Warning: contains spoilers for Justice League #66!
While the Dark Knight might be one of the most capable humans on Earth, Justice League #66 just confirmed that the only way Batman, a powerless human, survives being on the Justice League is by heavily leaning on the Flash. The Justice League is primarily comprised of ultra-powerful metahumans. Superman has moved planets, Wonder Woman has pulled herself out of the event horizon of a black hole, and even Aquaman can lift a building over his head. Batman, however, is just a human, albeit a wealthy genius with gadgets and a lot of training and experience in physical combat. Although this is impressive on the streets of Gotham against common criminals, it doesn’t make much sense that Batman could survive going up against the same enemies as the rest of the League, and it turns out he can’t… at least not alone.
Batman’s tendency to survive much more than any human should is typically rationalized with his famous preparedness, with contingency plans in place for any situation. Although most comic fans are content with this answer, DC does sometimes display Batman’s true vulnerability. In a recent issue of Strange Adventures, Batman was caught off guard during a huge battle and shot through the arm, falling unconscious. A shot like that would bounce off most Leaguers, but when it hit Bruce, Adam Strange had to rush him to get medical care.
In Justice League #66, fans get too see how Batman survives Justice League-level threats without time to plan. The answer lies in another Leaguer: the Flash. When the Hall of Justice collapses, the Flash speeds in to get Batman to safety, but this isn’t a one-time thing. While on the Flash’s shoulder, Batman says, “You saved my life again, Barry…” It makes sense that Flash is quietly on Batman duty. The Flash can reach the speed of light, so he can easily swoop in and save Batman whenever the need arises.
Relying on him as a safety net isn’t the only way Batman leans on Flash to keep up with the League. In Justice League #58 (2020), it’s revealed that the Flash literally picks Batman up and carries him when the Justice League need to get somewhere quickly. Of course, Bruce Wayne is still the Batman, and he offers invaluable insight, resources, and experience to the team, but when it comes to metahuman feats of speed and survival, it’s clear he needs a helping hand from a friendly speedster.
In fact, superspeed is something of an Achilles heel for Batman, at least on the Flash’s level. In Batman #21 (2017), Reverse-Flash shows up at the Batcave. Batman calls the Flash for help, knowing he only has to survive for a minute, but when his teammate is a little late, Bruce is beaten unconscious and nearly killed. Even with prep time, Batman struggles with speedsters, and Flash proved in The Flash #65 (2019) that the Batcave’s defenses couldn’t stop him hurting Bruce if he wanted to. Thankfully, the two are generally both friends and allies, allowing Batman to count on Flash when Justice League missions require more of him than any human – even Bruce Wayne – can give.