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Batman’s Cutest Sidekick (and Goodest Boy) Inspires Him More Than Any Robin

While on a mission with his dog, Batman reflected how Ace’s origins inspire him more than anything else.

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers from “Hounded” in Batman: Urban Legends #11, on sale now.

Batman has many reasons justifying his crusade against the criminals of Gotham City. However, one question that rarely gets an answer is why he keeps putting up with it. For every criminal he puts away, two more crop up, often times far deadlier than the one he just arrested. Unsurprisingly, this wears him down, making him question if what he does is even worth it. In “Hounded” from Batman: Urban Legends #11 (by Mark Russell, Karl Mostert, Trish Mulvihill, Steve Wands), even though he admitted to having those dark thoughts, he finds inspiration in his cutest partner: Ace the Bat-Hound.

RELATED: Why Gotham’s Newest Villain Is an ‘Anti-Batman’ – Sort Of

During a mission to shut down a trafficking ring, Batman brought his furry partner along. As the duo easily tore through the small army of thugs, Batman mused about how, when he was having a low moment, he would think of Ace. The dog lives a much simpler life than him, he loves without really knowing why or whether it will pan out in the long run. Batman finds hope in that, the idea that he could be doing this all for Gotham out of a labor of love. He may not know if his efforts will make a difference in the end, but right now, it gives him the wherewithal to keep fighting.

That same hope can also be seen in Ace. Batman came across him in one of the Joker’s abandoned hideouts. The puppy had been abused all his life, trained to be a fighting dog from the moment he could walk. As a consequence, Ace was highly aggressive when brought back to Wayne Manor for the first time. As the months passed and Bruce introduced him to a world where he didn’t have to be afraid and angry all the time, Ace began to become the loveable partner fans have come to adore. In that transformation, Batman finds a unique kinship with Ace.

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Having lost his own parents at a young age to Gotham City’s endless crime, Batman understands how pain and loneliness can shape you until it becomes what one is most comfortable with. It’s what makes taking that first step into the light so terrifying. Both had never really known anything other than their own darkness for so long that the idea of a better way of living was almost incomprehensible. As Batman put it, they were the pieces left behind by the sum of their tragedies.

Yet, those pieces could still be put back together. Batman may not be the most well-adjusted person in the DC Universe, but he has made herculean efforts to try and build a semblance of a normal life for himself and ensure that others never have to do the same. He saw the same struggle in Ace as he adapted to a being in a loving home. His new owner had similar struggles when reaching out past his own turmoil, first to Alfred, then the Robins, and then all the other significant people in his life. So really, Ace is a direct inspiration for Batman because their lives are a reflection of each other.

KEEP READING: DC’s New Batman Finally Has a Costume Showing He’s a Black Superhero

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