Alter ego: Bruce Wayne
Notable aliases: Matches Malone, Sir Hemingford Grey, Mordecai Wayne, The Insider
Abilities: High human strength, agility, reflexes and athleticism, Peak physical conditioning, Genius-level intellect, Master martial artist, Master detective, Use of high tech equipment, weapons & gadgets, Master of stealth, Proficient with technology, Master tactician, Excellent observational skills, Master strategist, Expert marksman, Master escapologist
Batman is a fictional character created by the artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger. A comic book superhero, Batman first appeared in Detective Comics #27 (May 1939), and since then has appeared primarily in publications by DC Comics. Originally referred to as "The Bat-Man" and still referred to at times as "The Batman", he is additionally known as "The Caped Crusader", "The Dark Knight", and the "World's Greatest Detective," among other titles.
In the original version of the story and the vast majority of retellings, Batman's secret identity is Bruce Wayne, an American millionaire (later billionaire) playboy, industrialist, and philanthropist. Having witnessed the murder of his parents as a child, he swore revenge on crime, an oath tempered with the greater ideal of justice. Wayne trains himself both physically and intellectually and dons a bat-themed costume in order to fight crime. Batman operates in the fictional American Gotham City, assisted by various supporting characters including his crime-fighting partner, Robin, his butler Alfred Pennyworth, the police commissioner Jim Gordon, and occasionally the heroine Batgirl. He fights an assortment of villains such as the Joker, the Penguin, the Riddler, Two-Face, Poison Ivy and Catwoman. Unlike most superheroes, he does not possess any superpowers; he makes use of intellect, detective skills, science and technology, wealth, physical prowess, martial arts skills, an indomitable will, fear, and intimidation in his continuous war on crime.
Batman became a very popular character soon after his introduction and gained his own comic book title, Batman, in 1940. As the decades wore on, differing interpretations of the character emerged. The late 1960s Batman television series used a camp aesthetic which continued to be associated with the character for years after the show ended. Various creators worked to return the character to his dark roots, culminating in the 1986 miniseries The Dark Knight Returns, by Frank Miller, while the successes of Tim Burton's 1989 film Batman and Christopher Nolan's 2005 reboot Batman Begins also helped to reignite popular interest in the character. A cultural icon, Batman has been licensed and adapted into a variety of media, from radio to television and film, and appears on a variety of merchandise sold all over the world such as toys and video games. The character has also intrigued psychiatrists with many trying to understand the character's psyche and his true ego in society. In May 2011, Batman placed second on IGN's Top 100 Comic Book Heroes of All Time, after Superman.
The first Batman story, "The Case of the Chemical Syndicate," was published in Detective Comics #27 (May 1939). Finger said, "Batman was originally written in the style of the pulps," and this influence was evident with Batman showing little remorse over killing or maiming criminals. Batman proved a hit character, and he received his own solo title in 1940, while continuing to star in Detective Comics. By that time, National was the top-selling and most influential publisher in the industry; Batman and the company's other major hero, Superman, were the cornerstones of the company's success. The two characters were featured side-by-side as the stars of World's Finest Comics, which was originally titled World's Best Comics when it debuted in fall 1940. Creators including Jerry Robinson and Dick Sprang also worked on the strips during this period.
Over the course of the first few Batman strips elements were added to the character and the artistic depiction of Batman evolved. Kane noted that within six issues he drew the character's jawline more pronounced, and lengthened the ears on the costume. "About a year later he was almost the full figure, my mature Batman," Kane said. Batman's characteristic utility belt was introduced in Detective Comics #29 (July 1939), followed by the boomerang-like batarang and the first bat-themed vehicle, the Batplane, in #31 (September 1939). The character's origin was revealed in #33 (November 1939), unfolding in a two-page story that establishes the brooding persona of Batman, a character driven by the death of his parents. Written by Finger, it depicts a young Bruce Wayne witnessing his parents' murder at the hands of a mugger. Days later, at their grave, the child vows that "by the spirits of my parents [I will] avenge their deaths by spending the rest of my life warring on all criminals."
The early, pulp-inflected portrayal of Batman started to soften in Detective Comics #38 (April 1940) with the introduction of Robin, Batman's kid sidekick. Robin was introduced, based on Finger's suggestion Batman needed a "Watson" with whom Batman could talk. Sales nearly doubled, despite Kane's preference for a solo Batman, and it sparked a proliferation of "kid sidekicks." The first issue of the solo spin-off series Batman was notable not only for introducing two of his most persistent antagonists, the Joker and Catwoman, but for a story in which Batman shoots some monstrous giants to death. That story prompted editor Whitney Ellsworth to decree that the character could no longer kill or use a gun.
By 1942, the writers and artists behind the Batman comics had established most of the basic elements of the Batman mythos. In the years following World War II, DC Comics "adopted a postwar editorial direction that increasingly de-emphasized social commentary in favor of lighthearted juvenile fantasy." The impact of this editorial approach was evident in Batman comics of the postwar period; removed from the "bleak and menacing world" of the strips of the early 1940s, Batman was instead portrayed as a respectable citizen and paternal figure that inhabited a "bright and colorful" environment.
1950s and early 1960s
Batman was one of the few superhero characters to be continuously published as interest in the genre waned during the 1950s. In the story "The Mightiest Team in the World" in Superman #76 (June 1952), Batman teams up with Superman for the first time and the pair discovers each other's secret identity. Following the success of this story, World's Finest Comics was revamped so it featured stories starring both heroes together, instead of the separate Batman and Superman features that had been running before. The team-up of the characters was "a financial success in an era when those were few and far between"; this series of stories ran until the book's cancellation in 1986.
Batman comics were among those criticized when the comic book industry came under scrutiny with the publication of psychologist Fredric Wertham's book Seduction of the Innocent in 1954. Wertham's thesis was that children imitated crimes committed in comic books, and that these works corrupt the morals of the youth. Wertham criticized Batman comics for their supposed homosexual overtones and argued that Batman and Robin were portrayed as lovers. Wertham's criticisms raised a public outcry during the 1950s, eventually leading to the establishment of the Comics Code Authority. The tendency towards a "sunnier Batman" in the postwar years intensified after the introduction of the Comics Code. It has also been suggested by scholars that the characters of Batwoman (in 1956) and the pre-Barbara Gordon Bat-Girl (in 1961) were introduced in part to refute the allegation that Batman and Robin were gay, and the stories took on a campier, lighter feel.
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 (February 1960), and went on to appear in several Justice League comic series starting later that same year.
"New Look" Batman and camp
By 1964, sales on Batman titles had fallen drastically. Bob Kane noted that, as a result, DC was "planning to kill Batman off altogether." In response to this, editor Julius Schwartz was assigned to the Batman titles. He presided over drastic changes, beginning with 1964's Detective Comics #327 (May 1964), which was cover-billed as the "New Look". Schwartz introduced changes designed to make Batman more contemporary, and to return him to more detective-oriented stories. He brought in artist Carmine Infantino to help overhaul the character. The Batmobile was redesigned, and Batman's costume was modified to incorporate a yellow ellipse behind the bat-insignia. The space aliens and characters of the 1950s such as Batwoman, Ace, and Bat-Mite were retired. Batman's butler Alfred was killed off (though his death was quickly reversed due to fan response) while a new female relative for the Wayne family, Aunt Harriet, came to live with Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson.
The debut of the Batman television series in 1966 had a profound influence on the character. The success of the series increased sales throughout the comic book industry, and Batman reached a circulation of close to 900,000 copies. Elements such as the character of Batgirl and the show's campy nature were introduced into the comics; the series also initiated the return of Alfred. Although both the comics and TV show were successful for a time, the camp approach eventually wore thin and the show was canceled in 1968. In the aftermath, the Batman comics themselves lost popularity once again. As Julius Schwartz noted, "When the television show was a success, I was asked to be campy, and of course when the show faded, so did the comic books."
Starting in 1969, writer Dennis O'Neil and artist Neal Adams made a deliberate effort to distance Batman from the campy portrayal of the 1960s TV series and to return the character to his roots as a "grim avenger of the night." O'Neil said his idea was "simply to take it back to where it started. I went to the DC library and read some of the early stories. I tried to get a sense of what Kane and Finger were after."
O'Neil and Adams first collaborated on the story "The Secret of the Waiting Graves" (Detective Comics #395, January 1970). Few stories were true collaborations between O'Neil, Adams, Schwartz, and inker Dick Giordano, and in actuality these men were mixed and matched with various other creators during the 1970s; nevertheless the influence of their work was "tremendous." Giordano said: "We went back to a grimmer, darker Batman, and I think that's why these stories did so well... Even today we're still using Neal's Batman with the long flowing cape and the pointy ears." While the work of O'Neil and Adams was popular with fans, the acclaim did little to help declining sales; the same held true with a similarly acclaimed run by writer Steve Englehart and penciler Marshall Rogers in Detective Comics #471–476 (August 1977 – April 1978), which went on to influence the 1989 movie Batman and be adapted for Batman: The Animated Series, which debuted in 1992. Regardless, circulation continued to drop through the 1970s and 1980s, hitting an all-time low in 1985.
The Dark Knight Returns and later
See also: Alternative versions of Batman
Frank Miller's limited series The Dark Knight Returns (February–June 1986), which tells the story of a 50-year old Batman coming out of retirement in a possible future, reinvigorated 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.
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 (February–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.
