Warning: The following article contains spoilers for Batman: Gotham Nights #4 by Mark Russell, Ryan Benjamin, Richard Friend, Alex Sinclair and Troy Peteri, available now.
From being the World’s Greatest Detective and to a member of the Justice League, Batman plays a lot of meaningful roles. And at a glance, Bruce Wayne isn’t one of Batman’s most important personas.
Even though Batman is technically Bruce Wayne behind the cowl, some argue that the Caped Crusader has evolved into the dominant persona of the two and that Wayne is effectively an alternate personality. Some have gone so far as to say that Wayne is nothing more than window dressing, another suit that Batman dons to walk in the daylight.an
However, Batman: Gotham Nights #4 makes a strong argument for Bruce Wayne being an integral part of Batman’s mission.
Ever since he traveled the world and honed his body and mind into perfect weapons to avenge the murder of his parents, Bruce Wayne has become so immersed in his role as Batman that it seems that the man is now more comfortable being the symbol than the man. That fact, however, does not negate the necessity of having Wayne in control of the Batman persona. For starters, Wayne is the sole inheritor of the substantial Wayne Fortune left behind by his parents, a fortune that not only allows Wayne to finance the many vehicles, weapons, and gadgets he employs as his alter ego, but also enabled him to travel the world in search of the training he received in order to become Batman.
In Batman: Gotham Nights #4, it is Bruce Wayne’s connection to the elite of Gotham Society that grants Batman the information he needs to shut down their various illicit operations. As a respected and trusted member of that society, Bruce was allowed to be part of several gatherings where these business tycoons discussed their shady business dealings, and he was later able to disrupt those dealings as Batman.
Once the culprits were in prison, Bruce was able to talk to one of the ring leaders who still trusted him enough to disclose even more details of criminal activity that Batman was able to stop. Bruce was then able to feign capture in order to go to prison with the criminals. When he was taken to the Joker‘s hideout, he was able to enlist the aid of Alfred to alert the authorities to his location. At the conclusion of the issue, Batman concedes his need for Bruce Wayne and underscores that he and Bruce Wayne are one being, working together in concert to get the job done.
This issue highlights Bruce Wayne’s importance in the life of Batman. As the Caped Crusader explicitly states, both his persona and Wayne’s are necessary for the continued success of Batman. The two sides of Wayne’s personality must work in symbiosis to be the most effective, with neither more or less important than the other.
In Batman: Gotham Nights, the Dark Knight just proved why Bruce Wayne is one of the most important parts of his war on crime.