- "I am vengeance... I am the night... I am BATMAN!"
Batman is a costumed crimefighter who is actually billionaire Bruce Wayne by day.
As a young child, Bruce Wayne would idolize masked heroes who fought crime and corruption, including Zorro. His personal favourite was the Gray Ghost, watching the television show with his father.
On the way home from seeing the film, The Mark of Zorro, Bruce Wayne watched as his parents were gunned down by a mugger. Some say that Bruce died that night with his parents, and in his place, Batman was born. As he later claimed to Wonder Woman, Bruce hadn't been a "kid" since he was eight years old. Young Master Bruce was taken home to Wayne Manor, where he was raised by the Waynes' faithful friend and butler, Alfred Pennyworth
Bruce learned many arts and sciences toward the goal of eliminating the crime that took his parents from him. He learned from masters in their fields, such as escape artistry from Zatara and martial arts from Yoru Sensei. While he trained with Zatara, he and his mentor's daughter Zatanna became very close.
As he began operating as a vigilante, Bruce met and fell in love with Andrea Beaumont. Their relationship helped mend his pain, to the point where he was willing to give up becoming a vigilante to be with her. However, Andrea walked out of his life under mysterious circumstances, leaving him to become more determined to fight crime. Shortly afterwards, he chose to take up the symbol of the Bat, a creature of the night. Using it, he would strike fear into those who preyed on the innocent as "the Batman".
War on Crime
Using the caverns he discovered below Wayne Manor, Bruce built his secret headquarters, the Batcave. He gradually fought the underworld, targeting both low-level criminals and major players in the city's underworld. Bruce Wayne also took in Dick Grayson as his ward after witnessing his parents' murder. Batman eventually took Dick as his partner Robin, after catching him attempting to track down their murderer. He also gradually built a partnership with the Gotham City Police Department and Commissioner James Gordon, working with them to control crime in Gotham.
Over the years, new criminals began operating in Gotham, with many choosing costumes and themes for their crimes. These included the Penguin, Poison Ivy, Mr. Freeze and the Scarecrow. Some of these criminals were also tied directly to his personal life, including Catwoman and Two-Face. Of the many "supervillains" he fought, Batman most frequently encountered the Joker, a clown themed criminal who he indirectly created.
Batman spent years keeping the people of Gotham City safe from common criminals and bizarre villains. He had several partners and occasional imitators, such as Batwoman. During his final years working with Dick, a new vigilante called Batgirl began operating with them. Batman eventually deduced her identity to be Barbara Gordon and inducted her into their operations. She would become his most frequent ally and later follow her father's legacy as the next Police Commissioner.
Around that time, Bruce and Dick fell out of favour after he brutally interrogated a criminal in front of a family. After he recruited Barbara without his consultation, Grayson finally had enough and left the role of Robin. Some time after this, Batman rescued an orphaned Tim Drake from Two-Face. To protect the boy from the criminal, he brought him into his care. Inspired by Batman and combination with his own rebellious nature, Tim stole the Robin costume from the Batcave and helped him stop the criminal. Deciding to let him join his war, Batman trained him to become the next Boy Wonder.
For a short amount of time, Dick Grayson returned to Gotham as Nightwing to assist his former mentor. While he was a welcome addition, the two of them never truly seemed to forget the argument that caused Dick Grayson to leave. Despite this, the partnership remained stable. Nightwing would spend a decent amount of time in Gotham, but he would later leave to establish himself in another city called Blüdhaven.
Batman would later find himself in Metropolis, having followed the Joker to the city. While his long-time nemesis struck a deal with Lex Luthor, Batman would find himself working with Superman to thwart the plot. After foiling the Joker's plans to kill the Man of Steel and destroy Metropolis, he would return to the city a couple of times to stop villains from his own rogue's gallery.
He would also form an unlikely partnership with the young Static when another case brought the heroes into one another's home city. While these two partnerships did not usually start off well, Batman would eventually learn to respect their abilities and would trust both of them with his secret identity.
Batman had also worked with other superheroes such as the demon, Etrigan, and the Creeper.
It is later revealed that he was acquainted with many more of the world's greatest heroes. This group of heroes would later come together to foil an alien plot to take over the Earth. Forming a new partnership, they became the founding members of the Justice League.