The Batman comics garnered major attention in 1988 when DC Comics created a 900 number for readers to call to vote on whether Jason Todd, the second Robin, lived or died. Voters decided in favor of Jason's death by a narrow margin of 28 votes (see Batman: A Death in the Family). The following year saw the release of Tim Burton's Batman feature film, which firmly brought the character back to the public's attention, grossing millions of dollars at the box office, and millions more in merchandising. However, the three sequels, Tim Burton's Batman Returns and director Joel Schumacher's Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, did not perform as well at the box office. The Batman movie franchise was rebooted with director and co-writer Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins in 2005 and The Dark Knight in 2008. In 1989, the first issue of Legends of the Dark Knight, the first new solo Batman title in nearly fifty years, sold close to a million copies.
The 1993 "Knightfall" story arc introduced a new villain, Bane, who critically injures Bruce Wayne. Jean-Paul Valley, known as Azrael, is called upon to wear the Batsuit during 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.
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 rogue's gallery (most notably Two-Face, whose origin was re-envisioned by Loeb) while dealing with various mysteries involving serial killers Holiday and the Hangman, of which the former was the subject of intense debate and speculation amongst Batman fans. In 2003, Loeb teamed with artist Jim Lee to work on another mystery arc: "Batman: Hush" for the main Batman book. The twelve issue storyline saw Batman and Catwoman running the gauntlet against Batman's entire rogue's 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. As the storyline was Jim Lee's first regular comic book work in nearly a decade, the series became #1 on the Diamond Comic Distributors sales chart for the first time since Batman #500 (October 1993) and Jason Todd's appearance laid the groundwork for writer Judd Winick's subsequent run as writer on Batman, with another multi-issue epic, "Under the Hood," which ran from Batman #637–650.
In 2005, DC launched All-Star Batman and Robin, a stand-alone comic series set outside the existing DC Universe. Written by Frank Miller and drawn by Jim Lee, the series was a commercial success for DC Comics though widely panned by critics for its writing.
Starting in 2006, the regular writers on Batman and Detective Comics were Grant Morrison and Paul Dini, with Grant Morrison reincorporating controversial elements of Batman lore (most notably, the science fiction themed storylines of the 1950s Batman comics, which Morrison revised as hallucinations Batman suffered under the influence of various mind-bending gases and extensive sensory deprivation training) into the character. Morrison's run climaxed with "Batman R.I.P.", which brought Batman up against the villainous "Black Glove" organization, which sought to drive Batman into madness. "Batman R.I.P." segued into Final Crisis (also written by Morrison), which saw the apparent death of Batman at the hands of Darkseid. In the 2009 miniseries Batman: Battle for the Cowl, Wayne's former protégé Dick Grayson becomes the new Batman, and Wayne's son Damian becomes the new Robin. In June 2009, Judd Winick returned to writing Batman, while Grant Morrison was given his own series, titled Batman and Robin.
In 2010, the storyline Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne saw Bruce travel through history, eventually returning to the present day. Although he reclaimed the mantle of Batman, he also allowed Grayson to continue being Batman as well. Bruce decided to take his war on crime globally, which is the central focus of Batman Incorporated. DC Comics would later announce that Grayson would be the main character in Batman, Detective Comics and Batman and Robin, while Wayne would be the main character in Batman Incorporated. Also, Bruce appeared in another ongoing series, Batman: The Dark Knight.
Fictional character biography
Batman's history has undergone various revisions, both minor and major. Few elements of the character's history have remained constant. Scholars William Uricchio and Roberta E. Pearson noted in the early 1990s, "Unlike some fictional characters, the Batman has no primary urtext set in a specific period, but has rather existed in a plethora of equally valid texts constantly appearing over more than five decades."
The central fixed event in the Batman stories is the character's origin story. As a little boy, Bruce Wayne is horrified and traumatized to see his parents, the physician Dr. Thomas Wayne and his wife Martha, being murdered by a mugger in front of his very eyes. This drives him to fight crime in Gotham City as Batman. Pearson and Uricchio also noted beyond the origin story and such events as the introduction of Robin, "Until recently, the fixed and accruing and hence, canonized, events have been few in number," a situation altered by an increased effort by later Batman editors such as Dennis O'Neil to ensure consistency and continuity between stories.
See also: Batman (Earth-Two)
In Batman's first appearance in Detective Comics #27, he is already operating as a crime fighter. Batman's origin is first presented in Detective Comics #33 (Nov. 1939), and is later fleshed out in Batman #47. As these comics state, Bruce Wayne is born to Dr. Thomas Wayne and his wife Martha, two very wealthy and charitable Gotham City socialites. Bruce is brought up in Wayne Manor, with its wealthy splendor, and leads a happy and privileged existence until the age of eight, when his parents are killed by a small-time criminal named Joe Chill while on their way home from a movie theater. Bruce Wayne swears an oath to rid the city of the evil that had taken his parents' lives. He engages in intense intellectual and physical training; however, he realizes that these skills alone would not be enough. "Criminals are a superstitious cowardly lot," Wayne remarks, "so my disguise must be able to strike terror into their hearts. I must be a creature of the night, black, terrible..." As if responding to his desires, a bat suddenly flies through the window, inspiring Bruce to take on the persona of Batman.
In early strips, Batman's career as a vigilante 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 Pennyworth arrives at Wayne Manor, and after deducing the Dynamic Duo's secret identities joins their service.
The Silver Age of Comic Books in DC Comics is sometimes held to have begun in 1956 when the publisher introduced Barry Allen as a new, updated version of The Flash. Batman is not significantly changed by the late 1950s for the continuity which would be later referred to as Earth-One. The lighter tone Batman had taken in the period between the Golden and Silver Ages led to the stories of the late 1950s and early 1960s that often feature a large number of science-fiction elements, and Batman is not significantly updated in the manner of other characters until Detective Comics #327 (May 1964), in which Batman reverts to his detective roots, with most science-fiction elements jettisoned from the series.
After the introduction of DC Comics' multiverse in the 1960s, DC established that stories from the Golden Age star the Earth-Two Batman, a character from a parallel world. This version of Batman partners with and marries the reformed Earth-Two Catwoman, Selina Kyle (as shown in Superman Family #211) and fathers Helena Wayne, who, as the Huntress, becomes (along with Dick Grayson, the Earth-Two Robin) Gotham's protector once Wayne retires from the position to become police commissioner, a position he occupies until he is killed during one final adventure as Batman. Batman titles however often ignored that a distinction had been made between the pre-revamp and post-revamp Batmen (since unlike The Flash or Green Lantern, Batman comics had been published without interruption through the 1950s) and would on occasion make reference to stories from the Golden Age. Nevertheless, details of Batman's history were altered or expanded upon through the decades. Additions include meetings with a future Superman during his youth, his upbringing by his uncle Philip Wayne (introduced in Batman #208, January/February 1969) after his parents' death, and appearances of his father and himself as prototypical versions of Batman and Robin, respectively. In 1980 then-editor Paul Levitz commissioned the Untold Legend of the Batman limited series to thoroughly chronicle Batman's origin and history.
Batman meets and regularly works with other heroes during the Silver Age, most notably Superman, whom he began regularly working alongside in a series of team-ups in World's Finest Comics, starting in 1954 and continuing through the series' cancellation in 1986. Batman and Superman are usually depicted as close friends. Batman becomes a founding member of the Justice League of America, appearing in its first story in 1960s Brave and the Bold #28. In the 1970s and 1980s, Brave and the Bold became a Batman title, in which Batman teams up with a different DC Universe superhero each month.
In 1969, Dick Grayson attends college as part of DC Comics' effort to revise the Batman comics. Additionally, Batman also moves from his mansion, Wayne Manor into a penthouse apartment atop the Wayne Foundation building in downtown Gotham City, in order to be closer to Gotham City's crime. Batman spends the 1970s and early 1980s mainly working solo, with occasional team-ups with Robin and/or Batgirl. Batman's adventures also become somewhat darker and more grim during this period, depicting increasingly violent crimes, including the first appearance (since the early Golden Age) of the Joker as a homicidal psychopath, and the arrival of Ra's al Ghul, a centuries-old terrorist who knows Batman's secret identity. In the 1980s, Dick Grayson becomes Nightwing.
In the final issue of Brave and the Bold in 1983, Batman quits the Justice League and forms a new group called the Outsiders. He serves as the team's leader until Batman and the Outsiders #32 (1986) and the comic subsequently changed its title.
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. While Dick Grayson's past remains much the same, the history of Jason Todd, the second Robin, is altered, turning the boy into the orphan son of a petty crook, who tries to steal the tires from the Batmobile. Also removed is the guardian Phillip Wayne 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. Various stories from Jeph Loeb and Matt Wagner also touch upon this era.
In 1988's "Batman: A Death in the Family" storyline from Batman #426–429 Jason Todd, the second Robin, is killed by the Joker. Subsequently Batman begins exhibiting an excessive, reckless approach to his crime-fighting, a result of the pain of losing Jason Todd. Batman works solo until the decade's close, when Tim Drake becomes the new Robin. In 2005, writers resurrected the Jason Todd character and have pitted him against his former mentor as the murderous vigilante the Red Hood.
Many of the major Batman storylines since the 1990s have been inter-title crossovers that run for a number of issues. In 1993, DC published both "The Death of Superman" storyline and "Knightfall" . In the Knightfall storyline's first phase, the new villain Bane paralyzes Batman, leading Wayne to ask Azrael to take on the role. After the end of "Knightfall," the storylines split in two directions, following both the Azrael-Batman's adventures, and Bruce Wayne's quest to become Batman once more. The story arcs realign in "KnightsEnd," as Azrael becomes increasingly violent and is defeated by a healed Bruce Wayne. Wayne hands the Batman mantle to Dick Grayson (then Nightwing) for an interim period, while Wayne trains to return to the role.
