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.
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.
Writers of Batman and Superman stories have often compared and contrasted the two. Interpretations vary depending on the writer, the story, and the timing. Grant Morrison notes that both heroes "believe in the same kind of things" despite the day/night contrast their heroic roles display. He notes an equally stark contrast in their real identities. Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent belong to different social classes: "Bruce has a butler, Clark has a boss." T. James Musler's book Unleashing the Superhero in Us All explores the extent to which Bruce Wayne's vast personal wealth is important in his life story, and the crucial role it plays in his efforts as Batman.
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.
Batman's batsuit aids in his combat against enemies, having the properties of both Kevlar and Nomex. It protects him from gunfire and other significant impacts. His gloves typically feature three scallops that protrude from long, gauntlet-like cuffs, although in his earliest appearances he wore short, plain gloves without the scallops. The overall look of the character, particularly the length of the cowl's ears and of the cape, varies greatly depending on the artist. Dennis O'Neil said, "We now say that Batman has two hundred suits hanging in the Batcave so they don't have to look the same ... Everybody loves to draw Batman, and everybody wants to put their own spin on it."
In 2004, an unrelated animated series titled The Batman made its debut with Rino Romano voicing Batman. In 2008, this show was replaced by another animated series, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, featuring Diedrich Bader's voice as Batman. In 2013, a new CGI-animated series titled Beware the Batman made its debut, with Anthony Ruivivar voicing Batman.
One of the more noticeable changes is in Dick's utility belt, which now featured the bat-symbol on it. Dick's costume also had a different wrist gauntlet and his gloves had less scallops on them than Bruce's costume (before Bruce adopted the Batman Incorporated costume, that was the only real way to tell them apart -- just count the scallops). In general, though, Quitely just tried to make the whole thing look a little more streamlined, to better fit Dick's lighter, acrobatic personality. However, since it is so similar to the costume Batman had before Dick took over, we have to knock some points off for originality.
This costume was donned by teenager Terry McGinnis, a Batman of the future, trained and selected by a much older Bruce Wayne. This suit is much more sleek and darker than the suit we're used to. It has a lot of technologically advanced gadgets built right into the suit and also looks a bit scarier than the original. It's biggest contender for "fright factor" would be the Thomas Wayne suit from the Flashpoint timeline.
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For the most part, Batman's family and friends come to believe that Bruce Wayne is indeed dead. The only exception to this is Bruce's adopted son Tim Drake, who believes firmly that Bruce is still alive. After having the Robin identity taken from him by Dick Grayson, the new Batman, and giving it to Bruce's son, Damian, Tim takes on the identity of Red Robin, and begins searching the world for signs that Bruce Wayne is still alive. While searching in Baghdad, Tim finds a wall painting of the Bat emblem that was painted by Bruce upon the passing of Anthro. Tim realizes that Bruce is not dead, but rather lost in time.
After the 12-issue limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths, DC Comics rebooted the stories of some major characters in an attempt at updating them for contemporary audiences. Frank Miller retold Batman's origin in the storyline Year One from Batman #404-407, which emphasizes a grittier tone in the character. Though the Earth-Two Batman is erased from history, many stories of Batman's Silver Age/Earth-One career (along with an amount of Golden Age ones) remain canonical in the post-Crisis universe, with his origins remaining the same in essence, despite alteration.
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In June 2016, the DC Rebirth event relaunched DC Comics' entire line of comic book titles. Batman was rebooted as starting with a one-shot issue entitled Batman: Rebirth #1 (Aug. 2016). The series then began shipping twice-monthly as a third volume, starting with Batman vol. 3, #1 (Aug. 2016). The third volume of Batman was written by Tom King, and artwork was provided by David Finch and Mikel Janín. The Batman series introduced two vigilantes, Gotham and Gotham Girl. Detective Comics resumed its original numbering system starting with June 2016's #934, and the New 52 series was labeled as volume 2 with issues numbering from #1-52. Similarly with the Batman title, the New 52 issues were labeled as volume 2 and encompassed issues #1-52. Writer James Tynion IV and artists Eddy Barrows and Alvaro Martinez worked on Detective Comics #934, and the series initially featured a team consisting of Tim Drake, Stephanie Brown, Cassandra Cain, and Clayface, led by Batman and Batwoman.
