What exactly defines a superhero? Is it truly necessary for a superhero to have super powers like flying, inhuman strength, x-ray vision or invulnerability?
Most people would quickly state that to be a super hero you must have these abilities. If this is true, the question should be expanded to include others like Iron-Man and Green Arrow. Are they also superheroes or not? In the same sense as Batman, they cannot be seen as super heroes. Some see Batman as a vigilante with a lot of high-tech gadgets but no innate super powers. In their opinion, he can’t be a superhero.
Taking a look at the definition of a super hero in the Merriam-Webster, you find a superhero defined as “a fictional hero having extraordinary or superhuman powers” as well as “an exceptionally skillful or successful person.” So, even if Batman does not have any superhuman powers, he does have some really extraordinary powers.
He is a very skilled fighter, being a master at various martial arts. He is extremely intelligent and is seen as the Dark Detective for his abilities to solve complex puzzles. He is a master of various forensic sciences, and he has a great understanding of the human psychological processes. Batman is, quite certainly, a powerful individual. He is physically strong and agile. Except for these qualities, Batman also shares quite a lot of commonalities with other fictional superheroes. He wears a costume to hide his true identity. He uses various special equipment, ranging from small utilities on his belt, to his famous bat mobile. He usually fights those who are classified as super villains, like the Joker, Two Face, Killer Croc and the Penquin.
His extraordinary abilities are shown by his ability overcome the lower level thugs, mostly used by the super villains. Even when vastly outnumbered by these thugs, Batman can handle and disable them all with relative ease. These alone moves him into the arena of exceptionally skillful. So even though he has no real super powers, he does fit the definition given by Merriam-Webster. Of course, technology does help him in his shortcomings. He doesn’t have x-ray vision, like Superman, but he does have his bat-goggles. He cannot fly, but with his trusted grappling hook, he can move quite effectively between the buildings of Gotham. He uses smoke and stun grenades to overcome a huge number of enemies, and he can pick locks and disable alarms with great ease. What he needs in superpowers, he makes up in gadgets.
The biggest argument for Batman as a superhero comes from the Justice League of America. Distinquished superheroes like Superman, the Flash, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman and the Martian Manhunter work side by side with Batman. Would these superheroes accept a mere human being if he is not up to their standards? The answer is no. The Justice Leaguers reckon Batman as one of them.
Batman does not have any real superpowers, but according to the definition of Merriam-Webster Batman does fit the definition of a superhero, and with real superheroes accepting him as an equal, no doubt Batman can truly and utterly be called a superhero.