I couldn’t become Green Lantern unless I was chosen by the Guardians of Oa, but given enough startup capital and an adequate research facility, I could be Batman. – Dr. Sheldon Cooper (The Big Bang Theory)
It’s a debate which has plagued nerd-kind since, well, since the caped crusader’s first appearance in 1939 with the very first issue of Detective Comics. Could someone, with proper training, advanced technology and the necessary funding, become Batman? We all like to believe that yes, it is possible; Batman or rather Bruce Wayne after all is human. He cannot fly like Superman nor does he have super-strength like Wonder Woman. No alien race granted him special powers, Batman is the epitome of human achievement. But is it an achievement any real human could live up to?
This discussion has recently begun anew over at Quora, the popular question and answer website, and a very well thought out and pragmatic answer is making the case for why, no, you cannot become the next Dark Knight. Mark Hughes states why Batman is unachievable and could only ever be achieved if we stripped away all the great nuances that make Batman, Batman. Mark explains,
The simple answer is, no. Unless you really boil Batman down to a very diluted level as just a really strong, fast, good fighter who can jump far and with good street smarts plus an education in crime and psychology, and who wears a lot of armor and a mask.
The genius of Batman is that it pretends to be realistic, it lets us convince ourselves that with enough money and training, we could become Batman, too. But it’s still fantasy, it’s just a fantasy that is more compelling and convincing and thus more fun.
You have to agree with the logic. As a kid running around the neighborhood it’s easy to throw a stick and be all, “Whoa, watch out for my batarangs!” It’s a little harder to find a way to reproduce heat vision, at least not safely and without having the fire department show up at your house and then you’re mother giving you that disappointing glare, oh it’s bad news. So Batman is accessible, more relatable because he relies on tools like we do in everyday life.
Also, you need to consider how brilliant Batman is. He didn’t become the World’s Greatest Detective by playing video games or watching movies. Becoming a vigilante against crime requires a lot of hard work. Assuming you were going to get yourself to a point physically where you could fight crime you’d also need to brush up on your crime solving skills.
If you joined the military and became something like a Delta Force commando of the highest quality, while studying nights to get a double-major in criminal justice and psychology, with a minor in chemistry, you might also have time to take weekend courses in detective work and get a P.I. license. Then, after probably 10 years to reach all of those levels combined, you might be 28 (if you started right out of high school) and would then need to maintain your physical level while getting a job as a police officer in order to learn real crime solving and detective work on the streets and at crime scenes, to get the experience it would really take to be a master. Let’s say you are so good it only takes you perhaps three years to become a top detective and expert in these regards — now you are 31, and just finished the most basic level of preparation you need to be an expert in just some of the most obvious fields required to match Batman.
While Mark Hughes essay on why we all can’t sport the cape and cowl may be a little dream dashing it is fun to imagine the ‘what if’ scenario. It’s also handy if someone else already researched what’s needed to become Batman and collected it all in a book of sorts. Well, isn’t it your lucky day aspiring do-gooder!
The Batman Handbook: The Ultimate Training Manual written by Scott Beatty can answer any questions you might have about becoming a vigilante for justice. For instance, how to extract a confession? How to throw a grappling hook? How to train a sidekick? How to take out a roomful of goons? And most importantly, Batman’s most irritating trait, how to blend into the shadows and slip away? There is a warning included with publication of the manual stating this, “…training manual is a well-produced work of fiction and should be enjoyed as such…attempting to exact vigilante-style justice is illegal…the publishers, the author, and DC Comics hereby disclaim any liability from injury that may result from the use, proper or improper, of the information contained in this book.” And I must completely agree with said warning, do not attempt to be Batman. But please do read about everything needed to become Batman, just in case, you never know what the future might hold.
Our world could go one of two ways: we could live in a world policed by masked vigilantes or those aspiring crime-fighters will just rip open a bag of Cheetos, settle in with the latest Batman comic book and let the police force handle the criminals. I’m thinking it’ll be the latter, for proof read up Mark Hughes reasoning for why we’ll never see our own Dark Knight. It’s witty, clever and all round true. Sorry wanna-be Batmen, there is only one (err…two now, I guess. Damn, comics are confusing!) But if your interested in gaining a few of the Batman’s skills read The Batman Handbook, I just can’t advise you to put any of it into practice. Unless you want to record your failure and submit it to Youtube, because then it’s just hilarious.