WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Batman: The Imposter #3, now on sale
The Bruce Wayne of Batman: The Imposter is a surprisingly down-to-earth version of the Dark Knight, with a more realistic limit on what he can physically and mentally handle. The Black Label series has highlighted how difficult being a hero in Gotham City would really be — with the final issue of the three-part miniseries fighting back against a common complaint about the Caped Crusader.
Batman: The Imposter #3 by Mattson Tomlin, Andrea Sorrentino, and Jordie Bellaire reveals the real reason Bruce Wayne doesn’t just donate his fortune to help Gotham City — and it’s a quietly realistic reason that explains why Bruce Wayne decided Batman was the best way he could help the people of Gotham.
Batman: The Imposter has been largely focused on introducing a version of Gotham City defined by a realistic touch usually absent from variations on Batman’s mission. This has included his support system being cut out from underneath him while also dealing with the realistic fallout of his mission — both physically and psychologically. Visiting Leslie Thompkins on the regular throughout the series, Bruce’s final meeting with her in Batman: The Imposter #3 before confronting the serial killer posing as him cuts incredibly deep. During their talk, Leslie asks Bruce directly what kind of impact he could have on Gotham City if he dedicated his time and energy towards helping the city instead of fighting it.
But Bruce curtly explains that people have always asked him why he doesn’t do more to help Gotham before revealing he’s only allowed a million dollars at a time from his inheritance. As Bruce Wayne, there’s a genuine cap on the amount of good he could do — and it would have little of the tangible effect than he’s had with his personal war on crime. Although Batman: The Imposter takes place in a unique reality, the idea of Bruce Wayne’s trust preventing him from donating too much is an interesting wrinkle into the origins of the Dark Knight’s crusade. In a city like Gotham, there’s only so much good money can do to stem the crime and corruption that had spread throughout the city.
Bruce could try donating to the police — but it’s just as likely to end up in the hands of the corrupt men who forced James Gordon out of a job or the vicious killers like Officer Hatcher as it would good cops like Alison Blair. Bruce’s personal dedication to bringing down crime in Gotham and making it a better place would fall apart at the seams, and do little good for the actual people of Gotham affected by crime in the streets. In a city like Gotham, trying to be personally pro-active might suddenly seem like a valid path towards honoring his commitment to avenging his parents’ murder. This Bruce Wayne even admits it’s a dark path that has likely cost him plenty of happiness — including most recently his relationship with Alison Blair, who on paper is a perfect fit for Bruce Wayne.
But in a city where the criminals — even without super gimmicks — still control the city with fear and murder, fighting crime with his bare hands might honestly have been the only thing Bruce Wayne could successfully think of as a strategy. It’s an easy way to explain why so many versions of Bruce Wayne end up embarking on a crusade that involves throwing themselves off of rooftops on the regular instead of playing into the failed system, sacrificing a stable life for one that might make a difference — because the normal route simply plays into the established rules of a city that has long been defined by abusing those rules.
from Ultimate Comic Blog