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  1. #1
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    Default "Why doesn't Batman just use his money to fix gotham?"

    What do you say to or think about this particular criticism of Batman? I think "Batman" as a story does its job of justifying the need for Batman as a character. Yeah he's rich, but Gotham City (and the larger DC universe) have problems that necessarily be solved with money. And he regularly deals with people who have enough resources to bankroll armies of goons, doomsday plots, weapons, etc.

    Still, all that doesn't stop someone from seeing Batman as an elite who just wants to punch down. What do you think?

  2. #2
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    He kinda sorta is in the current Batman title.

  3. #3
    Astonishing Member jetengine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crossfist View Post
    What do you say to or think about this particular criticism of Batman? I think "Batman" as a story does its job of justifying the need for Batman as a character. Yeah he's rich, but Gotham City (and the larger DC universe) have problems that necessarily be solved with money. And he regularly deals with people who have enough resources to bankroll armies of goons, doomsday plots, weapons, etc.

    Still, all that doesn't stop someone from seeing Batman as an elite who just wants to punch down. What do you think?
    In the old days it wasnt too feasible an issue. Bruce was rich but not insanely so. Now he's funding moon lasers out his paranoia and buying the JLAs satellite. Its the same problem.Batman always has. To make him relevant to the rest of the DCU they harm his character.

  4. #4
    Mighty Member jb681131's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crossfist View Post
    What do you say to or think about this particular criticism of Batman? I think "Batman" as a story does its job of justifying the need for Batman as a character. Yeah he's rich, but Gotham City (and the larger DC universe) have problems that necessarily be solved with money. And he regularly deals with people who have enough resources to bankroll armies of goons, doomsday plots, weapons, etc.

    Still, all that doesn't stop someone from seeing Batman as an elite who just wants to punch down. What do you think?
    It's not a critisism at all. Bruce Wayne has always helped Gotham with his money since the begining !
    And none of the problems that Batman or the other super-heroes try to fixe can be fixed with money ! I don't know where you get that idea from.

  5. #5
    A Wearied Madness Vakanai's Avatar
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    Bruce Wayne does use his money to try and fix Gotham - it just hasn't worked. Not in continuity but in Harleen Bruce funded Dr. Quinzel's research hoping it might eventually lead to the rehabilitation of some Arkham inmates - of course it instead lead to a super villain. Bruce has used his money to give scholarships, help out the GCPD, Arkham Asylum, and more, but Joker still runs around causing mass murder.

  6. #6
    Extraordinary Member SiegePerilous02's Avatar
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    Because status quo is God and status quo requires Gotham to be a shithole.

    The out of universe needs (stories need to be written in crapsack Gotham with all its creepy villains to sell comics) unfortunately dictate that things can't progress too far to the positive for Batman no matter how much he and his allies and the non-corrupt cops of the GCPD try. People have a kneejerk reaction to nothing visibly changing, so it's assumed Batman only makes things worse and that he doesn't fight crime on multiple fronts (despite stories and media where he does this very thing). It doesn't matter how much compassion or wealth he throws around to benefit society in-stories, because the next writer will undo it. He is perceives as just punching down at the poor or mentally ill.

    Despite the fact that for most of his history he fights very well dressed and well off gangsters, aliens, monsters, ghosts, inter-dimensional fiends, and fantastical supervillains whose classification of being mentally ill is fairly dubious (the Joker being the big example). even if they are legit insane, most of them are also violent serial killers and terrorists. He's not beating up the average citizen with benign mental illnesses and would actually defend them when they are more likely to be the victims. At least when he's written correctly.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by jetengine View Post
    In the old days it wasnt too feasible an issue. Bruce was rich but not insanely so. Now he's funding moon lasers out his paranoia and buying the JLAs satellite. Its the same problem.Batman always has. To make him relevant to the rest of the DCU they harm his character.
    Fair. What are some other ways you think his character has been harmed?
    Quote Originally Posted by SiegePerilous02 View Post
    Because status quo is God and status quo requires Gotham to be a shithole.

    The out of universe needs (stories need to be written in crapsack Gotham with all its creepy villains to sell comics) unfortunately dictate that things can't progress too far to the positive for Batman no matter how much he and his allies and the non-corrupt cops of the GCPD try. People have a kneejerk reaction to nothing visibly changing, so it's assumed Batman only makes things worse and that he doesn't fight crime on multiple fronts (despite stories and media where he does this very thing). It doesn't matter how much compassion or wealth he throws around to benefit society in-stories, because the next writer will undo it. He is perceives as just punching down at the poor or mentally ill.

