Everyone Has Daddy Issues (Even the Villains) in Tom King’s Batman

Family strife is nothing new to the world of Batman. In fact, traumatic upbringings, dead parents, and strained relationships are the twisted backbone to the Bat Family. We've seen characters lose everything in the matter of moments. Dick Grayson (aka Nightwing, aka Robin, aka Sexiest Man in Comics, 30 years running) experienced a similar tragedy as his mentor. But instead of leaving Dick to be raised by a butler, Bruce decided to take the boy under his wing, so to speak.

The journey from being a child trapeze prodigy to a successful crime-fighter was not traveled on the smoothest of roads, but, of course, how could it have been? Having a mentally unstable billionaire who dresses up as a flying rodent teach raise after your parents are murdered isn't exactly an ideal situation for any child. At least the gadgets are cool, though.

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Other Batman sidekicks have experiences similar horrors. Tim Drake's father was killed during the Identity Crisis miniseries in one of the most gut-wrenching moments in comic book history, which declared Batman and Robin as orphans. Now, Bruce always has been, along with most of his protégées, but this Robin wasn't. It was a horrible moment of the DC Universe getting back to a dreadful norm.

In fact, there aren't any Robins who haven't felt the black vortex of tragedy in some form or another. Duke Thomas lost his parents during "Endgame" to the one many Batman has tried desperately to keep at bay, the Joker. There is a touch of sad irony in this, seeing as how Duke was the boy who rescued Bruce after the Riddler had taken over Gotham years before. Through a cynical lens, one could observe that Duke being there for Batman in a time of need wasn't reciprocated.

Bat Family Beyond

The strained relationships go beyond fathers and sons, of course. Barbara Gordon has undergone some real punishment for her part in fighting alongside Batman in his crusade for justice, right under the nose of her police commissioner father. Bruce's own son, Damien Wayne was a product of gross and forceful genetic breeding as if Batman was a show dog. And don't get us started on the weird and confounding tragedy that is the character of Jason Todd (that kid got voted dead, by the way).

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Perhaps there is something to the idea that any member of the Bat Family is truly incapable of finding happiness. Batwoman was denied marriage under for this very reason (and no, we are still not happy about it). Even those who are tangentially connected to the caped crusaders grapple with broken families. Jim Gordon's own son turned out to be a murderous monster. Countless members of the Rogues Gallery have terrible personal tragedies looming over their origins (depending on the continuity), which is one of the reasons so many of them readers find somewhat sympathetic (we're looking at you Doctor Freeze and Man-Bat)

Taken as a whole, it makes you wonder: Does everyone who gets close to Batman fall into darkness as black as his cowl? It would see so. We suppose Bat Misery really does love Bat Company.

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