After the 12-issue limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths, DC Comics retconned the histories 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. For example, Gotham's police are mostly corrupt, setting up further need for Batman's existence. The guardian Phillip Wayne is removed leaving young Bruce to be raised by Alfred Pennyworth. Additionally, Batman is no longer a founding member of the Justice League of America, although he becomes leader for a short time of a new incarnation of the team launched in 1987. To help fill in the revised backstory for Batman following Crisis, DC launched a new Batman title called Legends of the Dark Knight in 1989 and has published various miniseries and one-shot stories since then that largely take place during the "Year One" period.
Batman made a life long vow to fight for law and order, and to stop all criminals. Although he has no special powers like Superman or the Flash, he uses his fighting skills and his brain to defeat some of the worst villains in the DC universe. His secret identity is Bruce Wayne, the richest man in Gotham city. Only a few people know that beneath Wayne Manor is the amazing Batcave, Batman's headquarters. When danger threatens, Bruce Wayne puts on the cape and cowl of the Dark Knight and rushes to the rescue. Since he has no superpowers, Batman relies on gadgets to help him fight crime. He has many Vehicles, including the Batmobile, the Batwing, the Batcycle, and the Batboat. He carries weapons with him, like the batarang. Batman also wears special uniforms at times, like the white thermal uniform that he uses when he battles Mr. Freeze. Batman's crime-fighting partner is robin, but Batman often teams up with Superman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, and other heroes. They are always amazed by all he is able to accomplish without superpowers. No matter the challenge, Batman will find a way to keep Gotham City safe.
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.
In 1994, Bruce Wayne took back the Batman mantle from Jean-Paul Valley. Once he did that, he promptly took a vacation and let Dick Grayson fill in for a little while. When Bruce returned, he was ready along with a new costume that he debuted in a four-part storyline across the four "in-continuity" "Batman" titles of the time ("Batman," "Detective Comics," "Shadow of the Bat" and "Robin") called "Troika" (where they fought some Russian villains). The weirdest part of this costume was that it was not even finished by the time the storyline began!
The first Robin [yes, there was more than one Robin, there have been 4 in fact, all in continuity] was carefully schooled by Batman, learning all the skillshe would need to bring "Boss" Zucco to justice. Before long, Dick was ready for action. Sewaring a solemn oath, he joined the Dark Knight's crusade as his most trusted partner, Robin the Boy Wonder.
Bruce's involvement with Batman Incorporated extends to helping David Zavimbe (Batwing) set up operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo as they investigate Dede Yeboah's murder. Barbara Gordon finally recovers after spending years in a wheelchair, and takes to the streets as Batgirl again. He has sexually interacted with Catwoman twice, the second time being recent. In recent events, he is once again the only Batman. The revelation of his secret identity to Catwoman has reportedly been erased. He has already been operating in Gotham several years before Superman's debut to the public. Bruce is also dating news reporter Charlotte Rivers.
Batman: The Animated Series and the DC animated universe not only made the childhoods of a generation so much cooler, they also gave birth to the voices in a lot of our heads. When people of this generation think of the caped crusader, they see an image in their minds of a black cape and cowl, grey shirt and a yellow and black Bat-symbol across the chest. They hear the words in that oh-so-familiar voice “I am vengeance, I am the night…I AM BATMAN!” and then they usually pass out.
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Many fans of Batman seem to like this design from Frank Miller with it's simple gray and black color scheme, short ears, and bulky utility belt. It was worn by a Batman from a future time where he and many other staple DC heroes had gone into retirement. Of course Bruce Wayne had the hardest time with this. Wayne's reasons for waging a war on crime didn't come from a Boy Scout inspired directive to good. The motivations of Bruce Wayne were personal; it was his way of avenging the death of his parents at the hands of street criminals. At age 55, Wayne comes out of retirement to fight crime in a world that doesn't have the respect for him it once did.
Jillian Maxwell: In Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight Halloween Special #1, during the beginning of his career, Bruce found himself attracted to a woman who called herself Jillian Maxwell after meeting her at a costume party. However, he later discovered the criminal record of a woman who had used many aliases to seduce young, wealthy men, then later arranged events that led to their deaths so she could claim their wealth. After Alfred told Bruce of this, he was heartbroken, but he kept an eye on the woman. When she used the identity Audrey Marguerite in Brazil, Bruce, as Batman, sent her a note, ordering her to confess all her crimes.
A playboy billionaire by day, Bruce Wayne’s double life affords him the comfort of a life without financial worry, a loyal butler-turned-guardian and the perfect base of operations in the ancient network of caves beneath his family’s sprawling estate. By night, however, he sheds all pretense, dons his iconic scalloped cape and pointed cowl and takes to the shadowy streets, skies and rooftops of Gotham City.