The 1994 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 once again becomes a member of the Justice League during Grant Morrison's 1996 relaunch of the series, titled JLA. While Batman contributes greatly to many of the team's successes, the Justice League is largely uninvolved as Batman and Gotham City face catastrophe in the decade's closing crossover arc. In 1998's "Cataclysm" storyline, Gotham City is devastated by an earthquake and ultimately cut off from the United States Government afterwards. Deprived of many of his technological resources, Batman fights to reclaim the city from legions of gangs during 1999's "No Man's Land".
Meanwhile, Batman's relationship with the Gotham City Police Department changed for the worse with the events of "Batman: Officer Down" and "Batman: War Games/War Crimes"; Batman's long-time law enforcement allies Commissioner Gordon and Harvey Bullock are forced out of the police department in "Officer Down", while "War Games" and "War Crimes" saw Batman become a wanted fugitive after a contingency plan of his to neutralize Gotham City's criminal underworld is accidentally triggered, resulting in a massive gang war that ends with the sadistic Black Mask the undisputed ruler of the city's criminal gangs. Other troubles come for Batman in the form of Lex Luthor (secretly behind the events of "No Man's Land"), who seeks revenge for Bruce Wayne cancelling all of his company's government contracts upon Luthor being elected President of the United States. Luthor arranges for the murder of Batman's on-again, off-again love interest Vesper (introduced in the mid-1990s) during the "Bruce Wayne: Murderer?" and "Bruce Wayne: Fugitive" story arcs. Though Batman is able to clear his name, he loses another ally in the form of his new bodyguard Sasha, who is recruited into the organization known as "Checkmate" while stuck in prison due to her refusal to turn states evidence against her employer. While he was unable to prove that Luthor was behind the murder of Vesper, Batman does get his revenge with help from Talia al Ghul in Superman/Batman #1–6: not only does he bring down Lex Luthor's Presidency but also engages in a hostile take-over of Luthor's corporate holdings, bankrupting the villain in the process.
DC's 2005 limited series Identity Crisis reveals that JLA member Zatanna had edited Batman's memories to prevent him from stopping the League from lobotomizing Dr. Light after he raped Sue Dibny. This served as a retcon for Batman's complete distrust for his fellow superheroes after he remembers, which, under writers such as Mark Waid in the "Tower of Babel" arc in JLA, manifested itself in the form of Batman keeping extensive files on how to kill his fellow superheroes. Batman later creates the Brother I satellite surveillance system to watch over and if necessary, kill the other heroes. It is eventually co-opted by Maxwell Lord, who then kills superhero Blue Beetle to keep him from alerting the Justice League of the existence of Batman's murderous creation. The revelation of Batman's creation and his tacit responsibility for Blue Beetle's death becomes a driving force in the lead-up to the Infinite Crisis miniseries, which again restructures DC continuity. In Infinite Crisis #7, Alexander Luthor, Jr. mentions that in the newly rewritten history of the "New Earth", created in the previous issue, the murderer of Martha and Thomas Wayne – again, Joe Chill – was captured, thus undoing the retcon created after Zero Hour. Batman and a team of superheroes destroy Brother Eye and the OMACs, though at the very end Batman reaches his apparent breaking point when Alexander Luthor Jr. seriously wounds Nightwing. Picking up a gun, Batman nearly shoots Luthor in order to avenge his former sidekick, until Wonder Woman convinces him to not pull the trigger.
Following Infinite Crisis, Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson (having recovered from his wounds), and Tim Drake retrace the steps Bruce had taken when he originally left Gotham City, to "rebuild Batman." In the Face the Face storyline, Batman and Robin return to Gotham City after their year-long absence. Part of this absence is captured during Week 30 of the 52 series, which shows Batman fighting his inner demons. Later on in 52, Batman is shown undergoing an intense meditation ritual in Nanda Parbat. This becomes an important part of the regular Batman title, which reveals that Batman is reborn as a more effective crime fighter while undergoing this ritual, having "hunted down and ate" the last traces of fear in his mind.
At the end of the "Face the Face" story arc, Bruce officially adopts Tim (who had lost both of his parents at various points in the character's history) as his son. The follow-up story arc in Batman, Batman & Son, introduces Damian Wayne, who is Batman's son with Talia al Ghul. Batman, along with Superman and Wonder Woman, reforms the Justice League in the new Justice League of America series, and is leading the newest incarnation of the Outsiders.
Grant Morrison's 2008 storyline, Batman R.I.P., featuring Batman being physically and mentally broken by the enigmatic "Black Glove," garnered much news coverage in advance of its highly promoted conclusion, which would supposedly feature the death of Bruce Wayne. The original intention was, in fact, not for Batman to die in the pages of "R.I.P.," but for the story to continue with the current DC event Final Crisis and have the death occur there. As such, a two-issue bridge arc was designed called "Last Rites" that showed Batman survive his helicopter crash into the Gotham City River and return to the Batcave, only to be summoned to the Hall of Justice by the JLA to help investigate Orion's death. This in turn led into the events of "Final Crisis" (which began publication during the conclusion of "Batman RIP"), where Batman is kidnapped by Granny Goodness. "Last Rites" told the tale of Batman being mentally probed by Darkseid's minions Mokkari and Simyon, in an attempt to cull the personality traits that make Batman the successful superhero that he is in order to transplant them into cloned bodies. The plan fails due to the clones, unable to handle the stress and grief Batman processes on a daily basis choose to kill themselves rather than endure such a tortured existence. The two-parter concludes with a major "Final Crisis" plot point, as it is revealed that Batman kept the bullet used to kill Orion in his utility belt.
The Batman's apparent death occurs in Final Crisis #6 when he confronts Darkseid. Batman announces that he will break his "no gun" rule while facing the villain. Wielding a sidearm made by Apokolips, Batman shoots Darkseid in the chest with a bullet made of Radion (the same bullet used to kill Orion), just as Darkseid unleashes his Omega Sanction, or the "death that is life", upon Batman. However, the Omega Sanction does not actually kill its target, but sends its consciousness into parallel worlds. Although the presence of Batman's corpse would suggest that he is dead, at the conclusion of Final Crisis it is revealed that Batman has been sent to the distant past where he is able to watch the passing of Anthro.
The three-issue Battle for the Cowl miniseries, ('cowl' referring to Batman's mask) sees those closest to Wayne compete for the "right" to assume the role of Batman. Eventually, Grayson reluctantly assumes the role. Tim Drake takes on the identity of Red Robin, questing around the world searching for Bruce Wayne, who he believes is still alive.
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.
In Batman and Robin's third storyline, "Blackest Knight," it is revealed that the body left behind at the end of Final Crisis #6 was actually a clone created from a failed attempt by Darkseid to amass an army of "Batmen". Because of this, the skull that was used by the Black Lantern Corps and reanimated by Nekron was a fake. Dick Grayson, thinking it was Bruce Wayne's real body, attempted to resurrect it in a Lazarus Pit only to be met with a fierce, mindless combatant. He then realized the truth about the body.
Morrison's storyline continues with the miniseries Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne. In the miniseries, Bruce travels through time from the prehistoric era back to present-day Gotham. However, the Dark Knight must overcome unforeseen obstacles: unbeknownst to the hero, Darkseid turned him into a living doomsday weapon when he sent him back in time, which forces Batman's allies to stop him. Thanks to his allies, Batman is able to foil Darkseid's final plan and return to the present.
After Bruce's return, he returns to his role as the Dark Knight on a global scale, thus allowing Dick and Damian to continue as Gotham's Dynamic Duo. This is seen in the new ongoing series Batman Incorporated, where Batman will form an army of heroes that will serve as the Batman on every country of the world. To this end, Bruce publicly announces that Wayne Enterprises will aid Batman on his mission, known as "Batman, Incorporated." Also, Batman is the protagonist in the new title Batman: The Dark Knight, which will be written and drawn by David Finch. This new title details Batman's most recent adventures in Gotham to investigate about the disappearance of his friend Dawn Golden, in an environment of mysticism and magic.
The New 52 relaunch
In September 2011, Batman, Detective Comics, Batman and Robin and Batman: The Dark Knight were relaunched as part of The New 52, DC's line-wide reboot of every one of its books. In the new series, Bruce Wayne is the sole character to be identified as Batman while Dick Grayson returns to the Nightwing identity.
Batman's primary character traits can be summarized as "wealth; physical prowess; deductive abilities and obsession." The details and tone of Batman comic books have varied over the years due to different creative teams. Dennis O'Neil noted that character consistency was not a major concern during early editorial regimes: "Julie Schwartz did a Batman in Batman and Detective and Murray Boltinoff did a Batman in the Brave and the Bold and apart from the costume they bore very little resemblance to each other. Julie and Murray did not coordinate their efforts, did not pretend to, did not want to, were not asked to. Continuity was not important in those days."
The driving force behind Batman's character is from his childhood. 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 is driven to train to become a brilliant scientist and train his body into absolute physical perfection to fight crime in Gotham City as Batman, an inspired idea from Wayne's insight into the criminal mind. Another of Batman's characterizations is a vigilante; in order to stop evil that started with the death of his parents, he must sometimes break laws himself. Although manifested differently by being re-told by different artists, it is nevertheless that the details and the prime components of Batman's origin have never varied at all in the comic books, the "reiteration of the basic origin events holds together otherwise divergent expressions". The origin is the source of the character's traits and attributes, which play out in many of the character's adventures.
Batman is often treated as a vigilante by other characters in his stories. Frank Miller views the character as "a dionysian figure, a force for anarchy that imposes an individual order." Dressed as a bat, Batman deliberately cultivates a frightening persona in order to aid him in crime-fighting, a fear that originates from the criminals' own guilty conscience.
