Batman: a Suspicious Six

There have been many interpretations of Batman since he first appeared in a comic in 1939, so there are portraits contrary to the one I’m about to paint, but I see him as an Enneagram Six - the Doubter, the Questioner, the Devil’s Advocate, the Loyalist.

Sixes can be difficult to describe. Certain aspects make them look like pretty much any other type. But Sixes are commonly a bundle of contradictions. The specific combination of seemingly contrasting impulses has been referred to as the fingerprint of the Six.

Trust is a central issue for them. Who can I trust? Even when Sixes find someone seemingly rock solid, they can’t stop themselves from doubting and questioning them. Can I really trust them?

We see this blend of trust and suspicion in Batman, as he appears in the graphic novel Liberty and Justice (2003), written by Paul Dini, with artwork by Alex Ross.

The Justice League are called to the Pentagon. The heroes who respond are The Flash, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and the Martian Manhunter (aka J’onn J’onzz – a green skinned telepath).

While being briefed about an outbreak of unexplained paralysis in Africa, Batman, hiding in the rafters, makes silent contact with the Martian Manhunter.

Batman contacts J'Onn - largest

Batman dialogues with J'onn J'onzz

This suspicion of the government’s motives brings up another commonly seen characteristic of Sixes: ambivalence toward authority. Sixes might resent an oppressive boss, but stay at their job anyway. They might fume at academic politics, and then stay in university and complete their degree. And then get another one. Batman disappears on J'onn

Batman fights to uphold the law – outside the parameters of official law enforcement. He has an informal relationship with a few allies on the police force, but keeps most of his information from them, investigating crime on his own.

In this instance, he’s willing to work on a mission the US government sends the Justice League on, but he’s suspicious of them. Who’s sending us on this mission? What are their real motives? After all, government corruption is common enough that you can count on it. Or can you?

It’s also noteworthy that he surprises the telepathic Martian Manhunter, showing up unannounced, and then somehow disappears from his awareness, without saying good-bye, much less thank you for allaying his suspicions. After all, why tell him he’s on his way? Why tell him where he’s going? Or how he gets around? You never know if the Martian Manhunter himself might have ulterior motives…

As the panel below shows, the team determines the paralysis to be from an alien virus. The Flash explains this to Woman Wonder, who’s flying her invisible jet – presumably a vehicle of magical origin, whose communication system Batman has somehow hacked.

Batman - the JLA figures out it's a virus

Why ask for access? Can he trust the access she gives him? And wouldn’t he then have to reciprocate? Or would she hack him if he refused? And yet he volunteers to allow the other heroes into the batcave to develop an antidote for the virus.

Wonder Woman remarks “That’s what I like about him, a team player all the way. I’m just glad he’s on our side.” He’s indeed a bundle of contradictions: an excellent team player and a completely independent operator at the same time.

Batman cuts in on Wonder Woman's frequency

Batman never hesitates to engage in direct action, which indicates that he has more counter-phobic tendencies, than phobic (in a counter-phobic moment, Sixes rush toward the source of their fear – in a phobic moment they avoid it). And yet his action is always informed by his vigilance, as he scans every situation and detail for danger, for betrayal, for gaps in his preparations.

And he’s pretty goddam badass.

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