Jack, failed comedian, failed husband to a murdered wife, reluctantly dons the helmet? becoming the new Red Hood. Red Hood had a large domed red helmet [of course] with one way mirror lenses [like Spider-Man] to see through and a red cape. Oh yes.. he also wore a tuxedo. Very dapper was the Red Hood. While attempting to rob a chemical plant, the plant's security men spot the robbers, shooting the other criminals dead, narrowly missing the Red Hood. Cornered on a catwalk by Batman the [now terrified] Red Hood dives into a chemical basin to make his escape and swims to freedom by way of a venting pipe. He only survived via a special breathing apparatus that was built into his helmet. However, the chemicals in the basin permanently disfigured the an under the hood, turning his hair green, his skin white and his lips red.
Starting with Batman vol. 2, #41, Commissioner James Gordon takes over Bruce's mantle as a new, state-sanctioned, robotic-Batman, debuting in the Free Comic Book Day special comic Divergence. However, Bruce Wayne is soon revealed to be alive, albeit now suffering almost total amnesia of his life as Batman and only remembering his life as Bruce Wayne through what he has learned from Alfred. Bruce Wayne finds happiness and proposes to his girlfriend, Julie Madison, but Mr. Bloom heavily injures Jim Gordon and takes control of Gotham City and threatens to destroy the city by energizing a particle reactor to create a "strange star" to swallow the city. Bruce Wayne discovers the truth that he was Batman and after talking to a stranger who smiles a lot (it is heavily implied that this is the amnesic Joker) he forces Alfred to implant his memories as Batman, but at the cost of his memories as the reborn Bruce Wayne. He returns and helps Jim Gordon defeat Mr. Bloom and shut down the reactor. Gordon gets his job back as the commissioner, and the government Batman project is shut down.
Batman sired a child with Talia al Ghul during their marriage, named Ibn al Xu'ffasch. Dennis O'Neil mentioned that this story was ignored from continuity around Zero Hour because it did not fit in well with the rest of the mythos. Infinite Crisis brings most of this back into continuity with the story Batman and Son by introducing Damian Wayne and stating that Batman was drugged and pretty much raped.
With the amount of costumes he has now worn, we are primed for a ranking of Batman's comic book costumes. As a note on structure, we're only talking costumes he's worn in the "main" continuity, so no alternate reality costumes or possible future costumes. Also, no temporary one-off costumes, but we will count costumes worn by other people who have filled in for Bruce Wayne as Batman.
Infiltrating the Powers Hotel, Batman interrogates Maria Powers, knowing she and her husband are members of the Court. Alfred traces Maria's phone call and Batman deduces the Court is at Harbor House, the old house he tried to investigate when he was a boy. When he enters the house, however, Batman finds that every member of the Court is dead. By the next day, Batman believes that the Court's death is some kind of setup, as all the Court's money was transferred to another account. Believing that the Court suffered a betrayal from the inside, Batman goes to the morgue, where he finds a note reading "Follow me to the Rabbit Hole?"
The 1993 "Knightfall" story arc introduced a new villain, Bane, who critically injures Batman after pushing him to the limits of his endurance. Jean-Paul Valley, known as Azrael, is called upon to wear the Batsuit during Bruce Wayne's convalescence. Writers Doug Moench, Chuck Dixon, and Alan Grant worked on the Batman titles during "Knightfall", and would also contribute to other Batman crossovers throughout the 1990s. 1998's "Cataclysm" storyline served as the precursor to 1999's "No Man's Land", a year-long storyline that ran through all the Batman-related titles dealing with the effects of an earthquake-ravaged Gotham City. At the conclusion of "No Man's Land", O'Neil stepped down as editor and was replaced by Bob Schreck.
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