Batman

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"I am vengeance. I am the night. I. Am. Batman!!"

The Dark Knight. The Caped Crusader. The World's Greatest Detective. The iconic Cowl. The Badass Normal Superhero.

Batman is also one of the greatest Trope Makers and Trope Codifiers in not just comics, but all visual media; one of the oldest superheroes still in print -- having debuted in Detective Comics #27 (May 1939) -- Batman is one of the three best known Superheroes ever (alongside Superman and Spider-Man). The Batman mythos has expanded into numerous forms of media in the decades since the character's debut, and there's a damned good argument to be made for Batman being the most critically and culturally successful superhero in history. When veterans such as Superman have taken beatings in the zeitgeist for perceived problems, Batman's legacy and relevancy have never truly faded in the public eye, and his popularity across multiple sections of the mainstream remains as strong -- if not stronger -- than it was back in the 1940s. He's pretty much the only superhero to date who could pull out a lightsaber with no explanation at all and get away with it.

At the age of eight, Bruce Wayne witnessed the murder of his parents at the hands of a mugger. Swearing vengeance against all criminals, Bruce used his parents' vast fortune to travel the world and hone his fighting abilities and detective skills. When he felt he was ready, Bruce returned to his beloved Gotham City, intent on removing the criminal element that had overrun the city in his absence. Donning a costume with a bat motif to strike fear into criminals, Bruce protects the streets of Gotham as "The Batman" at night while pretending to be a clueless playboy billionaire by day.

Over time, Batman's swung between a bright, shiny Cape and a dark, nightmarish Shadow Archetype and the iconic Cowl; in modern times, it's usually the latter. A number of comic-book writers, most famously Frank Miller, love the contrast between Batman and Superman -- darkness and light -- and often play it up when the two are paired together.

This series has a (very long) Character Sheet.

Comics[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Detective Comics - DC's longest-running still-published comic series (though not longest number in issue number, as Action Comics overtook it in 1988 when it briefly turned into a weekly comic), Batman debuted in issue #27 in 1939, and still headlined it up until 2009, when Batwoman briefly took over the book. Batman has since returned as the headliner. Various supporting characters, including the Martian Manhunter, Green Arrow and Black Canary, the Elongated Man, and the current Question have appeared over the years in various backup strips.
  • Batman - Batman's self-named monthly title, which debuted in 1940 (issue #1 featured the first appearances of the Joker and Catwoman). Considered to be the main flagship title.
  • World's Finest Comics - An anthology series that debuted in the late 1940s, originally it featured stand-alone solo stories involving Batman and Superman. However, with issue #71, the series switched formats to its now familiar "Superman/Batman" team-up stories. The series (which featured the first appearance of Scarecrow and Clock King) was cancelled in 1986. However, it lives on in a series of mini-series specials and in Superman/Batman, which is considered to be the Spiritual Successor to World's Finest.
  • The Joker - the Clown Prince of Crime starred in his own short-lived series in the mid-1970s. Largely forgettable.
  • Batman Family - Anthology title, focusing on the supporting cast.
  • Batman and the Outsiders. Batman leading his own team. Launched in 1983. The team has gone through several incarnations, typically without their original leader.
  • Legends of the Dark Knight - An anthology series that debuted in 1989, to tie into the release of the 1989 live action Batman movie. The series originally was a flashback book, focusing on past adventures of Batman, though by the early '90s (and the events of Knightfall), the book was revamped and took place in the here and now. Suffers from continuity issues, with several stories being considered non-canon.
  • Batman: Shadow of the Bat - Another Batman book, launched mainly as a vehicle for then Detective Comics writer Alan Grant. The series was much darker than the main Batman books at the time; in particular, the stories were often told from the POV of the villain.
  • Gotham Central - A series that starred Renee Montoya and members of the Gotham City Police Department, with Batman only playing a minor role. While receiving critical acclaim (most notably for the story where Montoya is outed as a lesbian), the series ran for only 40 issues.
  • Batman: Gotham Knights - A series focused on Batman, but heavily spotlighting and examining the rest of the Batfamily, his Rogues Gallery, and their relationships to each other.
  • Batman Confidential - Another anthology series that replaced Legends of the Dark Knight. The series features classic Batman villains (who rarely appeared in Legends of the Dark Knight) and early adventures between them and Batman. Most notably (and infamously) the series is known for it's Joker origin story, which uses the 1989 movie as it's template.
  • Superman/Batman - Mentioned above, this is a team-up series with Comicbook/ Superman that is the Spiritual Successor to "World's Finest". But unlike "World's Finest", Superman/Batman features major story lines for both characters, most notably Superman with its first arc featuring the two bringing down President Lex Luthor (which was later spun off into the direct-to-DVD movie Superman/Batman: Public Enemies) and its second arc re-introducing the Pre-Crisis Supergirl to The DCU.
  • Batman and Robin - Grant Morrison, who wrote Batman's ongoing comic from 2006-2009, was given his own book in which to tell the further adventures of the new Batman (Dick Grayson) and Bruce Wayne's son Damian Wayne, the new Robin. The series focuses on the fall-out from Morrison's popular run on the main Batman book as well as Damian's attempt to adjust to being a hero. As of 2011, this Book contains the adventures of the Bruce Wayne Batman and his son Damian. Written by Peter J. Tomasi.
  • Streets of Gotham - A series written by Paul Dini that features the new Batman and Robin in the eyes of other characters. Also features a back-up feature starring Kate Spencer, the current Manhunter.
  • Gotham City Sirens - A series, also written by Paul Dini, dealing with the girls of Gotham, notably Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, and Catwoman as they attempt to live "normal" lives.
  • The Batman Adventures - The tie-in comic of Batman the Animated Series.
  • Batman Impostors - The tie-in comic of Gotham City Impostors.