In his secret identity, Batman is Bruce Wayne, a wealthy businessman who lives in Gotham City. To the world at large, Bruce Wayne is often seen as an irresponsible, superficial playboy who lives off his family's personal fortune (amassed when his family invested in Gotham real estate before the city was a bustling metropolis) and the profits of Wayne Enterprises, a major private technology firm that he inherits. However, Wayne is also known for his contributions to charity, notably through his Wayne Foundation, a charity devoted to helping the victims of crime and preventing people from becoming criminals. Bruce creates the playboy public persona to aid in throwing off suspicion of his secret identity, often acting dim-witted and self-absorbed to further the act. Among the more noted measures he uses to maintain the facade is pretending he is a heavy drinker by claiming his glasses of ginger ale are strong beverages; Bruce is actually a strict teetotaler to maintain his physical fitness and mental acuity.
Writers of both Batman and Superman stories have often compared the two within the context of various stories, to varying conclusions. Like Superman, the prominent persona of Batman's dual identities varies with time. Modern age comics have tended to portray "Bruce Wayne" as the facade, with "Batman" as the truer representation of his personality (in counterpoint to the post-Crisis Superman, whose "Clark Kent" persona is the 'real' personality, and "Superman" is the 'mask'). In Batman Unmasked, a television documentary about the psychology of the character, Associate Professor of Social Psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles, and an adjunct behavioral scientist at the Rand Corporation Benjamin Karney, notes that Batman's personality is driven by Bruce Wayne's inherent humanity; that "Batman, for all its benefits and for all of the time Bruce Wayne devotes to it, is ultimately a tool for Bruce Wayne's efforts to make the world better".
As noted in the Will Brooker book, Batman Unmasked, "the confirmation of Batman's identity lies with the young audience...he doesn't have to be Bruce Wayne; he just needs the suit and gadgets, the abilities, and most importantly the morality, the humanity. There's just a sense about him: 'they trust him... and they're never wrong."
Finger came up with the name "Bruce Wayne" for the superhero's secret identity. In Jim Steranko's History of the Comics, vol. 1, Bill Finger reveals, "Bruce Wayne's first name came from Robert Bruce, the Scottish patriot. Wayne, being a playboy, was a man of gentry. I searched for a name that would suggest colonialism. I tried Adams, Hancock...then I thought of Mad Anthony Wayne."
Main article: Dick Grayson
While Wayne traveled through time to get back to the present, Dick Grayson became the new Batman. This was the second time he had taken on the mantle in Bruce Wayne's absence, albeit the first time (when Wayne was recovering from his broken back) reluctantly. After Wayne's "death", Dick stated that he had no problem becoming Batman, but Wayne had left a prerecorded message telling him not to take up the mantle and to continue fighting crime as Nightwing with Robin at his side. Realizing that Gotham still needed the Dark Knight, Dick retired his Nightwing mantle to become the new Batman. With Wayne's return and plans to launch Batman worldwide, Dick remained the Batman of Gotham City. After the events of Flashpoint, Dick will return to being Nightwing.
In an interview with IGN, Morrison details that having Grayson as Batman and Damian Wayne as Robin will be a "reverse" of the normal dynamic between Batman and Robin, with, "a more light-hearted and spontaneous Batman and a scowling, badass Robin." Morrison explains his intentions for the new characterization of Batman: "Dick Grayson is kind of this consummate superhero. The guy has been Batman's partner since he was a kid, he's led the Teen Titans, and he's trained with everybody in the DC Universe. So he's a very different kind of Batman. He's a lot easier; He's a lot looser and more relaxed."
Skills, abilities, and resources
There are a plethora of superheroes without superpowers, but of them all the Batman character relies on "his own scientific knowledge, detective skills, and athletic prowess." In the stories Batman is regarded as one of the world's greatest detectives; if not the world's greatest crime solver. In Grant Morrison's first storyline in JLA, Superman describes Batman as "the most dangerous man on Earth," able to defeat a team of superpowered aliens by himself in order to rescue his imprisoned teammates. He is a master of disguise, often gathering information under the identity of Matches Malone, a notorious gangster. Additionally, the Batman has been repeatedly described as one of the greatest martial artists in the DC Universe, having either trained with or fought against the very best of them including such notables as Lady Shiva, Bronze Tiger, and Richard Dragon. However, Batman's most defining skill and power is his strong commitment to justice and an unwillingness to kill any life, regardless of the situation he is faced with. This unyielding moral aptitude has earned him the respect of several heroes in the DC Universe, most notably that of Superman and Wonder Woman.
Main article: Batsuit
Batman's costume incorporates the imagery of a bat in order to frighten criminals. The details of the Batman costume change repeatedly through various stories and media, but the most distinctive elements remain consistent: a scallop-hem cape, a cowl covering most of the face featuring a pair of batlike ears, and a stylized bat emblem on the chest, and the ever-present utility belt. The costumes' colors are traditionally blue and grey, although this colorization arose due to the way comic book art is colored. Finger and Kane conceptualized Batman as having a black cape and cowl and grey suit, but conventions in coloring called for black to be highlighted with blue. This coloring has been claimed by Larry Ford, in Place, Power, Situation, and Spectacle: A Geography of Film, to be an inversion of conventional color-coding symbolism, which sees "bad guys" wearing dark colors. Batman's 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. A yellow ellipse around the bat logo on the character's chest was added in 1964, and became the hero's trademark symbol, akin to the red and yellow "S" symbol of Superman. 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."
See also: Batman's utility belt
Batman uses a large arsenal of specialized gadgets in his war against crime, the designs of which usually share a bat motif. Batman historian Les Daniels credits Gardner Fox with creating the concept of Batman's arsenal with the introduction of the utility belt in Detective Comics #29 (July 1939) and the first bat-themed weapons the batarang and the "Batgyro" in Detective Comics #31 and #32 (September; October, 1939). Batman's primary vehicle is the Batmobile, which is usually depicted as an imposing black car with large tailfins that suggest a bat's wings. Batman's other vehicles include the Batplane (aka the Batwing), Batboat, Bat-Sub, and Batcycle.
In proper practice, the "bat" prefix (as in batmobile or batarang) is rarely used by Batman himself when referring to his equipment, particularly after some portrayals (primarily the 1960s Batman live-action television show and the Super Friends animated series) stretched the practice to campy proportions. The 1960s television series Batman has an arsenal that includes such "bat-" names as the bat-computer, bat-scanner, bat-radar, bat-cuffs, bat-pontoons, bat-drinking water dispenser, bat-camera with polarized bat-filter, bat-shark repellent bat-spray, and bat-rope. The storyline "A Death in the Family" suggests that given Batman's grim nature, he is unlikely to have adopted the "bat" prefix on his own.
Batman keeps most of his field equipment in a utility belt. Over the years it is shown to contain a virtually limitless variety of crime-fighting tools. Different versions of the belt have these items stored in either pouches or hard cylinders attached evenly around it. A typical major exception to the range of Batman's equipment are conventional firearms, which he refuses to use on principle considering that weapon class was the instrument of his parents' murder. Modern depictions of Batman have him compromise for practicality by arming his vehicles mainly for the purpose of removing obstacles or disabling enemy vehicles.
Main article: Bat-Signal
When Batman is needed, the Gotham City police activate a searchlight with a bat-shaped insignia over the lens called the Bat-Signal which shines into the night sky, creating a bat-symbol on a passing cloud which can be seen from any point in Gotham. The origin of the signal varies, depending on the continuity and medium.
In various incarnations, most notably the 1960s Batman TV series, Commissioner Gordon also has a dedicated phone line, dubbed the Bat-Phone, connected to a bright red telephone (in the TV series) which sits on a wooden base and has a transparent cake cover on top. The line connects directly to Batman's residence, Wayne Manor, specifically both to a similar phone sitting on the desk in Bruce Wayne's study and the extension phone in the Batcave.
Main article: Batcave
The Batcave is Batman's secret headquarters, consisting of a series of subterranean caves beneath his mansion, Wayne Manor. It serves as his command center for both local and global surveillance, as well as housing his vehicles and equipment for his war on crime. It also is a storeroom for Batman's memorabilia. In both the comic Batman: Shadow of the Bat (issue #45) and the 2005 film Batman Begins, the cave is said to have been part of the Underground Railroad. Of the heroes and villains who see the Batcave, few know where it is located.
Batman's interactions with the characters around him, both heroes and villains, help to define the character. Commissioner James "Jim" Gordon, Batman's ally in the Gotham City police, debuted along with Batman in Detective Comics #27 and has been a consistent presence since then. Later on, Batman gained Alfred as his butler and Lucius Fox as his business manager and apparently unwitting armorer. However, the most important supporting role in the Batman mythos is filled by the hero's young sidekick Robin. The first Robin, Dick Grayson, eventually leaves his mentor and becomes the hero Nightwing, though he and Batman would still continue to work together. The second Robin, Jason Todd, is badly beaten and then killed in an explosion set by the Joker, but later returns as an adversary. Tim Drake, the third Robin, first appeared in 1989 and went on to star in his own comic series. Alfred, Bruce Wayne's loyal butler, father figure, and one of the few to know his secret identity, "[lends] a homey touch to Batman's environs and [is] ever ready to provide a steadying and reassuring hand" to the hero and his sidekick.
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 adventure 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 have a mutually respectful but uneasy relationship, with an emphasis on their differing views on crime-fighting and justice. In Superman/Batman #3 (December 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."
