That Bat-Family plays a game called Vigilante Bingo in Wayne family Adventures, which highlights the light and dark side of being a Gotham hero.
WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Batman: Wayne Family Adventures #7, available now from Webtoon.
Duke Thomas’ adventures alongside his adopted siblings revealed that the Bat-Family has a theoretically fun game they refer to as “vigilante bingo” The idea behind the game is that, at some point or other, there are certain milestones that all heroes operating in Gotham City achieve. As revealed in “Vigilante Bingo” by Starbite, CRC Payne, Maria Li, Lan Ma, CM Cameron, and Kielamel Sibal, Duke’s first time taking a villain back to Arkham Asylum was one such achievement, but his questions about the game revealed that it also has a way of helping the Wayne children bond over their shared trauma and, rather concerningly, normalizing the horrifying parts of being a vigilante.
Bringing a supervillain to Arkham was one of the achievements, while others are based on their earlier experiences. For example, one such milestone was the creation of their own superhero team. Nightwing, Red Hood, Red Robin and Robin fall under this category, having formed different iterations of the Teen Titans and Outlaws respectively. Another is if a member of the family has changed their codename at least once.
Hearing all of these makes the game seem lighthearted and fun. It even seems like everyone uses it to form bragging rights of a sort. But there is a dark side to this game of theirs. Vigilante bingo is designed to tap into shared experiences they’ve all had, so it makes sense, in a twisted way, that it would also delve into the darker moments of their lives. And in some cases, the end of their lives.
Past training by assassins has been brought up as a category, leading to three heroes admitting they’ve been trained by some of the most ruthless killers in the DCU. Even Nightwing technically falls under this category, but he would rather avoid the part of his career where he trained under Deathstroke. Then there was the darkest milestone of all: dying in the line of duty.
They have also worked out the technicalities of what qualifies as a death and not a near-death experience, so Nightwing and Red Robin’s time where they were “dead” do not count. Thus, only Jason Todd and Damian Wayne have this undesired status amongst the family, but it’s a milestone Duke was appalled to hear as part of the game and even more concerned by how casually the others admitted it happened more frequently than any of them cared to acknowledge.
Vigilante bingo is somehow both wholesome and distressing in its own way. Duke is representative of the audience in this case, being amused by some of the more fun parts of the game while being put off by the darker aspects. And based on the reactions of some of its players, normalizing this kind of trauma can be both uncomfortable for them and desensitizing to the danger they face on a regular basis.
However, there are positive aspects to vigilante bingo. Aside from the fun categories, such as pranking Batman and reliving moments of glory, the game is also a way for the Bat-Family to share their troubles in a way that brings them closer together. It lets each of them know what is going on and what has occurred in their lives, giving them insights into the partners they’ve known for years. And it also provides them with confidantes who can understand where they are coming from when dealing with the aftermath of horrifying experiences. For example, Damian could turn to Red Hood and talk to him about his experience being dead or Tim could speak with Dick about how to successfully lead another team. And it’s also just a good way for them to spend time together after patrolling Gotham.
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