Storylines

  • Year One - Flashback tale written by Frank Miller and illustrated by David Mazzucchelli which told of The Caped Crusader's first year in Gotham City and how he met then patrol officer James Gordon. Critically acclaimed, it spawned a slew of sequels (Batman: Year Two, Batman: Year Three, the continuity of both being debatable) and mini-series that take place afterwards. It also created a massive Continuity Snarl (which was more-or-less, albeit uneasily, taken care of later), as far as erasing Batgirl from canon and introducing a new offspring for Commissioner Gordon, as well as a controversial new origin for Catwoman where she is a former prostitute. Many elements of the story were adapted into Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.
  • A Death In The Family - Batman and Robin II (Jason Todd) go to the Middle East, to track down Jason's birth mother and stop Joker from stealing relief aid from the Red Cross for cash. In the process, Joker kills Jason Todd and his mom and ultimately finds immunity waiting for him in Iran, who offer to make him their ambassador in exchange for him poisoning the entire UN with Joker gas. Superman stops the gas attack and Batman beats the crap out of the Joker, who gets shot by a stray bullet from his Iranian henchmen, and his plane crashes into the ocean. Famous for the fact that Jason's fate was decided by a "1-900" call-in phone poll.
  • Knightfall/Knightquest/Knightsend - Introduces Bane, who after forcing Batman to run a gauntlet of his worst enemies, breaks Batman's back. This forces Bruce to promote his latest sidekick Azrael to Batman status, which backfires due to Azrael having still not shaken the effects of being brainwashed into becoming an assassin and ultimately forces Bruce (when he's recovered) to face him down to reclaim the cape and cowl.
  • Contagion & Legacy: Two arcs which pretty much go together back-to-back. In the former, Gotham has to deal with an outbreak of Ebola-A and chronicles Batman's attempts to help contain and cure the virus. After which, in the latter, Ra's Al Ghul makes his return to the Batman books as he unleashes a massive plague upon Gotham City, as a test run to unleashing the virus upon humanity. Batman is forced to call in all of his allies (Catwoman, Azrael, Nightwing, and Robin) to help stop Ra's Al Ghul. But victory ultimately depends on Poison Ivy (whose blood holds the cure for the virus) and Bane (who has been recruited by Ra's Al Ghul to marry his daughter) helping Batman and his crew in saving the world.
  • Cataclysm and Batman No Mans Land - An earthquake hits Gotham and the U.S. Government, rather than rebuild, orders the city sealed off. As Batman and his crew struggle to keep the peace, it soon becomes apparent that Lex Luthor is behind the government turning its back on Gotham City. With no government in the city, Luthor plans on destroying all records of land ownership, to claim the city as his own but fails when Batman stops him (though he is unable to prove to the world what Lex did). Mainly known for introducing the third Batgirl (Cassandra Cain) and reintroducing Black Mask into the Batman books.
  • Officer Down - It's a normal night in Gotham City, until a lucky punk has shot Commissioner Gordon and all of Gotham City's finest are looking for the shooter. Notable for largely writing Commissioner Gordon and Detective Harvey Bullock out of the Bat-books until Infinite Crisis.
  • Bruce Wayne: Murderer/Fugitive - Following the events of No Man's Land, Lex Luthor became President and Bruce Wayne, in retaliation, severed all business ties with the U.S. Government in protest. In retaliation, Lex orders Bruce Wayne's girlfriend murdered and Bruce framed for the deed. Making things worse for Batman, Lex Luthor hires the new Batgirl's dad to carry out the hit and since he knows Bruce Wayne is Batman, he is able to turn Batman's friends & allies against him as Batman struggles to prove his innocence.
  • Hush and Under the Hood - "Hush" was a warmly received and massively hyped story written by Jeph Loeb and illustrated by Jim Lee. The story deals with an alliance with new Bat-foe Hush and the Riddler after the latter figures out Batman's identity. While Hush had Batman run the gauntlet with much of his Rogues Gallery, a figure appearing to be a resurrected Jason Todd appears to confuse Batman. In the end, Hush's identity is revealed to be Bruce Wayne's childhood friend, Thomas Elliot, who has decided to harbor a deep hatred over Bruce's "gifted childhood" (AKA the dead parents). The buzz over the appearance of the supposed Jason Todd lead to "Under The Hood" where Judd Winick detailed the rise of a new Red Hood, which was originally held by the man who would become the Joker. Upon the discovery that the Red Hood was indeed Jason returned from the dead, angry that Batman replaced him and didn't kill his "killer", Batman has to stop his adopted son and former ward's Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • War Games and War Crimes - Spoiler decided to prove to Batman she was worthy of being the newest Robin by taking one of his plans and engaging in a massive Batman Gambit against all of Gotham's gangs that goes horribly wrong. The result? Black Mask becoming the top crime boss in Gotham and Stephanie Brown, AKA the fourth Robin, dying because Batman waited too long to get her medical treatment. The story was almost immediately followed up with War Crimes, which tried to retcon the story by saying it was longtime Batman ally Leslie Thompkins who withheld medical treatment from Stephanie, and then Infinite Crisis warped reality within months of the publication of War Crimes. War Crimes was erased from canon and replaced with a scenario where Thompkins, with Batman's permission, faked Stephanie's death to protect her from further reprisals from Black Mask.
  • Grant Morrisons Batman: A group of Story Arcs all written during Grant Morrison's run on Batman. All titles are connected by a large overarching storyline, and Morrison himself says that he intends for this group of titles to be part of a series.
    • Batman and Son: Batman discovers that his one-time sexual encounter with Talia Al Ghul left her pregnant. And now, several years later, she's dropping off her son on Batman's doorsteps so that he can teach the kid how to be a great man, as she prepares to take over the world with her army of Manbat Ninjas. Introduces Damian Wayne to the Batman universe.
    • The Black Glove: Batman's weekend vacation with a cadre of international superheroes he inspired takes a turn for the worst when the mysterious "Black Glove" destroys their transportation off an island, so that they can be killed off one by one.
    • The Three Ghosts of Batman: Bruce faces off against three psychotic Batman impersonators (a marksman, a steroid-fueled behemoth, and a raving Satanic killer) with ties to a cadre of corrupt police officers and a mysterious military experiment that Bruce himself took part in years ago. A prelude to Batman: R.I.P that introduces Dr. Simon Hurt, the leader of the Black Glove organization. Notable for giving us a glimpse of a possible future where Damian has become the new Batman.
    • Batman R.I.P. - The Black Glove makes its assault against Batman, and attempts to destroy his personality with long dormant mental triggers which were placed in Batman's mind years ago. Upon the activation of a mental safeguard in the case of such a scenario, the personality of "the Batman of Zurr-En-Arr" keeps Batman functioning until his mind repairs the damage and stops the Black Glove from killing him and invading Gotham City. Upon confronting the leader in an escaping helicopter, Batman becomes "cursed" to die the next time he wears the cape and cowl. After escaping the helicopter crash, Batman is summoned by Superman to investigate the death of a God...
      • Battle For The Cowl (not written by Morrison, but fits into the overarching story) - Bruce Wayne is dead, and a great void has been created in Gotham City. A war on two fronts has started that the Bat-Family must deal with: the recently escaped Rogues Gallery from Arkham, along with the various gangs and factions trying to claim Gotham as their own; and the appearance of a mysterious masked "Batman", who holds no qualms for murder (eventually revealed to be Jason Todd). After attempting to kill both Tim Drake and Damian Wayne, Jason fights Nightwing, and is defeated. Dick takes over the mantle of the Bat, and Damian becomes the new Robin while Tim heals from his injuries.
    • Batman: Reborn - Umbrella title for the various Batbooks dealing with Dick Grayson as the new Batman and Damian as the new Robin. Threats facing them are Jason Todd and a new Black Mask, along with new villains such as Professor Pyg and his army of circus freak show villains and the assassin known as "The Flamingo".
    • The Return of Bruce Wayne: The title says it all. Until it happens, we're treated to Bruce Wayne's displaced adventures in time, where he suits up in period-specific Bat-costumes and fights pirates and cavemen and stuff, due to continually being shunted around the timestream. Oh, and Superman says his return will bring about the end of the world...
    • Batman, Inc.: After the events of the above storyline, Bruce Wayne decides to take the Batman operation international and train potential Batmen worldwide, leaving Dick and Damian to continue their roles as Batman and Robin in Gotham City.
  • Night of the Owls: Batman as of the New 52. Bruce is Batman again, though Damian is still Robin, and Dick still operates as Nightwing. A shadowy organization known as The Court of Owls, basically Gotham City's Illuminati, are trying to take back Gotham City, using pseudo-immortal assassins as their footsoldiers.

