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Grapple Guns are hi-tech pistols that fire small Grappling Hooks fitted on high-tensile wire. They are often used to scale buildings and swing to areas from long distances. They can also be used to offensively to pull enemies or object towards the user. Variations of the grapple guns have used constantly by Batman and the rest of the Bat-Family since the 1990s, though prototypes have been frequently appeared throughout comic history.

Functionality[]

Grapple Gun (Future State)

grappling hook launcher being fired from the ground

Most incarnations of the grapple gun are shaped like high-tech pistols, though some have featured different designs. The devices consist of three components: a barrel or container holding the grappling hook, a retractable pully system and rope connected to the hook, and a handle with controls for the device. When fired, the grapple gun projects the grappling hook either grab onto the target or wrap around it. The controls then can be used to pull the user towards the area or an object towards them. Some controls can also be used to extend the rope, usually to rappel safely, or detach the hook from the target. The grappling hooks have been known to be strong enough to hold Batman and other characters' weights. Some incarnations require the device to be connected to a Utility Belt to use the rappel functions safely.

In most scenarios, the Grapple Gun is used to scale buildings, saving energy and allowing Batman to get to areas quickly. The rope has also been used to swing on from vantage points to areas. The tool has also been used in combat, often to pull enemies towards the user or disarm them. Some scenarios have also required the gadget to pull objects towards Batman or onto enemies. The grappling hook has been known to act as a non-lethal projectile, with it sometimes used to penetrate flesh without fatalities. In some scenarios, Batman has been known to either electrify the line so that he can incapacitate opponents quickly. Some versions have also been known to fire two grappling hooks, creating a zipline from one area to another.

Publication History[]

Early predecessors[]

From his debut, Batman did not use grapple guns, usually making use of the silken cord with Batarangs as grappling hooks. However, early versions of the gun-fired grappling ropes appeared throughout Batman comics prior to high-tech versions' debut. Gardner Fox created Sandman's "Wirepoon" pistol but neglected to ever have have Batman uses such a device. The Wirepoon pistol itself lacked any motorized pulley system, it was essentially a miniaturized harpoon launcher. Jim Shooter created a Batpoon Launcher in 1966 for World's Finest Comics #163, but the device is only used to attack Superman and never seen again. That same year Robert Kanigher created the concept of Suction-Cap Climbing Ropes in Batman #183, the only difference being that used suction-cups rather than dangerous harpoon bolts.

In 1981, Gerry Conway wrote Justice League of America #196, which depicted Batman using a Batarang Launcher to save himself from falling, rather than just throwing a roped-Batarang as usual. It basically the same as the Wirepoon, though this did not feature a motorized-pully system and used a batarang as its grapple hook. The gadget itself was a cylinder-shaped tool rather than pistol. In 1986 Frank Miller had Wayne use a Harpoon Pistol in Hunt the Dark Knight. The harpoon pistol is just a modified Mauser firearm, presented as more grounded and practical tool stored in a holster on the side of his boot. However, none of these featured motorized pulley systems and Batman would physically climb the ropes once fired. Additionally, the character would rarely used such devices more than once, with them usual being abandoned after their first appearances.

Spring-Action Reel[]

During the 1989 film, Batman made use of a "spring-action reel" with multiple attachments. These ranged from a speargun that shot barbed hooks, which would pull their targets towards the user with a detachable cord, and a grappling hook with wire. The latter could be attached to the reel to escape situations. The reel itself could be used to swing or rappel to areas, provided the rope was attached to something. Batman would often use it attached to his Utility Belt, though it could be used without it. Several other cord-based guns were also used in the film, such as a Bola Launcher and the Foefie Gauntlet. Many regard this as the debut of the modern grappling gun, particularly with the motorized grappling-reel variants. None of the scripts indicate a such a device to make ascents, so the modern grappling hook pistol with a motorized reel was created during pre-production by conceptual illustrator Julian Caldow and the filmmakers.

Comic Implementation[]

Grapple Cornice

Batman "teaches" Sasha how to use a Grapple Gun.

After the popularity of the 1989 Batman film, readers began expressing interest in implementing grapple gun into the Dark Knight's arsenal. According to some creators at the time, Denny O'Neil forbade the use of such devices, due to image of Batman firing any kind of pistol, something that had been firmly in place since the Post-Crisis continuity started. Jenette Kahn urged DC writers to begin inserting variations on the gadget due it making making Batman's traversal of the city more convenient and faster and making the overall brand more consistent to the public. During Batman #441, the character uses a square-shaped tool to fire a grappling rope and climb it. In the later Batman #458, a gadget was used off-panel to fire a rope for Batman to swing on. These two appearances still did not indicate the use of a motorized reel, but the grappling hook launcher concept slowly began recurring more often. Historians have not yet pinpointed the first time used a motorized reel to make an ascent without climbing.

When Jean-Paul Valley took over the Batman identity during the Knightfall, he implemented wrist-mounted grappling hooks onto his gauntlets. As well as allowing him to rappel up buildings, it could be controlled to voice commands. However, the gadget was abandoned after he was forced to give the Batman identity back to Bruce Wayne.

Media Depictions[]

Live-Action[]

Michael Keaton movies[]

1989 grappling hook

1989 all-black pistol

Returns Grapple Gun

1992 upgraded pistol

In the 1992 sequel to Batman, the Dark Knight only uses the gun once, to incapacitate the Terrifying Clown. The gadget retains the same basic design as the previous movie, though with minor changes and new components. Production and promotional material refers to this as "the Speargun Grapple" due to a similarly named gadget called the Zip-Line Grapple. Similar recreations of this prop appeared in The Flash and Batgirl.