As the Justice Leagues converge on the Temple, the box infects everyone with evil thoughts, causing a fight. Batman obtains the box, but Superman attacks him. After a few moments, the box goes dormant. Atom reveals she is a traitor working for the Secret Society and that she infected Superman with Kryptonite, which caused him to attack Dr. Light. The Secret Society leader uses the box to open a portal to another universe. In that moment, the Crime Syndicate enters the Justice League's world.
In Blackest Night, the villain Black Hand is seen digging up Bruce Wayne's body, stealing his skull, and recruiting it into the Black Lantern Corps. Deadman, whose body has also become a Black Lantern, rushes to aid the new Batman and Robin, along with Red Robin against the Gotham villains who have been reanimated as Black Lanterns, as well as their own family members. The skull was briefly reanimated as a Black Lantern, reconstructing a body in the process by Black Hand's lord, Nekron, to move against the Justice League and the Titans. After the Black Lantern Batman created several black power rings to attach to and kill the majority of the Justice League, the skull was returned to normal after Nekron explained it served its purpose as an emotional tether. Nekron also referred to the skull as "Bruce Wayne", knowing that the body was not authentic.
Batman’s origin story is the departure point for many different renditions of the character. In initial versions, he’s the inscrutable almost anti-hero, and in others, such as the 1960s television series, he’s a much more levelheaded guy living in a much less corrupt city. The 1960s series leaned heavily on camp, and prompted some to think of killing off the character forever. However, interest in this superhero revived in the 1980s, first with famous graphic novelist Frank Miller’s limited comic book series The Dark Knight Returns and then with the 1989 Tim Burton film. Both Miller and Burton were resolved on dispatching the image of the law-abiding television series superhero to return to his much darker beginnings, though Burton did so with considerable humor.
Master Spy: His advanced and extensive Ninjutsu and law enforcement training has made him a master at stealth, espionage, infiltration, and sabotage. Bruce is capable of breaching very high-security facilities with ease and without being detected. Batman's stealth prowess he is capable of breaking into a top-secret base a mile under Gotham City and even the infamous Area 51 completely unnoticed. He has proven to be very familiar with military protocols, as he casually anticipated and countered law enforcement and paratrooper tactics and strategies. Bruce has also learned how to pick various locks when he was in grade school.
Another writer who rose to prominence on the Batman comic series, was Jeph Loeb. Along with longtime collaborator Tim Sale, they wrote two miniseries (The Long Halloween and Dark Victory) that pit an early in his career version of Batman against his entire rogues gallery (including Two-Face, whose origin was re-envisioned by Loeb) while dealing with various mysteries involving serial killers Holiday and the Hangman. In 2003, Loeb teamed with artist Jim Lee to work on another mystery arc: "Batman: Hush" for the main Batman book. The 12–issue storyline has Batman and Catwoman teaming up against Batman's entire rogues gallery, including an apparently resurrected Jason Todd, while seeking to find the identity of the mysterious supervillain Hush. While the character of Hush failed to catch on with readers, the arc was a sales success for DC. The series became #1 on the Diamond Comic Distributors sales chart for the first time since Batman #500 (Oct. 1993) and Todd's appearance laid the groundwork for writer Judd Winick's subsequent run as writer on Batman, with another multi-issue arc, "Under the Hood", which ran from Batman #637–650 (April 2005 – April 2006).
Few things in this world are more popular than Batman, and few things are more synonymous with Batman than his iconic costume. They say that the clothes make the man, and in Bruce Wayne’s case, that is definitely the case. Being a superhero who has no powers comes with its own set of challenges such as protecting his back from being broken in half or having something that’s able to come up with as many different tricks as the man himself. Grappling hooks, batarangs and sonar are all parts of the arsenal included in a multi-million dollar bat suit.
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.
In the late 1950s, Batman stories gradually became more science fiction-oriented, an attempt at mimicking the success of other DC characters that had dabbled in the genre. New characters such as Batwoman, Ace the Bat-Hound, and Bat-Mite were introduced. Batman's adventures often involved odd transformations or bizarre space aliens. In 1960, Batman debuted as a member of the Justice League of America in The Brave and the Bold #28 (Feb. 1960), and went on to appear in several Justice League comic series starting later that same year.
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Utility Belt: Batman keeps most of his personal field equipment in his iconic yellow utility belt. Over the years, it has produced plastic explosives, nerve toxins, batarangs, smoke bombs, a fingerprint kit, a cutting tool, a grappling line-launcher, and a re-breather. Superman also entrusted Batman with a ring made of Kryptonite, should the Man of Steel ever need to be reined in (because of mind-control by a super-villain, etc.).