One-Shots & Limited Series

  • The Dark Knight Returns - An old Batman takes up the cowl again to fight mutants. And along with Watchmen, it helped start the Dark Age of comics.
  • The Killing Joke - With the help of Alan Moore, The Joker gets reinvented into the insane sociopath we all know and love. This book is a major influence over all adaptations of the Joker following it. Notable for featuring Batgirl being crippled, paving the way for her reinvention as "Oracle", super-hacker extraordinaire.
  • Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth - Grant Morrison's first Batman story, Arkham Asylum is what happens when the Batman's rogues gallery gets overdosed on Nightmare Fuel, with a little of Lewis Carroll as well. An unholy force has taken over the asylum, forcing Batman to have to storm the place and save the staff. Notable for giving the back story behind the place, and it definitely wasn't pretty.
  • Arkham Asylum: Living Hell: A limited series that focuses on the hellish environment inside the walls of Arkham Asylum from the viewpoint of Warren White, a white collar criminal who declares himself insane to escape jailtime, only to find himself in Arkham, and is eventually driven insane by the other inmates, transforming him into the villain The Great White Shark. also notable for focusing mostly on the C-list villains, as well as small time inmates created for the series, such as Humpty Dumpty, Death Rattle, Doodlebug and Lunkhead.
  • The Long Halloween: A sequel of sorts to Year One, detailing the origin of Two-Face. The story itself involves a serial killer named "Holiday" bumping off members of Carmine "The Roman" Falcone's mob on various holidays. Much like Year One, many elements were adapted into Batman Begins (as well as The Dark Knight).
  • Batman: Dark Victory - Written and drawn by the guys who did The Long Halloween, this limited series deals with the fall-out of Harvey Dent's transformation into Two-Face as another serial killer "The Hangman" attempts to kill off a number of former and current GCPD members - including Jim Gordon. It also features the story of how Bruce Wayne adopted Dick Grayson, who dons the Robin identity at the end of the story.
  • Batman: Thrillkiller - An Elseworlds limited series taking place in The Sixties, in an alternate timeline where Bruce Wayne became a police officer after his parents' murder and Barbara Gordon inherited Wayne Manor after a penniless Bruce sold it. By 1960, Babs Gordon fights crime as Batgirl alongside her partner Dick Grayson (aka Robin, the Man Wonder) while Commissioner Wayne of the GCPD tries to put them both behind bars. Oh...and The Joker's a woman.
  • The Dark Knight Strikes Again - A sequel to The Dark Knight Returns, once again written by Frank Miller. Unlike The Dark Knight Returns, it features a cast of dozens, as Batman gathers an army of his former friends to free America from Lex Luthor and Brainiac, who have taken over the U.S. thanks to a sentient hologram president.
  • The Man Who Laughs - A one-shot issue written by Ed Brubaker and another intended sequel of Year One, detailing the Batman's first encounter with the Joker. (Mainly an attempt to re-write the original Joker story with the modern characterization of the Joker).
  • All-Star Batman and Robin The Boy Wonder - The Goddamn Batman abducts the Goddamn Dick Grayson (age twelve) and goes on some crazy stuff in the Goddamn Gotham City.
  • Gotham Underground - A limited series that focuses on the effects of the Countdown to Final Crisis on Batman's Rogues Gallery, not to mention the recent death of Black Mask. While the rest of the Bat-family struggle to prevent a gang war from breaking out, Batman - undercover as a henchman - winds up in prison. By the end of the series, Penguin finds himself Batman's informant - whether he likes it or not.
  • Joker - Another one-shot, written by Brian Azzarello, detailing the Joker's release from Arkham and his subsequent rise (and fall). The Bat himself makes only a short but effective appearance. Quite a few similarities between the Joker depicted within and Heath Ledger's portrayal in The Dark Knight, but this is coincidental, this being written a good bit before the film was released.
  • Batman Beyond - Based off the Batman Beyond animated series continuity. It started out as a six-part miniseries, but became an ongoing series in 2011.
  • Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? - A two-part Batman story written by Neil Gaiman, in the same vein of Superman's "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?", this is an epilogue to the Bruce Wayne Batman (in all of his incarnations). It was to be the 'last' story after his death in Batman R.I.P. and Final Crisis and act as a summing-up of the character.
  • Batman: Digital Justice - An Alternate Reality story set exty years from now, featuring the grandson of Commissioner Gordon taking up the mantle of Batman to fight cyber-crime in Gotham City. Written/illustrated by Pepe Moreno and created entirely on computer (a new idea in 1990).
  • Batman Detective No. 27 - An "elseworld" where Bruce Wayne never becomes Batman, instead becoming Detective No. 27. Batman's debut was in Detective Comics #27.
  • Mad Love - Harley Quinn's origin story, which was later adapted for an episode of Batman the Animated Series. It received massive critical praise and won the 1994 Eisner Award for "Best Single Issue."
  • Batman Odyssey - A supremely bizarre miniseries (2010-2011) drawn and written by Neal Adams, featuring Batman's journey to the underworld.

