Batman is often treated as a vigilante by other characters in his stories. Frank Miller views the character as "a dionysian figure, a force for anarchy that imposes an individual order". Dressed as a bat, Batman deliberately cultivates a frightening persona in order to aid him in crime-fighting, a fear that originates from the criminals' own guilty conscience. Miller is often credited with reintroducing anti-heroic traits into Batman's characterization, such as his brooding personality, willingness to use violence and torture, and increasingly alienated behavior. Batman, shortly a year after his debut and the introduction of Robin, was changed in 1940 after DC editor Whitney Ellsworth felt the character would be tainted by his lethal methods and DC established their own ethical code, subsequently he was retconned as having a stringent moral code. Miller's Batman was closer to the original pre-Robin version, who was willing to kill criminals if necessary.
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Since 2008, Batman has also starred in various direct-to-video animated films under the DC Universe Animated Original Movies banner. Kevin Conroy has reprised his voice role of Batman for several of these films, while others have featured celebrity voice actors in the role; including Jeremy Sisto, William Baldwin, Bruce Greenwood, Ben McKenzie, and Peter Weller. A Lego-themed version of Batman was also featured as one of the protagonists in the animated film The Lego Movie (2014), with Will Arnett providing the voice. Arnett reprised the voice role for the spin-off film The Lego Batman Movie (2017).
That year Dennis O'Neil took over as editor of the Batman titles and set the template for the portrayal of Batman following DC's status quo-altering miniseries Crisis on Infinite Earths. O'Neil operated under the assumption that he was hired to revamp the character and as a result tried to instill a different tone in the books than had gone before. One outcome of this new approach was the "Year One" storyline in Batman #404–407 (Feb.–May 1987), in which Frank Miller and artist David Mazzucchelli redefined the character's origins. Writer Alan Moore and artist Brian Bolland continued this dark trend with 1988's 48-page one-shot Batman: The Killing Joke, in which the Joker, attempting to drive Commissioner Gordon insane, cripples Gordon's daughter Barbara, and then kidnaps and tortures the commissioner, physically and psychologically.
Despite this, Batman has proved to have a great love for humanity, which was instilled by his parents. His father was a doctor, while his mother was a crusader against child abuse. Indeed, Batman's oath of vengeance is tempered with the greater ideal of justice. He refrains from killing, as he feels this would not make him any better than the criminals he fights. He is also a very prominent member of the Justice League and the founder of the Outsiders.
After the introduction of DC Comics' multi-verse in the 1960s, it is retroactively established that stories from the Golden Age star the Earth-Two Batman, a character from a parallel world. This version of Batman partners with and marries the reformed Earth-Two Catwoman, Selina Kyle (as shown in Superman Family #211) and fathers Helena Wayne, who, as the Huntress, becomes (along with the Earth-Two Robin) Gotham's protector once Wayne retires from the position to become police commissioner, a position he occupies until he is killed during one final adventure as Batman. Batman titles however often ignored that a distinction had been made between the pre-revamp and post-revamp Batmen (since unlike The Flash or Green Lantern, Batman comics had been published without interruption through the 1950s) and would on occasion make reference to stories from the Golden Age. Nevertheless, details of Batman's history were altered or expanded through the decades. Additions include meetings with a future Superman during his youth, his upbringing by his uncle Philip Wayne (introduced in Batman #208, Jan./Feb. 1969) after his parents' death, and appearances of his father and himself as prototypical versions of Batman and Robin, respectively. In 1980 then-editor Paul Levitz commissioned the Untold Legend of the Batman limited series to thoroughly chronicle Batman's origin and history.
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Lucius Fox, a technology specialist and Bruce Wayne's business manager who is well aware of his employer's clandestine vigilante activities; Dr. Leslie Thompkins, a family friend who like Alfred became a surrogate parental figure to Bruce Wayne after the deaths of his parents, and is also aware of his secret identity; Vicki Vale, an investigative journalist who often reports on Batman's activities for the Gotham Gazette; Ace the Bat-Hound, Batman's canine partner who was mainly active in the 1950s and 1960s; and Bat-Mite, an extra-dimensional imp mostly active in the 1960s who idolizes Batman.
