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Batman is Way More Brutal To Other Heroes than to Villains

Contains spoilers for The Other History of the DC Universe #5.

Batman is more brutal to heroes than villains. In The Other History of the DC Universe #5, written by John Ridley with art by Giuseppe Camuncoli, readers see Batman through the eyes of Thunder, a member of a team now under Batman's direction. However, seeing Batman this way means readers are presented with a hero who does not always align with what they know of him.

The Other History of the DC Universe is a unique take on some of DC's core heroes as told through a sociopolitical lens. The series, by the writer of 12 Years a Slave, showcases heroes who come from disenfranchised groups. The focus of issue #5 of this series is Thunder, of the duo Thunder and Lightning. The issue covers Thunder discovering her powers, her relationship with her father, and her eventual addition to a team – as well as her removal from said team. Among the most important revelations Thunder has in this book is that she is attracted to women, something which puts her at odds not only with her father, but, as it turns out, with other members of the DC Universe as well.

Related: Batman Admitted Another Hero Belongs in DC's Trinity Instead of Him

When Thunder joins the Outsiders, she finds herself among a new group of peers, all of whom have their own problems. However, by joining the team, she finds herself getting a lot of attention from Batman, who does not seem to like her, or anyone else for that matter. After a turn of events, Batman takes over the Outsiders and removes Thunder from the team, referring to it as a "favor" to Thunder's father. As Thunder observes Batman's leadership, she notes: "He ordered the team forward toward danger with a dispassion that was almost criminally dissociative. Everything to Batman was a calculus, and not one based on the cost of lives that could be potentially lost." Batman also makes some personal jabs at Thunder, noting her "special relationship" with Grace. Batman seems especially hard on Thunder, even though she has been through so much.

The Other History of the DC Universe #5 provides a unique look not only at the DC Universe at large, but also at the Caped Crusader himself. Readers do not often see Batman through the eyes of another, and when they do, it's often a fellow white, male character (think Commissioner Gordon, Dick Grayson, or Superman). Batman tends to treat everyone with a sort of cool indifference, but the way he treats Thunder is downright cruel. Robins – past, present, and future – could argue that it is just a kind of tough love, but there is something to be said for how he treats a Black, LGBTQ+ DC Comics heroine with a sort of distaste and distrust.

Thunder's commentary on Batman's treatment of her focuses a lot on how calculated he is, every word and movement chosen carefully. This is certainly a fair analysis of how Batman handles himself, and seeing that same calculating methodology being used against another hero is pretty horrifying. This comic shows what it's like to be on a team with Batman; Thunder tells her story through her own words, and readers see her view of it, rather than the normal comics view of an outside perspective watching the action. The way Batman treats Thunder is far from the approach readers are used to seeing; it's cruel and, in Thunder's own words, "ugly." While Batman's calculated planning and carefully barbed words may make for good comics reading, they certainly do not make for a good experience with a team member.

The Other History of the DC Universe #5 is available now.

Related: Batman Reveals the One Villain Even He Doesn't Plan For

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