They make me nervous, books like that. They're so nice to look at, I feel like I should put equally nice things inside them. I feel like whatever musings I might make inside could never live up to the outside.
Oh, and this is for Sue, since she keeps telling me that she doesn't know enough about Batman to write Justice League fanfic ;)
The life of Bruce Wayne, only child of Thomas and Martha Wayne and heir to their family fortune, changed forever the night he witnessed his parent's murder on the streets of Gotham City's notorious Crime Alley. Standing over their fallen bodies, he made a vow to rid his native city of the evil that had taken their lives. Over time he made good on that promise, seeking mentors across the world to train him in the arts of detection, criminology, martial arts, escape artistry, the sciences, weaponry, and other fields that would enable him to accomplish his goal. Having mastered these skills, he returned to Gotham and adopted the guise of the Batman to strike fear in the hearts of those who would make others suffer as he suffered those many years ago.
His exploits steeped in urban legend, Batman fought evil in its many forms during his distinguished career, from the common criminal - such as muggers, rapists, gangsters, and corrupt businessmen - to the more exotic varieties in the form of costumed criminals, supervillains, mutants, zombies, and immortal conquerors. Although best known for working alone, The Dark Knight is also notorious for organizing and surrounding himself with makeshift surrogate families, such as his group of prot�g� Gotham vigilantes and his teammates from the Justice League. Although he claims to only be a reserve member of the latter organization - presumably to maintain his autonomy and loner credibility - there can be no doubt that Batman serves a vital role in the team's dynamic: as the financial backer of the League, Batman designed and paid for the team�s headquarters, vehicles, and weaponry and, as the team�s resident detective and scientific expert, it often falls to him to use these skills to decipher the plots of the League�s super-powered enemies. While it is true that Batman prefers to limit his activities to Gotham City, he also realizes that, sometimes, one must safeguard the world in order to ensure that there is a Gotham City to return to; which means that The Dark Knight will always be on call to aid the Justice League with any threat that they may face.
Cartoon Network on Batman: Everyone knows Batman as The Dark Knight who strikes terror into the hearts of criminals in Gotham City, but in the Justice League we discover another facet of this mysterious caped crusader. Not only is Batman the world�s greatest detective, but he also has one of the greatest scientific and analytical minds on Earth. Although he has no superpowers of his own, Batman is often the key to Justice League victories.
Backed by Bruce Wayne�s vast personal fortune and the scientific resources of Wayne Enterprises, Batman has access to all kinds of weapons and technology, from prototype hyper-drive vehicles to deep-space bat suits. But Batman is uncomfortable in the glare of the public spotlight. He prefers to work alone in the shadows, only joining a Justice League operation when absolutely necessary. When he does commit to helping the League, he brings to it the same fierce determination that he does to his own crusades against crime. Batman's grim attitude often rubs his teammates the wrong way, but he earns their respect with his unwavering dedication to justice.
Grant Morrison on Batman in JLA #1 (circa 1997): "There's a healthy amount of paranoia in Batman. He knows how to defeat each one of [his teammates] in case something goes wrong. So with every relationship with all the others, as much as they might find areas that they can agree on or talk about, he always sees them as potential dangers. So that limits what he's capable of giving to them.
"He feels superior to every single one of them, because he basically knows he is. He's the aristocrat of the superheroes... he's been brought up with money and knows he's the most gifted human being on the planet. He's almost so arrogant it's unbelievable, but he's not going to throw his weight around.
"Despite the other members' fears and distrust, Batman realizes he's needed on the team. As the 'ultimate human,' he's the team's problem solver, something [that] humans do best. In a lot of situations, the team will come to Batman and ask, 'What the hell do we do (courtesy of Wizard Magazine)?'"
Grant Morrison on Batman in JLA #2 (circa 1998): "The world's not supposed to view [Batman] at all, which to me is pretty crazy. Everyone is supposed to think that he's an urban legend who just happens to have a Bat-signal. As far as I'm concerned, the world has an idea that Batman exists; they've seen him enough to know that he's there.
"The world would have a lot less trust of Batman, but nevertheless they know that he's part of a team that also involves Superman. They might assume that he's the 'Mr. Spock' of the team because they don't know much about him. He's kind of shadowy and devilish, but they certainly know he's [in] the Justice League. No one knows anything about him, and he guards these secrets jealously. That's how he does his work (courtesy of Wizard Magazine)."
Grant Morrison on Batman in JLA #3 (circa 1997 & 1998): "At first, the guys in the Bat-office really didn�t want Batman to appear an awful lot in the book. That was kind of a struggle, because I wanted to have all the big guys. They didn't want to see Batman on the moon or hanging around with these people, but Batman can integrate with these superheroes and not lose what makes him tick. It�s just a case of playing with that.