Schumacherverse Variants[]

Grapple Gun Forever

The Grapple Gun from Batman Forever

In Batman Forever, Batman makes use of a redesigned Grapple Gun in the opening battle, using it to swing the vault Two-Face stole back into the Second National Bank. After equipping the Sonar Batsuit, he makes use of wrist-mounted grappling hooks to save Chase and Robin during the Battle on Claw Island. In Batman & Robin, the wrist-mounted grapples are used by the Bat-Family to ascend the Gotham Observatory. However, Batman is also depicted using a redesigned version of the grapple during the confrontation.

The Dark Knight Trilogy[]

NolanGrapple

Nolanverse Grapple Gun

Christopher Nolan's Batman film trilogy depicts Batman using a grapple gun in both Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. In the trilogy, it is depicted as an abandoned Wayne Enterprises project which Bruce repurposed for his crusade. Similar to the Burton films, the gadget can be attached to the Utility Belt's buckle to act as a motorized reel. It is also used at several points to pull people and objects towards him, though it is unknown whether this is possible through a separate attachment. Batman can also separate the rope and use it to hang enemies from objects, as he does with Joker after their confrontation in the Skyscraper.

WB Earth One/Snyderverse[]

In WB Earth One reality the Grapple Gun is depicted as a gadget Batman created himself. The gun is used in combat more frequently than its other live action counterparts, being used to either throw objects at opponents or pull enemies to Batman. It also comes equipped with the reel in the gadget, meaning Batman does not need to attach it it to his utility belt to ascend to areas, while the gun's grappling hook is depicted to be strong enough to penetrate objects, such as wooden support beams. The grapple gun also features a hammer on the butt, which Snyder claims allowed it to be used in close-quarters combat. A second armored variant is also used in Batman's fight with Superman, which allowed Batman to grab and throw the Man of Steel through objects.

The Batman Saga[]

In Matt Reeves's film, a collapsible grapple gun is implemented into the Batsuit's gauntlets. The gadget is deployed as a spring-mechanism into the Batman's hands, which allows him to quickly access it. The grapple is used as both a traditional escape/ascension tool and a defensive weapon.

Animation[]

1992 animated series[]

Grapplegun

The Grapple Gun seen in Batman: The Animated Series

The Grapple Gun appears frequently in Batman: The Animated Series, with both Batman making use of it frequently. The line can also be electrocuted, allowing Batman to stun enemies. However, both he and Robin also make used of the traditional Roped-Batarangs.

Video Games[]

Film & TV Tie-Ins[]

The Grapple Gun appears in various Batman media tie-in games, notably the Genesis version of Batman: The Video Game and The Adventures of Batman & Robin: The Video Game. It is often depicted as a a method to swing to platforms or pull the player-character up to high ledges. Several games, such as the 1989 Batman arcade game, also allow the Grapple Gun to be used as a weapon.

LEGO Video Games[]

In the LEGO video games, the Grapple Guns can be used to either hook onto LEGO grapple points or pull objects towards the player. In both LEGO Batman: The Videogame and LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, Batman and the Bat-Family are the only characters able to user these. However, in later LEGO games, characters like Joker, Catwoman and Penguin will come equipped with their own grappling hooks and gadgets.

Batman: Arkham series[]

AC Grappling Gun

The Grapnel Gun from Batman: Arkham City.

In the Batman: Arkham games, Batman make use of a Grapnel Gun, which allows him to ascend to ledges and areas out of climbing distance. The grapnel is also used to swing between vantage points and, after unlocking "Inverted Takedowns", can detach the rope to hang enemies from these. The games also feature the Batclaw, an attachment that allows Batman to pull enemies and objects towards him. In Batman: Arkham City, Batman can equip a Grapnel Booster after completing the four basic AR training missions. This projects him at high-velocity speeds over the grappled ledge and allows him to break into a glide after reaching the target area. A prototype version features in the prequel Batman: Arkham Origins, whilst an upgraded version features in Batman: Arkham Knight.

Telltale Games[]

Batman uses Grapple Guns frequently in both Batman: The Telltale Series and Batman: The Enemy Within. The tools retain the same functionality as other counterparts, though they are connected the Batcave computer system to be deactivated if stolen. If the player does not stop Penguin hacking the system in "Guardian of Gotham", the grapple is rendered operational by the criminal's actions, forcing Batman to become more reliant on his acrobatic abilities. In The Enemy Within, Batman also begins using a wrist-mounted variant called the Bat-Anchor, a dual-hooked grappling line fired from the Batsuit's wrists. The hooks will pull the objects they're attached to towards each end, including heavy duty object and machinery.

Other Games[]

  • In Batman: Vengeance, Batman can use the grapple gun whilst in first person mode. The gadget can be used to ascend to areas out of reach, but has no combat capabilities available to the player.
  • In Batman: Dark Tomorrow, the Grapple Gun can be used to ascent to areas and locations above Batman. However, the gadget cannot be used to travel vertically or swing: the functionality reserved for the separate Batrope.

Notes[]

  • In Sam Hamm's 1986 script the motorized reel was inside the Utility Belt itself, there seemed to be no launching device. The wire still needed to be thrown or attached separately before use, usually through the traditional Batarangs with ropes. Batman also used a "speargun" attachment to incapacitate a foe with a small barbed hook, yanking the foe as an offensive weapon. The two gadgets were later combined, leading to the creation of the modern grappling guns.
  • The Grapple Gun is often referred to by other names, sometimes as either as "Batman's Grappling Hook" or "the Batrope". In other media, it has also been referred to as either the "Grapple" or "Grapnel".

Gallery[]

Comics[]

Guide books[]

Live-action appearances[]

Animated[]

Video Games[]

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