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Batman: "Holy surrealism, Batman!" The colorful, campy '60s series that pretty much defines the bright, shiny Batman.

Film[edit | hide]

Theatre[edit | hide]

  • Batman the Musical. No, really. It never made it onstage, but you can still read about What Might Have Been here and listen to the demo recordings.
  • Batman Live: a big-budget arena show that premiered in the UK July '11 and toured Europe and North America. It focuses on the relationship between Batman and Robin, and is a fusion between theatre, circus, and hand-drawn animation.
  • Holy Musical Batman: a musical parody by Team Starkid, performed during March 2012 and made available online on April 13th.

Video Games[edit | hide]

Western Animation[edit | hide]


Various parts of the franchise have provided the name for:

Tropes common among all versions:

A-E[edit | hide]

  • Advantage Ball: Batman almost always has the advantage in direct conflict. Three guys with knives or a dozen Mooks with machine guns, it makes no difference. As such, the general method of his rogues gallery to deal with him is to attack him indirectly, especially by undermining what he believes in and threatening those he values.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Aside from accusations on all sides, The Joker sometimes delivers Ho Yay, depending on the writer. After a while, some writers decided to incorporate that aspect of the character into their stories to create ambiguity on purpose.
  • Animal-Themed Superbeing: Bruce, his sidekicks, and many of his enemies are animal based.
  • Affably Evil: Ra's Al Ghul.
    • The Penguin comes across as this most of the time, as the owner of a popular upscale night spot, but he can go from a gentleman criminal to a vicious bastard if he needs to.
  • Affirmative Action Legacy: Batman's first sidekick and later successor Dick Grayson was retconned to be part Roma. And after Batman's supposed demise, his longest-running title was given to the Jewish lesbian Batwoman. Also, The Dark Knight Returns featured a female Robin.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: It's not so much that Bats is a bad guy, but compared to a lot of the other team members within his various groups, his dark, brooding act stirs up the loins of many a female, both superpowered and non.
  • Almighty Mom: Alfred is the quintessential male example.
  • Alternate Universe: Earth-Two, where Batman married Catwoman and had a daughter, the Huntress.
  • Anti-Hero: Bruce Wayne's Batman is a Type II.
    • Dick Grayson, whether as Robin, Nightwing or Batman is also a Type II.
    • Barbra Gordon is a Type II as Batgirl, and a Type III as Oracle.
    • Catwoman is actually leaning towards Type III, but she still does her cat burglar thing.
    • Tim Drake is a Type II as Robin, developing into a Type III as Red Robin.
    • Damian Wayne starts out as a Type V, being the grandson of Ra's Al Ghul and all, but is softening under Dick's tutelage.
    • Jean-Paul Valley begins as Type V, even during his time as Batman. However after he shakes his programming he becomes an ally of Batman and slides up the scale to a IV with leanings towards III.
    • Jason Todd is a Type V, but fancies himself Type IV. Becomes Type IV post-relaunch, with Type III hints due to being less jerky.
  • Anti-Hero Substitute: When Azrael took over as Batman during the Dark Age.
  • Anti-Villain: Lots. Most of Batman's Rogues Gallery are some shade of antivillain; turning to crime as a result of some past trauma is very common. There are also a fair number of real villains, of course.
  • Ax Crazy: The Joker
  • Badass
  • Bad Cop, Incompetent Cop: Gotham City Police Department. Except for Gordon. Eventually got its own comic series, Gotham Central, about the few honest cops in the city who have to deal with working in the second most corrupt department in the country.
    • Should be noted also that it often seems like a woefully understaffed Police Department. Chicago, one of the basis cities for Gotham, has nearly 15,000 officers. The most we ever see on one page at one time is about twenty for Gotham, no matter how big the crisis.
    • Would you want to be a cop in Gotham? If you honestly want to "protect and serve" you will have precious few allies, and if you don't, there's the crazy winged lunatic (or one of his many allies) that just might hang you upside down off a roof one of these days. Not to mention the mafia. And all the gangs. And all the supervillains. And the Joker.
  • Bandaged Face: At least one the villains is bound to have this happen to them at some point. Hush in particular is known for this.
  • Bash Brothers: On occasions, Batman and Robin. This trope could have easily been called "Dynamic Duo".
    • Batman and Red Hood/Robin II: even after all the time that passed between Jason's death and his return, they're able to fall right back in to this and work together flawlessly.
  • Bat Family Crossover
  • Batman Cold Open
  • Batman Gambit: The Trope Namer
  • Battle Butler
  • Bat Signal: The Trope Namer. Again.
  • Becoming the Mask: Bruce Wayne adopted the identity of Batman as a means to fight injustice. As with most Batman tropes, this is the dark version. It's not that he loves being Batman so much he doesn't want to go back to being Bruce Wayne. It's that he IS Batman because he has to be even when dressed and acting like Bruce Wayne. It's a strong contrast to the modern version of Superman, who always thinks of himself as Clark Kent regardless of the costume.
