How Long Would It Really Take To Figure Out Batman’s Secret Identity? Redditors Investigate
If you weren’t aware, Reddit has a section called Ask Science Fiction, which is essentially a space in the Internet for people to ask for explanations of details in fictional stories (“When and why did the Decepticons and Autobots split apart?”) or to consider fictional “what if” scenarios (“What would cause someone to lose their connection to The Force?”).
Last week, someone asked, “If Batman were to operate in real life, how fast would it take for his identity to be revealed?” The answers are pretty entertaining.
The top answer presents a fictional-universe answer to what is seemingly a “real-world” question, recounting the story from the 1990 Legends of the Dark Knight story “Prey” by Doug Moench and Paul Gulacy in which Hugo Strange discovers Batman’s identity using police records.
It’s one of several stories in which Strange discovers Batman’s identity. On Batman: The Animated Series, he discovered it in a medical test involving a mind-reading machine. In a Detective Comics story by Steve Englehart and Marshall Rodgers from 1977, Strange figured it out by noticing that Bruce Wayne checked into the hospital with burns that Batman would have.
But those are all fictional explanations. Some of the “real-world” explanations Reddit gave are arguably more interesting. One commenter, ‘periphery72271,’ said he’d be discovered “exactly one month after being coming to the attention of the Federal authorities.” The explanation involves a Predator drone following the Batmobile back to Wayne Manor, examinations of the equipment Batman uses, and interrogations of all the Robins and Commissioner Gordon. It’s lengthy, and led to a long debate that involved fan-fiction dialogue, discussions of Batman’s superpower (“he sees through YOU”) and the cost of the government running a Batman task force (a commenter estimates it would be $5 million).
Another commenter, ‘nermid,’ says it wouldn’t take nearly that long, theorizing that the hundreds of contractors who would have to work to construct the Batcave would catch on pretty quickly. Yet another, ‘altiuscitiusfortius,’ says auto-tagging technology would recognize Bruce Wayne’s mouth and chin almost instantly.
There’s a ton more discussion over in the Reddit thread if you’re interested. Of course, the absolute truth of the matter is that Batman is a fictional person who probably could never be real. For one thing, if someone tried to be Batman, he’d be infringing on a whole bunch of copyrights.
And as for the real-life superheroes we do have, well, we mostly just make fun of them until they’re forced to unmask when they get into legal trouble.