This weekend’s Retro Review took us back to the year 2000, when Batman’s fail-safe backups to defeat his Justice League teammates were stolen by Ra’s Al Ghul and used to nearly destroy the team.  It was a shocking moment, and one that has been used in lesser stories to turn Batman into something of a jerk.  But, as the least powerful member of the JLA at the time, (we’re not going to have the “no super-powers” argument here) Batman’s point-of-view is understandable.  The Agamemno Conundrum made it clear that his friends could become threats, and thus, having a plan of what to do if that happened was logical.  Cowardly, yes, but logical nonetheless, leading to today’s Machiavellian query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) believes the Martian Manhunter’s take that Batman must be incredibly afraid of his friends, asking: In your opinion, was Batman right or wrong to create ways to neutralize his teammates due to his Agamemno Conundrum?

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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.

4 Comments

  1. Daniel Langsdale on

    Batman has set for himself the task of keeping the world safe from bad actors. In the context of that job, planning ahead and preparing ways to neutralize beings with god-level powers should they become bad actors is definitely the right thing to do.

    This comes with a couple caveats: (1) it becomes incumbent upon him to then protect these neutralizing contingencies out of the hands of bad actors; (2) he needs to also safeguard himself from becoming a bad actor; (3) the whole issue pre-supposes that being a super-hero vigilante such as Batman, Superman, et.al. is the right thing to do, and doesn’t make them the problematically bad actors that real-world vigilantes usually are.

  2. I always had the problem of not understanding why the other “heroes” got upset about him having these contingency plans. Most of them had at least once in the past been put into a position of being controlled by “bad actors” or otherwise losing control of themselves. Having someone with a plan to stop them in such instances sounds like a good thing to me. My problem was with batman and his methods of storing such information. As one of the most intelligent Heroes I found it difficult to believe he would have a physical/digital copy of the plans….. anywhere. I also thought that he would have such a plan for himself if such a situation occurred , and would have given it to someone that he trusted, most likely alfred.

    TLDR: Right

  3. Jarmo Seppänen on

    Right, however it should be a shared plan in case of anyone and everyone going “bad” not something Batman can enforce at will. Batman was right, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a paranoid sociopath and just as dangerous as anyone else.

  4. Agree with Daniel and Jarmo about Batman being a bad actor himself and having to protect the world from himself. Besides the caveat #3 that Daniel mentioned, there’s also the basic thing about human nature that power corrupts, so those who can enforce anything (i.e., have power) can’t be trusted.

    My opinion is, whether it was right or wrong is moot. I can understand him being paranoid (or cowardly as you put it). But it doesn’t matter in the end because it doesn’t solve the problem; I don’t think it can be solved that way. The shared plan idea might get closer.

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