Batman is arguably the most iconic character in comic book history. His popularity has soared past that of Superman, Wonder Woman, Captain America and even Spider-Man in mainstream media the last few decades. What is it that makes this character of Batman so relatable?
His humanity among other superheroes is much more obvious because he lacks any super powers (besides his large bank account, of course). He stands above other non-powered heroes because of his keen ability to anticipate almost every situation, as well as his skills in acrobatics and hand-to-hand combat to get out of those situations.
Oliver Queen was intended to be a carbon copy of Bruce Wayne combines with elements of Robin Hood. However, is Batman a more or less relatable character than the Green Arrow? Here is why I believe Oliver Queen is more relatable to us than Bruce Wayne.
1. The Loss Of His Parents
Bruce Wayne was an only child who lost his parents in an alley before he reached his teens. That's how every incarnation of the character's story goes. However, Oliver Queen has a few different stories that describe how he lost his parents. On Arrow, Oliver lost his father while on their yacht, and his mother was killed at the hands of Slade Wilson. These were both extremely emotional moments played out on screen.
To lose one's parents as a child is unfathomably painful. Some kids who experience this become emotionally hardened and cut off from the world. To that end, Having a role model to look up to (like Bruce Wayne), who made it through the pain, would help any child cope just a little more with the loss of his or her parents.
On the other hand, we have Oliver Queen/Green Arrow, who lost his parents after reaching adulthood. This is not to say that this loss was not traumatic. To lose a loved one at any stage of life is very painful, but the older we get, the more we come to expect loss.
So, when we consider which is more relatable, we must ask: Is Bruce Wayne more relatable to those who have tragically been orphaned at a young age? Of course he is. But to the majority of people, the more relatable case is that of Oliver Queen.
2. His Lack Of Preparation
Bruce Wayne is known for being prepared for almost any situation. He has a belt full of gadgets that help him out of all sorts of binds. The campy '60s show Batman even often made lighthearted jokes about the contents of Batman's utility belt. Batman has, at times, even been known to have a file on each member of the Justice League containing a plan to neutralize them, just in case one becomes a threat to humanity.
Oliver Queen might have a variety of trick arrows in his quiver, but to say that he is always prepared might overdo it a little. Referencing #Arrow again, Oliver is often taken by surprise when he discovers an enemy is really a close advisor or friend.
Many people prefer to be as prepared as possible, while others prefer to fly by the seat of their pants. Whichever may describe you, I think we all can agree that we are often caught off guard. Part of being human is often being unprepared for the twists and turns of life. We may be ready for anything, but there are still many that we don't expect at all. So, who is more relatable? Is it the man with an almost superhuman ability to be prepared for any eventuality? Or, is it the man who, like us, is prepared for a lot of things, but is caught off guard almost as often.
3. His Humanity
Now I know what you're thinking: Bruce is human; he has real struggles (his parents' death being the most notable). Bruce has had a hard time balancing his personal life with the private life of his alter ego. It has been difficult for him to find true love in the comics (I really hope he marries Selena Kyle a.k.a. Catwoman), having multiple love interests through the years as both Bruce Wayne and Batman.
As a crime fighter, Bruce's ability to expect the unexpected has made him seem near invincible against even the most powerful foes, with his fight against Bane (both in comics and movies) being his most shocking moment of defeat. Though many believe Batman (like Superman) never kills, the truth is: He does. It happens sometimes, but Bruce never crosses the line and kills when he does not have to.
Bruce Wayne is also insanely rich, though not the richest in the DC universe. Bruce's wealth has funded his crime fighting alter ego, and he has been an almost universally successful businessman.
Oliver's personal life seems just as complicated as Bruce's: he seems to have just as much difficulty balancing his personal and private lives. However, where Bruce has been almost universally successful in business, Oliver has had some serious struggles. Like many readers and viewers, Oliver will seem to have strong finances, only to have the proverbial rug pulled out from under him.
Thankfully, he does seem to have more stable relationships than Bruce Wayne, having found a true love and equal in Dinah Laurel Lance a.k.a. Black Canary (comics) and Felicity Smoak (television). As a crime fighter, Oliver dances along the moral line much more than Bruce. While Bruce may walk up to the line and try not to cross it, Oliver has trouble determining which side of the line he wants to be on.
We as humans are more like Oliver. Wealth often eludes us, and when we seems to have found it, it's lost too quickly. Relationships come and go at times, but most are lucky enough to find "the one." Most importantly, we have just as much difficulty finding our place on the moral field as Oliver. Many times, we are able to be like Bruce and walk up to the line and stare it down without flinching, but there are many circumstances in life that make us cross the line — we're human after all.
All this has allowed me to relate more to Oliver Queen these last few years than I have to Bruce Wayne. There is a realness to Stephen Amell's portrayal of the Emerald Archer that has resonated with me more than the recent incarnations of Batman. I am still a bigger fan of Batman, but I feel it is more likely that I pick up a bow and arrow right now than a batarang.