Master Martial Artist: Batman has entirely mastered and even perfected every single form of hand-to-hand combat known to man and is one of the finest human combatants Earth has ever known. He was trained around the world for years to master multiple martial arts. Master Kirigi stated to Bruce that he is a natural genius in fighting due to "his great violent nature inside of him". Even Karate Kid of the future was very surprised that Bruce adapted and learned future-style combat in seconds that he never even experienced. He has completely mastered all unarmed hand-to hand combat styles of martial arts including but not limited to MMA, Muay Thai, Escrima, Krav Maga, Capoeira, Savate, Yawyan, Taekwondo, Judo, Jui-jitsu Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Ninjutsu, Kendo, Fencing, Kenjutsu, Kali, Bojutsu, Wrestling, Francombat, Boxing, Kickboxing, Hapkido, Sambo, Wing Chun, Parkour, Shorin Ryu, Silat, Chin Na, Kyudo, Aikido, Varma Ati, Jeet Kune Do, Shaolin, Ba Gua, Hung Gar, Tai Chi, Kung Fu, Kenpo, and Karate. His primary form of combat is a harmonious mixture of Jui-Jitsu, Taekwondo, Judo, Muay Thai, Savate, Karate, Kung Fu, Boxing, Capoeira, Krav Maga, Aikido, and Ninjutsu. Batman has proven he easily defeat a highly trained Green Beret within seconds, defeat multiple groups of armed opponents, fight evenly with Lady Shiva and Deathstroke multiple times, and defeat enemies that are physically superior to him through the use of sheer skill. He has also trained many other people to be the fighters they are (Nightwing, Red Hood, Tim Drake, and so on) and it can be inferred from him turning them into the fighters that they are that he is indeed a skilled fighter.
Frank Miller's limited series The Dark Knight Returns (February–June 1986) returned the character to his darker roots, both in atmosphere and tone. The comic book, which tells the story of a 55-year-old Batman coming out of retirement in a possible future, reinvigorated interest in the character. The Dark Knight Returns was a financial success and has since become one of the medium's most noted touchstones. The series also sparked a major resurgence in the character's popularity.
Batman has no inherent superhuman powers; he relies on "his own scientific knowledge, detective skills, and athletic prowess". Batman's inexhaustible wealth gives him access to advanced technologies, and as a proficient scientist, he is able to use and modify these technologies to his advantage. In the stories, Batman is regarded as one of the world's greatest detectives, if not the world's greatest crime solver. Batman has been repeatedly described as having a genius-level intellect, being one of the greatest martial artists in the DC Universe, and having peak human physical conditioning. As a polymath, his knowledge and expertise in countless disciplines is nearly unparalleled by any other character in the DC Universe. He has traveled the world acquiring the skills needed to aid him in his endeavors as Batman. In the Superman: Doomed story arc, Superman considers Batman to be one of the most brilliant minds on the planet.
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Expert Acrobat: Proficient in gymnastics and acrobatics, to the peak of human ability. He is particularly skilled in parkour and free running. He can perform impeccably precise acrobatic moves instinctively in combat, or whilst escaping a catastrophe, and can even dodge a superhuman individual's blows and sword-swings. He regularly practices his gymnastics and acrobatics blindfolded.
The third Robin in mainstream comics is Tim Drake, who first appeared in 1989. He went on to star in his own comic series, and currently goes by Red Robin, a variation on the traditional Robin persona. In the first decade of the new millennium, Stephanie Brown served as the fourth in-universe Robin between stints as her self-made vigilante identity The Spoiler, and later as Batgirl. After Stephanie Brown's apparent death, Drake resumed the role of Robin for a time. The role eventually passed to Damian Wayne, the ten-year-old son of Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul, in the late 2000s. Damian's tenure as du jour Robin ended when the character was killed off in the pages of Batman Incorporated in 2013. Batman's next young sidekick is Harper Row, a streetwise young woman who avoids the name Robin but followed the ornithological theme nonetheless; she debuted the codename and identity of Bluebird in 2014. Unlike the Robins, Bluebird is willing and permitted to use a gun, albeit non-lethal; her weapon of choice is a modified rifle that fires taser rounds. In 2015, a new series began titled We Are Robin, focused on a group of teenagers using the Robin persona to fight crime in Gotham City.
In those days it was like, one artist and he had his name over it [the comic strip] — the policy of DC in the comic books was, if you can't write it, obtain other writers, but their names would never appear on the comic book in the finished version. So Bill never asked me for it [the byline] and I never volunteered — I guess my ego at that time. And I felt badly, really, when he [Finger] died.