Batman and Gotham City are synonymous. The overgrown criminal-infested jungle known as Gotham City has only one claim to fame in the real world: Bruce Wayne, aka Batman. Since 1939, readers have seen thousands of action-filled adventures starring the Dark Knight, with Gotham City almost always acting as the backdrop. Though there have been others added to the fold, Batman is Gotham’s original, and most famous, protector. Batman and Gotham City are one in the same... but is that always a good thing? Although we love Batman, we’re quick to admit that he isn’t perfect. Over the years, Batman’s shown some serious character flaws that make us wonder whether he’s the right masked vigilante for the job. The fact that Bruce Wayne recruits orphans to fight his battles is honestly enough of a reason to put his “Bat” title into question.
This is where Batwoman, aka Kate Kane, comes in. As a recent addition to the Bat family, Batwoman represents a new era for Gotham heroes. A fresh face, bringing new methods of fighting crime, may be exactly what Gotham needs. She doesn’t have the fan-following that Batman has, but Kate does have a lot of traits that make her a perfect candidate to replace Batman. Of course, she also has her own issues that could leave Gotham City in a worse position than it is with Batman. In order to decide who Gotham needs more, CBR is counting down ten reasons why Batwoman is a better choice than Batman, nine reasons why she’s a worse choice, and one reason why they’re both not cut out for the job.
20 WHY SHE'S BETTER: DOESN'T SOLELY RELY ON TECH
Without the Bat Cave, the Batmobile, the Batarang, and all the other bat-related paraphernalia stowed away in Wayne Manor, who is Batman besides just a guy in a cape? True, he’s highly trained and in peak physical condition but without his fancy gadgets, he isn’t much better than your average Olympian.
Batwoman has fancy tech too -- she’s a bat, so of course she has your typical array of Batarangs and bulletproof capes. The difference between her and Batman is her level of reliance on that tech. Unlike Batman, Batwoman frequently fights without any gadgets. She prefers fist-fighting and guns to things like boot-mounted rockets and lasers. For Gotham, this means that were something to happen to all of Batwoman’s gadgets, she’d be better off.
19 WHY BATMAN IS BETTER: HAS A HISTORY IN GOTHAM
Even though Kate Kane is supposed to be around the same age as her cousin Bruce Wayne, the two bats definitely don’t have the same level of experience when it comes to Gotham City. In the realm of experience, Batman has a clear edge over Batwoman. In the years he’s been fighting Gotham’s crime-filled battles, Batman’s encountered hundreds of different villains. During each encounter, Batman learned a little more about his opponent, which makes taking them down the second time a lot easier.
Batwoman is a fairly new player on Gotham’s streets. She isn’t as familiar with the classic crime rings as Batman, which puts a Batwoman-protected Gotham City at a disadvantage.
18 WHY SHE'S BETTER: A SOLDIER FIRST
If Batman #50 taught us anything, it’s that Batman will always be the orphaned child -- that’s what drives him to be Batman. Without his parents’ murders, he would never have suited up. Kate had a similar childhood, losing her mother at a young age, but that tragedy doesn’t define her like it does Batman. Does she want to keep kids from going through the pain that she went through? Of course. But, at her core, her decision to be Batwoman revolves around her desire to serve her country. She’s a soldier first and a motherless child second.
Unlike with Batman, if Kate were to find happiness, she’d still be Batwoman. If Batman finally got over his tragedy, Gotham would be left unarmed.
17 WHY BATMAN IS BETTER: HAS MORE RESOURCES
In comics, money sometimes doesn’t seem real. Every major superhero has a couple of millions stashed away to pay for all those fancy suits and space stations. Still, the differences between various heroes’ bank accounts can be exponential when you get into the numbers.
For example, we all know Batman is rich, but did you know that his personal fortune is around $9.2 billion. Bruce Wayne will always have the money to finance his heroic escapes thanks to Wayne Enterprises, which continues to generate a huge annual revenue. Batwoman is also wealthy, hailing from the prodigious Kane family, but her grandfather sold the family business years ago. With dwindling funds, Batwoman’s life of crime fighting might not last.
16 WHY SHE'S BETTER: WILLING TO RECEIVE HELP
On the personality scale measuring sociability, Batman is just about as introverted as you can get. As Bruce Wayne, that’s a different story, but once the cowl comes on, Batman isn’t one for making friends. While we wouldn’t classify Kate Kane as an extrovert, she’s a lot more social than her brooding cousin.
One of Batwoman’s most famous missions saw her team up with Wonder Woman in what might be one of DC’s most iconic heroic duos. The two worked incredibly well together and Batwoman was more than glad to have WW’s help. Compare that to Batman, who thinks of Gotham as his own personal playground, and you can see how Batwoman’s willingness to ask for help is clearly beneficial for the city.