  • Bedlam House
  • Berserk Button: Anyone getting killed, whether by any fault of his own or someone else's. Bats is not good with death, for obvious reasons. If you've killed someone within his vicinity, he may not kill you, but you may wish he had.
  • Best Served Cold: One of the classic examples.
  • Betrayal Insurance: The idea that Batman has a stockpile of kryptonite in case Superman ever goes rogue is extremely common. The idea that he also has plans to take down any other Justice League member he might have to is almost as common.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Batman and his extended family make a regular habit of this trope.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: With Batman: Reborn and Gotham City Sirens, as well as Blackest Night, Harley Quinn, Catwoman, and Poison Ivy take on this trope respectively.
    • The three Batgirls: Stephanie, Cassandra and Barbara respectively.
  • Blood Bath: Garth Ennis once wrote a comic where the villain was a drug lord who got people hooked on a drug so he could kill them, fill a pool with their drugged-up blood, and get high by bathing in it.
    • In Batman: The Cult, Deacon Blackfire bathed in blood, supposedly to make himself immortal.
  • The Book Cipher: In the Detective Comics issue "And the Executioner Wore Stiletto Heels", the villain, Stiletto, uses an obscure book about shoes for a cipher. When Batman goes to the bookstore, the owner mentions how strange it is that he just sold several copies of a book nobody would buy normally. Batman asks him who bought the book in order to learn who's in on the plot.
  • Bored with Insanity: The Joker several times.
  • Breakout Character: Alfred was originally intended to be a comedic foil to Batman and Robin, but eventually got more serious. The Post-Crisis version had him as an out and out Battle Butler, not to mention surrogate father figure to the entire Bat-Clan.
  • Breakout Villain: The Joker is a big one. Originally he was supposed to be killed in his second appearance back in 1940. Fast-forward 70 years later and he's the most famous villain in all of comics.
  • Bruce Wayne Held Hostage
  • Bulletproof Vest: Batman's costume has evolved into a suit of advanced lightweight armor with the Chest Insignia intended to draw fire to his thick chestpiece.
  • Cape Swish
  • Cardboard Prison: Arkham Asylum amongst others.
  • Caramelldansen Vid
  • Catch Phrase: At least once every continuity, expect situations set up to dramatically deliver the line "I'M BATMAN!"
  • Characterization Marches On:
    • The first appearances of Batman are notorious for him lacking a code against killing, although even then killing wasn't routine. For example, in his very first story, The Case of the Chemical Syndicate, he punches the villain into a vat of Hollywood Acid, and shows no remorse for it. In the Post-Crisis version of the event, the crook tries to flee, as he cannot stand the shame of being sent to prison, and falls into the acid by accident.
    • The Joker's first Golden Age appearance had him not as a comedy obsessed Evil Laugh happy nut job that people are likely to see and assorted later comics and adaptations depict him as (such as, Batman the Animated Series), but rather as a fairly straight forward killer and thief who just happened to be associated with the titular playing card. He also didn't do a noticeable Evil Laugh until his third-last panel in his debut issue, where (true to form) he thinks he's about to die.
  • Charity Ball: Bruce Wayne, being a wealthy playboy, attends a lot of these.
  • Chew Out Fake Out: Tim Drake/Robin, after losing nearly all of his biological family, sets up an actor to pretend to be his fake uncle so that he doesn't have to go into the foster care system. Batman, being Batman, naturally finds out, and Robin assumes he's about to be reamed out for going behind Bruce's back... but all Bruce can say is that he's so proud of Tim for taking the initiative, and gives him some tips on how to make the deception foolproof.
  • Chronic Villainy
  • Chest Insignia: In Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, he reveals that most of his armor is bulletproof, but he wears a chest insignia because he couldn't make his mask and cowl protective enough (in most versions, he leaves his mouth and chin uncovered). "Why do you think I wear a target on my chest?"
  • The City Narrows: It would be pretty hard to do the origin story without that one dark alley that you really shouldn't go into. Similarly, City Noir. Gotham City is a nice place to live.
  • Clark Kenting: Many heroes throughout the franchise have rather easy time hiding their secret identities. Especially notable in live-action series.
  • Classy Cat Burglar: Catwoman more often than not.
  • The Chessmaster: The Riddler. See "Hush" for details.
    • Batman himself is a heroic version of this trope due to being a brilliant tactician and superb analytical skills.
  • Clothes Make the Legend: You don't even need to see his emblem - Bats is so infamous and feared that he can be identified just by the silhouette of his cowl.
  • The Comically Serious: Because nothing's more hilarious than Batman singing karaoke, while still completely straight-faced. Though in the rare instance where he cracks a joke, it's all the funnier because of it. In Superman/Batman #44, Superman has been hit in the eye with a shard of Kryptonite and has to wear an eyepatch until it heals.

Superman: I have a strange favor to ask you.
Batman: No, Clark. You can't borrow my pirate ship.

