Detective Comics (Vol. 1) #27 (May, 1939)
Bob Kane, Bill Finger
Batman Family, Justice League, Wayne Enterprises, Outsiders, Batmen of All Nations, Batman Incorporated
The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Detective, The Caped Crusader, Matches Malone, Sir Hemingford Grey, Mordecai Wayne, The Insider, Lefty Knox, Minuteman
Base of Operations
Skills and Abilities
Genius-level intellect, Peak physical and mental conditioning, Master detective, Master martial artist and Master hand-to-hand combatant
Tools and Weapons
Utilizes high-tech equipment, weapons, and armors
Batman is a superhero in the DC Universe and one of the world's most famous superheroes in any medium.
After his parents were murdered by a criminal, Bruce Wayne trained his mind and body to fight crime as Batman, using the image of the bat to strike terror into the hearts of criminals.
- For more information of the Bruce Wayne of Earth-Two, particularly his life during the Silver Age, see Batman (Earth-Two). Information regarding the backstory of the character following the Silver Age is available there. Please note also that some characters names are slightly changed in Earth-Two, such as Harvey Kent, as opposed to the modern day name of Harvey Dent.
Bruce Wayne was born to millionaires Dr. Thomas and Martha Wayne in Gotham City. As a boy, Bruce was orphaned when Thomas tried to protect Martha from a mugger named Joe Chill, who murdered them both. Since then, Bruce vowed to wage a war on crime and avenge their deaths. Bruce's Uncle Philip Wayne became his legal guardian and enrolled him in the elementary school Hudson Academy. He eventually enrolled in University, focusing his attention both on his scientific studies and keeping his body in peak physical condition.
Believing criminals to be a "cowardly and superstitious lot", Bruce decided that he needed an identity that would strike terror into the hearts of criminals. While considering this, a bat flew into his study, which Bruce took as an omen and inspired him to have his new identity be a bat. To this end, he hired (without revealing his identity) the finest suitmakers to create the bat costume and paid them to tell no one about it.
Batman had gone out on partol and despite a disastrous first attempt at crime-fighting, he made a name for himself in the "Apex Chemicals" case, solving a series of murders within the company and defeating criminal businessman Alfred Stryker and his criminal underlings. He would go on to fight criminals, originally not afraid to use lethal force and even weilding guns, though he would soon cease these more extreme crime-fighting methods. Batman's success led to a rise in fame and the grudging admiration of Commissioner James Gordon Batman and Gordon would become allies, with Gordon calling on Batman in times of need. Batman would go on to fight and defeat such villains as Doctor Death, the Monk, Duc D'Orterre, Sheldon Lennox, and Hugo Strange.
Batman and RobinEdit
On the night Bruce Wayne attended a performance by Haly's Circus, he was witness to the acrobat act, the Flying Graysons, killed by the gang of the criminal Boss Zucco. Only the Graysons' acrobatic son, Dick Grayson, survived and Bruce Wayne took him on as his ward. Bruce Wayne would go on to reveal his secret identity to Dick and began training him as his crime fighting protege. Dick took the name Robin and swore to Batman to both be his crime fighting partner and uphold truth and justice just as he did. On their first case, the crime fighting duo defeated Boss Zucco and sent him to jail.
Batman didn't originally intend to have Robin be his partner indefinitely, but due to Robin's insistence, he continued to train his detective and martial arts skills. Batman eventually allowed Robin to remain his partner after he rescued Batman from a pair of crooks who held him captive.
New Threats and New FriendsEdit
Now a team, Batman and Robin soon found themselves facing strange new threats, including the master of disguise Clayface, the thief Cat-Woman and most dangerous of all, the murderous Joker. Batman would continue to have a number of adventures and during this time Bruce Wayne became re-acquainted with an old friend Linda Page, whom he would have an on-again off-again relationship with. Batman would go on to face the Scarecrow, a villain armed with a gas that made people terrified and tangled with the Joker a second time.