    Despite the fact that for most of his history he fights very well dressed and well off gangsters, aliens, monsters, ghosts, inter-dimensional fiends, and fantastical supervillains whose classification of being mentally ill is fairly dubious (the Joker being the big example). even if they are legit insane, most of them are also violent serial killers and terrorists. He's not beating up the average citizen with benign mental illnesses and would actually defend them when they are more likely to be the victims. At least when he's written correctly.
    I agree with everything you said. The problem that some people might have isn't really with the character, but with the way big two comics work.

  8. #8
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    Batman has to be focused on violent street criminals and psychos to work as a character.

    BUT, he could definitely do a lot more in his powerful, privileged position as Bruce Wayne than he ever thinks to do. The real evil in society comes from the callous, uncaring rich who do everything they can to screw over the working class and impoverished people and thereby create the kinds of conditions that spawn villains and crime in the first place. The rich who own corrupt politicians and pay them to screw over the poor and working class and horde everything for themselves.

    Bruce is ONE of that class. He could do so much to change that if he wanted to. But you know...Batman needs to be out on the street beating up thugs for the comic book to work.

  9. #9
    Extraordinary Member SiegePerilous02's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lilyrose View Post
    Batman has to be focused on violent street criminals and psychos to work as a character.

    BUT, he could definitely do a lot more in his powerful, privileged position as Bruce Wayne than he ever thinks to do. The real evil in society comes from the callous, uncaring rich who do everything they can to screw over the working class and impoverished people and thereby create the kinds of conditions that spawn villains and crime in the first place. The rich who own corrupt politicians and pay them to screw over the poor and working class and horde everything for themselves.

    Bruce is ONE of that class. He could do so much to change that if he wanted to. But you know...Batman needs to be out on the street beating up thugs for the comic book to work.
    He actually does want to do that and thinks to do it under the pens of certain authors. That's why we get instances of him giving reformed criminals jobs to help them so they won't need to turn to crime to support themselves, donate money to various social reform causes, and go after the corrupt rich criminals and politicians. Bruce isn't stupid and is very compassionate, he should know how this works.

    It's just that this is a story designed to go on indefinitely and there is a seemingly endless supply of corrupt city officials in Gotham, so if he works to get rid of one they will be replaced by two more because the story requires it. Gotham can't be turned around too much because then the story ends, unfortunately. Also, too many comics about the social issues can be seen as too preachy when the audience mainly wants fun adventure stories about a crime fighting Dracula thwarting the schemes of unrealistic, garish supervillains.

  10. #10
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    Bruce and his Wayne Foundation has always tried to use his money to to help Gotham by building schools, hospitals, clinics, housing projects and opening businesses to provide jobs but people are people and there will always be some people motivated by greed and power and want as much as they can get. And these people will do anything to get it, even illegally.

  11. #11
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    I’ve been of the opinion that a good idea for a story, especially if it involved the Court of Owl, would be to establish that a Bruce *is* saving Gotham with his money on a holistic level - that he’s doing enough to address poverty, education, and housing problems in the city that compared to when he was a kid and before he became Batman, street crime has actually dropped massively, while police corruption is effectively ended - but the costumed freaks and remnants of the old system are still putting up such a bitter public fight that people aren’t realizing it....

    ...And the Court is the old entrenched power system that wants to return Gotham to its old ways.

    Honestly, it’s something I think could be managed - provided DC was willing to make certain fairly concrete portrayal decisions for certain eras of Batman’s existence, and avoid letting someone just go full “urban dystopia” at whatever point they want. And I especially think it might be clever to have the Wayne fortune start out as “only” a multi-million fortune, then have the company grow under Lucius Fox and Bruce’s management, but have Bruce maintain his earlier standard of living and explicitly dedicate the bulk of his fortune to the kind of productive and helpful charity and business work that just fronts happen much in real life. He could be a billionaire without being someone who hoardes capital.