  • The Commissioner Gordon: The Trope Namer
  • Continuity Nod: Crossing over with Mythology Gag, when Batwoman resurfaces in 2006, her suit borrows very heavily from the one made famous in Batman Beyond, especially in regards to the Bat Symbol she uses.
  • Cool Car: The Batmobile
  • Cool Garage
  • Cool Plane
  • Corrupt Politician: Aversions are easier to find.
  • Costumed Nonsuper Hero
  • The Cowl: Trope Codifier.
  • Crazy Prepared: Batman plus the Bat-family has his own category on the page.
  • Creepy Souvenir: Villain Mr. Zsasz marks a notch in his skin every time he murders someone. He has scars all over his body.
  • Crimefighting with Cash
  • Criminal Doppelganger: Bruce Wayne's childhood friend Thomas Elliot (a.k.a. Hush) got facial reconstruction surgery to look more like Bruce so that he can impersonate him and more easily get away with sapping Bruce's wealth.
  • Criminal Mind Games: The Riddler's MO.
  • Cut Himself Shaving
  • Dark Is Not Evil: And ironically, most of his rogues (particularly the Joker) are very colorful.
  • Darker and Edgier: After many years of campiness, in the 70s and 80s Batman started getting dark and gritty again and his villains became much more brutal and sadistic (or returned to form in the case of The Joker). Batman is currently one of the grittiest heroes you'll find with an emphasis on fear and a brutal fighting style, most of what he does stemming from what he views as his failures and an insanely violent Rogues Gallery. Despite this, his strong moral integrity remains one of the most consistent in comics.
  • Dating Catwoman: Trope Codifier. On-again and off-again with Selina Kyle, both before and after he learned her true identity. Some say the only woman he has ever loved.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Alfred, especially when Frank Miller's writing him.
  • Death by Origin Story: Thomas and Martha Wayne, The Flying Graysons.
  • Death Trap
  • Depending on the Writer: The Dark Knight Returns presented Batman as a dangerously-obsessed, deeply-disturbed, paranoid control freak who is possibly a mentally ill Sociopathic Hero as opposed to the stalwart Caped Crusader of the Golden and Silver Ages and the Adam West series. This interpretation is touched on Depending on the Writer and sometimes, it is the basis for whole story arcs.
    • One example is his creation of the Brother Mk I satellite, which was created by Batman to keep an eye on all of the meta-humans, hero and villain alike.
    • Another story, "Tower of Babel", centers on Ra's Al Ghul obtaining a file containing Batman's contingency plans to cripple each and every member of the Justice League "just in case" and using them to his own ends. The existence of the files and the secrecy under which they are kept infuriates The League and lead to his expulsion.
    • This is hinted at in The Dark Knight.
      • Another issue of interpretation is whether he became a man the night his parents died, or if he never truly grew up.
  • Did Not Do the Research: After getting a nasty cut during the "Cataclysm" storyline, Batman's internal monologue states that his belt has "anticoagulants to stem the bleeding." An anticoagulant actually makes blood thinner, and thus would make a cut bleed worse.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: He tends to do this more often during crossover events.
  • Determinator
  • Distaff Counterpart: At least three still breathing (two girls and a woman).
  • Doesn't Like Guns: Even more than he despises killing.
  • Double Consciousness
  • Dramatic Necklace Removal: His parents' death scene frequently has this.
  • The Dreaded: Both Batman and The Joker are able to put the fear of god even into those FAR more powerful than they will ever be.
  • Dumb Muscle: Killer Croc, Amygdala and Clayface at times.
    • Averted with Bane, who has the mind of a criminal mastermind as well as the colossal strength to back it up, but played annoyingly straight in several adaptations.
  • Eagle-Eye Detection: One of the many skills employed by the Bat-family.
  • Elaborate Underground Base
  • Elemental Shapeshifter: Clayface is a walking mountain of mud, and can use his powers for shapeshifting or brute strength. He's one of the few recurring villains Batman admits to being no physical match for.
  • Emerging From the Shadows: Whether it's Batman, or other characters.
  • Evil Counterpart: Quite a few.
    • There's the Wrath, Prometheus (although he's more of a JLA-specific villain than a Batman villain), Bane when he first appeared, and Black Mask (or Roman Sionis) who has a similar back story to Bruce (son of wealthy parents who died to the unnatural causes, although in Roman's case his parents were Rich Bitches who were killed by Roman himself, and Roman ran his company into the ground with his own carelessness).
    • One of the origins of Catman tried to build him up as an evil mirror counterpart who was inspired by the death of his parents to become a supervillain complete with Catmobile and the like. The idea got dropped quickly.
    • Hush is a much more recent example, especially when you get into his backstory and how intricately entwined it is with Batman's.
    • While not to Black-and-white counterpart standards, most of Batman's rogues gallery reflect a part of Batman's characterization.
    • Killer Moth (of all people) was originally presented as an Evil Counterpart. His MO was that he was an anti-vigilante; he showed up to rescue criminals. He even had a Moth Signal criminals could use to summon him!
  • Epic Hail: The Bat Signal: the most Badass searchlight in existence.
  • Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor:
  • Evil Is Stylish: His Rogues Gallery.
  • Excuse Me, Coming Through: He is carrying a live bomb after all, you would've run screaming too, admit it.
  • Expy: Sherlock Holmes at first. Also, Zorro.
    • He actually had much more to do with The Shadow in his first stories. Even his first story was lifted from The Shadow pulp.

F-J[edit | hide]

K-O[edit | hide]

P-T[edit | hide]