Later, Bruce would be charged with a crime he didn't commit, leading him to, as Batman, clear his own name. Following this particular victory, Batman was declared an honorary member of the Gotham City Police Department by Commissioner Gordon. Batman would later would defeat new villains such as the Penguin and Professor Radium and with Batman's increasing success, Commissioner Gordon and the Gotham Police began to use a Bat-Signal to summon Batman in their time of need. Working together, Commissioner Gordon and Batman would earn each others mutual respect and become close friends, even having a Christmas celebration together.
Batman would go on to fight Two-Face, a supervillain who was once the District Attorney of Gotham City, as well as Bruce Wayne's former friend, Harvey Kent. Batman offered to help Kent earn redemption, only to have the offer rejected and Two-Face would go on to be one of Batman's most dangerous foes.
Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson would later meet an odd little amateur detective named Alfred Beagle, who met with Bruce with the hopes of becoming the butler of Wayne Manor. Wayne eventually agreed the hapless but well-meaning Beagle accidentally discovered Batman's secret lair while cleaning. From their he deduced the identity of the dynamic duo, making him the first to do so. Alfred continued to work for Wayne, but also, at times, worked as Batman's assistant. Alfred not only helped foil some particularly crafty villains, but also helped reunite Bruce Wayne with Dick Grayson, after Dick's uncle (secretly a criminal) plotted to take him away.
It was not long after this, Batman rebuilt his secret lair, calling it the Batcave and using it to house his secret laboratory, his special gym and his special vehicles.
After a trip away, Alfred returned to Wayne Manor having slimmed down noticably and continued to act as Bruce Wayne's butler and often aiding the two heroes. Batman and Robin would also befirend a brilliant scientist named Carter Nichols, who experimented with time travel and often asked the duo to help him with his time travlleing experiments. Batman also finally confronted Joe Chill, still a hardened criminal, revealing his identity to him in an attempt to make him submit from shock. Instead, Joe Chill tried to tell his criminal allies that he was responsible for creating Batman. Without learning Batman's true identity, they shor Chill out of anger for creating Gotham's greatest crimefighter and though Batman tried to save him, Chill died, leaving the case of the Wayne murders finally closed.
Batman would also meet new foes such as the Riddler, a criminal who leaves behind puzzles and riddles in order to bamboozle his foes, as well as the Mad Hatter, a master of mind control obsessed with he children's book Alice in Wonderland. Bruce Wayne also met reporter Vicki Vale who correctly deduced that Bruce Wayne was Batman but could never prove it. Despite her often threatening Batman's secret identity, she proved herself to be a great ally for Batman. Batman also faced new threats from Deadshot (a master marksman who aimed to become a superhero for criminal purposes), the Killer Moth (whose plot to uncover Batman's identity succeeded, until a shooting left him with memory loss) and an evil special effects expert Firefly. Vicki Vale later revealed she loved Batman, but no romantic relationship occured between them.
Batman also helped form the superhero team the Justice Society of America with many other prominent superheroes. However, due to his busy schedule, Batman denied himself full membership, becoming an honorary member and only occasionally helping them. Batman would later be recruited to another team, the All-Star Squadron, during World War II. Though he sometimes helped the team overseas, he mostly remained in Gotham City, fighting his war on the homefront.
The Silver AgeEdit
- During the Silver Age of comics, it was revealed that the earlier Batman stories and the then current Batman stories actually took place in different continuities. The Batman who appeared in the Golden Age stories existed in the timeline known as Earth-Two, while the Batman of the Silver Age of Comics existed in a timeline called Earth-One. There was never a clear point where one became the other, implying that largely the characters had extremely similar pasts, though with notable differences. For this reason, the Batman of Earth-One's past will be detailed from the beginning.
