Does Batman Need a Sidekick? For a brooding, anti-social, obsessed introvert conducting a one-man war on crime, Batman manages to surround himself with a surprising amount of allies. And not just the super friends he views as extensions of his utility belt; but an interconnected family to replace the one he lost. Huntress, Robin, Robin, Robin, Robin, Robin, Katana, The Outsiders, Lucius Fox, Squire, Batgirl, Batgirl, Batgirl, Batwing, Vicki Vale, Spoiler and more zany characters than subdivisions of Wayne-Tech serve as surrogate relationships to fill the hole created in Crime Alley. These bonds serve a variety of functions in Batman’s life; from comrades, pawns, lovers, friends and wards but is anyone of them truly necessary? The Dark Knight claims no one can understand his struggle, but is it possible that someone amongst his rotating sidekicks is more important to him than The Mission he dedicated his entire life towards? The Cleaner What happens when the scum of Gotham are broken, defeated and willing to enter the revolving door of Arkham Asylum? Commissioner Gordon. He serves as Batman’s trash service; completing the necessary paperwork and red tape to send villains to jail. When the bat signal hits the sky, sending the superstitious and cowardly cowering, Gordon is the ally flipping the switch. He provides Batman with intel; serving not only as the last piece of a criminal’s sentencing but also the first. Gordon utilizes Batman like a homing missile, whenever there is a case that he can’t handle he provides the breadcrumbs to jumpstart Batman’s vengeance. Batman needs Gordon to spin his vigilante crusade as a necessary service to the good citizens of Gotham. The Optimist The bright red outfit of Robin is in direct contrast to the dark shadows Batman wears. This disparity is prevalent in the boy (or girl) wonder’s personality as well. Robin is the light in Batman’s world, showing a brighter, friendlier side to the war on crime. This softens Batman’s view on the world and provides a different perspective. Robin, no matter who is under the mask, is Batman’s primary sidekick. The character is a damaged child that Bruce is desperately trying to save, a living reminder of the loss that he suffered alone. Robin oftentimes is captured or incapable of defeating the enemies of Gotham, becoming the vessel of Batman’s protection. Instead of looking over the entire city, Robin is a single life that Batman can save (repeatedly) and shape into the person Bruce wishes he could be, but won’t let himself become. The Brains Batman is the great detective, but Barbara Gordon, as Oracle, knew the inner workings of Gotham in ways he was never capable of. Oracle utilized a robust network of information, hacking and connections to become a living bat-computer. With Oracle behind the keyboard, Batman was able to spend less time analyzing data and more time punching criminals in the face. She was his eyes and ears on the city, the web connecting all of his informants and allies. When Batgirl rejoined the fight, Batman lost a necessary weapon in his arsenal that he still hasn’t able to recover from. The Successor When you are always the smartest guys in the room (like me), the scariest member on the team and incapable of admitting when you are wrong–you need someone willing to put you in your place. Dick Grayson, the original Robin, Nightwing and former-Batman has no qualms filling this role. Grayson will call Bruce on his bs and isn’t afraid to punch some sense into him (literally) when the situation calls. Grayson is capable of standing up to Bruce but also filling Batman’s shoes. When the entire Justice League perished (don’t worry…they got better), Batman initiated a failsafe to create a new JL and the field leader was Nightwing. When Batman died (don’t worry…he got better), Grayson was the only protégé worthy of dawning the cowl. Batman lives in a dangerous world and becomes consumed by his mission. When it becomes an obsession, he needs someone to pull him back to reality, when he must sacrifice himself he needs to know that his life’s work will continue. Grayson is the only one capable of doing both. The Chameleon Alfred lives to serve Wayne Manor, no matter the task. When Bruce needs a guardian to let him roam the world as a child, Alfred allows it. When Batman requires medical attention, equipment delivered or a last minute pickup, Alfred is there. He offers Bruce unsolicited wisdom on how to live his life and provides Batman clues to solve the riddles of his foes. He is there to comfort the team when necessary, serving as the warm loving figure in the family; allowing Batman to be the gruff unapproving patriarch. Alfred can stay in the Bat-cave and coordinated field movements for the team, enter the battle and or learn an eclectic set of skills all to please his master. No matter the ridiculous request, Alfred rises to the occasion to assist Bruce’s needs; otherwise, what type of butler would he be? Level Up, Friends!