Re: So let's talk about Mask of the Phantasm...
well if anything was going to stop bruce becoming batman it was going to be finding some sort of happiness and in honesty, most of that is in finding true love.
I think a key point of it that i haven't brought up is that bruce understood love could have stopped him being batman, which is a key element because he tries to use that notion to stop andrea killing the joker at the end of phantasm and she is too far gone to understand.
as for the fear aspect, there's a reason the masking of batman is played directly after he finds out that beaumont has done a runner.
to be fair, i don't think andrea does too much to divert batman off his path, she is just a fork in the road that he doesn't end up taking but it's nice to know the fork was still there.
and bruce is shown to be anything but human for a large part of the dcau (if you take into account his bruce wayne persona in his youth was an act). the closest other thing he's come to showing is fear when fighting against kyoado-ken (sp?) and rage when tim is being tortured in return of the joker.
infact, isn't the reason that dick left him was because of his apparent inhumanity
don't get me wrong, most romances in superhero stories are completly convoluted but because there are hugh parallels between the characters and she's there at a pivotal time in his life and never shows up again, i think it works. unlike rachel who basically tells him to be batman and is a final reward for stopping being batman, boooo hiss....