Saving the World
Over the course of a few months, Batman had detected several security breaches in Wayne Tech's deep space monitoring network. While investigating the Wayne Tech Metropolis sub station, he encountered three scientists speaking a strange language. These scientists tampered with the station's antenna, and when confronted, displayed superhuman strength and resilience. Though Superman arrived to assist, he was incapacitated by J'onn J'onzz' telepathic contact. Batman was unable to prevent the scientists from destroying the antenna. After the antenna's destruction, Superman gave Batman a signal watch to call him for help if he needed it. Batman tracked the scientists to an abandoned S.T.A.R. Labs facility where he found the scientists being held in stasis pods. He was attacked by a shape shifting sentry and rendered unconscious, but not before signaling Superman with the watch.
Superman found the unconscious Batman at the S.T.A.R. Labs facility, just as a meteor crashed to Earth in Metropolis park. Superman left Batman with an ambulance crew and flew off to investigate the meteor. Just as the medic was about to look under Batman's mask, he reached up and grabbed her hand saying "don't even think about it".
When the Imperium's attack walker emerged from the meteor, incapacitated Superman and began raining destruction down on Metropolis, Batman took off in the Batwing which he seemed to have summoned while lying on the gurney. Batman began firing missiles on the walker and then two more walkers emerged from the meteor. When military air and armor units arrived on the scene, Batman followed Superman who had mysteriously left the battle without explanation.
Batman tracked Superman to a military base in the mountains outside Metropolis where they found more humans in stasis pods and the imprisoned J'onn J'onzz. After freeing J'onzz and learning of the Imperium, the trio were stopped by Imperium forces posing as military personnel. Outnumbered, Batman fled with the incapacitated J'onn J'onzz in the Batwing while Superman covered their escape. The Batwing was pursued by Imperium craft and shot down, but rescued by John Stewart and Hawkgirl before the crippled Batwing could crash. Batman witnessed the other heroes battling the Imperium craft and the appearance of Wonder Woman. The Flash arrived at the end of the battle, having retrieved the Batwing's severed wing. After J'onzz informed the assembled heroes of the Imperium's invasion of Mars, their eventual defeat, and their inadvertent release by Earth astronauts, the Imperium's factories began manufacturing smoke to block out the sun's rays.
The heroes split up to disable the factories. Batman went to Giza, Egypt with Wonder Woman and J'onn J'onzz. The trio infiltrated the factory and found the Ion Matrix Crystal, a vital component of the plant. Batman and Wonder Woman provided a diversion to allow J'onzz to remove the crystal. As he removed the crystal, J'onzz was incapacitated by Imperium forces. Batman then covered Wonder Woman and J'onzz' escape from the plant, but was himself trapped inside and cornered by Imperium forces. J'onzz reported that Batman was dead, but in truth, he had mentally shielded Batman to prevent the Imperium forces from detecting him.
Batman remained hidden until the Imperium arrived on Earth. He then revealed himself and reversed the ion charge in the Ion Matrix Crystal, causing the plant to burn off the smoke it had been producing. With the sun shining again, the heroes defeated the Imperium and freed their human prisoners, then mopped up the remaining Imperium forces around the globe.
Inspired by a general's speech about vigilance and the possible return of the invaders, Batman had the Watchtower constructed by Wayne Enterprises, hiding the funding as a "line item in the aerospace R&D budget". Batman invited the other six heroes who had repelled the invaders to the station. The seven heroes formed the Justice League. Claiming he wasn't a "people person", Batman did not officially join the League, though he did offer to be on call when the League needed his help.
Long considered the brains of the League, Batman often found solutions that eluded the other members. He was quick to place himself in danger, despite the awe-inspiring powers of his teammates. During the Atlantis Usurpation, Batman put a stop to the melting of the Polar Ice Caps. On another occasion, Batman single-handedly defeated five dangerous criminals before being taken prisoner by an Amazon trained criminal.
During his time with the League, Batman showed his distrust of Superman. After Superman was brainwashed by Darkseid and when Batman had to pull Superman back later when he attempted to end Darkseid's life, Batman began carrying a piece of Kryptonite, which was revealed when the android Amazo copied Superman's powers. However, Batman still held a deep respect for the Man of Steel, especially after he had seemingly died at the hands of Toyman. But, regardless of his respect, Batman remained stubborn in his disbelief in Superman's death, and refused to mourn for him for quite a while.
During the Thanagarian Invasion of Earth, Batman was forced to reveal his identity to his teammates. After successfully retaking the Watchtower from Thanagarian Forces, Batman piloted the Watchtower through the Earth's atmosphere in an attempt to plunge it into a Hyperspace Bypass, a city-wide machine that would generate a wormhole through the Earth. As Batman lost consciousness due to the heat surrounding him, Superman rescued him and as the Watchtower destroyed the Bypass Generator.
