During the Image Comics revolution of the 1990s, a book called ‘Tribe’ (not to be confused with ‘A Tribe Called Quest’) appeared, which addressed the question of technology in comics.  Specifically, it dealt with (or meant to, as the book didn’t get where it was going and disappeared after three issues) a character named Blindspot adapting his own invisibility technology for his partners, sharing the wealth of super-powers among the Tribe.  That sort of thing doesn’t happen enough in comics: Can you imagine if Daredevil had some light, bullet-resistant Starktech armor?  Or The Flash with a cool GPS and some targeting software from John Henry Irons?  Or, most important, what if the tech occasionally used to make Batman fly were part of his arsenal as a matter of course?  Bats can fly, after all, and the sight of a man hovering like an inhuman judgement angel could “strike fear” pretty well, leading us to today’s mostly rhetorical query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) is well aware that the real answer is “character-balancing on the part of the creators,” but I don’t deal in reality, asking: What’s the best IN-UNIVERSE explanation for the question “Why Can’t Batman Fly?”

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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3 Comments

  1. September 25, 2016 at 1:56 pm — Reply

    He’s decided that an actual plane he can remote control and call whenever he wants is faster and more efficient. He’s also not bulletproof and plane is safer.

  2. September 25, 2016 at 4:10 pm — Reply

    Because he’s a detective, and he’s only human (albeit a very well trained one). Going on foot, he’s more likely to spot clues than if he were high above the rooftops. Sure, he could outfit his costume with some enhancing goggles or something, but that means something else that might be essential would be removed or downgraded. He needs to see (and possibly smell and taste), and the best way to do it is being right there on the ground.

    Terry McGinnis can get away with it because the tech has advanced by his time (and he’s got help with Bruce running support and doing all the actual detective stuff) so that he doesn’t need to be right there in front of the clues to analyze them. Present day Bruce doesn’t have those advantages yet.

  3. Toric
    September 25, 2016 at 7:05 pm — Reply

    One word: Superman. Before Batman perfected the gliding cape even, Superman was flying around in broad daylight as a symbol of hope. If anyone saw a shadowy figure flying around at night, they’d get the Pavlovian warm fuzzy feelings that even crooks can’t resist.

    So there’s no psychological advantage to personal flight for Batman, and not enough practical advantage to make it part of his usual act.

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