  • Papa Wolf: Batman himself, and Commissioner Gordon when his kids' involved.
  • The Paragon: Depending on the continuity.
  • Parental Abandonment: HIS PARENTS ARE DEEAAAAAAAD!
  • Pimped-Out Cape: In some continuities where his cape has some gadgets built in.
  • Plant Aliens: He has dealt with them in the story "The Plants of Plunder".
  • Popularity Power
  • Power Copying: Batman tends to keep items from his defeated villains handy, such as a vial of Scarecrow's fear gas, and one of Mr. Freeze's guns.
  • The Proud Elite: He is handsome, and, while charming, tries to be aloof enough that he makes people think he's a bit arrogant. However, when he catches criminals as Batman, he'll get them jobs at Wayne Enterprises. Even the Ventriloquist got a second chance once on an episode of New Batman Adventures.
  • Psycho for Hire
  • Reckless Sidekick: Jason Todd, Damian Wayne.
  • Reckless Pacifist: Batman, on and off. Excluding incarnations that actually did kill people (or just refused to save them), The Bat has been known to get really, really rough with with his enemies despite his Thou Shalt Not Kill policy.
  • Red Baron: The Batman has been known as the Caped Crusader, the Gotham Guardian, the Masked Manhunter or more commonly, the Dark Knight.
    • Which came from Darknight Detective.
  • Reinventing the Telephone: The Batsignal
  • Relationship Reboot: After Infinite Crisis, Batman returns to Gotham City and decides to give the former corrupt cop Harvey Bullock another chance.
  • Reluctant Warrior: Hates violence, but is prepared to use it to stop crime. Subverted by just about every interpretation since the dawn of the Dark Age, so Batman's mileage may definitely vary.
  • Resurrection Sickness: What Ra's Al Ghul experiences after using the Lazarus Pit.
  • Revealing Skill: In the backstory of the third Robin (Tim Drake), this is how he learned the secret identities of Batman and Robin (Dick Grayson): by watching news coverage of the Dynamic Duo's escapades, during which Robin performed a complicated gymnastics move (a quadruple somersault) — which it had been established could be performed only by orphaned circus artist Dick Grayson.
  • The Reveal Prompts Romance: Batman has unmasked himself as Bruce Wayne to various women in various continuities. Neither the reveal nor the romance has stuck, yet.
  • Reverse Cerebus Syndrome: When the stories first began, they followed the pulp magazine model. Things became Lighter and Softer shortly after Robin was introduced, and the Jack Schiff era relished in this trope. Julius Schwartz attempted Cerebus Syndrome when his term as editor started, but then the 1960's show debuted and the trope was forced to reverse itself for the comic to emulate the show. The syndrome has waved back and forth since then.
  • Rich Idiot With No Day Job: Batman deliberately cultivates this image as Bruce Wayne. See Obfuscating Stupidity.
  • Riddle Me This: The standard MO of The Riddler.
  • Rival Turned Evil: Hush, Deadshot
  • Rogues Gallery: Quite possibly the most famous and recognizable Rogues Gallery in all of comics. Also easily one of the most violent.
  • Rogues Gallery Showcase The Long Halloween, Hush.
  • Rule 34: Batman XXX: A Porn Parody.
  • Sacrificed Basic Skill for Awesome Training: Cassandra Cain, but also Bruce Wayne in a few things.
  • Save the Day Turn Away: The ending of Year One.
  • Say My Name: If you haven't figured it out by now, He's Batman
  • Science Marches On: The character's been around for over 70 years, so this is a given. For example, Batman started out in the 30's as a rich guy in actual tights with a Bulletproof Vest, a silk rope, smoke bombs, and a souped up but otherwise normal car. Nowadays he wears a full suit of kevlar armor loaded with high tech gear, military level weaponry, and of course the Batmobile along with nearly every kind of vehicle he could need. Although as things like carbon nanotubes become more common in the future, it'll be interesting to see how the writers can maintain the dramatic tension when the batsuit seems damn near indestructible. The writers of Batman Beyond successfully maintained dramatic tension when Terry was going around in flying power armor. When technology reaches the point where the Bat-suit has carbon buckytube armor, that only means the Joker will be shooting at it with a rail gun.
  • Secret Identity Identity: Depending on the Writer, and something of a Cyclic Trope. Bruce Wayne is a violent, obsessive loner who plays the dual roles of Batman (who gives him the power to instill fear in criminals and take revenge) and "Billionaire Playboy" Bruce Wayne (leading the carefree life he cannot truly enjoy, and actually disdains). He usually identifies more with Batman (to the point of calling himself such in his head), but not always. The one thing they all have in common is that they are self-absorbed misanthropes who cannot get over the murder of Bruce's parents in Crime Alley.
  • Servile Snarker: Alfred was a candidate for Trope Namer.
  • Shoe Shine, Mister?: In one early comic, Robin goes undercover as a shoeshine boy, and when the villain of the week stops to get a shine, Robin secretly applies a tracking device to his shoe.
  • Shout-Out: The 1960's Batman series was generally held in disfavor by Batman's comic book creators, but prolific Batman writer Chuck Dixon was a fan of the show, and snuck in some tributes here and there. Most notably in a two-parter featuring pirate-themed villain Cap'n Fear, which was structured much like a two-parter for the show, and began "in the shadow of the Westward Bridge."
  • Shadow Archetype: Several of Batman's villains apply, such as The Joker (obsession and mental issues), Catwoman (night animal motif and skills with things like spying and thievery, was also a wealthy socialite in the Golden Age), The Penguin (was created as a parody of Bruce's image as a fop), and Two-Face (dual nature). Hell, Batman himself has served as a Shadow Archetype for Superman.
  • Sidekick: The assorted Robins may deserve their own page!
  • Sidekick Graduations Stick: Grayson is one of the more triumphant examples, though Todd, Drake, and Brown have all moved on as well.
  • Signature Laugh: Several, represented different ways in different media:
    • The Penguin's "wah wah" squawking laugh.
    • Riddler's high pitched giggle.
    • Joker's maniacal cackle (particularly Mark Hamill's interpretation).]
    • The Scarecrow's infamous "HRROOO HRRAAA", which nobody knows how to pronounce.
  • Silver Fox: Depending on the art style, Commissioner Gordon can be one of these.
  • Shrine to the Fallen: Batman keeps Jason's costume on display in the Batcave.
  • Skull for a Head: Black Mask
  • Spirited Competitor
  • Smug Snake: The Riddler. But significantly less so since his reformation in Detective Comics #822. Still smug, but a highly successful detective as well.
  • Socially Awkward Hero: It varies by the writer, but Bruce Wayne is often depicted as not really understanding how to behave like a normal Rich Idiot With No Day Job, and finds hosting a Wayne Foundation party more stressful than taking on the Joker.
  • Stealth Hi Bye
  • Story-Breaker Team-Up: Whenever the Bat-mite shows up.
  • Strike Me Down with All of Your Hatred: Joker is prone to this.
  • Stupid Crooks: "Rocket Scientist" in Detective Comics #704. The story details the career of one of Gotham City's most incompetent crooks. His actions included once disguising himself by painting his face red (following an earlier mishap due to his choice of masks) only to collapse because the paint was toxic.
  • Superhero Sobriquets: The Dark Knight, the Caped Crusader, the World's Greatest Detective, the Dark Knight Detective. Robin is the Boy Wonder and Joker is the Clown Prince of Crime, the Thin White Duke of Death, and the Harlequin of Hate.
  • Superheroes Wear Capes
  • Superheroes Wear Tights
  • Survivor Guilt: His ENTIRE LIFE revolves around the guilt he felt at his parents' murder.
  • Talking Through Technique: With Cassandra Cain.
  • Technical Pacifist
  • Terror Hero: Batman seeks to put enormous fear into anyone he goes up against. Given that he's one of the most dreaded heroes in comics, even among superpowered villains despite having no superpowers himself, he is very good at it.
  • Thememobile: The Batmobile, the Batwing, the Batcycle, etc etc...
  • There Are No Therapists:
    • Most depictions for the past two decades have made it clear Mr. Wayne has... issues... lots of issues.