With the Watchtower's destruction and Hawkgirl's resignation from the League, Batman and the five other members reformed the Justice League with a new Watchtower and an expanded roster of heroes. Batman was instrumental in recruiting Green Arrow into the League, who along with other human league members, helped keep the League from becoming an autonomous Metahuman army. With Green Lantern and Wonder Woman, Batman fought Chronos across time, an adventure during which he met another Batman as well as his older self. He also succeeded in demonstrating to Amanda Waller that Cadmus was being used as a tool to further Lex Luthor's personal agenda to discredit and destroy the Justice League.
Amanda Waller was so impressed with Batman that she created Project Batman Beyond to ensure that the world would always have a Batman.
Joker's Final Joke
After these events, Robin went missing for three weeks while on patrol, with Batman and Batgirl searching for him, until they learned he was at Arkham Asylum. They encounter Joker and Harley Quinn, who reveal that they adopted a son named J.J.(Joker, Jr.), who was actually Robin brainwashed and driven insane. Joker seems to escape, with Batman hot in pursuit. However, he was actually trying to lure Batman into Arkham's Cineplex, where he reveals that he subjected Robin to countless amounts of psychological and physical tortures, and because of this, Joker now knows Batman's true identity, and everything about him. Batman, enraged at the cruelty and torture Joker inflicted onto Robin, smashes through the theater box, and beats Joker down (wrecking the projector in the process, causing Joker to say "If you don't like the movie, I've got slides!"), then hurls Joker down to the room that J.J.'s in.
Batman threatens to break Joker in half, causing the Joker to retort that he would have done it years ago if he really wanted to do it. Suddenly, The Joker draws a switchblade, and slices Batman's chest, as well as stabs his leg. He then gives what looks like a gun to J.J. and tells him to kill Batman (or, in his words, "deliver the punchline."). J.J. then pulls the trigger, revealing the gun to actually be the infamous "Bang!" flag spear gun that is one of the Joker's trademark weapons. J.J. apparently hesitates to kill Batman, causing the Joker to shout "DO IT!". Tim reluctantly obliges.
Instead of killing Batman however, he instead turns it away at the last second, thus shooting the Joker instead, killing him. J.J. half laughs and half sobs at the events, and Batgirl (having arrived after her fight with Harley Quinn) tries to console him. Commissioner Gordon and Batman later bury the body of Joker in the ruins of Arkham, and Tim is taken to Doctor Leslie Thompkins for rehabilitation. After these events, Batman forbade Tim Drake from ever becoming Robin again. Tim attempted to go solo for a few years, but in the end quit the super-hero life, got married and had children. He broke off contact with Bruce but remained close with Barbara and perhaps Dick. Also, as a result of the fight, Batman walked with a slight limp which in his later years would force him to walk with a cane.
Many years passed following the attack of the Joker on the Bat-Family, Bruce entered middle age and began to suffer with a bad heart from the effects of a hard life of crime fighting. Batman developed a powered high tech suit (which had longer Bat ears and minus a cape) that augmented his physical abilities and allowed him to continue the never-ending battle for a few more years. At this time, his corporate rivalry with Derek Powers began, and Wayne Enterprises resisted a hostile bid for corporate takeover.
However, injuries suffered through the long decades of physical punishment and an ailing heart finally took their toll, and even the suit couldn't compensate any longer. While attempting to rescue his old friend Veronica Vreeland's daughter Bunny Vreeland from kidnappers, Batman managed to subdue the kidnappers with limited effort until he was forced to point a gun at a common thug to save Ms. Vreeland and his own life after suffering a heart attack while in the midst of the fight.
Injured, Batman limps outside the hangar, removing his mask upon realizing he was wielding a handgun, forced to rely on the weapon of his parents' cowardly murderer to defend himself against criminals. Ashamed, Bruce returns to the Batcave, where he places the Batsuit in the costume display gallery. Walking to the top of the stairs, Bruce takes one last look at the Batcave and solemnly vows, "Never again." Vowing to never again wear the cowl, Bruce then shuts off the lights, and leaves his past in the darkness.
Passing the Mantle of the Bat
- "Without Batman, crime has no punch line."
- ―The Joker[src]
When he hung up the mantle of the bat, Bruce came a recluse, shut off in Wayne Manor with his dog, Ace. He withdrew from the day to day operations of Wayne Enterprises, a decision that left the company vulnerable to a takeover by Derek Powers and caused Wayne much regret. It was now the year 2039 and Bruce Wayne had become a very old man.
