he’d done another about revamping Super-man which was pretty good, too. But I loved his take on how to fix the direction the current Batman tropes have been heading.


Flash: “What’s your super-power?”
Bat Man: “I’m rich, oh and white male privilege, but mainly rich.”


This is a great analysis of modern Batman.

It also maps perfectly to every single police procedural TV show. Watch any episode of any version of Law & Order and play “count the constitutional violations”. You’ll give up at double digits. It’s a pretty old notion (perhaps going all the way back to Dragnet) that the only real problem with crime is that pesky Constitution hamstringing cops and prosecutors.

This is the fundamental problem with all superhero content too. It’s okay that they trample all over human rights because we like the people doing it? What kind of message is that? All that does is undermine rule of law as a fundamental idea necessary for the preservation of life and liberty.

I’ve been pandemic-binging the TV show Arrow, and at one point the wealthy main character and his friends occupy every major position of power in the city. Mayor, DA, police chief, media, and courts. This is complete and total crony corruption, but is treated by the show as an unambiguous good because these are “nice” people doing terrible things for the right reasons.

This is the end game of all “ends justify the means” philosophies (ie. modern conservatism). The process has to matter or we’ve lost.


Republic, please


In a world where rape kits sit on shelves unprocessed for instance it seems like there is plenty of room for a batman who uses his intelligence and the best available modern laboratory techniques to solve crimes.

But yeah, playing up the philanthropy social justice side of it too would be nice.


Law & Order has actually got a lot of criticism from the other direction… because it presents a criminal justice system where crimes are thoroughly investigated by competent detectives who genuinely care about who committed the crime and where dutiful prosecutors have to make their cases against suspects in a court of law. And in the rare episodes where cops are truly corrupt/racist/violent, the DAs are usually aghast and end up making sure those cops are booted off the force and/or prosecuted.

In real life, of course, the vast majority of suspects are pressured into taking plea deals without ever getting a chance to argue their case in a court of law, because the system is designed to dole out harsher punishments to those who contest the charges (whether they actually committed the crime or not).

Cop shows like Law & Order are a big part of the reason why so many Americans think we have a functional justice system in the first place.