Batman is involved romantically with many women throughout his various incarnations. These range from society women such as Julie Madison, Vicki Vale, and Silver St. Cloud, to allies like Wonder Woman and Sasha Bordeaux, to even villainesses such as Catwoman and Talia al Ghul, with the latter of whom he sired a son, Damian, and with the former of whom sired a daughter, Helena (on Earth-Two). While these relationships tend to be short, Batman's attraction to Catwoman is present in nearly every version and medium in which the characters appear. Authors have gone back and forth over the years as to how Batman manages the 'playboy' aspect of Bruce Wayne's personality; at different times he embraces or flees from the women interested in attracting "Gotham's most eligible bachelor."
Other supporting characters in Batman's world include former Batgirl Barbara Gordon, Commissioner Gordon's daughter who, now using a wheelchair due to a gunshot wound inflicted by the Joker, serves the superhero community at large as the computer hacker Oracle; Azrael, a would-be assassin who replaces Bruce Wayne as Batman for a time; Cassandra Cain, an assassin's daughter who became the new Batgirl, Huntress, the sole surviving member of a mob family turned Gotham vigilante who has worked with Batman on occasion, Stephanie Brown, the daughter of a criminal who operated as the Spoiler and temporarily as Robin, Ace the Bat-Hound, Batman's Canine partner; and Bat-Mite, an extra-dimensional imp who idolizes Batman.
Main article: Batman franchise media
The character of Batman has appeared in various media aside from comic books. The character has been developed as a vehicle for newspaper syndicated comic strips, books, radio dramas, television, and several theatrical feature films. The first adaptation of Batman was as a daily newspaper comic strip which premiered on October 25, 1943. That same year the character was adapted in the 15-part serial Batman, with Lewis Wilson becoming the first actor to portray Batman on screen. While Batman never had a radio series of his own, the character made occasional guest appearance in The Adventures of Superman starting in 1945 on occasions when Superman voice actor Bud Collyer needed time off. A second movie serial, Batman and Robin, followed in 1949, with Robert Lowery taking over the role of Batman. The exposure provided by these adaptations during the 1940s "helped make [Batman] a household name for millions who never bought a comic book."
In the 1964 publication of Donald Barthelme's collection of short stories "Come Back, Dr. Caligari", Barthelme wrote "The Joker's Greatest Triumph." Batman is portrayed for purposes of spoof as a pretentious French-speaking rich man.
The Batman television series, starring Adam West, premiered in January 1966 on the ABC television network. Inflected with a camp sense of humor, the show became a pop culture phenomenon. In his memoir, Back to the Batcave, West notes his dislike for the term 'camp' as it was applied to the 1960s series, opining that the show was instead a farce or lampoon, and a deliberate one, at that. The series ran for 120 episodes, ending in 1968. In between the first and second season of the Batman television series the cast and crew made the theatrical release Batman (1966). The Kinks performed the theme song from the Batman series on their 1967 album Live at Kelvin Hall. The popularity of the Batman TV series also resulted in the first animated adaptation of Batman in the series The Batman/Superman Hour; the Batman segments of the series were repackaged as The Adventures of Batman and Batman with Robin the Boy Wonder which produced thirty-three episodes between 1968 and 1977. From 1973 until 1986, Batman had a starring role in ABC's Super Friends series, which was animated by Hanna-Barbera. Olan Soule was the voice of Batman in all these series, but was eventually replaced during Super Friends by Adam West, who voiced the character in Filmation's 1977 series The New Adventures of Batman.
In 1989, Batman returned to movie theaters in director Tim Burton's Batman 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 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, while a box office success, failed to outgross any of its predecessors and was critically panned, causing Warner Bros. to cancel the planned fifth film, Batman Triumphant, and place the film series on hiatus.
In 1992, Batman returned to television in Batman: The Animated Series, which was produced by Warner Bros. and broadcast on the Fox television network. The Emmy Award-winning series was praised for its darker, more serious treatment than previous cartoons; author Les Daniels described the series as "[coming] as close as any artistic statement has to defining the look of Batman for the 1990s." The success of Batman: The Animated Series led to the theatrical spin-off film Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993), as well as various other series set in the same continuity, including Superman: The Animated Series, The New Batman Adventures, Justice League, and Justice League Unlimited. As with Batman: The Animated Series, each of these productions featured Kevin Conroy as the voice of Batman. The futuristic series Batman Beyond was also set in the same continuity as Batman: The Animated Series, and featured a newer, younger Batman voiced by Will Friedle. In 2004, a new animated series titled The Batman made its debut with Rino Romano as the title character. In 2008, this show was replaced by another animated series, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, with Diedrich Bader as Batman. In 2013, a new CGI-animated series titled Beware the Batman will make its debut.
In 2005, Batman Begins, a reboot of the film series, was released; directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Christian Bale as Batman. Its sequel, The Dark Knight (2008), set the record for the highest grossing opening weekend of all time in the U.S., earning approximately $158 million, and became the fastest film to reach the $400 million mark in the history of American cinema (eighteenth day of release). These record breaking attendances saw The Dark Knight listed as the third-highest domestic grossing film of all time with $533 million, bested only by Titanic and Avatar. Another sequel, The Dark Knight Rises, is expected to be released in 2012, and is said to be the final Batman film to feature Nolan and Bale as director and leading actor, respectively.
Batman and Robin reinterpreted by painter Alex Ross. Based on the cover to
Batman #9 by Bob Kane.
Detective Comics #38 (April 1940)
Robin is the name of several fictional characters appearing in comic books published by DC Comics, originally created by Bob Kane, Bill Finger and Jerry Robinson, as a junior counterpart to DC Comics superhero Batman. The team of Batman and Robin is commonly referred to as the Dynamic Duo or the Caped Crusaders.
The first incarnation of the character, Dick Grayson, debuted in Detective Comics #38 (April 1940). Conceived as a vehicle to attract young readership, Robin garnered overwhelmingly positive critical reception, doubling the sales of the Batman related comic books. The early adventures of Robin included Star Spangled Comics #65-130 (1947–1952), which was the character's first solo feature. As Robin, Dick Grayson made regular appearances in Batman related comic books and other DC Comics publications from 1940 through the early 1980s until the character set aside the Robin identity and became the independent superhero Nightwing.
Following the retirement of Dick Grayson as Robin, a new version of the character, Jason Todd, debuted in Batman #357 (1983). The new character made regular appearances in Batman related comic books until 1988, when the character was murdered by the Joker in A Death in the Family (1989). Jason would later find himself alive after a reality changing incident, eventually becoming the Red Hood.
The premiere Robin limited series was published in 1991, featuring the third incarnation of the character, Tim Drake, training to earn the role of Batman's junior partner. Following two successful sequels, the monthly Robin ongoing series began in 1993 and ended in early 2009, which also helped Robin's transition from sidekick to a superhero in his own right.
After the forced retirement of Tim Drake (by his father) as Robin, Drake's on-and-off girlfriend, and an established DC Comics character named Stephanie Brown (alternatively known as the Spoiler) became the fourth incarnation of Robin and the first in-continuity female version of the character. However, shortly after her acquisition of the Robin mantle, Stephanie was stripped of the identity by Batman and was apparently killed by the supervillain Black Mask in the crossover Batman: War Games (2004). It has since been revealed that her death was a ruse and she eventually returned to resume her previous identity before becoming the sixth Batgirl. Following the "death" of Stephanie, the Tim Drake character reclaimed his former role as Robin, the Boy Wonder.
In the final issue of Battle for the Cowl, Bruce Wayne's son, Damian Wayne becomes the new Robin after rescuing Tim from death, with Grayson becoming the new Batman. Tim Drake later takes on the identity of Red Robin.
 Fictional character biography
About a year after Batman's debut, Batman creators Bob Kane and Bill Finger introduced Robin the Boy Wonder in Detective Comics #38 (1940). The name "Robin the Boy Wonder" and the medieval look of the original costume were inspired by The Adventures of Robin Hood. Robinson noted he "came up with Robin Hood because The Adventures of Robin Hood were boyhood favorites of mine. I had been given a Robin Hood book illustrated by N. C. Wyeth ... and that's what I quickly sketched out when I suggested the name Robin Hood, which they seemed to like, and then showed them the costume. And if you look at it, it's Wyeth's costume, from my memory, because I didn't have the book to look at." (Later re-tellings of Robin's origin have instead often said the name comes from the American robin bird, not Robin Hood, Frank Miller's All Star Batman and Robin being a notable exception; sometimes both sources are credited, as in Len Wein's The Untold Legend of the Batman.) Although Robin is best known as Batman's sidekick, the Robins have also been members of the superhero group the Teen Titans with the original Robin, Dick Grayson, being a founding member and the group's leader and with Tim Drake being the current team leader.
In Batman stories the character of Robin was intended to be the Batman's Watson as Bill Finger, writer for many early Batman adventures, once wrote: "Robin was an outgrowth of a conversation I had with Bob. As I said, Batman was a combination of Douglas Fairbanks and Sherlock Holmes. Holmes had his Watson. The thing that bothered me was that Batman didn't have anyone to talk to, and it got a little tiresome always having him thinking. I found that as I went along Batman needed a Watson to talk to. That's how Robin came to be. Bob called me over and said he was going to put a boy in the strip to identify with Batman. I thought it was a great idea."
