Secret identities can be difficult to maintain, but Batman has found that the best way to protect his alter ego is to hide it among online conspiracy theories!
The Hidden Life of Bruce Wayne as Batman is one of his most heavily guarded secrets, but that doesn’t mean he’s not above using this confidential information as part of some next-level mind game to keep the audience in the dark. When Batman first took his operation global, Bruce had to step up how he keeps his secret identity under wraps and discovered that posting deliberate misinformation online could be key.
When Batman was taken down by Darkseid’s Omega Beams in Final Crisis, Bruce Wayne had a dark vision of the future and upon his return, enacted a plan to prevent it from happening. He started Batman Incorporated with the goal of “fight the idea of crime with the idea of Batman.Bruce Wayne even took the bold step of telling the public that he had been funding Batman for years and would be the financier behind the new venture. Wayne also launched a plan to distract and confuse the public amid his crusade. internationally as Batman.
In Batman Incorporated Vol. 1 #6 by Grant Morrison, Chris Burnham, Nathan Fairbairn and Pat Brosseau shows that Bruce Wayne’s new business is beginning to flourish. With new agents joining Batman Incorporated at a rapid pace, the underworld is taking notice of the changing atmosphere. Staying several steps ahead, Bruce relies on attempts to expose the identities of the members of Batman Inc., especially with the threat of the terrorist cell, Leviathan, on the rise. To combat the potential threat, Wayne uses the internet and begins posting highly sensitive information in a public forum.
In one of his boldest moves ever, Bruce Wayne publicly reveals his secret identity, albeit under an assumed name. He also manipulates the same forum with intentionally misleading theories such as Bruce Wayne being dead and Batman replacing Wayne with a body double or Batman never having been one person. Bruce justifies the bet by saying that if the worst happens and identities are leaked, the truth will be lost amidst a sea of conspiracies. The plan not only reflects Batman’s insane preparation, but shows his awareness of how online communication can be weaponized. Misinformation has long been considered a problem facing social media sites, and the ease with which Batman is able to post an entire thread of conspiracy theories has only made the comic much more prescient. However, as a narrative tool, it’s a very effective method for Batman to keep his identity a secret in the digital age, something some comic book writers have completely abandoned.
The days of wearing a mask and having an elaborate excuse aren’t enough to protect a hero’s alter ego, so Batman might just be onto something by flooding the internet with fake news.
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