15 WHY BATMAN IS BETTER: DETECTIVE WORK
We know you were all thinking it and just didn’t want to say it: Batwoman just isn’t a good detective. Batman isn’t always Sherlock Holmes himself, but his investigative work is much more advanced than Batwoman’s basic methods of surveillance. One of Batwoman’s biggest blunders was not seeing her father’s “Colony” organization as evil -- even though it clearly was. If she made that kind of mistake, what else could she be doing to endanger Gotham?
Like we already said, Batwoman is a soldier first. One doesn’t have to be a good detective to be a good soldier -- though it definitely helps when you’re trying to take down mob bosses who like their privacy.
14 WHY SHE'S BETTER: KNOWS HOW TO WORK WITH POLICE
Gotham is a crime-ridden place, so it naturally has an extensive police department. After all, vigilantes armed with batons can only take down so many jewelry thieves. What Gotham really needs is for those baton-wielding heroes and the GCPD to work together. In order to have a “safe” Gotham, the police and the bats must be on the same page.
Historically, commissioner Gordon has worked with Batman, though their communication is infrequent. Batman is a lone hero and he likes playing his own game. Batwoman, on the other hand, works well in rule-following systems thanks to her military background. She’s dated two cops and worked with them on numerous investigations. With Batwoman, Gotham doesn’t have to choose heroism or the law -- they can have both.
13 WHY BATMAN IS BETTER: CONNECTIONS
We already know about Batman’s allegiance to the Justice League and how that interferes with his work in Gotham. While we stand by that assertion, we also recognize how having friends in high places can be super helpful. Neither Batman or Batwoman has “special” powers beyond their cool gadgets and trust funds.
Most of the time, that’s fine, but sometimes a team of superpowered aliens and goddesses is the only thing that can save the day. Batwoman has worked with Wonder Woman in the past, but she doesn't have the trust of the Justice League like Batman does. He may have to split his time between saving the world and saving Gotham, but the benefits of having Superman as a casual pal outweigh the negatives.
12 WHY SHE'S BETTER: ALWAYS WILLING TO DO WHAT IT TAKES
A lot of Batwoman fans view Kate Kane’s masked persona as a new form of crime fighting. That might be a little much for those who’ve read comics broadcasting the “superhero of the 21st century” but there is some truth to it. Kate Kane approaches the crime-filled streets of Gotham differently than Batman, and in many cases, her approach is better.
Batman’s method of investigating, capturing, and incarcerating clearly isn’t very effective. In order to really fight the crime wave in Gotham, Batwoman treats the streets like a battlefield. She ordinarily doesn’t use lethal force, but she never goes easy on bad guys. As campaign-y as it sounds, Gotham needs someone who can get the job done and that someone is Batwoman.
11 WHY BATMAN IS BETTER: NOT EASILY MANIPULATED
This one might sound a little harsh, but it’s (unfortunately) very true. Batwoman’s substandard investigative skills sometimes make her a poor judge of character, which then leads to all-around bad situations. During her New 52 solo series, Batwoman, Kate quickly falls under a vampire’s influence.
Even though “Nocturna” reeks of danger, Batwoman ignores the warning signs and starts a relationship with the woman. Were the roles reversed, we’re pretty sure stoic Batman wouldn’t have fallen for the vampire’s suave words so easily. For Gotham City, a hero who can be manipulated with a kiss and a smile isn’t much of a hero.
10 WHY SHE'S BETTER: STILL KNOWS HOW TO HAVE FUN
Is going out on Saturday nights with your girlfriend really going to directly improve Gotham city’s crime rate? No, of course not. Does it make for a much more emotionally balanced vigilante who understands the lifestyle she’s trying to protect from invasive villainy? Absolutely.
Kate Kane’s romantic relationships don’t technically add anything to her role as Gotham’s savior. However, her tendency to date and have fun while unmasked makes for a hero who understands the importance of crime fighting. By now, Batman hardly understands what life is like without the mask. He doesn’t know what he’s fighting to protect. Batwoman knows and it fuels her fights. That makes for a much healthier hero and a better hero for Gotham.
9 WHY BATMAN IS BETTER: ISN'T ALL ACTION
Bringing a pugnacious attitude to a fight in Gotham City is just part of being a masked vigilante. You have to have your fists out and ready before the other guy even blinks. Batman knows this better than anyone, but he also knows that isn’t the only thing you have to bring to a fight. Beating criminals requires both a combative spirit and a lot of gumption. Having an innovative mind that thinks through scenarios before attempting them makes for a better hero in the long term.
Compared to Batman, Batwoman lacks the balance between action and thought. She’s very smart, but she sometimes gets too caught up in the physical parts of crime fighting. The perfect hero has both the physical and mental aspects covered.
8 WHY SHE'S BETTER: ISN'T TIED TO SUPERHERO TEAMS
If you’ve ever read an issue of Justice League, you know that Gotham City isn’t always Batman’s priority. If something big is happening, like a mass alien invasion, chances are Batman is going to be at the heart of the action and not in Gotham patrolling the streets. There needs to be someone working alongside Wonder Woman and Superman to handle the big stuff, but there also needs to be someone tracking down smaller fish like Scarecrow and Joker. That’s where Batwoman comes in.