Chance brought teen-aged Terry McGinnis to the gates of Wayne Manor, where he learned of Bruce's past secret life. After McGinnis suffered the loss of his father, Bruce reluctantly agreed to allow him to take up mantle of Batman. Bruce then served as a mentor and informant for the successor to his legacy.
For years, Bruce coordinated with Terry, supplying advice and direction from the Batcave while McGinnis worked in the field. He also ran the labs and developed new gadgets for Terry to use in the new crusade against crime.
The elderly Bruce Wayne occasionally ventured into the field to support Terry. His sense of duty and self-sacrifice ever present, he once donned a suit of Batman armor to rescue Terry from the villain Inque, despite Inque's Metahuman power and the strain produced on Bruce's already damaged heart.
As Bruce continued to age, he suffered a kidney failure. When it was discovered that Terry was not just a suitable donor but a perfect one, their relationship reached its weakest point; Terry, like Dick Grayson before him, felt betrayed, manipulated, and outright used. He set off to uncover the truth from someone willing to reveal it. Terry confronted Amanda Waller and learned the truth about his heritage. In her earlier years, Waller realized the world would always need a Batman. Taking fate into her own hands (unbeknownst to Bruce), she gathered a sample of Bruce Wayne's genetic material, after a battle that left Batman in need of medical attention. Using her Cadmus connections, Waller implanted this genetic material into a young Warren McGinnis, replacing his genetic material with Bruce's. Thus, Terry McGinnis was born, the son of Bruce Wayne, sharing half his genetic code.
Terry returned to Wayne Manor with a new sense of purpose. Bruce wondered about the fate of Gotham, and Terry replied "I've got it covered. Always." Their relationship repaired; Bruce had truly become the father Terry had lost long ago.
The Savage Timeline
In an alternate timeline created by Vandal Savage, the Axis forces won World War II. There, Bruce Wayne lost his parents when they spoke out against the regime and became Batman to fight Savage and his forces. He served as the leader of the resistance movement, recruiting other victims. Unlike his original self, Batman was willing to use guns without a second thought.
When the Justice League from the original timeline arrived, Batman helped them escape from the authorities and learned of our timeline. He assisted them in breaking into the facility where the time portal was kept. However, Batman did not accompany the League into the past to thwart Savage, preferring to stay behind and lead the resistance in case they failed. It is assumed that this reality ceased to exist when the League defeated Savage and counteract the Axis powers' artificial advantages.
Powers and Abilities
Through his years of intensive physical training, the Batman represents the peak of human physical conditioning. Batman is at peak human levels of strength, stamina, agility, coordination, reflexes, speed, and durability. Even well into old age, Bruce Wayne still demonstrated that he could manhandle other much younger men with ease. Batman's martial arts discipline was never mentioned, in Batman: Mask of the Phantasm Bruce Wayne mentions Ju Jitsu.
Batman was also a master of stealth and infiltration (all the more remarkable given that he stands 6'2" and weighs 215 lbs), and often revealed himself to his enemies when they least suspected him to. This also allowed him to just disappear from allies in mid-sentence, a habit that frequently annoyed the likes of Commissioner Gordon ("one of these days I'm gonna nail his feet to the ground") and Harvey Bullock ("I wonder how the Commish puts up with that"). Batman was capable of incredible feats of agility.
During the Second Apokolyptian invasion, Darkseid commented with much surprise that Batman had been the first one to dodge his Omega Beams. With his martial arts prowess, occasionally augmented by technology, Batman was usually more than a match for any foe he encountered, human or otherwise.
As the head of Wayne Enterprises, Bruce Wayne has access to cutting edge technology and Batman makes good use of it in his field equipment.
- Batsuit-standard as well as heat-resistant, cold-resistant, and underwater versions.
- Batarangs-of differing size and effect. These ranged from standard, to explosive, electric, remote, etc.
- Grapple-gun. This item assisted Batman in scaling the various buildings of Gotham City.
- Utility Belt - Batman's Utility Belt has compartments to hold several items, the contents of which change according to his needs, and often include items such as flashlights, laser cutters, underwater rebreathers, binoculars, a fingerprinting kit, flashbangs, remote controls for his vehicles, acid/base compounds, anti-toxins, mini-computer, and smoke pellets.
Batman has used several vehicles in the course of his crimefighting career, including:
- Batman: The Animated Series
- The New Batman Adventures
- Batman Beyond
- Justice League
- Static Shock