Batman’s Tough Love

From ‘The Dark Knight Returns: Part 1’, a news feature says this, ‘[Bruce] Wayne [who is Batman], who sponsored Dent’s [Two-Face the villain] rehabilitation, had this to say just days before Dent’s release: “As a city, we have to give Harvey every chance to return to society. We must believe we can all defeat our own private demons.”

Contrary to the popular imagery of Batman as being vengeful against all criminals because he sees the shadow of the one who killed his parents when he was a boy, the truth is, Batman is very forgiving! He gives second chances, time and again to the darkest of villains in Gotham, even if they are repeat offenders who go through the revolving doors of Arkham Asylum and prison. The very fact that he avoids killing as much as possible means he sees hope of rehabilitation. Batman just happens to have tough love, that is so tough that we tend to focus on the toughness and forget that it is based on love. Yes, somewhat like a wrathful Bodhisattva, albeit an imperfect one.

There is the cool idea in the animation, that the Bat Light is used to summon Batman despite the secrecy of his identity because it is a way to let everyone know Batman is coming. It’s a beacon of hope for the good and a warning to the evil. Yet, despite Batman being the public enemy of public enemies, he is actually their great public friend, hoping to direct that to turn over a new leaf.

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