Extraordinarily intelligent, highly smart tech guru, martial art expertise, expert criminal detective, and well-trained in hand-to-hand combat, are the qualities of this bat-mimic character. Appearing before criminals in his bat-like half-covered mask, defensive flowing cape, a pair of gloves, pants, boots all being either black or dark blue, yellow utility belt, and a gray body-tight costume with the bat logo mounted on his chest region, he is Batman.
Starting as a comic book series in the 1900s, this character and superhero, has come
to be a mass culture icon today, especially among the youthful masses. Gradually progressing in publicity – from comic books, newspaper comic strips, books, and radio dramas, to televisions, stage shows, and cinema’s latest releases – this DC Comics character, designed by the artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger, has captivated the hearts of many children and teens and has been chosen to be many’s favorites, alongside other superheroes like superman and wonder woman.
Although having no superpowers like Flash, Superman, et al., Batman is known to be able to control bats using an ultrasonic bat-signal device which he keeps in his boots. His bats are usually his last resort when it seems like he is losing out in a fight. They dwell with him in his underground Batcave that serves as his headquarters, research unit, a hangar for his bat automobile, wardrobe for his bat-suit; basically, his all. However, in recent times, particularly from the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, this bat-friendly superhero would be faced with difficult choices to make, as well as resolutions to be taken, especially as scientists discover a connection between bats and coronavirus spread.
Batman’s Batcave vs coronavirus
As scientists come to find out the connection between bats and the Covid-19 virus recently, the reason for Batman’s ending the use of his bats for any cause outside his Batcave becomes more explicit, especially as it is believed that bats are the original hosts of the virus.
Recent studies have shown that bats are hosts to a virus that is very similar to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, Coronavirus 2 (SARS-Cov- 2) – the virus that is known to be responsible for the pandemic that shook the whole world. During the core times of the pandemic, the New Jersey’s home to 45 bats, including some reptiles – Wildlife Conservation and Educational Center in Garfield – owned by NJ’s batman, D’Angeli, was forced to shut down as part of the measures to curb the spread of the virus since this center is known to attract thousands of people to it, thereby, increasing the risk of the spread.
Similarly, just as strict measures were taken against NJ’s batman, this DC’s character would not be overlooked. Batman would have to shut down his Batcave to the outside world for a while to prevent the further spread of the virus whenever he invites his last resort to help him defeat his enemies. Since his Batcave is home to many bats in Gotham City, there is a high chance that at least, if not all, 30-40% of them are hosts to the virus, and this would mean a high chance to initiate the spread of the virus via their droppings, not only to enemies but also, to ordinary citizens.
This possibility seems to have gained more weight when movie production for another series of Batman movies was halted, as one of the crew members of the movie production, Robert Pattinson tested positive for the virus.
With the outbreak and rapid spread of the virus globally, including the daily increase in the number of deaths due to the virus infection during the core times of the pandemic, everyone has been doing what they can to avoid situations that would make them susceptible to the virus. And since it has been proven that bats could put them in such situations, they wouldn’t mind not seeing Batman and his bats in the neighborhood for a while.
What can Batman do?
Presently, after intense research about the virus, doctors recommend regular hand washing and sanitizing, avoiding crowded gatherings, staying indoors/quarantine, and vaccination (following the recent manufacture of the coronavirus vaccine), as possible ways to combat the spread of the virus.
It is quite unfortunate that his very own symbolic animals – bats – are the origin of the deadly coronavirus. Therefore, the choice to be made in regards to being safe would be a hard one for Batman. This is because it may include getting rid of them for good, and beginning the superhero life all over with a new symbol. Alternatively, being a tech guru, he could find a way to clean the virus off his bats – which of course would require plenty of research and time to become possible.
Batman may also need to go into quarantine and get vaccinated – who knows, he might be infected already. This measure, however, would be an advantage to his enemies, especially the Joker (Batman’s biggest enemy) if it were confirmed that Batman tested positive for the virus.
What a great hit this is to “the perfect cultural artifact for the 21st century” (as referred to by The Guardian)! No one, not even Batman himself (despite his high tech skills and knowledge) saw this coming. We do not know yet what Batman’s choice would be, as regards this issue.
Nonetheless, since Batman is known for crime-fighting and ensuring security in the neighborhood, we want to believe that he would make the right choice that would involve keeping the city free from the virus and still be our masked vigilante.