Bruce Wayne himself: "Any guy who dresses up as a bat... clearly has issues."

    • Double Subverted. There are numerous psychologists in Gotham City - just none you'd actually want helping you. Scarecrow and Hugo Strange would rather drive you mad for laughs, whereas Harley Quinn and Jeremiah Arkham couldn't even keep themselves sane. Then there's the crack staff of Arkham Asylum, who will probably be curing their first patient any day now.
      • How many levels of subversion did they reach when Arkham did successfully cure Cluemaster... of his obsessive need to leave clues. Now he's just a criminal genuis who doesn't give our heroes any way to anticipate his next crime.

Robin: "Gee, thanks, Arkham!"

  • The Tooth Hurts: In Detective Comics #832, Shark pulls out his own teeth with pliers to plant them as fake evidence of his supposed death by sharks. He mentions that it was very painful, but he's got lots of teeth (three rows!).
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill
  • Token Motivational Nemesis:
    • Joe Chill the mugger, who is seldom seen again after serving his narrative purpose of introducing us to and traumatizing Bruce Wayne. In some versions, notably Frank Miller's, he doesn't even have a name.
    • Joe Chill did appear again in a 1948 followup to the origin story, where it's revealed he eventually became a small-time gangster. Unfortunately for him, Batman soon found him out, leading to a classic confrontation. Chill also appeared post-Crisis in several stories. Post-Zero Hour he was specifically stated NOT to be the Wayne killer, bringing Batman's desire for vengeance back to the way Miller envisioned it.
    • Batman had to ally with Joe Chill when facing a legacy of The Reaper, a crazed slasher vigilante. At several points, Batman has the choice of whether to save Joe's life and each time, he does.
    • Noteworthily, Joker sees Batman like this.
  • Tontine: The very first Batman story, The Case of the Chemical Syndicate, used this as a plot point.
  • Too Funny to Be Evil - usually the Riddler. Less often the Joker.
    • And those who believe this of The Joker are often proven fatally wrong.
  • Tragic Dream: This is what motivates Mr. Freeze, wanting to cure his wife.
    • After an extenuating day being Batman, Jean-Paul Valley reflected that after being the Avatar of the Order of St. Dumas, who wanted to conquer Jerusalem back again to Christianity, and presently being the Temporary Substitute to Batman, who wants to stop crime in Gotham City, he finds the fanatical obsessive founder Dumas was the wiser: sure, Jerusalem was never conquered again, but it was a tangible goal that could be achieved... ending crime forever in Gotham is a madman’s dream.
  • The Trickster: A role sometimes shared by Joker and Riddler, depending on the situation and motivation.
  • True Love Is Boring: One of the major reasons why Bruce will probably never settle down.
  • Tsundere: Damian Wayne is one of the rare male examples, and is type A towards... pretty much everyone. Dick Grayson, Stephanie Brown, Alfred...
  • Two-Headed Coin: A characteristic attribute of Harvey Dent/Two-Face. Played straight as Dent and then Subverted by Two-Face.

U-Z[edit | hide]

  • Underestimating Badassery: Done constantly by superpowered villains who have never faced him before. After they do fight him, they figure out why he's one of the most feared heroes of them all.
  • Underwear of Power: Batman is one of the older examples, though nowadays (Post-Knight Saga and then Post-Return) his Underwear on the outside is usually either absent, not shown, or the same color as the rest of him (and thus hard to see). Also, the Robins wore this until Tim Drake came along.
  • Upper Class Wit: Bruce Wayne's image to the world.
  • Useless Spleen: Tim Drake loses his spleen to a sword-strike in Red Robin #4.
  • The Vamp: Poison Ivy, Nocturna, Catwoman at times (Depending on the Writer), and others.
  • Viewer Myopia: Batman obviously being Bruce Wayne gets the same "never in the same place" evidence as Superman... discounting all the times that both of them have arranged to be seen with their alternate identities.
  • Villainous Harlequin: Harley Quinn (duh)
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Batman and Superman are sometimes depicted this way, as both Type 1 and Type 2.
  • Water Source Tampering: Deconstructed in one comic, where Bruce deduces the Villain of the Week won't put his hallucinogen into the water supply, because it's too easy to shut off. Instead, he plots to put it in the milk supply.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Ra's Al Ghul.
    • The Order of St. Dumas, who created Azrael, who was also one.
  • Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys? (The Tim Burton movie is the Trope Namer)
  • Where The Hell Is Gotham: Apparently, New Jersey. Many people from the greater Trenton area dispute this, as Gotham is shown to be a grungy, filth-ridden, dated city, and nothing in New Jersey could be that nice.
  • Who Even Needs a Brain?: Rare dramatic example - new villainess "The Absence" has an enormous hole in her forehead and extending all the way through, with no visible brain, yet functions just fine, and may be smarter than before the hole happened. It appears to be a combination of a freak medical condition and Gotham City's water supply being seriously tainted.
  • Well Done Great-Nephew Guy: Silas Wayne, who, in his last moments of life, becomes proud of Bruce when he reveals himself as Batman, and even happier that the rest of the family wasn't in the room to learn the secret identity, so he'll die proudly with the knowledge that a Wayne is Batman.
  • Wolverine Publicity: This is beginning to become a bit of a problem for not just Bats but his wider crew. In the New 52 line-up of titles, not only does Bats and his "family" have more individual titles than the any other superhero (only the combined Justice League matches), but counting characters with major recurring roles in other titles, the Bat-family shows up in twenty of the 52 current titles put out by DC. By comparison, Superman and Green Lantern, and related characters, only show up in six or so books each, total. Most people suspect this is due to the constant financial success Batman's had, especially in the past two decades (as noted above), and especially in the past half-decade or so, between the Arkham games and TDK.