The following fictional characters have donned the Robin costume at various times in the main DC Comics Universe continuity:
 Dick Grayson
Main article: Dick Grayson
Dick Grayson was a 9-year-old acrobat, the youngest of a family act called the "Flying Graysons". A gangster named Boss Zucco (loosely based on actor Edward G. Robinson's Little Caesar character) who had been extorting money from the circus killed Grayson's parents, John and Mary, by sabotaging their trapeze equipment as a warning against defiance. Batman investigated the crime and, as his alter ego billionaire Bruce Wayne, had Dick put under his custody as a legal ward. Together they investigated Zucco and collected the evidence needed to bring him to justice. From his debut appearance in 1940 through 1969, Robin was known as the Boy Wonder. Batman creates a costume for Dick, consisting of a red tunic, yellow cape, green gloves, green boots, green spandex briefs, and a utility belt. As he grew up, graduated from high school and enrolled in Hudson University, Robin continued his career as the Teen Wonder, from 1970 into the early 1980s. The character was re-discovered by a new generation of fans during the 1980s because of the success of The New Teen Titans, in which he left Batman's shadow entirely to assume the identity of Nightwing.He aids Batman throughout the later storyline regarding the several conflicts with Jason Todd until he makes his final return as the "Red Mask". Grayson using the aid of Damian Wayne, making his newish appearance as "Robin", defeat and imprison him.
 Jason Todd
Cover to Batman #424 (October 1988). Pencils by Mark Bright.
Main article: Jason Todd
DC was initially hesitant to turn Grayson into Nightwing and to replace him with a new Robin. To minimize the change, they made the new Robin, Jason Peter Todd, who first appeared in Batman #357 (1983), similar to a young Grayson. Like Dick Grayson, Jason Todd was the son of circus acrobats murdered by a criminal (this time the Batman adversary Killer Croc), and then adopted by Bruce Wayne. In this incarnation, he was red-haired and unfailingly cheerful, and wore his circus costume to fight crime until Dick Grayson presented him with a Robin suit of his own. At that point, he dyed his hair black. After the mini-series Crisis on Infinite Earths, much of DC Comics continuity was redone. Dick Grayson's origin, years with Batman, and growth into Nightwing remained mostly unchanged; but Todd's character was completely revised. He was now a black-haired street orphan who first encountered Batman when he attempted to steal tires from the Batmobile. Batman saw to it that he was placed in a school for troubled youths. Weeks later, after Dick Grayson became Nightwing and Todd proved his crime-fighting worth by helping Batman catch a gang of robbers, Batman offered Todd the position as Robin. Readers never truly bonded with Todd and, in 1988, DC made the controversial decision to poll readers using a 1-900 number as to whether or not Todd should be killed. The event received more attention in the mainstream media than any other comic book event before it. Some outside the comic book community mistakenly thought that DC was considering killing Dick Grayson, not realizing he had been replaced. Readers voted "yes" by a small margin (5,343 to 5,271) and Todd was subsequently murdered by the Joker in the storyline, A Death in the Family, in which the psychopath beat the youngster severely with a crowbar, and left him in a warehouse rigged with a bomb. Jason Todd later returned as the new Red Hood (the original alias of the Joker) when he was brought back to life due to reality being altered. A year after the events of Infinite Crisis, Todd appeared posing as Nightwing, but subsequently returned to his Red Hood persona. In the Countdown to Final Crisis series, he briefly returned to his Robin persona as the Red Robin after meeting an Earth 51 version of Batman during his journey throughout the multiverse with Donna Troy, Kyle Rayner, and a Monitor. After returning to his own dimension, he abandoned the Red Robin mantle and returned to his role as a ruthless vigilante. After Bruce Wayne's apparent death during Final Crisis, Todd attempted to usurp the Mantle of the Bat by battling Tim Drake and Dick Grayson during Battle for the Cowl as a brutal and murderous version of Batman. He ended Tim Drake's run as Robin after he severely injured him, but was later defeated by Grayson who assumed the role of Batman with his former mentor's biological son, Damian, as the new Robin. Todd later returns as the Red Hood once more, with his own sidekick, Scarlett, by his side. They began a public campaign to discredit Batman and Robin, but Jason was ultimately unmasked and apprehended by the GCPD after a fight with the mercenary Flamingo.
 Tim Drake
Main article: Tim Drake
DC Comics was left uncertain about readers' decision to kill Todd, wondering if they felt Batman should be a lone vigilante, disliked Todd specifically, or just wanted to see if DC would actually kill the character. In addition, the 1989 Batman film did not feature Robin, giving DC a reason to keep him out of the comic book series for marketing purposes. Regardless, Batman editor Denny O'Neil introduced a new Robin. The third Robin, Timothy Drake, first appeared in a flashback in Batman #436 (1989). Drake was a young boy who had followed the adventures of Batman and Robin ever since witnessing the murder of the Flying Graysons. This served to connect Drake to Grayson, establishing a link that DC hoped would help readers accept this new Robin. Drake surmised their secret identities with his amateur but instinctive detective skills and followed their careers closely. Tim has stated on numerous occasions that he wishes to become "The World's Greatest Detective," a title currently belonging to the Dark Knight. Batman himself has stated that one day Drake will surpass him as a detective. Despite his combat skills not being the match of Grayson's (although there are some similarities, in that they are far superior to Todd's when he was Robin), his detective skills more than make up for this. In addition, Batman supplied him with a new armored costume which included full leggings to give Drake improved protection. Tim was introduced as a happy medium between the first two Robins in that, from the readers' point of view, he is neither overly well behaved like Dick Grayson nor overly impudent like Jason Todd. Drake is the first Robin to have his own comic book series, where he fought crime on his own. Tim Drake, as Robin, co-founded the superhero team Young Justice in the absence of the Teen Titans of Dick Grayson's generation, but would then later re-form the Teen Titans after Young Justice disbanded following a massive sidekick crossover during which Donna Troy was killed. Tim served as leader of this version of the Titans until 2009, at which point he quit due to the events of Batman R.I.P. Following the events of Infinite Crisis and 52 Tim altered the colors of his Robin costume to simply red and black in tribute to his best friend, Superboy (Kon-El), who died fighting Earth-Prime Superboy. After Batman's disappearance following the events of Final Crisis and Battle For The Cowl and his son Damian becoming Grayson's Robin, Tim is now under the identity of Red Robin.
Following Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne and Flashpoint events, Bruce Wayne
returns to his role as Batman while Dick resumes as Nightwing. Damian now works
with his father, as well as maintaining his friendship with Grayson.
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For the British band, see Nightwing (band). For the Marduk album, see
Superman as Nightwing:
Superman #158 (January 1963)
Edmond Hamilton (writer)
Curt Swan (art)
Kara Zor-L/Karen Starr
Nightwing (vol. 1) #1 (September 1995)
Nightwing is a name that has been used by several fictional characters in the DC Comics Universe. It was conceived as a Kryptonian analogue to the character of Batman, with Nightwing's frequent partner Flamebird based on Robin. The Nightwing persona originates with a Kryptonian vigilante taking the name of the "nightwing", a bird native to the planet Krypton.
Prior to DC's continuity-altering 1985 limited series, Crisis on Infinite Earths, the Nightwing identity was depicted as an invention of Superman's during a time when he and Jimmy Olsen act as vigilantes in the Kryptonian city of Kandor; Superman draws inspiration from his encounters with Batman and Robin. Post-Crisis, the name is attributed to a historic Kryptonian crimefighter; this hero serves as an inspiration for Dick Grayson when he sheds his Robin identity and assumes the name and a new costume. Grayson was featured in an ongoing Nightwing series between 1996 and 2009. The most recent character to assume the name Nightwing is Superman's adoptive son Chris Kent, who - like the original Nightwing - is also Kryptonian.
 Fictional character biography
 Dick Grayson
Both Nightwing and Flamebird team up with Batman and Robin for an adventure in Kandor that proves important to the young Dick Grayson. When Dick later gives up his role as Robin in 1984, he recalls the Kandorian adventure and renames himself Nightwing, in homage to both Batman and Superman. After the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths re-boot the DC Universe, Superman no longer has knowledge of Kandor; instead, he remembers Nightwing as an urban legend of Krypton, which he shares with a young Dick Grayson. Grayson, who considers Superman his favourite superhero, takes the identity in his honour.
 Dick Grayson
Main article: Dick Grayson
Dick Grayson became Nightwing after he was dismissed from the role of Robin at eighteen. Grayson's Flamebird was Bette Kane. He was featured in a Nightwing series from 1996 to 2009; after Wayne's apparent death, Grayson became the new Batman, subsequently retiring his Nightwing mantle temporarily.
Grayson's Nightwing costume was a high-tech suit specially designed for his high-flying acrobatic style. His gauntlets and boots each contained eight compartments in which he could store items. They had a self-destruct feature built into them, similar to the ones in Batman's utility belt, and, as another security measure, the suit contained a one-use-only taser charge, which automatically emitted a high-voltage electrical shock when someone attempted to tamper with either the boots or gauntlets. Each gauntlet's sections could contain a wide array of equipment, such as sonic or smoke pellets, modified batarangs ("Wing-Dings"), knockout gas capsules, and throwable tracers. The right gauntlet was also equipped with a 100,000-volt stun gun. Like the gauntlets, his boot compartments could carry vital equipment such as flares, a rebreather as protection against any airborne non-contact toxins, a mini-computer equipped with fax, modem, GPS, and a minidisk re-writable drive. Other items were lock picks, a first-aid kit, a mini-cellphone, flexi-cuffs, antitoxin assortment, wireless listening devices, and a small halogen flashlight. After coming to New York, Dick added a black utility belt to his costume, eliminating the need for his boots and gauntlets. Held in spring-loaded pouches in the back of his costume, Dick carried a pair of Eskrima truncheons made from an unbreakable polymer that were wielded as both offensive and defensive weapons. Some depictions displayed these tools with the mechanism to shoot a grappling hook attached to a swing line (like Daredevil's billy clubs), while, in other instances, he was either seen using a "line gun" like the one Batman uses or using the grappling/swing lines either stored in or able to be launched from his gauntlets.
