2012 Man of the Year: The Batman

AP

AP

BY:

The Batman, we were told, was a criminal. A murderer. His signal was smashed. Dogs were set upon him. Some held out hope that he would return, but the smart set was glad he was gone.

And, for a while, things got better. The Dent Act crippled Gotham’s criminals. Organized crime was smashed beyond repair. The Joker’s rampage had been stopped and he had been locked in the bowels of Arkham. The city seemed to be recovering.

But the rot below the surface was extensive. Jobs disappeared and Wayne Enterprises teetered on the brink of insolvency. The city’s youths were coming under the sway of a mad man, a hulking brute with a plan to destroy Gotham once and for all. The Batman momentarily reappeared, only to be eclipsed by a new figure on the scene.

Bane.

A charismatic monster, Bane turned the people of Gotham against one another, blew up our bridges, and threatened us with nuclear annihilation. We were adrift until the Batman came back, serving as a beacon of hope and a reminder that we are better than Bane. He sacrificed himself so we could rebuild. He gave us our lives and we, in turn, gave him back his reputation.

The statue that sits in Gotham’s City Hall is a reminder that good men must stand against evil. The Batman is gone. But we can hope that someone will rise to the example he has set.