When most people think about Bruce Wayne as Batman, they think of a 26-40-year-old guy who is out smashing bad guys in his physical prime. What fewer people think about is what happens after when he becomes an old Bruce Wayne. Batman does not have the superpower of staying young forever. His superpower is his money, and as many have learned, money does not save you from death.
The Old Bruce Wayne Still Stands By The Symbol
Batman was always a symbol. The symbol stood against crime, and it was meant to strike fear into the hearts of anyone who would choose to engage in evil. Bruce Wayne set out from the beginning to make batman something that could outlive him.
It’s important to remember this because if you don’t, you will think that Bruce Wayne was obsessed with being Batman, but that’s not true. Bruce Wayne was obsessed with the idea of Batman. He knew when he stated that he was the only person in Gotham who could do it.
The symbol always laid the groundwork for someone else becoming Batman. The idea was that another person who was struck by tragedy and who care enough could wear the suit and fight crime. Bruce would serve as a mentor in this capacity.
Old Bruce Wayne in Dark Knight Returns
The Dark Knight Returns is a limited series by Frank Miller. The comic focuses on the character’s dark roots and brings the 55-year-old retired hero back into action. When it dropped in 1986, it started a huge resurgence in the popularity of Batman.
The reason that batman retired was because of Jason Todd’s death at the hands of the Joker. He never did get married, so he was just an old bored bachelor at this point in his life.
Due to the whole that Batman left, Gotham is going crazy with a rapidly rising crime rate. A new criminal group called the Mutants had begun to spread throughout the city like a virus.
Batman is quickly reminded of his parent’s death and gets back into the game. He quickly breaks up some crimes and then runs into some people that work for Harvey Dent. Harvey had undergone surgery to fix his face at the expense of Bruce Wayne. Batman quickly realizes that Harvey’s mind has been corrupted beyond repair.
Old Batman carries on throughout the story like the old school Batman but with more wisdom and less agility. The biggest issue here is that when Batman retired, he never found a replacement. He never spent the time working on someone he could mentor into the role. Maybe he had hopes that Jason Todd would do it, and losing him broke him.
Old Bruce Wayne in Batman Beyond
Bruce Wayne in Batman Beyond is a much different story. It shows an old Bruce Wayne that needs a Cane and has come to grips with his mortality. he realizes that he can’t fight crime the same way anymore. His top allies, Alfred, Lucius Fox, Commissioner Gordan, and others, have all died at this point. Other allies like Tim Drake, Selina Kyle, and others are not seeing eye to eye with Bruce.
Bruce is a bitter older man in this show. He has nothing but his dog and his money. It’s a sad reality of a guy who was obsessed with fighting crime over building a family.
Eventually, we are introduced to Terry McGinnis in a scene where he helps fellow citizens escape some criminals’ hands. He then takes on a gang of criminals, and it leads to a high-speed chase. The chase ends at Wayne Manor, where Bruce comes out to help, and they fight them side by side.
The 16 years then had to help Bruce back to his house as the fight aggravated his heart condition. When Terry was staying at the mansion, he found the Batcave entrance and later used it to borrow the Batsuit to avenge his father’s death.
Bruce uses this opportunity to allow Terry to take on the role of Batman. Throughout the show, Bruce mentors Terry and helps him to step into the role of Batman. The show does a great job passing the torch to something new while still giving you some of the old-school Batman feel the audience is used to from young Bruce Wayne.
Key Lessons From The Old Bruce Wayne
As Bruce Grew into his mentor role, some key lessons became evident that any person can use for their own life. If you want to increase your Batman Factor, here are some key things that you should nail down.
1. Always Think With The Future In Mind
Bruce was caught in a tough spot because he did not spend time as Batman thinking about who would take over for him. He was so focused on the crime in front of him that he did not stop to think about how crime never stops.
He grew old but had no one to back him, which meant he would need to suit up again or pass the mantle. Passing the role on is something that needs time and a lot of patience, and that is not something Bruce Wayne had a lot of.
2. You Need Other People
The worst part about Old Bruce Wayne saw how lonely he was. To fight crime all those years and have no joy to show for it. No kids, no wife, no close friends. All the people he spent his time with were relationships focused on Batman. If you remove Batman, those friendships die. When people tried to get close, he would push them away.
To be successful in life, you must accept the fact that you need others. Other people will help you to achieve your goals faster. If you want to get anywhere faster, do it with the right set of people who all complement each other skills.
3. Mentor Others In Your Prime
One big mistake that people make when making big transitions in life is not preparing for it in the previous stage. If you’re getting close to graduating college, for example, you should already be thinking about what you plan to do after. If you wait until you graduate, you will have downtime because you had no plan.
Bruce should have been mentoring the New Batman while he was still in tip-top shape. It would have given him another person to fight crime with. Imagine Gotham having 6 or 7 Batmans running around and stopping crime? Instead, he waited until Old Bruce Wayne, where he had the wisdom but not as much teaching skill.
4. Recognize Your Limits
Bruce was not able to get help until he realized that his body could no longer fight crime. The problem is that he should have known for a long time that he could not keep up his pace of crime-fighting.
You have to recognize and acknowledge where in life that you are limited. It does not make you weak, but it allows you to better plan to fill those holes. Just because you act like there is no hole does not mean that it’s true. You end up living a lie.
5. Make Room for The New
One of the most important things to accept in this world is that change will come whether you want it to or not. Change is not something that you can fight! In saying that, you have to learn to make room for the new.
Old Bruce Wayne wanted to maintain his tight grip on control and have things done his way all of the time. As time went on, he realized that Terry was different, and he had to let him come into his own and be a different Batman. Once he did that, Terry was able to flourish, and Bruce became a better mentor.