Bruce Wayne was born in Gotham City the only son of physician Dr. Thomas Wayne and his wife Martha in a very wealthy household. At a young age, Bruce would be inspired by a costume at his father's masquerade ball (which resembled a bat) and the mysterious masked crime fighter known as the Shadow, who saved his father's life. One night, Bruce, Thomas and Martha were walking home when they were assaulted by a mugger named Joe Chill. Chill demanded Martha's pearls but when Thomas stepped in to stop Chill, Chill gunned them both down. Chill ran, leaving Bruce emotional fragile and found and comforted by Leslie Thompkins, who had witnessed the crime and came to comfort the child. Bruce vowed to avenge their deaths (making a promise at the site of their graves) and work towards bringing criminals to justice. Bruce was taken into the care of Phillip Wayne, an uncle who was rarely present to due his travels and was largely taken care of by the housekeeper Mrs. Chilton.
The Silver Age Batman changed little, but when DC Comics introduced the The DC Multiverse, it established that all the stories of Batman that were told in the Golden Age were actually Earth-Two Batman. It revealed that Earth-Two Batman had married Catwoman and fathered a daughter named Huntress. Earth-Two Batman would retire as Batman to take the job as Commissioner of the GCPD. It was revealed that Selina had been killed Silky Cernak, an old former henchman when she refused and attempted to arrest him. Eventually he died in his final adventure against a criminal named Bill Jensen who had acquired superpowers. The Silver Age Batman had his back story expanded upon such as his uncle Philip Wayne raising Bruce for a while after his parents’s deaths. He was also had an older brother named Thomas Wayne Jr. who had to be institutionalized after the death of his parents. It was revealed that his parents' killing had not been chance, but an assassination ordered by gangster Lew Moxon. As a child, Bruce's father had worn a bat costume (similar to Batman's future costume) to a masquerade party, where he encountered and stopped the mobster. Moxon swore revenge against Dr. Wayne, and hired the criminal Joe Chill to arrange a mugging that would result in their deaths. Also at some point in his training, he wore a costume similar to the future Robin's and he was trained by Harvey Harris, a Gotham City Police detective.
During the Silver Age Batman would regularly team up with other heroes to fight evil. They began publishing World’s Finest Comics from the 1950s through the 1980s for team ups with Batman and Superman and other heroes. This depicted that Batman and Superman were close friends. In the early 1960s Batman later became a founding member of the Justice League of America.
In the late 1960s, Robin began attending college because DC Comics wanted to revise Batman somewhat. Batman decided to move from Wayne Manor to one of his penthouse apartments on top of Wayne Foundation, so he could be closer to Gotham City and the crimes. Batman began to work solo during the 1970s and 1980s, but would occasionally team up with Robin and Batgirl. This was the period where Batman started becoming a bit darker. Violent crimes were increasing, and there were many first appearances. The Joker finally made his first appearance since the Golden Age. The Joker was made extremely darker and more sadistic. Ra's al Ghul also made his first appearance during this time period. Batman's older brother Thomas would reappear. Thomas had become an assassin, but his body had been taken over by the anti-hero Deadman. Batman was able to remove Deadman from his brother's body, but he soon died trying to save his brother from an assassin. Later Batman would quit the Justice League and formed his new group called the Outsiders. Batman was the leader of the group for a while, but he eventually quit it as well.
Modern Age Batman Edit
After Crisis on Infinite Earths, the Earth-Two and the Batman that was on it was erased from history. DC Comics attempted to reboot many of the major character’s origins including Batman. The re-tooled history was recounted in Frank Miller’s run on Batman in the Year One story arc. This made Batman much darker and showed the corruption in the Gotham City Police Department, giving more of a reason for Gotham City to need Batman. They left Dick’s backstory the same but changed Jason Todd's backstory. They also got rid of Philip Wayne and had Bruce being raised by Alfred Pennyworth. Batman also was no longer a founding member of the Justice League.
