In 1998, the "Batman" titles (and Gotham City itself) were rocked by a giant earthquake in the crossover, "Cataclysm." In the aftermath of the devastation, Batman left Gotham City in his Bruce Wayne identity to lobby the United States government to provide aid to Gotham to help it rebuild. Instead, the government decided to just cut Gotham City off from the rest of the country, period. They gave people a few weeks to get out and then blew up all tunnels and bridges out of Gotham City and left whoever was still in Gotham to fend for themselves.
Robin, Batman's vigilante partner, has been a widely recognized supporting character for many years. Bill Finger stated that he wanted to include Robin because "Batman didn't have anyone to talk to, and it got a little tiresome always having him thinking." The first Robin, Dick Grayson, was introduced in 1940. In the 1970s he finally grew up, went off to college and became the hero Nightwing. A second Robin, Jason Todd, appeared in the 1980s. In the stories he was eventually badly beaten and then killed in an explosion set by the Joker, but was later revived. He used the Joker's old persona, the Red Hood, and became an antihero vigilante with no qualms about using firearms or deadly force. Carrie Kelley, the first female Robin to appear in Batman stories, was the final Robin in the continuity of Frank Miller's graphic novels The Dark Knight Returns and The Dark Knight Strikes Again, fighting alongside an aging Batman in stories set out of the mainstream continuity.
In early strips, Batman's career as a vigilante initially earns him the ire of the police. During this period Wayne has a fiancée named Julie Madison. Wayne takes in an orphaned circus acrobat, Dick Grayson, who becomes his sidekick, Robin. Batman also becomes a founding member of the Justice Society of America, although he, like Superman, is an honorary member and thus only participates occasionally. Batman's relationship with the law thaws quickly, and he is made an honorary member of Gotham City's police department. During this time, butler Alfred arrives at Wayne Manor and after deducing the Dynamic Duo's secret identities joins their service.
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Alright people, let’s go ahead and get this out of the way; Bat-nipples were not that bad. Were they the greatest decision in the world? No. Joel Shumacher apologized, George Clooney apologized, it’s time to move on and stop giving them such a hard time about it. Nipples aside, the costumes in Batman and Robin were a cool addition to the franchise's growing number of bat suits.
Batman operates in the fictional Gotham City with assistance from various supporting characters, including his butler Alfred, police commissioner Jim Gordon, and vigilante allies such as Robin. Unlike most superheroes, Batman does not possess any inhuman superpowers. He does, however, possess a genius-level intellect, is a peerless martial artist, and his vast wealth affords him an extraordinary arsenal of weaponry and equipment. A large assortment of villains make up Batman's rogues gallery, including his archenemy, the Joker.
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In early 1939, the success of Superman in Action Comics prompted editors at National Comics Publications (the future DC Comics) to request more superheroes for its titles. In response, Bob Kane created "the Bat-Man". Collaborator Bill Finger recalled that "Kane had an idea for a character called 'Batman,' and he'd like me to see the drawings. I went over to Kane's, and he had drawn a character who looked very much like Superman with kind of ... reddish tights, I believe, with boots ... no gloves, no gauntlets ... with a small domino mask, swinging on a rope. He had two stiff wings that were sticking out, looking like bat wings. And under it was a big sign ... BATMAN". The bat-wing-like cape was suggested by Bob Kane, inspired as a child by Leonardo Da Vinci's sketch of an ornithopter flying device.
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Amazo Anti-Monitor Black Adam Black Manta Brainiac Captain Cold Cheetah Darkseid Despero Doctor Destiny Doctor Light Doomsday Eclipso Felix Faust General Wade Eiling Gorilla Grodd Joker Kanjar Ro Key Lex Luthor Libra Maxwell Lord Mongul Neron Professor Ivo Prometheus Queen Bee Queen of Fables Sinestro Starro Steppenwolf T. O. Morrow Vandal Savage Amanda Waller
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Storylines Batman and Son • Batman Eternal • Batman Incorporated • Batman R.I.P. • Batman Reborn • Battle for the Cowl • The Black Mirror • Blind Justice • Cataclysm • Contagion • The Dark Knight Returns • A Death in the Family • Death of the Family • Endgame • Face the Face • Fugitive • Gotham's Most Wanted • Hush • The Killing Joke • Knightfall • Last Rites • Legacy • A Lonely Place of Dying • The Long Halloween • Night of the Owls • No Man's Land • Officer Down • Prodigal • The Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul • The Return of Bruce Wayne • Strange Apparitions • Tales of the Demon • Tower of Babel • Troika • Under the Hood • War Games • Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? • Where Were You On The Night Batman Was Killed? • Year One • Zero Year
The end result was a character who looked like he would fit right along famous pulp heroes like the Shadow, with a distinct-looking cowl and a cape that still managed to maintain some of its wing-like approach. This was the type of character that you would take one glance at and think, "Yeah, this dude wouldn't mind snapping a neck or two to get the job done." That fit the early style of Batman stories perfectly.
