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The Bat Family is a paradox for me. On the one hand, I don’t mind all the characters and their connection to Batman. I get that while Bruce is dedicated to his mission and would never settle down - no matter what (low-T)om King would have you believe - he also won’t mind having a “family” of super-hero crime fighters alongside him.

That said, I prefer Batman to be a loner. He’s the lone wolf who works alone and has trust issues. Trust issues that should stop him from getting together with someone like Selina.

I get that Batman is a big seller so it pays to create a cadre of characters tight-knitted around him, but it just doesn’t suit him. A family comes more naturally to a character like Superman. Yes, even if he’s an alien from a destroyed world, he was still raised by the Kents in an idyllic small town in Kansas. He works an everyday job with Lois, his wife and they have a kid together. Superman is the family man, Bruce is the bachelor.

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Can we give up on the whole “I kept my identity a secret to keep you safe!” cliché? I mean yeah, it can make sense, but we never actually see why until no-one cares about it anymore. At this point it’s like probes and aliens; if the reference isn’t made then is it even about aliens anymore? Superheroes equal a secret identity that keeps their loved ones safe.

Now let’s think about this, how does keeping secrets from someone protect them? Well Superman and The Flash frequently have characters putting themselves at risk knowing “he” will save them, but they also do that before the secret is out. Maybe Lois Lane or Iris West will head into dangerous situations, worried about their loved one, something that is more likely to happen when you know them as a vulnerable person and not an invulnerable paragon.

  These all make sense and are worth exploring, but other than a passing mention it is never expanded on. Pretty sure “If you knew then my enemies would come after you” is a standard, recurring line in any superhero story, and it’s true. If Luthor knew that this total stranger possessed Superman’s secret. If not, then it’s irrelevant.

  Given how these heroes can’t leave their friends alone for long even in costume, it’s kinda irrelevant if the loved one knows or not. Lois and Superman have been seen together. A lot.

  If this isn’t going to be explored, then do something new. Do something fun.

Like what? Well “I was protecting myself”; people slip up, it’s true. The only person you can trust not to slip up is you, and even then there’s still a chance. Or “I was scared”, which is admittedly one that is done fairly often, but not usually the main focus. Batwoman is doing it with her dad, but I’d like to see it being the main reason for once and expanded on.

  How about “It’s fun!” Seriously, if you are going to be a superhero then why not play the part? A secret identity is part of the starter pack, as is destiny somehow roping everyone the hero has ever known into the story (seriously, the f*ck is with that?).

  There are more: “it was only meant to be temporary”, where the hero only meant to solve one crime, catch one criminal, save one person, but were unable to stop. This adds an interesting dynamic for when they inevitably continue: what do they do now? Fess up? Keep it quiet? Maybe go the Eyeshield 21 route where they’re pressured into keeping it quiet. Or they are aware that once they tell someone the truth it can’t be undone, and so want to deliberate first.

There are so many possible reasons to keep one’s alter ego quiet that I can’t think of them all by myself in the fifteen minutes it took to draft this, so why isn’t this explored more often? Well obviously it’s because we can’t have superheroes without the “protecting you” schtick, so we include it.


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Kate: -and then they started fighting. Like, a full on argument. In the MIDDLE OF A BATTLE
Duke: I feel you. Last week Jason had a perfect in to take down Mr Freeze and he refused to do it because Dick was being "a holier-than-thou asshole"
Kate: That whole family is seriously dysfunctional.
Duke: So dysfunctional. I once found Tim in a closet; he was just standing there, staring at the wall.
Kate: I once found him challenging a cat to a duel
Duke: ...
Kate: someone should really get that kid some help.
Duke: oh yeah. Anyway; did I tell you about when Bruce decided to bug everyone's apartments and then was SURPRISED when it turned out Dick uses his bedroom for sex?
Dick: Duke and Kate seem to be getting along lately. I wonder what they talk about? They don't have that much in common.
Cass: [frowns in thought, signs] I think they both collect baseball cards.
Dick: Huh. Yeah, that must be it.
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