Even Batman Fans Misunderstand His Relationship To His Villains

This article contains SPOILERS for Batman #127.

Many fans of DC Comics are under the impression that Bruce Wayne is addicted to being Batman and fighting his villains, but a recent issue revealed that it's actually the other way around.

Batman's been in trouble lately as he's being chased by a robot determined to kill him. This robot, named Failsafe, was activated after it was believed Batman had taken a life. While Oswald Cobblepot, also known as the Penguin, was in the hospital, Batman came to visit him. Oswald then orchestrated his own death, framing Batman for killing him in the process. This was supposed to be one final act by the Penguin in order to ruin Batman's legacy.


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However, in Batman #127 by Chip Zdarsky and Jorge Jimenez, it was revealed that the Penguin actually didn't die. He merely faked his death and assumed a new identity and moved to Metropolis to become a florist. Catwoman eventually tracked him down and the two of them had a nice conversation. Penguin revealed that moving to Metropolis was great for his mental health. That city is full of light while Gotham is full of darkness. Being in that city meant that the Penguin was stuck constantly trying to climb the organized crime ladder to throw his success in Batman's face. He even described his life of crime and battling Batman as an addiction.


The thought that Bruce Wayne is addicted to being Batman is a prominent one among fans. In fact, many believe that Bruce Wayne is the artificial persona and Batman is who he really is. But this mindset is never really applied to his villains as much. Some villains, such as the Joker and the Riddler come to mind as they are constantly trying to challenge Batman and view him as their nemesis. But Penguin is a different kind of villain. He is a crime boss and focused on making money and controlling the city. The fact that he confesses to Catwoman that he pursued this success in order to throw it in Batman's face is extremely revealing. It shows a side of this kind of villain that isn't often discussed.

Another great aspect of this story is that Penguin is essentially cured of his addiction by moving away from Gotham. This indicates that Batman and his villains are in a perpetual state of one-upping each other. Of course, Batman's been fighting the same villains for years who consistently break out of Arkham. Penguin was able to break the cycle simply by moving to a different city. Also, the fact that Superman has a tight thumb on organized crime in Metropolis might have something to do with why Penguin doesn't feel the need to throw success in his face the same way he does with Batman. This just goes to show that Batman's relationship with his villains is more complex than fans realize.

Batman #127 is now available from DC Comics.