After the events of Flashpoint as part of the 2011 DC Universe reboot, Grayson returns to the role of Nightwing. He remains in Gotham after his stint as Batman while covering for Bruce Wayne whilst he was "away". He returned with a new costume in red and black reflecting that he previously wore whilst working with the villain Deathstroke. Dick along with all other members of the Batfamily are a few years younger. Dick, despite being in his early twenties as opposed to his mid-late twenites, is drawn a bit shorter than in his pre relaunch frame. This is likely due to adding believability to his acrobat past.
 Tad Ryerstad
In Blüdhaven, a sociopath named Tad Ryerstad becomes a superhero, inspired by the retired hero Tarantula. He takes his name, "Nite-Wing", from an all-night deli specializing in chicken wings. Unstable, Nite-Wing beats people for minor offenses. Nite-Wing is shot on his first night out and Dick Grayson, as Blüdhaven's protector Nightwing, defends him from Blockbuster's gang, who think it is Nightwing who has been injured. After Nite-Wing is released from the hospital, he kills the gang who put him there. Not realizing how violent Ryerstad is, Grayson agrees to train him. The two attack Blockbuster's organization, but are captured and separated. After an undercover FBI agent frees Nite-Wing, Ryerstad beats him to death, and when he realizes what he has done, Ryerstad flees. Nightwing subsequently tracks down and incarcerates Nite-Wing. In prison, Ryerstad is cell-mates with Torque (Dudley Soames), but the two escape by drugging the prison guard Amygdala.
 Jason Todd
Bruce Jones' Nightwing (vol. 2) #118-122 run features Jason Todd prowling the streets of New York City under the guise of Nightwing, copying Grayson's costume.
 Cheyenne Freemont
Cheyenne Freemont as Nightwing counterpart.
The "One Year Later" storyline features a metahuman fashion designer named Cheyenne Freemont donning a modified Nightwing costume to help Grayson.
 Power Girl
Power Girl as Nightwing. Art by Ed Benes.
In Greg Rucka's Supergirl (vol. 5) #6, Power Girl and Supergirl assume the identities of Nightwing and Flamebird in a story set in Kandor, just as in the original pre-Crisis stories featuring Superman.
 Chris Kent
Main article: Chris Kent (comics)
Chris Kent, son of General Zod, was Nightwing during Superman: New Krypton, in which Superman was coming to terms with the death of his adoptive father while also dealing with 100,000 Kryptonians now living on Earth as a result of the shrunken cities that he recently recovered from Brainiac's ship which contained the lost Kryptonian city of Kandor. At the end of the fourth issue of the arc, a new Nightwing and Flamebird appear in Superman's Fortress of Solitude to stop two of Zod's followers (who were living on Kandor) from releasing the Kryptonian General from his Phantom Zone imprisonment. While guarding the projector in order to prevent any Zod loyalists from freeing him from the Phantom Zone, both Flamebird and Nightwing exhibit powers that are not inherent to normal Kryptonians. Flamebird exhibits flames that project from her hands, while Nightwing uses "natural tactile telekinesis". The pair seem to be stronger than normal Kryptonians as they knock out the two Zod loyalists with one blow apiece. In a later appearance, the duo is seen in Gotham City. Nightwing casually hovers in the sky as Flamebird instructs him to stop flying and states that he isn't "the only one with a secret to keep." Unlike previous portrayals, it seems Flamebird believes herself to be the dominant partner. Furthermore, when the Kryptonians, on Zod and Alura's command, flee on a rebuilt Krypton circling the Sun, Nightwing and Flamebird stay in Gotham. The arc is ongoing. It is revealed in Action Comics #875, that Nightwing is none other than the son of Zod and Ursa, Chris Kent. The "Nightwing" identity is revealed to be based on a mythical Kryptonian creature, whose existence is intertwined with that of its partner beast, the Flamebird. Inside the Phantom Zone Chris' mind interfaced with a piece of Brainiac technology, awakening a long-dormant connection to the Nightwing, and linking his mind to that of Thara Ak-Var, who had a connection to the Flamebird.
 Titans Reunited and "No Man's Land"
After Nightwing settles in Blüdhaven, a galactic threat comes to Earth, reuniting former members of the Titans together to save their friend Cyborg, and prevent him from putting the Earth in jeopardy. They enter into conflict with their mentors and friends in the Justice League, but are able to come to a truce and save Cyborg while preserving the safety of the planet. After this adventure, the group decides to re-form, with Nightwing returning to the role of leader.
Meanwhile, Dick joins the Blüdhaven Police Department in efforts to rid the city of its corruption from the inside. On the personal side, Dick and Barbara's once flirtatious Robin/Batgirl relationship is changing. When Gotham is quarantined from the rest of the United States and becomes a virtual "No Man's Land", Nightwing is sent to secure Blackgate Prison. Afterwards, Dick recuperates at Barbara's clock tower, and the two grow even closer, entering into a romantic relationship.
 Last Laugh and killing the Joker
When the Joker is told he is dying by his doctor, he unleashes Joker juice on the inmates at the Slab, causing a breakout. At the end of the arc, Nightwing is responsible for killing the Joker against the wishes of Batman and Oracle. Nightwing becomes depressed and Oracle tries to bring him out of it. Soon after, Batman manages to resuscitate the Joker.
 Leader of the League
Some time after "No Man's Land" ends, the JLA disappears on a mission to locate Aquaman and Atlantis (The Obsidian Age). Before they vanish, Batman instigates a contingency plan, in which a handful of heroes would be assembled to create a new JLA, consisting of Nightwing, Green Arrow, the Atom, Hawkgirl, Major Disaster, Faith, Firestorm and Jason Blood. Nightwing is chosen to be leader until the original JLA are found, leading the group against the powerful Atlantean sorceress Gamemnae and helping to revive Aquaman to ask for his help in sinking Atlantis, but subsequently returns to the reserve list.
 Graduation Day and the Outsiders
For several years, Nightwing leads various incarnations of the Titans and becomes the most respected former sidekick in the DC Universe. However, in the Titans/Young Justice: Graduation Day crossover, a rogue Superman android kills Lilith and Troia, an event that tears apart both Young Justice and the Titans. At Troia's funeral, Dick declares he is tired of seeing friends die and disbands the team, officially ending the Titans. A few months later, Arsenal persuades Nightwing to join a new pro-active crime-fighting team: the Outsiders, who would hunt villains, acting as co-workers rather than an extended family. He reluctantly accepts.
Outsiders writer Judd Winick takes a more Batman-like approach with Nightwing as team-leader, making him refuse any other kind of relation with his teammates than the direct work.
 Death of Blockbuster
Dick plays a key role in exposing the corruption in the Blüdhaven Police Department. Despite reaching his original goals, Dick continues as a police officer during the day while spending nights as Nightwing, pushing himself to his limits and straining his relationships. The line between his police work and his vigilantism began to blur, and ultimately Amy Rohrbach (his friend and superior officer, who knew his secret identity) fires him rather than let him continue using questionable methods.
Wrongfully blaming Nightwing for the death of his mother, the mob boss Blockbuster bombs Dick Grayson's apartment complex and promises to kill anyone in Dick's life. When the vigilante Tarantula arrives, Nightwing chooses not to stop her when she shoots the villain dead. He enters in a catatonic state after this action, and Tarantula takes advantage of his emotional trauma to have sex with him—essentially a rape. At length, Nightwing shakes himself from his depression and takes responsibility for his inaction. He captures Tarantula and turns himself in to the police. Amy, however, feels the world needs Nightwing free and so prevents him from being charged.
Dick has destroyed the police corruption and removed the greater part of organized crime from this city, but his role in Blockbuster's death is still a source of tremendous guilt for him. He retires from crime fighting, with Tim Drake and Cassandra Cain as his replacements.
Grayson moves to New York, where he works closely with the Outsiders. After "insiders" threaten both the Outsiders and the newest incarnation of Teen Titans, however, Nightwing realizes that the team has gotten "too personal" and quits.
 Infinite Crisis and 52
Due to a crisis of conscience, Dick adopts the new villainous persona of Renegade in order to infiltrate Lex Luthor's Secret Society of Super-Villains. This ruse includes Nightwing aligning himself with his long-time enemy Mr. Freeze in order to track the manufacturing and distribution of Bane's venom serum and to keep tabs on the Society's activities in Gotham and Blüdhaven. He also begins training (and subtly converting) Deathstroke's daughter, Ravager.
Deathstroke takes revenge on Nightwing when Blüdhaven is destroyed by the Society. The Society drops the super villain Chemo on the city, killing 100,000 people. Dick tries to rescue survivors but is overcome by radiation poisoning, only to be rescued himself by Batman. Nightwing confides that he let Blockbuster die and asks Batman to forgive him. Batman tells him that his forgiveness doesn't matter; Dick has to move beyond Blockbuster's death. Inspired by his mentor, he proposes to Barbara Gordon, who tearfully accepts his proposal with a kiss.
Batman then entrusts Nightwing to alert other heroes about the danger that the Crisis poses. Dick flies to Titans Tower, but due to the chaos resulting from the Blüdhaven disaster, the OMAC onslaught and other Crisis related events, the only hero who answers his call is Conner Kent. Together, they locate and attack Alexander Luthor's tower, the center of the Crisis, only to be repelled by Superboy-Prime. Prime is ready to kill Nightwing when Conner intervenes, sacrificing himself to destroy the tower, ending the destruction of the Universe.