Batwoman isn’t a member of any team -- her only allegiance is to Gotham. When Batman’s worrying about Darkseid attacking the rest of the world, Batwoman can keep her focus on Gotham.
7 WHY BATMAN IS BETTER: THE ONE RULE
In Detective Comics #973 Batwoman made a choice that might just set her on a downward spiral. The recent issue saw Batwoman choosing to pull the trigger and drop an out-of-control Clayface rather than find another solution. The rest of the Bat Family is suitably disgusted. When it comes to Batman there’s only one rule: don’t take a life. Batwoman breaking that rule is a huge violation of trust and demonstrates what definitely could be a serious moral flaw.
Batwoman ending Clayface may have been a good idea at the time, but in the long run, it could create a dangerous habit. Gotham City doesn’t need heroes who are willing to take a life -- they already have enough criminals who are willing to.
6 WHY SHE'S BETTER: OFFERS A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE
The world had mixed feelings when DC announced that the reboot version of Batman’s once lover, Batwoman, would be gay. Some readers were overjoyed to finally have a spotlight gay character in comics, but others weren’t so pleased. Regardless of the haters, numerous solo series that garnered great reviews solidified Kate Kane’s position as a queer superhero.
That solidification speaks volumes. Gotham City may not know it, but Kate Kane’s unique perspective marks the start of a new era. Heroes can now be anyone, of any orientation, gender, or race. She acts as the encouragement the city needs to move out of the past and into the future. It may not sound like much, but Batwoman’s stance is a huge step forward for DC Comics and for Gotham.
5 WHY BATMAN IS BETTER: THE BAT FAMILY
Since comic books are comic books, Bruce Wayne will never have to officially hand the Batman mantle down to a different masked hero. He may step down for a series or two but in comics, Bruce stays on top. However, in the real world, the Batman title would need a successor -- someone who could guard Gotham after him. Batman has a plethora of applicants thanks to his extensive “Bat Family,” which includes all four Robins, Batgirl, and Orphan.
Batwoman, on the other hand, has pretty much no one to act as her successor. Her cousin, Flamebird, has acted as her sidekick in the past but their relationship is rocky at best. Were something to happen to Kate, Gotham would be in a lot of danger.
4 WHY SHE'S BETTER: ISN'T AFRAID TO MAKE QUICK DECISIONS
In the middle of a fight, decision making has to be instantaneous. You don’t have time to sit around and think about whether you’re making the right move or not. All heroes are good at this to some degree, but few excel at making quick decisions quite like Batwoman.
Batman is quick on the draw, but his overactive mind and omnipresent moral compass sometimes slow him down. Kate’s military background gives her an edge over the Dark Knight in this department. She approaches fights like she’s going into battle -- her decisions usually revolve around her favorite saying: “Soldier on.” With as crime-ridden as Gotham is, we think the city could use someone who can decide the right course of action in only a few seconds.
3 WHY BATMAN IS BETTER: NEEDS GOTHAM
Before everyone starts pulling out all those Batwoman issues where Kate talks about how much she needs Gotham, let us explain. We’re not trying to say Kate Kane doesn’t love Gotham City. We know it’s an important part of her life. However, it isn’t the only part of her life.
Recent issues of Batwoman showed readers that, for years, Kate had a happy life outside of Gotham. She did other things and met other people. Kate’s reminiscing reminded us that, although she tends to stay in Gotham, there isn’t a lot keeping her there. Unlike Batman, who won’t/can’t leave his family home, Kate can move, which means she could pack up and fight crime in some other city if she so pleased.
2 WHY SHE'S BETTER: HAS HOPE
You might be rolling your eyes at this one, but trust us -- it’s probably the most important one on our list. Hope is a game changer when you’re a masked vigilante. If you struggle to imagine a promising future for your city, as Batman frequently does, then your actions will parallel your thoughts. Batman’s negative outlook affects how he works -- whether he realizes it or not.
Batwoman has hope for both Gotham City and for people in general. She believes people are good, even when they appear corrupted. Her sister, Beth (who was once a leader of a weird crime cult) taught her sister that firsthand.
1 WHY THEY'RE BOTH BAD: TOO OBSESSIVE
Batman and Batwoman are meant to be Gotham’s guardians. Their resources, their training, and their natural abilities make them the ultimate good guys. The only catch? They’re both too obsessed with this job for it to be healthy. Kate occasionally dates, but crime fighting is still the most important part of her life -- the same goes for Batman. Honestly, they both need other jobs (like boy scout journalist Clark Kent) that don’t involve being heirs to massive amounts of money. They need other important things to focus on.
Their obsession with cleaning up Gotham’s never-ending stream of villains consumes them, which definitely isn’t good for the city. What started off as a move towards positive change has become a bad habit for them.