Batman’s Replacement

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I like Batman. I really like Batman. I’ve read Batman comic books, watched the Batman movies about forty times each, have all the cartoons and TV shows permanently burned into my brain, have Batman posters plastered all over my walls, wear my Batman tee shirt everywhere (including to weddings and funerals), practice oral hygiene with a Batman toothbrush and the limited-edition Batman dental floss, and when I’m having an off day, wear Batman adult diapers.

Batman has matched wits with and pitted his skills against innumerable supercriminals and megalomaniacs and has even taken on a few god-like entities. And won. But as undeniably awesome as the Dark Knight is, he is still mortal. Eventually, time will take its toll on Batman and he’ll have to retire.

That’s when Bruce Wayne will be forced to answer a question that’s been starting him in the face ever since he began his crusade against crime: who should he choose as his replacement? Gotham City will always need a Batman and Bruce needs to choose the right person for the job.

Of course, Batman has a litany of sidekicks with the skills and cunning to inherit his cowl, but all of them—Nightwing, Robin, Batgirl—aren’t much younger than he is. When Bruce Wayne hits 65, Dick Grayson will be 47. I just can’t picture Gotham’s criminal elite cowering in fear of a man with a beer belly and bifocals grumbling about how he can’t keep those damn kids off the Batlawn.

In the Batman Beyond series, Bruce chooses Terry McGinnis, a random teenager, to take his place. But I have a better candidate: Barbie.

Think about it. As simultaneously appalling and awesome as the idea of a pink Batmobile is, Barbie possesses all the abilities and equipment necessary to step into Batman’s boots. Bruce Wayne uses his extensive wealth to build and maintain his crime-fighting equipment. Judging by the frequency with which she goes shopping and how many houses and cars she owns, Barbie’s clearly pretty well-off.

Before he donned the cowl, Bruce Wayne became an expert mechanical engineer, criminologist, chemist, and psychologist. Barbie is a doctor, a veterinarian, an architect, a paleontologist, a surgeon, a CEO, and the president all at the same time.

Bruce Wayne is a technological mastermind. Barbie is a computer engineer, an astronaut, a pilot, and a NASCAR driver. Bruce Wayne is the best martial artist in the world. Barbie is a paratrooper, an Olympic gymnast, a policewoman, a firefighter, and a Canadian Mountie and has served in every branch of the military.

And if there’s any skill that Barbie doesn’t already have, she can always just call up Matel and have them re-release her with a new set of clothes. Bam: she’s an expert Cryptologist now.

Face it, DC. If Bruce ever needed to choose a replacement, he couldn’t do much better than Barbie. Such a choice would be the most sensible way to retire the character while continuing the series and would satisfy Batman’s fanbase while appealing to six-year-old girls at the same time. That and I really want to read a comic book where Barbie and Superman team up to fight Brainiac.

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