Later during the Death and Return of Superman, Batman had his own crisis to deal with. In the Knightfall story arc, Batman was attacked in his own Batcave by his new enemy, a criminal called Bane. Bane broke Batman's back, paralysing him. Bruce decided to ask Azrael to take the role of Batman while he healed. As Azrael battled crime in his murderous stint as the Batman, Bruce Wayne healed and battled his own inner demons. Batman eventually fought Azrael and succeeded in defeating him. Bruce asked Nightwing to take the Batman mantle while he retrained himself.
After that event, some changes were made in Batman's history. Batman was now not well known in Gotham and was actually an urban legend amongst some of the criminals. Also they were never able to catch the killer of the Wayne couple, meaning they eliminated Joe Chill from the entire continuity. Later during the “Hush” storyline, Hush was introduced. He was Bruce’s childhood friend and was a big influence for Bruce when they were young. Elliot had in fact been the enemy known as Hush and was attacking Batman by manipulating his enemies to attack him. He also tried to torture Batman by making him believe that Jason Todd was still alive. Batman fought the man who claimed to be Jason, but it proved to be Clayface. However, Jason was really alive and would eventually turn up later as the Jason Todd, reviving an early alias of the Joker.
Batman is most notable for his use of gadgetry. Due to his wealth, money is no obstacle for the development of various gadgets he uses in fighting crime. The most recognizable of these is the Batarang, a thrown weapon that has a returning ability. This was slowly replaced by his grappling hook as a favored gadget over time. Other items include smoke or flash grenades, caltrops, a re- breather, and various anti-venoms. His heels have a sonic device which can summon a swarm of bats. This allows for dramatic escapes or diversions to keep his enemies busy. A kryptonite ring was entrusted to Batman by Superman himself, to ensure a defense in case he were to ever go rogue.
The Bat costume is made of hardened kevlar plates on titanium-dipped tri-weave fibers and is broken into multiple pieces of armor over a more flexible bodysuit for greater mobility. Has a utility belt. Although that is just the modern bat suit.
Batman's cape has undergone many redesigns from DC Comics artists throughout the years. It was originally inspired by the drawings of a wing-like cape by Leonardo Da Vinci. Later artists would begin making the wings look more cape-like. All the versions of Batman's cape, however, still retain the scalloped wing design at the bottom of the cape. The cape is used to help conceal Batman in the shadows, and it has also been used as a sort of parachute. In the movie adaptations, the cape has been shown to be made of Kevlar and to be resistant to bullets and fire. It has also been used as a hang glider. But Batman has never truly been able to fly using any of the various versions of his cape.
Variant Suits Edit
Batman has other various suits that he uses. Some of his suits provide extra power for him to fight meta-humans. He also has a SCUBA variant suit that is a fireproof version of his Batsuit that allows him to fight enemies like Firefly. Jean-Paul Valley redesigned the Batsuit when he abandoned his customary alias of Azrael to take over the mantle while Bruce was temporarily out of action. He created an armored suit that had shuriken launchers, flamethrowers, and other lethal weapons. As presented in Greg Capullo and Scott Snyder's Batman, while the Batcave is layed under siege by The Court of Owls, Bruce Wayne dons a metallic super suit which, as he claims, has enough oxygen to last him two weeks and also fire batarangs.
Utility Belt Edit
Batman’s utility belt is one of his most characteristic items of special paraphernalia, and everyone in the "Batman Family" has the same designs on their utility belts. His enemies believe that if they have his belt, it will give them an advantage over him. However, Batman had designed the pockets to be locked, and only he knows how to open them. His belt has a security device on it where it can electrically shock someone, shoot a stun gas, or detonate an explosive device to prevent anyone from tampering with it. It is made of a leather strap with a solid steel buckle. The buckle is a miniature camera and a two-way radio. There are also compartments that hold collapsible "Batarangs." It can hold ten cylinder cartridges that are equipped vertically outside of the belt. The cylinders hold various tools and equipment Batman needs to fight crime and vary depending on his mission:
- Batarang: A shuriken of shakens, each designed like a boomerang and all with a boomerang effect. They are usually designed to look like a bat. Batarang shakens also vary in their sizes and effects.
