The marvellous Comic Book Resources this week posted a transcript of a New York Comic Con panel regarding upcoming Batman event Battle for the Cowl.
Here's an excerpt:
All of the combatants in "Cowl" have "different beliefs," Daniel said in response to the question of why Dick Grayson is not the anointed successor. For their own reasons, he said, Dick and Tim Drake will come to the realization that, though Bruce Wayne was irreplaceable, there needs to be a Batman.
Call me thick, but what's behind this idea that Gotham must have a Batman? Yes, Batman has gone, but he leaves behind Robin, Nightwing, the returning Oracle, Spoiler, Batwoman, Batgirl, Jason Sodding Todd and more. There are enough people there to handle any number of villains.
Ah, but DC might say, 'there MUST be a Batman. Criminals are a superstitious, cowardly lot!' Maybe back in 1938, faced with a supposed human bat, the likes of which they'd never seen. But in 2009, after more than a decade, in comic book time, of Batman punching their lights out? Hardly. I'd be more scared of Jason Todd aiming a machine gun at me from across the street than a man who never kills dressed in a Hallowe'en costume.
If the argument is that someone must wear the Bat-suit to take on the regular villains, how does work? Joker, Penguin, Poison Ivy . . . they've all seen Bruce as Batman so many times that they'd know pretty quickly it wasn't him. And word would quickly spread.
And how much effect does Batman actually have on crime clean-up in Gotham? The villains run riot day after day, there's never any let-up, whether he's there or not. Batman is there to try and stem the dam, he's not a deterrent.
If anyone can explain the logic behind the idea that there must be a Batman, please do. I won't hold my breath for an answer in the comics themselves, where the idea seems to be a given. There must be a Batman because, well, there just must!
We know the truth, though - there must be a trademark holder.