Tags: alfred

cass, can you not

This is both hilarious and deeply sad

I don't really follow the Injustice comics, but according to posted pages I've seen around, it's canonical that grown-up Bruce Wayne still doesn't know

  • In which refrigerator they keep the milk.

  • How many times he ate today.

  • How many hours he slept.

  • Where his wallet is.

  • How to even pretend to face the concept of mortality when it comes to a parental figure.

He deals with these issues through

  • Alfred takes care of it.

  • Alfred takes care of it.

  • Alfred takes care of it.

  • Alfred takes care of it.

  • I'll either die before Alfred or keep him alive indefinitely through Batman money and trickery.

I don't think it's an analytical stretch to suggest that Bruce — world-class genius polymath that he is — avoids knowing how to deal with domestic issues not because it frees up time for the Mission (although that's perhaps how he justifies it to himself) but as a childish attempt to force Alfred to stay alive by making himself depend on him. Being able to fully function without Alfred would be to acknowledge that he might one day have to, and that's not something Bruce is ready to face.

And speaking of refusing to accept the mortality of parental figures and Alfred's long and mostly fruitless attempt to get Bruce to own it, there's that famous dialogue between them in front of Jim Gordon's hospital bed that time he was nearly killed:

Batman: Jim Gordon will pull through.
Alfred: Or what, Master Bruce? You'll dress up like a giant bat and haunt the night for the rest of your life?

Frankly, I don't know why so many writers try to find new and flashier psychological issues for Bruce. He's a mostly sane mostly adult person with a psychological trauma that makes him obsessed with preventing death, particularly violent death. He knows it's impossible to save everybody, he knows it's not very healthy to even try, and yet he has shaped his entire life around this obsession with practically monomaniac intensity. You'd think that's psychological distress enough.

Being Batman is crazy enough, there's no need to pile stuff on top of it.
cass, can you not

As everything, something prompted by something else

If we are to go by canon, Alfred dedicates almost half of his interactions with Bruce to attempting to feed him or getting him to sleep, with at best mixed results. Canon also emphasizes, although doesn't directly show as often as I'd like, that Bruce keeps himself at peak physical and mental condition through an absolute dedication to training and expert knowledge of his own physiology.

You see the problem.

Granting that he's certainly proficient in every method known to man for efficient sleep, he's still technically human. More to the point, he knows his biology inside and out: he might be able to keep working without sleep for a ludicrous amount of time, but he also knows he cannot keep himself in Batman shape without proper sleep.

The same goes for food. I'll accept the idea that he basically lives off a combination of weird things he learned about while traveling and hyper-advanced synthetic stuff, so he doesn't really need to eat a lot of anything we'd recognize as food, but he wouldn't go on patrol with insufficient carbs and protein inside him any more than he'd go without body armor.

By which I mean, if he had to, definitely, and he'd be good at compensating for it. But he became Batman by giving himself every possible advantage (within those weird boundaries of his, mind you). He reads the files of the people he's going to pursue. He studies the blueprints and ownership records of the place he's going to stake out. He loads up on antidotes for whatever poisons are likely to be around this time.

And he eats a damn turkey sandwich or something so he doesn't have to worry about his blood sugar during a fight. Bruce's diet is as precisely engineered as the Batmobile's maintenance schedule, and for exactly the same reasons.

The same considerations apply to his sleep. He's one of the smartest humans alive. He knows very well he's not quite as smart when he has pulled an all-nighter. Not quite as fast. Still faster than the average mook, yes, but in what universe has that been enough for him? I buy it that when he's in one of his periodic emotional crisis he goes out and nearly kills himself by overwork, and I also buy it that, to a degree, he has offloaded the job of keeping track of this kind of thing on Alfred, not because he cannot do it himself (Bruce traveled all over the world, and a lot of that he did alone and in weird places; "he can't feed himself on his own" is silly) but probably because during those first months after Crime Alley he'd refuse to sleep because of the nightmares, and might've been too depressed to eat, so Alfred getting him to sleep and eat became part of what "home life at Wayne Manor" is like for them both... and now I gave myself a sad.

Or, to look at it from a cuddlier point of view, Bruce pretends Alfred has to coerce him to eat and sleep so he can feel he's taking care of him, and Alfred has to pretend he doesn't know Bruce finds it at least as comforting as he does.

But a Bruce who doesn't sleep regularly the minimum amount of time he has figured out he needs to keep himself at peak performance (which isn't four hours every other day, I bet) just never got to become Batman, or didn't *survive* as Batman for long.

Therefore: Get enough sleep. Get enough and good food. Treat your wounds. Take care of yourself first, so you can take better care of Gotham.

This message has been sponsored by Bruce "Has To Be Expected Would Be A Great Personal Trainer Except That It'd Kill You" Wayne and Alfred "The 'I Swear to God, Master Bruce' Is Silent But Constant" Pennyworth.
cass, can you not

A very rushed fic

Title: The surety of death's steps

Maybe Tim Drake would have noticed the Batman's erratic, self-destructive behavior after Jason's death, and approached Bruce Wayne on his own. Alfred didn't want to take the risk. He knew how much Bruce needed somebody like him.

cass, can you not

Batman Confidential #8

Apologies for the spamming, but Alfred has just made my day:

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I squeed a *lot*. This was near Hypervelocity-level tech talk. Nothing fancy for near-future sci-fi, but compared to most comic book tech, it's gold. And it's Alfred. He has some other great bits, including I'd win the bloody Nobel for it if it wouldn't compromise some of your more sensitive secrets. *hearts* Bruce is great, too; it's the kind of Bruce I really see Ra's calling The Detective, a kick-ass fighter but above everything else an smart man.

If you ask me, Batman Confidential is the true All-Star Batman, a retelling that changes things but leaves them great.
cass, can you not

Batman Chronicles #05

What an issue! Oracle's first case (with a Richard Dragon cameo). Gordon has yet another close encounter with Gotham. Alfred gives wee!Bruce advice that might just possibly have a certain something to do with his future (Alfred, I love you, but you are anything but inocent, old man).

I love my crazy, wonderful Gotham people.
cass, can you not

My current excuse: I blame Te.

Gotham Adventures #16, aka The One About Alfred. As this is getting a bit too repetitive [1. Read issue... 2. Squee... 3. Post... 4. Repeat...], I'll try and be a bit more explicit about why, exactly, this is such a hugely awesome series, using as an example this issue.

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In short: it's the anti-comics!Batfamily. They don't doubt about themselves, their actions, or their partners. They all work together, have fun, and unleash holy hell over a Rogues' gallery made up of impredictable, thoughtful, *human* people.

As Ty Templeton answered when he asked him if he didn't dream about working with the "real" Batman: "I do".