What I�ve done is taken the high-tech, science-fiction aspect of Batman and played that up slightly more, so that he does fit into the team. Now that that�s happened, and now that they see that it�s successful, the guys in the Bat-office have decided that it�s okay [...] I'm just playing him up more as the kind of high-tech, James Bond Batman, which is the one that always appealed to me. The kind of sexy Batman, who kisses women and drives Batplanes (courtesy of Wizard Magazine)."
Excerpts from the Justice League Panel at the 2001 San Diego Comic Con:
Bruce Timm: He actually has a little bit more of a radical redesign, even though it�s not really apparent to most people because he�s got the black cape and everything. But we kind of went back to basics with him. He�s a kind of m�lange of both the revamped Batman and the original Batman: The Animated Series Batman. Since this is a much more colorful show than anything we�ve done in the past, we kind of wanted to have him blend in with the other characters a little bit better. So we went back and put the highlights on the black and we gave him the longer ears... we kind of like that because it looks like the old Bob Kane version. And Glen [Murakami] found this really neat color palette that�s kind of a charcoal purple instead of that electric blue we used to have.
As you might expect, he doesn�t really fit into the gang that well. He�s kind of a loner, but when the call goes out, he answers it. He says, 'Okay, fine. I�ll go save the world with you, fine.' But, other than that, he�s pretty much Batman as we�ve always seen him.
Courtesy of Revolution Science Fiction and Comics2Film.
Bruce Timm on Batman�s place in the League: "That has always been one of the big challenges: 'How do you put Batman in amongst all these super-powered characters and have him hold his own?' They�re fighting larger-than-life villains, so how do you keep Batman from being the guy who sits on the sidelines saying, 'Hawkgirl, you do that, and Flash, you do this?' I think we�ve solved it, though: Batman is the darkest of all the characters, but we've integrated him into the group dynamic and played up his technical expertise so he won�t really be too much of an outsider."
When designing the lineup for Justice League, no one was surprised in the least to see Batman as a member of the roster. In fact, it would have been suicidal to not have him there; out of DC Comic�s entire catalogue of heroes, Batman is the most visible, most popular, and most lucrative character in their stable. His is what is known as an evergreen franchise -- one that can go on indefinitely due to the fact that the fans will always be there to support it -- so, in that regard, it was Batman�s presence in Justice League that guaranteed an audience. Speaking in terms of marketing, The Dark Knight is the show's bread and butter.
Already well-established in terms of characterization from his previous years on Batman: The Animated Series, The New Batman Adventures, and - to a lesser extent - Batman Beyond; Batman has been established by the creative team as the peripheral member of the League: seldom the center of attention, but absolutely vital in terms of story progression and development of the other team members. Much more so than Superman, it is through Batman that we were initially introduced to Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Hawkgirl, J�onn J�onzz, and The Flash; and it was through interaction with him that their characters have developed into personalities in their own right.
(This isn't to say that Batman has not had his share of the spotlight: highlights include his tense interplay with Superman in Twilight, his investigations in Paradise Lost and Maid of Honor, and his showdowns with Dr. Destiny in Only a Dream, the Joker in Injustice For All and Wild Cards, and against an alternate version of himself in A Better World.)
In regards to his place on the team itself, Batman has taken on the role of being the League�s resident scientific expert and criminologist, which were the primary functions given to him by Grant Morrison during his writing stint on JLA. In addition, The Dark Knight has also usurped Green Arrow�s former position as the financial backer of the team, having paid for The Watchtower, the Javelin-7, and the rest of their equipment out of pocket (presumably through the same channels that financed the construction of the Batcave and Batmobile). Surprisingly, the one role that Batman excels at but hasn't capitalized upon is that of drill sergeant; although it is understandable considering that his teammates are already competent fighters (as opposed to the Robins, whom he trained from scratch) and that Green Lantern already fills that function when necessary (such as in Secret Society).
Recently confirmed to return in Season Three (which was in question, considering Kids' WB's upcoming series The Batman, a new animated series unrelated to Bruce Timm�s vision of The Dark Knight), it is expected that Batman�s presence on Justice League will continue in the same capacity that he has thus far. It is possible that he could receive another spotlight episode but, if so, it will probably be a shared spotlight (like with Wonder Woman in Maid of Honor); any solo stories worth telling could easily be spun into a new direct-to-video movie. On Justice League, we are often reminded that Batman is, technically, a 'part-time member' of the team -- meaning that he reserves his right to autonomy -- but regular viewers know that this is, at best, a sham declaration. Without Batman there would be no League, both figuratively and literally. He is the backbone that supports the team with his indomitable will and unshakable spirit... and we wouldn�t have it any other way.