- Bat-bolas: It is an explosive ball that when thrown at an opponent’s feet, explode and ties them up in a nylon cord. Batman can also give an electric shock with a button on his gauntlets.
- Bat-cuffs: These are bat-shaped handcuffs that are made of lightweight diamond-impregnated nylon. Theirs is a one-piece design. They slide open and closed so they can fit into his utility belt.
- Bat-tracer: Used to attach on opponents to track their location.
- Communication device: Ear-bug to communicate with allies.
- First aid kit: To heal injuries.
- Gas Mask: Provides protection against various toxic gases.
- Goo gun: A gun that fires adhesive substance to incapacitate an opponent.
- Grappling hook: A gun that fires a line to swing from one area to another.
- Night vision goggles: Lenses that allow Batman to see in the dark. They are currently built into his hood.
- Kryptonite ring: Inside a lead-lined box is a ring, with a green kryptonite jewel, to weaken Superman if he ever goes rogue.
- Laser torch: A laser that cuts through almost any material.
- Oxy-acetylene torch: A newer version of the laser torch.
- Line gun: Stronger version of the grappling gun in which the top clamps onto a big surface.
- Lock picks: To pick locks, sometimes stored in Batman's gauntlets.
- Micro camera: Mounted on his utility-belt buckle, it allows him to shoot photographs.
- Miniature smoke grenades: These allow him to conceal himself from his enemies.
- Miniature mines: Small explosives that detonate on touch.
- Mini computer: A computer connected to WayneTech communications satellite.
- Money: Whatever currency is needed.
- Radar: Kept on his buckle, it emits a radar wave.
- Re-breather: Allows Batman to breathe underwater or in a vacuum.
- Remote control: Controls the Batmobile and other vehicles, and WayneTech satellites.
- Smoke pellets: Used to conceal him during entrances and exits.
- Sonar device: Stored on the heels of his boots, it allows him to summon bats.
- Stun grenades: A grenade that emits bright light, loud sounds, and stuns opponents.
- Taser: This can incapacitate an opponent by means of non-lethal electrocution.
- Thermal grenades: Burn through most materials.
Skills and Abilities Edit
Throughout the years, Batman has been shown to become one of the most powerful human beings in the DC Universe. When Bruce Wayne lost his parents to a petty criminal, he inherited a large sum of money. With so much money, Bruce was able to dedicate his time into training to become a crime fighter. Batman is known as the “World’s Greatest Detective”. His deductive skills have been shown to be almost limitless. Batman is fluent in many languages and is also a very brilliant scientist, such as chemistry and his specialty, forensic science. Batman also has a supercomputer that he dubbed the “Bat-Computer” in which he uses when he is solving cases. Tim Drake has been shown to be the only other person to have a full understanding of how to use the Bat-Computer. He is an expert user of many vehicles such as a car, motorcycle, helicopter, Jet-Skis, planes, boats, and hang gliders.
Batman has been an excellent strategist from the start. When he first figured out that criminals were superstitious cowards, he began using the bat as intimidation to throw his enemies off balance. His utility belt also has a wide array of weapons which he may need during a fight. While he fights, he usually calculates several moves ahead to be able to calculate the best possible strategy to win. After finally returning to Gotham as the Batman, Bruce has become a master martial artist, acrobat, and escapologist. He is also an expert in many different and exotic weapons. However, with his parents having been killed by a gun, he has always rejected the use of guns. Due to him being a regular human being, his physical strength cannot be matched with a super-humanoid. However, he is still one of the greatest fighters in the DC Universe, and only a handful can defeat him. Throughout the years, Batman began putting himself through rigorous training in his Batcave, and it has made him so strong that it is near meta-human level. Having mastered several martial arts such as boxing, karate, jujitsu, kung fu, muay thai, aikido, ninjitsu, and kobudo (weapons handling), his being in the pinnacle of human physical condition combined with his genius-level intellect makes him arguably the most dangerous non-meta on the planet.
