Knight Has Fallen: Batman’s Six Greatest Defeats

Any disciple of the martial arts will inform you that whereas nice warriors can win many battles, they don’t grow to be nice till they know tips on how to lose. Knowing the worth of failure, and tips on how to get well when failure comes for you, is as elementary to victory as profitable itself, particularly in a protracted marketing campaign. And no marketing campaign is longer, none extra bold, than the objectives of the Dark Knight, who battles each night time to eradicate injustice.

Some think about Batman essentially the most expert fighter within the DC Universe. They’re virtually appropriate, give or take a couple of rivals. But even when he’s not, it’s his means to get well from loss which ranks him among the many best. On the events Batman does lose a struggle, it’s by such an order of magnitude that any affordable particular person would collapse below the burden of the loss. But Batman wears every defeat he suffers like a badge, rising stronger and extra decided every time, and turning into a larger hero from that tragedy. Last week, forward of Batman Day, we celebrated the Dark Knight’s best victories. This week, we acknowledge the true measure of his heroism, by celebrating his best defeats.

Batman vs. Bane

The web page everybody remembers from Batman: Knightfall is Bane “breaking the Bat” over his knee. But Bane beat Batman by working smarter, not tougher. Bane was in a position to defeat the Dark Knight bodily by first exhausting him spiritually (and, properly, additionally bodily). He did this by creating the situations that compelled Batman to first spend all night time rounding up his best foes after a mass Arkham breakout, solely to then should face this new masked enemy ready for him on the finish of the night time. Through his defeat at Bane’s arms, Batman discovered that victory doesn’t all the time come via martial talent, however cautious persistence and planning to strike when your foe is weakest.

Batman vs. Prometheus

The fantasy of the “Bat-God”—a nickname usually utilized to the archetype of the all-knowing, always-prepared Batman able to beating any foe—started in earnest with Grant Morrison’s tenure on JLA. To create their new Olympus of Super-Gods, Morrison bestowed Batman with deific ranges of crafty and technique for a worthy place among the many likes of Superman and the Flash. But simply as Morrison introduced Batman to larger heights of superhuman means than ever earlier than, the enemies that this mythic JLA confronted grew simply as massive in proportion. The arrival of Prometheus, a person who sought to rid the world of heroes, meant that Batman needed to cope with a foe simply as ready to take out every member of the Justice League as Batman himself was in his personal worst-case eventualities. For as soon as in his life, Batman was fully unprepared the primary time Prometheus beamed himself as much as the Justice League satellite tv for pc. In his defeat, Batman discovered the lesson that as you develop in energy, so do the obstacles you face.

Batman vs. Deacon Blackfire

The audacity of Batman’s defeat towards Deacon Blackfire, a person who ran a cult within the sewers beneath Gotham City, is that it doesn’t really feel like a battle that Batman ought to have misplaced. Bringing down a vainglorious, deluded and self-styled messiah in Gotham’s underbelly is the form of factor Batman does on a typical night time earlier than he will get to no matter the true menace occurs to be. But as a lot as Batman professes to be a logo, he actually can also be only a man. And on the night time poor Jason Todd, nonetheless new to his function as Robin, discovered Batman trapped by Blackfire’s machinations in a private hell of his personal making, the perfect imaginative and prescient he as soon as had of his mentor was tainted ceaselessly. Batman’s loss to Deacon Blackfire in Batman: The Cult is a lesson to all of us that regardless of how sure the percentages could seem, failure is all the time a risk.

Batman vs. Wonder Woman

The Hiketeia, Batman’s first true conflict with Wonder Woman, was a battle of beliefs as a lot as a battle of energy and talent—the distinction between justice, as represented by Batman, and morality, as represented by that boot mounted on Batman’s face. You can take a guess which facet received. Batman misplaced to Diana that night time, in his pursuit of a younger prison below Wonder Woman’s sworn safety, and it wound up being exactly what a hard-headed Dark Knight wanted to take heed to a perspective outdoors his personal. Batman’s defeat at Wonder Woman’s heel proved to him that even whenever you stand for proper, it’s possible you’ll not all the time be in the fitting.

Batman vs. Batman

Batman: Last Knight on Earth, the epic Black Label finale to the Batman story advised by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo all through the New 52 period, noticed the Dark Knight trudging via a post-apocalyptic wasteland to topple its tyrant warlord, the mysterious Omega. What Batman by no means suspected, although, was that he was truly a clone implanted with Bruce Wayne’s reminiscences—and the true, authentic Batman had been Omega himself, warped right into a fascist management freak via the darkest of circumstances. But one factor we all know for certain about Batman is that he’s all the time ready to defeat anybody…even himself. In truth, this was the very cause why the cloned Batman program was arrange—in case the true Batman ever misplaced his means. In the Dark Knight’s thoughts, the one power able to defeating a damaged Batman is an unbroken one.

Batman vs. Lady Shiva

That brings us, lastly, to Lady Shiva. Batman’s fast and easy defeat at Lady Shiva’s lethal arms in Detective Comics #952 was no mere trick. Batman suffered no exhaustion, no shock. The solely time Batman has ever fought Shiva pretty, he was on the very high of his recreation. No excuses, no handicaps. And but, he misplaced. How? How may the Dark Knight, the image of victory towards unimaginable odds, lose in a struggle towards a mere mortal girl with no supernatural, metaphysical, or technological benefits?

The reply is barely this: Lady Shiva is healthier. Because the lesson of Lady Shiva is that even in case you’re Batman, there’s all the time somebody higher on the market. There is all the time a much bigger, greater mountain to climb, one other objective to try for. And one other benchmark to acknowledge your individual limitations. Lady Shiva exists to show that even males like Batman are nonetheless solely simply males. And regardless of how far you’ve come in your journey to turning into the best you may be, you all the time have miles additional to go.

But don’t fear, Batman followers. If Batman ever really needed to defeat Lady Shiva, he can nonetheless be the proper strategist you already know and love so properly. He has a plan for that too.

That plan’s identify simply occurs to be Cassandra Cain.
 

Alex Jaffe is the writer of our month-to-month “Ask the Question” column and writes about TV, films, comics and superhero historical past for DCComics.com. Follow him on Twitter at @AlexJaffe and discover him within the DC Community as HubCityQuestion.

NOTE: The views and opinions expressed on this characteristic are solely these of Alex Jaffe and don’t essentially replicate these of DC Entertainment or Warner Bros.

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