    Like, a way you could do it would be something like this:
    - Batman’s first years are a totally cynical, New-York-at-it’s-most-corrupt battleground, where everything is horrible, and Bruce returns from his trip, assumes both his playboy persona and his Batman identity, but gets Lucius Fox to be the Chairman of the Wayne Enterprises Board, which leads to a massive increase in Wayne Enterprise’s profits, Bruce’s personal access to money, but he *immediately* makes sure the Wayne Foundation is at full power.
    - The fall of Harvey Dent marks the fall of the corruption on the police force and rise of Gordon, as well the beginning of the collapse of the criminal underworld as it was under “The Roman” Falcone. However, the rise of “freaks” worries everyone, and make Bruce seriously consider how effective his methods are, but he is soon joined by Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon, and opposes the frost wave of combined mafia and freak attacks.
    - When Dick moves away to college, the situation has stabilized, and Bruce can argue he’s winning the strategic war for Gotham, and this may be presented by Park Row, “Crime Alley,” getting cleaned up, but not gentrified (don’t ask me how, exactly; I’m just making a hypothetical story). However, organized crime has successfully stalled its fall by installing Robert Thorne as City Councilman, and the Penguin has likewise stabilized himself as the Iceberg Lounge’s owner. The “dirtier” streets are now more spread out, and Bruce is simply having trouble trying to use just money to get areas like the Narrows and East End help - he needs positive political help, and Thorne has successfully stymied that (with some later revealed help from the Court of Owls).
    - There’s a resurgence in crime and an economic depression that accompanies the death of Jason Todd and the incapacitation of Babs... but it’s also established that some of the Joker’s misanthropic rampage is because Gotham’s next generation of citizens actually have had better childhoods than the ones before them, and given enough time, will naturally rise to a more equal and healed Gotham.
    - Batman, weary from the blows of the previous era and emotionally drained and darkened, trains Tim, but gets broken by Bane, who’s offensive strategy of releasing the crooks worsens the situation, and Bane notes that the city he controls, while still dark and dangerous, now has a spine and a will to fight on even with its protector gone, and we see Robin and Nightwing run a resistance while Catwoman becomes a de facto ally by both protecting the East End even as she technically pays homage to Bane. The Wayne Foundation keeps chugging along
    - Batman comes back, and manages to kick out Bane... and then a natural disaster devastates Gotham. I like No Man’s Land, I like the Clench, but really, you just need something that’s horrible enough and uncontrollable enough that it’s out of everyone’s hands what happens when Gotham returns.
    - The rebuilt Gotham has a resurgence in Organized crime, albeit one that’s now weirdly more focused on the suburbs around Gotham... just in time for Jason Todd to show up and hijack it to do a more hardcore version of Catwoman’s rule of the East End. Bruce fights Red Hood, and the end result is a less violent organized crime ring but the time it’s done.
    - Bruce seems to finally have brought Gotham to a better standard of living and brighter future...
    -... And that’s when you have the Court of Owls strike, as Bruce has frustrated a lot of their planned profit goals and gentrification plans.
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  12. #12
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    Often wondered this myself.

    My simple answer is - according to writers, Gotham has to be a certain way (dingy crime-ridden cesspool) in order for Batman/the concept of Batman to work.

    Once you evolve Gotham/ make it a better place, the concept of Batman would have to evolve as well. Which as with a lot of things relating to comics, is often avoided.

    Gotham still being depicted as an almost backward city does not make sense. Yeah I know - "comics".

    That said some writers have attempted to do this and was a welcome change - Snyder (52) and currently Tynion, though still waiting to see just how this plays out.

    I for one am tired of Bruce not using his resources in a more effective manner to wage his war on crime. Especially since that is his whole MO.

    Waiting for a writer (and I guess the editors?) to have Bruce Wayne to tackle the "street-level random crime" (argueably being driven by poverty) through the transformation of Gotham and Batman to tackle the crimes of the rogues gallery.

    Or something.

  13. #13
    Fantastic Member Gotham citizen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SiegePerilous02 View Post
    Because status quo is God and status quo requires Gotham to be a shithole.
    […]
    This is the best possible answer to the question: Gotham is a city created around Batman, with the only purpose to be the scenario of his adventures and these adventures require this kind of Gotham. At least this is the only right answer from an "editorial point of view", but if we want an answer from a "realistic point of view" I think we should consider that the money isn't the magic wand able to fix every issue, because if the issues of a city are caused its citizens behavior (like it happens in Gotham), only changing that behavior you can solve the issues and if the citizens don't want change…
    At least this is my opinion.

    EDIT: anyway Bruce Wayne often used and uses his money to help Gotham, for example he was one of the greatest financier of the Gotham reconstruction after No Man's Land; if I'm not wrong.

  14. #14

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    If I remember correctly didn't Bruce give jobs to at-risk youths in Gotham?

    In Morrison's Batman there was this girl who was a sex worker that ended up working at WayneTech.

    I think Bruce used his companies to fund shelters and giving jobs; I remember in Brubaker's Batman he would give former henchmen jobs at WayneTech to turn their lives around

  15. #15
    Amazing Member Wrestler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toreador View Post
    Bruce and his Wayne Foundation has always tried to use his money to to help Gotham by building schools, hospitals, clinics, housing projects and opening businesses to provide jobs but people are people and there will always be some people motivated by greed and power and want as much as they can get. And these people will do anything to get it, even illegally.
    That's the best answer.

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