WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for DC Comics’ Suicide Squad #22, on sale now.
DC Comics’ Suicide Squad #22 made waves this week when Task Force X head Amanda Waller declared Batman a metahuman, just before siccing Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Katana and the rest of the team on the Dark Knight and his Justice League teammate Killer Frost.
Of course, the big deal here isn’t that Waller is willing to abuse her powers by attempting to jail Batman and his fellow Leaguer. The potentially massive revelation is the designation of Batman as a metahuman, considering he’s been presented for the past 75-plus years as purely human, albeit one who’s better at everything than, well, just about everybody. So, did a single panel in Suicide Squad just change everything we know about Batman?
Well, not so much.
Writer Scott Snyder, the biggest player in crafting Batman and his mythos over the past five to 10 years, has quashed that potentially game-changing revelation. Responding on Twitter to a fan’s question about Waller’s statement, Snyder is unmistakable in his answer: No, Batman is not, nor has he ever really been, a metahuman.
“Not to speak for Suicide Squad,” Snyder tweeted, but Batman is not meta. He gets powers for stories (like ‘Darkseid War’), but he’s never been meta in nature… he is meta in his awesomeness, but that’s a different matter.”
That does lead to the question, then, of how to interpret Suicide Squad #22’s big final-page “reveal.”
Without overthinking it, there are two likely answers. The first is that Waller is simply wrong. While she’s shown an amazing ability to ferret out information on anyone she’s decided is a threat to her and her plans, she has yet to ever fully get one over on Batman. She may be aware that he’s Bruce Wayne, but that doesn’t immediately translate to her knowing every little thing about Bruce’s actual abilities.
The other, and probably more likely, answer is that she’s lying. If there’s one thing readers have learned about Amanda Waller, it’s that no matter what reality/continuity she exists in, she’s a survivor. And in order to survive and thrive, she often takes the truth and twists it to her benefit — that is, when she’s not shredding it and tossing it aside completely. Odds are good that she’s merely labeling Batman as a metahuman in order to pump up her Squad before sending them in to take on the one man who has made so many of their lives hell in the past. After all, three of Task Force X’s five main players are known as Batman villains, so what better way to get them properly motivated to take down Batman than to make them believe he has superpowers?
Superhero or not, he is only human, after all.
UPDATE: Suicide Squad writer Rob Williams has weighed in on the topic as well, stating via Twitter, “People reading too much into this. Waller/The People’s goal in the current storyline is to lock away all superhumans, Batman included… Whether Batman has powers or not doesn’t matter to her/them. Given his actions and how he runs with the Justice League, he’s a target.”
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