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Batman Needs to Move Past His Inappropriate Nickname for His Sidekicks


While Batman and his allies are often referred to as a “family,” this notion is undercut by the Dark Knight constantly referring to his wards as “soldiers.” Batman has gained and lost many sidekicks over the years, some sticking around and some moving on to bigger and better things. But the one thing they all have in common is their attachment and love for their family, led by patriarch Bruce Wayne.


The bonds that Bruce Wayne created with his sidekicks all started when Batman’s first Robin, Dick Grayson, was introduced in 1940’s Detective Comics #38 by Bill Finger, Bob Kane, Jerry Robinson, and Whitney Ellsworth. Dick was an orphaned kid who needed a home and a loving parent willing to watch over him and train him. Seeing himself in the child, Bruce took him under his wing and trained him in the art of crime-fighting. He wanted the world to become a better place for others, so he taught Dick how to fight for it and obtain his own better world to live in. Having been adopted, Dick Grayson was now the son of Bruce Wayne and both relied on each other for much-needed support. Soon came along Jason Todd, Duke Thomas, Tim Drake, Stephanie Brown, Damian Wayne, and so many more.

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Batman created a family more significant than any family he’d had before, and helped his children find their way within the world. He taught them to fight for themselves and others, to stand up for a good cause, and spread hope throughout the city. They leaned on each other through their darkest times, and even when the worst tragedy occurred with the death of Jason Todd, Bruce’s family was there for him and continues to be there for him. However, in Batman #126 by Chip Zdarsky, Jorge Jimenez, Tomeu Morey, and Clayton Cowles, Batman disregards familial bonds and refers to his wards as “my soldiers” once again.


Batman’s Wards Are Heroes, Not Just His Pawns

Each sidekick that has come through the Batcave has crafted a deep familial bond with Batman, to the point that they look at him as more than just a mentor. But every time Bruce calls his sidekicks his “soldiers” that bond shakes a little. They’ve never been just his soldiers; he didn’t raise them with the thought that they would continue to fight Batman’s war for him. He intended to create an environment that felt safe for them but also taught them how to fight for the things they believed in. Each sidekick who left Batman made a name for themselves because they were encouraged to strike out and become their hero. By calling them his “soldiers,” Bruce diminishes each of his former sidekicks’ work and the relationships they all formed with one another by dismissing any personal achievements his children had accomplished.

Bruce Wayne always encouraged his sidekicks and grew proud of the heroes they became when they struck out on their own. Every time they came together again was to help each other because of the familial bonds they forged. They didn’t come together just to fight for the Dark Knight, but to fight for a common, good cause and spread hope among the people of Gotham. While the Bat may be their inspiration, each sidekick has since made a name for themselves, and Batman should acknowledge that and stop treating them as soldiers in “his” war.

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