Not all heroes wear masks. But the ones who do always seem like they’ve got something to hide. Whether you’re a citizen of Gotham or just a member of certain superhero-dedicated message boards, you’ve probably heard your share of theories about who might be under the cowl of Gotham City’s caped crusader, the Batman. But in case you haven’t, one of the more audacious theories making the rounds lately points the finger at -- we hope you’re sitting down -- Gotham’s own gadabout playboy billionaire and CEO of Wayne Enterprises, Bruce Wayne. Any rational person would dismiss this outright, of course. It would be like suggesting Lex Luthor put on a wig and flew around as Superman, or that Oliver Queen was Green Lantern. But because certain rumor mongers are so insistent to the contrary, DC Universe is here to set the record straight. Here are 7 perfectly good reasons why Batman absolutely cannot be Bruce Wayne.
1. WHEN WOULD HE SLEEP?
As one of the two smartest businessmen on Earth (we’re legally obligated to say “one of” after a lawsuit from LexCorp), Bruce Wayne is hard at work running his international conglomerate and philanthropic organizations all day, every day. As the sun goes down, he’s always seen at some glamorous gala or opening event, honoring the social engagements that come with being one of the super-rich. And every night, Batman patrols the streets of Gotham for Super-Villain activity, battles global threats alongside the Justice League, mentors his own team of Outsiders… we’ve done the math, and there simply aren’t enough hours in the day. Like William Shakespeare or Johann Sebastian Bach, a rational look at the output of this supposed single figure warrants a much more likely theory that multiple men are involved. Now, we’re not saying there’s no relation between the two. Bruce Wayne is well-documented as one of the bankrollers behind (the now mainly defunct) Batman, Incorporated. But just because Al Gore was there when it happened, does that mean he invented the internet?
2. HE’S ALWAYS DRINKING
There’s a reason that the quintessential picture of Bruce Wayne at any social function is of an eligible bachelorette in one hand, and a sparkling drink in the other. For all his charitable works and brilliant initiatives, it’s hard to find a time off the clock that Brucie isn’t putting it down. We’re just saying that if Bruce Wayne really was Batman, there would be a whole lot more Batmobile crashes throughout Gotham City. How could he fight Two-Face if it looked like he literally had two faces? (Now, we should note at this point that the Bruce Truthers- or “Bruthers-” like to argue that all those drinks are secretly just ginger ale. But that explanation seems a little desperate to us.)
3. WE’VE SEEN THEM IN THE SAME ROOM TOGETHER
As with any bold claim, it’s important to check your sources. So let’s take a look at the origin of this Batman/Bruce theory. Who was the first person to float it? Oh yes, let’s see here… it was Hugo Strange, one of Gotham City’s first Super-Villains! After claiming to have discovered the truth behind Batman’s identity, Strange offered his secret to the highest bidder… only for both Batman and Bruce Wayne to appear at the auction. Since then, Bruce Wayne and Batman have appeared together on a number of occasions- most notably when some criminal has made the mistake of besieging Wayne Manor- but it’s worth noting that this spurious claim was thoroughly debunked the moment it was made.
4. BRUCE WAS AROUND WHEN BATMAN DIED
It was the shot heard ‘round the Multiverse — when at the climax of the (so-called) Final Crisis, The Day that Evil Won, Batman and the almighty Darkseid exchanged blows, and the Dark Knight fell. Of course, as has been the case with all of Earth’s greatest heroes, death proved little more than a temporary inconvenience. But what you may not remember is that during his entire absence, Bruce Wayne remained at the helm of Wayne Enterprises. Admittedly, some of his business practices at the time were erratic at best, and verging upon self-sabotage at worst. And those close to him remarked at the time that he almost seemed like an entirely different person. But that can surely be chalked up to the shock and malaise that all of Gotham felt with the loss of their most stalwart protector. (This is where the Bruthers really go off the rails, with claims involving time travel, plastic surgery, and someone they call “Doctor Hurt” who’s either supposed to be Thomas Wayne or The Devil? #CallArkham.)
5. CHILD ENDANGERMENT
The first great tragedy of Bruce Wayne’s life, as he’ll surely tell you after half a drink, was the murder of his parents before his eyes one night in Crime Alley. The second was the loss of his second ward, inner city Gothamite Jason Todd. While the Wayne Estate has been understandably private about the circumstances of young Jason’s demise, it’s unthinkable that after such a tragedy Bruce would put on his cape and shove a child who couldn’t be much older than Jason himself right into the line of fire. What kind of a-hole would you have to be?
6. BRUCE WAYNE: MURDERER?
Okay, now let’s spill a little tea. We’re not without our own Bruce Wayne conspiracy theories, after all. It’s a news story that’s largely been swept under the rug, but it wasn’t really too long ago that Bruce Wayne stood accused of the murder of one of his many paramours, talk show host Vesper Fairchild. Overwhelming evidence at the time pointed in the direction of the billionaire, leading to a nationwide manhunt when Wayne went on the lam to escape his sentencing. Conveniently, Bruce returned once a new culprit was found: the notorious assassin David Cain. But it’s our opinion that as a contract killer, SOMEBODY had to hire Cain for him to take the hit… and the most likely suspect is obvious. Batman, on the other hand, is well known for his intolerance for gun violence and murder of all kinds. So is Bruce Wayne a murderer? We can’t say for sure. But if he is, then he’s not Batman.
7. THAT SUIT. UGH.
One thing we can all agree on is that the Batman suit looks absolutely sick as hell. That is undeniable. Our fashion conscience can simply not accept that the same person who dresses like Batman would go out wearing THIS suit. Tan slacks with a brown blazer, canary yellow shirt, and black tie? Topped off by an auburn trench coat???
So, that leaves us with a big question. If Batman isn’t Bruce Wayne, then who IS he? Well, we all have our theories. Ever wonder why you never seem to see Superman flying around at night…?