Batman and Captain America Bonded Over Their Most Tragic Losses
Marvel’s Captain America and DC’s Batman once bonded over their most tragic similarity: the loss of their sidekicks, Jason Todd and Bucky Barnes.
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Warning! Spoilers for JLA/Avengers
Marvel’s Captain America and DC’s Batman once bonded over their most tragic similarity: the loss of their sidekicks. When the Dark Knight lost Jason Todd AKA Robin, his devastation changed his outlook on crimefighting forever. Similarly, Steve Rogers’ loss of his friend Bucky Barnes gave him a new perspective on his crusade for freedom.
There have only been a handful of times in which the Marvel and DC universes have collided. When JLA/Avengers featured the two companies’ famous teams, fans saw a glimpse of iconic heroes interacting with each other for the first time. Both universes have several characters who seem like counterparts to each other, but Batman and Captain America aren’t typically compared. However, the Dark Knight and super soldier have a few things in common, as highlighted in JLA/Avengers, written by George Pérez with art by Kurt Busiek.
As Captain America entered the Batcave, he came across the glass display containing the Robin costume, last worn by the deceased Jason Todd. Taken aback by the discovery, Cap said to Batman, “You… lost a partner?” Since Batman tends to keep his distance as a reserved vigilante, Steve likely had trouble understanding him before this moment. Now able to see past his serious exterior, Cap has something to work with. Relating Batman’s loss to his own loss in Bucky, the two heroes’ dynamic suddenly changed as their partnership continued.
In contrast, Batman would probably have not been phased to learn of Captain America’s loss if he mentioned it, as he has a proven ability to figure out why someone is the way they are. With Clark Kent and Steve Rogers sharing their boy scout mentality, it would likely be familiar territory for Bruce to understand Cap’s perspective. Instead, the Dark Knight redirects Steve to their mission, detouring them from a conversation about their shared loss. To Batman, there are more important things going on, and it’s his responsibility to remind Steve before he becomes distracted by their personal lives.
Similar to his role in the Justice League, Batman grounds Captain America in the moment, not allowing him to be reminded of past burdens. It’s also possible that Batman knew his time with Steve would be short, if their mission was successful, so he didn’t want to waste getting to know other hero. Considering that both Bucky and Jason eventually return as twisted versions of their former selves, Captain America and Batman would go onto have even more in common.