This is a public petition. I figure that if we get enough people on board, our message will get through. We demand to be heard.
Batman needs to retire the Batmobile.
Let’s face it. The thing’s outdated, no matter how fancy it gets or how many new tricks it possesses. I don’t care if it can drive itself while generating tactile holograms of Yvonne Craig while launching exploding monkeys while jumping over buildings while calculating the value of pi to the last digit. At the end of the day it’s still a car. And Batman needs more than a car.
The original Batmobile (Detective Comics #27) was nothing more than a red sedan. No Tumbler here. Other Batmobiles around that era were equally uninventive. Batman later built it up into this armored-looking thing with an increasingly large (and weird) bat-face hood ornament. When the TV show came out, they modeled its Batmobile on a 1955 Ford prototype, the “Futura,” and built it onto a Cadillac. This car had big bat-wing fins and generally looked like a giant manta ray–or like something Dracula would have driven around. The Tim Burton movies gave us sleek armor-plated versions with riot-control capabilities. And of course, Christopher Nolan gave us “The Tumbler,” that urban tank with a cliff-diving turbo boost.
With the possible exception of the Tumbler, they all just seem so very… outdated. And even the Tumbler seems inefficient. Besides, why does Batman need a car?
Problem #1: Traffic
Listen, Batman does most of his work in a crowded, population-dense city. I could understand if Batman worked in a desert, or in the country… but he operates in Gotham City. Have you ever tried to drive in Manhattan? There are a LOT of people, and thus a LOT of cars. And they’re in the way.
I mean, sure, Batman has the capability to blow up any cars in his way. Or, if he’s in the Tumbler, to just roll right over them. But if there are people inside, that kind of ruins Batman’s whole non-lethal schtick. And even if there are no people, think of the damage costs…
Problem #2: Trackability
IA Investigator: “Have you tracked down the vigilante known as “Batman” yet?”
Commissioner Gordon: “No. No we haven’t. He disappears after every time we see him.”
IA Investigator: “Disappears? By which you mean he gets in that car and drives away?”
Gordon: “Well, yes.”
IA Investigator: “Of course you’ve had the car followed.”
Gordon: “Well, yes. At least we’ve tried. But his car is faster than ours.”
IA Investigator: “What about helicopters? What about roadblocks?”
Gordon: “Well, uh, his car has some sort of stealth mode.”
IA Investigator: “I’ve seen footage of his car’s ‘stealth mode.’ It seems to consist of him turning off his headlights.”
IA Investigator: “We have spotlights on our police helicopters. We have them to counteract just such ‘stealth devices,’ don’t you know.”
Gordon: *clears his throat uncomfortably*
IA Investigator: “And even were you unable to follow him, you did of course note the direction he was driving in?”
Gordon: “I’m sure one of the other officers must’ve–
IA Investigator: “From the reports I’ve read, it seems that out of nine times the Gotham City Police Force has pursued the Batman, eight times he was driving in a north-western direction out of the city. Four of those pursuits took place on Route 81, three on Route 424, and once on Metropolitan Highway.”
Gordon: “That may be the case, I’ll have to check the records–“
IA Investigator: “And given the size of the car and the… shall we say, uniqueness… of the design, you were of course able to establish a radius of possible concealment locations?”
IA Investigator: “A car of that design hardly goes unnoticed.”
Gordon: “Ah. I see what you mean–“
IA Investigator: “Though really there isn’t much north-west of Gotham between Routes 81 and 424 except Wayne Manor…”
Do you see the problem? A jet, a boat, a submarine: these are a lot easier to escape from people with. But cars need roads, or at least level ground. Cars can be followed and tracked far easier.
Problem #3: Economics
Sure, gas prices are coming down, but what do you think the Batmobile runs on? I’m guessing it’s not a hybrid. The 1960s TV show seemed to imply that perhaps the Batmobile was powered by atomic batteries: yeah, nuclear power doesn’t come cheap. Bruce Wayne may be a multi-billionaire, but he’s going to need to be to fill ‘er up.
I hope that thing gets good miles-per-gallon, or soon we’ll be seeing a new vehicle in Batman’s arsenal: the Bat-bicycle.
And what about insurance? Someone’s got to pay for all that damage when he goes smashing through concrete dividers and blowing up stuffs. Or when the Joker hits the Batmobile with a grenade and leaves it an inoperative pile of rubble good only for self-destructing? Does he have to pay for its repair out of pocket?
Progressive-Dot-Com Lady: “Hi, and welcome to Progressive Dot Com! Here we can give you a free rate quote, and even compare our rate with other companies’ so you’re sure you’re getting the best deal. How can I help you today?”
Batman: “I need a rate quote.”
PDC Lady: “Uh-huh, no problem, that’s what we do. Now, what name will this be under?”
Batman: “…I’m Batman.”
PDC Lady: *types this into the computer* “Okay, sperrific! Now, Mr. Man, what is the make and model of your car?”
PDC Lady: “You don’t know?”
Batman: “It’s black.”
PDC Lady: “…Why don’t we come back to that question, okay? Now, is it a new car?”
PDC Lady: “And have you been in any accidents in the last three years?”
Batman: “I was hit with an RPG.”
PDC Lady: “RPG, is that like a kind of truck…?”
Batman: “Rocket-Propelled Grenade.”
PDC Lady: “…Grenade?”
Batman: “Yes. Oh, and I scraped the fender while jumping across rooftops, too.”
PDC Lady: “…”
Batman: “Also, my last car was destroyed because a man in green tights dropped a bag full of explosives in it…”
Problem #4: David Hasselhof
Because let’s be honest. While the fact that Batman could pound Michael Knight’s face into the dirt isn’t even a debatable fact… at the end of the day, the Batmobile is just a wannabe KITT.
The Batmobile can’t talk to Batman. It can’t shrug off artillery fire because of a Molecularly Bonded Shell. It doesn’t have a forward-mounted roving scan bar. The Batmobile may be bulletproof, and have turbo boost, and some versions could drive themselves, but at the end of the day, you know Batman would rather drive KITT if given the option. (Which may explain why Wayne Industries keeps trying to buy out the Foundation for Law And Government.) Besides, the Batmobile gets destroyed in every other movie. KITT has only been destroyed once–twice if you count the lame Knight Rider 2000 movie.
Which means that Batman is envying something that David Hasselhof gets to drive. In the words of St. Paul: Bretheren, such things should not be!
Put It Up On Blocks, Let It Rust In The BackYard
Consider all the forms of transportation that Batman has at his disposal. He’s got the Batwing (which has VTOL capabilities and thus can land on rooftops). He’s got his grappling hook launchers so he can do the Spiderman thing. He’s got his cape-glider. It seems that flying would simply be more efficient in an urban setting like Gotham–not to mention more in keeping with his whole theme. I’m hoping that the next movie works the arial angle a bit more, and leaves the Batmobile in retirement.