After the apparent death of Superman, Batman saw an individual dressed like the Flash appear before him in the Batcave. Insisting that he knew him, the individual urged Batman meet with Barry Allen before disappearing. Urged by his suspicions, Batman uncovered a button in one of the walls and met with Allen. Deciding to investigate this together, they began to suspect that ramifications to the timeline might have not been caused by Barry, but another influence. At some point, he discovered the Joker was still alive and captured the Clown Prince of Crime, holding him in the Batcave to help investigate the truth of Nth.
In 1989, Warner Bros. released the live-action feature film Batman; directed by Tim Burton and starring Michael Keaton as the title character. The film was a huge success; not only was it the top-grossing film of the year, but at the time was the fifth highest-grossing film in history. The film also won the Academy Award for Best Art Direction. The film's success spawned three sequels: Batman Returns (1992), Batman Forever (1995) and Batman & Robin (1997); the latter two of which were directed by Joel Schumacher instead of Burton, and replaced Keaton as Batman with Val Kilmer and George Clooney, respectively. The second Schumacher film failed to outgross any of its predecessors and was critically panned; causing Warner Bros. to cancel the planned fourth sequel, Batman Unchained, and end the initial film series.
In Tim Burton's Batman Returns, Selina (played by Michelle Pfeiffer) seems to be the true love of Bruce's life, as not only their costumed identities but also their disturbed psyches are described as similar. Their relationship becomes intensely dramatic toward the end of the movie, to the point where Bruce actually implores her to abandon her vendetta against Max Shreck and come and live with him in Wayne Manor, to no avail.
Batman and Catwoman have had several romantic encounters in the New Earth continuity. Their most prominent love affair is perhaps from the storyline Batman: Hush, in which Bruce finally revealed his identity to Selina and invited her to become part of his life. Things went awry when Batman learned of a massive conspiracy organized by Hush and he decided he couldn't trust in her anymore, ending their relationship. However, in later storylines, like Batman: Heart of Hush, it has been shown that they still loved each other deeply.
The armor was a bit odd looking, but it is worth noting that designer Greg Capullo almost assuredly had that in mind, as the armor is supposed to look sort of alien-looking. It's supposed to be jarring to see. In addition, the comics with the armor in them even hung a lantern on the whole "rabbit ears" look, as Gordon himself commented that they looked like rabbit ears to him.
In the world of DC, there were really two Batmen if you think about it. One as "the world's greatest detective" who typically fought other non-powered street-level characters like the Joker. The other was a man who defied all odds as a human, and went toe-to-toe with super-powered villains and cosmic threats alongside the Justice League. Loeb and Lee balanced this duality into one series and did the same with the Batsuit as well. It's almost a combination of the classic blue and gray suit we know best from the Adam West series, mixed with a little bit of Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns suit. The result is a colorful suit that looks at home in the dark alley's of Gotham.
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The driving force behind Bruce Wayne's character is his parents' murder and their absence. Bob Kane and Bill Finger discussed Batman's background and decided that "there's nothing more traumatic than having your parents murdered before your eyes". Despite his trauma, he sets his mind on studying to become a scientist and to train his body into physical perfection to fight crime in Gotham City as Batman, an inspired idea from Wayne's insight into the criminal mind.
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.