Bat Cave Edit
The Bat Cave is one of the most important factors in Batman's career as both a headquarters for his operation as well as a place of privacy for him to think. In Batman Begins the cave was described as being used in the underground railroads and it in the movies Bruce fell through the caves at a young age. The cave can be reached through many ways. One is by setting a grandfather cloak in the study to 10:47 (the time when Bruce's parents were killed). In Batman: The Series, after opening a William Shakespeare bust on the table of Bruce Wayne's study, a bookcase would slide over and one could reach it by sliding down Batpoles. In Batman Forever Bruce was able to slide down a tunnel that lead to the Cave from his office in Wayne Enterprises. A waterfall or camouflaged door is used for connecting to the road for the Batmobile. There is also a dry well entrance as well. Also almost anyone who knows Batman's true identity knows the location and how to enter the cave. Batman has several advanced computers that store data on many of his foes and he can connect to any network via a series of satellites. Batman has worked with several advanced minds on the creation of his system and often communicates to Oracle and use her computer skills. Batman may at times use JLA computers when he feels his aren't up to a certain task due to the use of alien technology in League's computers. The cave houses many of Batman's vehicles such as the Batmobile, Batbikes and the Bat-Wing to name a few. The Batcave is also a advanced bomb shelter and panic room and can even survive an earthquake such as during the Cataclysm. The Bat Cave also stores, and is home to, memorabilia collected from various adventures. Three items often seen in the cave are a defunct full-size mechanical Tyrannosaurus Rex, an equally large U.S. penny, and a Joker playing card. There are also other Bat Caves in other locations aside form the one under the manor.
- Central Batcave: Located fifty feet below the bottom of Robinson Park Reservoir, it is accessible through a secret entrance at the foot of one of the Twelve Caesars statues at the north of the park. This safehouse was put out of commission by Poison Ivy, her "Feraks," and Clayface.
- Batcave South: A boiler room of a derelict shipping yard on the docks across from Paris Island. This safehouse is accessible through a number of false manholes planted throughout Old Gotham streets.
- Batcave South-Central: Located in the Old Gotham prototype subway station, a four-block stretch of track sealed in 1896 and forgotten.
- Northwest Batcave: This safehouse is located in the subbasement of Arkham Asylum. Batman secretly stocked it with emergency rations, all-terrain vehicles, and battery-powered communication equipment.
- Batcave East: An abandoned oil refinery owned by Wayne Enterprises. It fell out of use during a gasoline crisis when the company moved all its holdings offshore decades ago.
- Los Angeles Bat Cave: Used by the Outsiders when Batman rejoined the group as the headquarters.
Another was introduced in 2002's Fugitive story arc, this time in the form of an abandoned submarine.
In Other MediaEdit
- (1943) Batman, Live movie
- (1949) Batman and Robin Live movie
- (1966) Batman, Live movie
- (1989) Batman Live movie
- (1992) Batman Returns Live movie
- (1993) Batman: Mask of Phantam Animated Movie
- (1995) Batman Forever Live Movie
- (1997) Batman and Robin Live Movie
- (2005) Batman Begins Live Movie
- (2005) Batman vs Dracula Animated Movie
- (2008) The Dark Knight Live Movie
- (2012) The Dark Knight Rises Live Movie
- (2016) Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice Live Movie
- (2016) Suicide Squad Live Movie
- (2016) Batman Unveiled Live Fan Movie
- 1992–95: Batman: The Animated Series
- 2001–04: Justice League
- 2004–06: Justice League Unlimited
- 2004-06: Teen Titans
- 2008–11: Batman: The Brave and the Bold
- 2010–13: Young Justice
- 2013: Teen Titans Go!