Another Batman Might Not Be Able To Save DCEU, But An Iron Man-Style Hero Can, Here's Why

Only an Iron Man-style protagonist can stop DC Comics from falling to the enormous overuse of its flagship protagonist. The Dark Knight is DC's most popular figure, perhaps even more so than Superman currently, and has lifted the comics powerhouse over the decades with fantastic tales and unforgettable characters. But, in 2022, Batman is everywhere, and when Bruce Wayne loses popularity, he has the potential to bring the whole comic business down with him...unless extreme, Marvel-ous steps are taken.
nullEleven of DC's 24 ongoing comic book series released in 2021 are Batman-centric (and/or feature his foes). The same may be true for 10 of this year's 25 limited series publications. In any case, he regularly appears outside of his own comics, generally in Superman or Wonder Woman comics, and he plays a key role in numerous crossover stories (Flashpoint, etc). The problem is equally prevalent in the DCEU; Batman will have his third cinematic remake in less than ten years, and The Flash in 2022 will include two different versions of Batman (Ben Affleck and Michael Keaton) threatening to outperform the Fastest Man Alive in his own movie. Readers of comic books aren't sick of Batman yet, but they will be if DC's over-exposure of the Caped Crusader continues. Batman is ruling the DC Universe, which isn't always a beneficial move.
nullBefore 2008, Marvel's Iron Man was a C-list hero at best; in fact, he was so despised that in 1996's Marvel vs. DC mega-event, in which heroes from both universes battled, he not only did not have a battle of his own, but he also didn't say a word. That shifted with the premiere of the Iron Man movie, which, together with the popularity bump from the Civil War event in 2005, catapulted Tony Stark into the top of the world's most popular protagonists. Due to the inability to employ the already renowned Spider-Man or X-Men due to other firms owning the distribution rights, Marvel was driven to promote Iron Man, and the approach worked (the MCU was successful even without Peter Parker or Wolverine).
nullThere are several DC's contenders against Iron Man, a figure that can be pushed to the A-tier level with the appropriate narrative and promotion. Cyborg, the Justice League superhero, quickly comes to mind as an average college student who, due to terrible events, loses his mom as well as much of his body in a tragedy but learns to utilize his talents to save others. The Question, as the initial inspiration for Rorschach, is well-known (and is a slightly more grounded character). The abilities and extrasolar origins of Martian Manhunter, John Constantine's gothic horror tales, Blue Beetle, and his barely-understood extra-terrestrial technology - the options are unlimited (as long as they don't involve Batman).
nullDC's choice to keep promoting Batman while other fascinating superheroes wait their turn to be in the spotlight is a disservice to all characters included. How many times can Bruce Wayne's movie be recounted and replayed before the narrative gets boring? To be sure, boosting one of the aforementioned characters to Iron Man mainstream popularity would demand the publisher taking a creative gamble - but the alternative is to keep pushing the Dark Knight to the public until DC Comics ultimately does what the Joker never could: killing the Batman.
Share this article