As Batman became less of a neck-breaking type of guy, his costume slowly began to look more and more like a typical superhero costume and less like something worn by a guy who was going to break into your house (and maybe break your neck while doing so). Interestingly enough, the cowl took on its standard look within only a few issues after the original costume debuted (roughly around the time that Batman's origin was revealed for the first time in "Detective Comics" #33). The colors then also slowly got bluer over time, until the costume was definitely mostly blue.
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.
Seeking retaliation for Ivy's manipulation, Catwoman offers information on her whereabouts to Batman in exchange for a kiss and a tenuous romance blooms between them. Batman and Catwoman follow Poison Ivy to Metropolis. Batman finds Lex Luthor, now a probationary member of the Justice League, and asks for information on a delivery list of an ethylene compound to track down Ivy's location. There they find Ivy has taken control of Superman and she commands the Man of Steel to kill Batman and Catwoman. Batman observes that Superman is subconsciously resisting Ivy's influence, holding back on his attempts to kill both of them. Using knuckledusters made from Kryptonite, Batman stalls Superman while Catwoman lets Lois Lane fall from the Daily Planet building. Superman breaks free of Ivy's control to save Lois. Batman, Superman, and Catwoman work together to capture Ivy, who reveals that she was being manipulated by a mysterious foe called Hush.
Joker, however, had discovered the ruse sooner than he expected and followed him to the pool. Having already retrieved samples to create a cure to the toxin, Batman fought his arch nemesis for what seemed to be the last time, during which he and Joker sustained several grave injuries. With the cave collapsing from explosives set off, Batman stopped Joker from escaping by holding him away from the pool, which was blocked with the falling rock. With Gotham once again saved, Batman accepted that he would die and sent one last message to Julia, during which he refused her help to escape his fate. He and the Joker would seemingly die as the cave collapsed upon them.
After an incident where the Justice League and Suicide Squad were forced to team up, Batman began constructing an new team of backstreet heroes to act as another team alternative for the League. After he was attacked by the Reverse-Flash, Batman would witness his apparent death and, with the Flash's help, decided to investigate what had caused the incident. Together, the two discovered the Flashpoint timeline had continued to exist and encounter that timeline's Batman, Thomas Wayne. With his father urging him to give up his life as Batman, Bruce decided to settle down and became engaged to Catwoman.
1994's company-wide crossover Zero Hour changes aspects of DC continuity again, including those of Batman. Noteworthy among these changes is that the general populace and the criminal element now considers Batman an urban legend rather than a known force. Similarly, the Waynes' killer is never caught or identified, effectively removing Joe Chill from the new continuity, rendering stories such as "Year Two" non-canon.
Batman is at times a member of superhero teams such as the Justice League of America and the Outsiders. Batman has often been paired in adventures with his Justice League teammate Superman, notably as the co-stars of World's Finest and Superman/Batman series. In pre-Crisis continuity, the two are depicted as close friends; however, in current continuity, they are still close friends but an uneasy relationship, with an emphasis on their differing views on crime-fighting and justice. In Superman/Batman #3 (Dec. 2003), Superman observes, "Sometimes, I admit, I think of Bruce as a man in a costume. Then, with some gadget from his utility belt, he reminds me that he has an extraordinarily inventive mind. And how lucky I am to be able to call on him."
In the Golden Age, Batman had a couple of short relationships as Bruce Wayne, such as Julie Madison and Linda Page. He would often flirt as Batman with occasional villains, one of which was Catwoman. The strong influence of Superman's success motivated the creators of Batman to introduce a serious female figure who could eventually become Batman's partner. Thus, Vicki Vale was introduced as an answer to Superman's Lois Lane, but these efforts proved futile as the character couldn't be developed in the right direction. In the Silver Age and in response to various allegations which caused the Comics Code Authority to be created, Batman was given a female counterpart. Batwoman was introduced in an effort to give Batman a much needed female figure in his life, but again, the character became a caricature instead of a serious persona. By the end of the Silver Age, Bruce Wayne started seeing many ladies, with no serious intent of starting a relationship. In the first years of the Bronze Age, Batman had only one romantic interest, Talia al Ghul, but this never became serious as they were often at odds. It wasn't until the mid-70s that some writers started taking Batman's love life more seriously. By the end of this age, various women were introduced into Batman's love life such as Silver St. Cloud, Natalia Knight and Julia Pennyworth; while others were re-introduced, like Vicki Vale and Catwoman.
Meanwhile, in the present day, Batman and Robin are investigating in Bludhaven. Wonder Woman has put the Justice League on Black alert - when Batman makes his way to the present, something terrible will happen. Red Robin recounts how the current Batman found the cape of the original in a cave, 11,000 years old by radiocarbon dating. A set of strange holes in the hood match to a brainwashing helmet in Command-D in Bludhaven. The word is out - Batman is alive, and the world is doomed...
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