It Probably Won't Happen... But Batman Should Check Himself into Sanctuary

SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Batman #53, by Tom King, Lee Weeks, Elizabeth Breitweiser and Clayton Cowles, on sale now.

To say Bruce Wayne's life has been flipped upside down lately would be quite an understatement. On the heels of Catwoman leaving him at the altar, he's been embroiled in a ball of emotions, which in the recent arc has manifested as doubt, guilt, grief and, as Mr. Freeze can attest to, anger.

In Batman #51-53, Tom King and Lee Weeks deconstructed both the man and the myth, stripping Bruce bare and showing us how vulnerable he is while highlighting the Dark Knight as symbol, yes, but a fallible one. Losing the love of your life will undoubtedly take you to these dark places, especially if you're not willing to talk to anyone. In short, it's pretty clear Bruce is very depressed about the broken-off wedding.

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With DC's Heroes in Crisis storyline set to unfold soon, you can't help but feel that as much as Batman likely won't be checking into Sanctuary, he really should be at the top of the list, given the inner-turmoil he's presently battling.

Sanctuary is a secret center where heroes and villains can undergo therapy and rehabilitate themselves. King has always focused on mental health being as important as physical health, which is why characters like Red Arrow and Wally West, given their own struggles, are being treated there. And just like them, we're seeing Batman breaking down, hurting over losing the person he loves the most in life, a chance at happiness he thinks is permanently gone. Sure, the Bat-family's always there for him, but Selina Kyle is his soulmate, and now that she's disappeared, he's shutting himself off from the outside world.

Even Dick Grayson is worried, because Bruce isn't responding to his requests to talk about his personal issues, not even with Alfred. As strong as he is, Batman is still a man, and Selina's exit has triggered memories of when he lost his parents, turning him towards becoming Batman, whom he saw as his shield and savior. Sadly, right now not even the cowl is saving him, leaving the vigilante questioning his purpose.

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His anger issues came full-circle as he nearly beat Mr. Freeze to death, while also lashing out during jury duty for the case. Fellow jurors were shocked at his bouts of anger, but as this unfolded, readers recognized how lost he truly is, especially when confessing he no longer believes in God. Faith and religion aren't things you'd automatically connect to the Bat, but Bruce really is spiraling down a black hole, forsaking the things he kept close to his chest, beliefs his parents groomed in him from young. Most notably, you can tell from his words and overall reactions to the jurors, he's issuing a cry for help.

Breaking up the sink in the Gotham court bathroom basically sums up this despair, which has even driven him to go back to his old Batsuit so he can find himself and remember who he truly is.

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But he shouldn't have to resort to the mantle of Batman for help. He can seek haven in Sanctuary. We're not sure if it's pride or ego or if he sees it as being weak, but a depressed Batman healing his fragile mental state would be the ultimate statement on superheroes and PTSD. We must remember Bruce admitted in the "I am Suicide" arc that he tried to kill himself when his parents died, so this could have been the plot thread to really cap the rough journey he's had his entire life.

Ultimately, the Caped Crusader doesn't appear bound for therapy (unless King has kept it well under wraps), but given what he's going through, he should have checked in long ago. The Bat has saved the DC Universe so many times, it be only proper, then, to let it rescue him from the depths of darkness just this once.

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