During the Battle of Metropolis, Nightwing suffers a near-fatal injury from
Alexander Luthor when he attempts to save Batman's life. Originally, the editors
at DC intended to have Dick Grayson killed in Infinite Crisis as Newsarama
revealed from the DC Panel at WizardWorld Philiadelphia:
It was again explained that Nightwing was originally intended to die in
Infinite Crisis, and that you can see the arc that was supposed to end with
his tragic death in the series. After long discussions, the death edict was
finally reversed, but the decision was made that, if they were going to be
keeping him, he would have to be changed. The next arc of the ongoing series
will further explain the changes, it was said.
Saved by the Justice Society, Nightwing recovers with Barbara at his side. As soon as he's able to walk again, Batman asks him to join him and Robin in retracing Bruce's original journey in becoming the Dark Knight. While Nightwing is hesitant, due to his engagement with Barbara, she encourages him to go and returns his engagement ring so he can make an honest decision for himself. Barbara feels that it is important he rediscover himself, and until he does they're not yet ready to be married. They part on good terms, though before he departs Dick leaves her an envelope containing a photograph of them as Robin and Batgirl, along with the engagement ring on a chain and a note promising he'll come back to her one day.
Soon after his journey with Batman and Robin ends, Nightwing returns to Gotham, following Intergang's trail. He works with the new Batwoman and Renee Montoya to stop Intergang from destroying Gotham, shutting off dozens of fire-spewing devices spread across the city.
 "One Year Later"
Main article: One Year Later
One year later, Dick Grayson returns to New York City (his previous home base with the Teen Titans) in order to find out who has been masquerading as Nightwing. The murderous impostor turns out to be the former Robin, Jason Todd. Grayson leads the Outsiders once again, operating undercover and globally.
Nightwing follows an armored thief named Raptor, whom he suspects is responsible for series of murders. Later, Raptor himself is murdered in a manner similar to the other victims by an unseen contract killer, who proceeds to bury Grayson alive. Nightwing frees himself, wondering the relation between his experience and a mysterious voice who tells him that he is "supposed to be dead". Nightwing is having trouble finding things to keep him busy during the day due to the cast on his right arm. Incapacitated from his injuries, he tries without luck to find jobs and continues to research into the mysterious assassin.
At one point, Dick agrees to attend a party for Bruce and their relationship seems to flourish. Bruce praises Dick for his success on the Raptor case, and also mentions to look into the Landman Building which hosted ex-Lexcorp scientists; most likely those who worked on the Raptor project. Dick also continues to keep a close brotherly relationship with Tim Drake, and helps Tim deal with his many losses during the last year.
After dealing with the Raptor issue, NYC is plagued by a villainous duo called Bride and Groom. Nightwing begins pursuit of these two after some grisly murders, including that of the Lorens family (close friends of his after the Raptor incident). Dick began to get obsessed with finding them, not knowing how far he was willing to go to take them down. Eventually, he formed a makeshift team with some "villains" to find them. They located them, and after killing some of his "team," Nightwing chased them to a cave, where Bride began a cave-in and the two are trapped there.
Nightwing, along with a group of former Titans, are summoned again by Raven to aid the current group of Teen Titans battle against Deathstroke, who was targeting the latest team in order to get at his children, Ravager and the resurrected Jericho. Nightwing and the other former Titans continue to work with the current team soon after the battle with Deathstroke so as to investigate the recent murder of Duela Dent.
When the Outsiders were targeted by Checkmate, Nightwing agrees that his team will work with the organization, so long as their actions in Africa are not used against them in the future. The mission however does not go as well as intended, resulting in Nightwing, the Black Queen and Captain Boomerang being captured by Chang Tzu. Later, Batman is called in by Mister Terrific who then rescues Nightwing and the others. Afterwards, Nightwing admits to Batman, that while he accepts that he is an excellent leader, he is not suited to lead a team like the Outsiders, and offers the leadership position to Batman.
Batman accepts the position, however he feels that the team needs to be remade, in order to accomplish the sorts of missions that he intends them to undertake. As such, he holds a series of try outs for the team. The first audition involves Nightwing and Captain Boomerang who are sent to a space station under attack by Chemo. During the mission, a confrontation erupts between Nightwing and Boomerang, who has grown tired of fighting for redemption from people like Batman and Nightwing. After taking a beating from Nightwing, he manages to throw him into a shuttle heading for Earth and quits the team. Afterwards, Nightwing furiously confronts Batman. Batman does not deny his actions, and states that this is the sort of thing that the new Outsiders will have to deal with. At this, Nightwing resigns completely from the Outsiders, which Batman feels is best, judging Nightwing too good for that sort of life.
In order to help himself regain a sense of purpose, Nightwing opted to stay in New York City again, and play the role of the city's protector. He takes on a job as a museum curator; and uses the museum as his new base of operations. During his short time there, Dick finds himself once again confronted with Two-Face, who years ago delivered Dick's greatest defeat. This time however, Dick soundly defeats Two-Face.
 Collected editions
After a 4-issue miniseries, and as commented above, in 1996 DC launched a monthly solo series featuring Dick Grayson as Nightwing that ended in February 2009. During DC's Infinite Crisis, DC considered killing Dick Grayson, but at the last minute reconsidered this decision. An attempt to revitalize the character by bringing back the writer who wrote the original Robin-to-Nightwing story, Marv Wolfman, had mixed response.[volume & issue needed] The final change to writer Peter Tomasi and artist Rags Morales did much to reassert the character, with him operating in New York as a respected solo hero, and taking full advantage of the fact that his early start makes him one of the most experienced superheroes, and one of the best connected thanks to his many former teammates and the friends he has established in his career. Nightwing has now been canceled, with Dick Grayson having become the new Batman. With his new position, this leaves the Nightwing name available to Christopher Kent, Superman's foster son.
Nightwing/Huntress #1-4 (miniseries)
Issues #19-20 are collected in Batman: Cataclysm. Issue #53 is collected in
Batman: Officer Down. Most of the issues of Nightwing #61-100 have yet to be
compiled into a trade paperback. Issues #65-66 are collected in Bruce Wayne:
Murderer? Issues #68-69 are collected in Bruce Wayne: Fugitive, Vol. 1.
Issues #96-98 are part of the "Batman: War Games" story arc. Issues
#138-139 are collected in The Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul. The last issue
in the series is #153.
Prestige one-shots Nightwing: The Target
On September 21 in 2011 DC Comics relaunched Nightwing with issue #1, where Dick
Grayson, with a slightly different costume design, resumed the role of Nightwing
following the return of Bruce Wayne.
Batman #139 (April 1961)
Bill Finger (writer)
Sheldon Moldoff (art)
Betty Kane ("Bat-Girl")
Batgirl is the name of several fictional characters appearing in comic books published by DC Comics, frequently depicted as female counterparts to the superhero Batman. Originally created by Bill Finger and Sheldon Moldoff, a character that is (arguably) considered by some to be the first incarnation of Batgirl, the "Bat-Girl" Betty Kane, debuted in Batman #139 (April 1961) as the Robin-like sidekick to Batwoman. Following the promotion of Julius Schwartz to editor of the Batman-related comic book titles in 1964, the Bat-Girl character was removed from publication (along with Batwoman) and replaced by the "new" Batgirl Barbara Gordon, police commissioner James Gordon's daughter, in late 1966. This version of Batgirl was introduced in Gardner Fox and Carmine Infantino's Detective Comics #359, entitled "The Million Dollar Debut of Batgirl."
Batgirl proved vastly more popular than the earlier "Bat-Girl" and made regular, in-continuity appearances in DC comics from late 1966 to 1988. The official retirement of Batgirl took place in Batgirl Special #1 (June 1988), which was published a few months after Barbara Gordon's shooting by the Joker in the graphic novel Batman: The Killing Joke (March 1988). Editor Kim Yale and comic book author John Ostrander later reinvented the discarded Barbara Gordon character as Oracle, the premier information broker of the DC Comics Universe and leader of the Birds of Prey organization. In the 1999 story "Batman: No Man's Land", Helena Bertinelli (better known as Huntress) briefly assumes the role of Batgirl until she is stripped of the identity by Batman towards the conclusion of the story for violating his stringent codes. Within the same year, Cassandra Cain (created by Kelley Puckett and Damion Scott), introduced during the "No Man's Land" series, becomes the fourth Batgirl. She is mentored by Batman and Oracle. Cassandra Cain became the first version of the Batgirl character to be featured in an eponymous monthly series, which was published from 2000 to 2006, ending with Cain relinquishing her role as Batgirl. Subsequently in the pages of Teen Titans, Cassandra Cain reclaimed her former identity as Batgirl. Later still, she passes on the Batgirl alias to Stephanie Brown (previously known as Spoiler and Robin) in the first issue of Brown's own Batgirl series (October 2009). That series was canceled at 24 issues. In September 2011, DC Comics relaunched the Batgirl title with Barbara Gordon, now cured of her paralysis, in the titular role.
 Barbara Gordon
Main article: Barbara Gordon
A new, more independent Batgirl — Barbara "Babs" Gordon, the daughter of Batman supporting character Police Commissioner James Gordon — debuted in Detective Comics #359 (cover-dated January 1967, but released in November 1966). In her debut, Barbara is on her way to a masquerade ball dressed as a female version of Batman when she disrupts a kidnapping attempt on Bruce Wayne by the villainous Killer Moth. This attracts the attention of Batman and leads to her establishing a crime-fighting career. This new character, jointly created by Editor Julius Schwartz, artist Carmine Infantino and author Gardner Fox, was a collaboration between DC Comics and the Batman television series of the late 1960s which aired on ABC. When television producer William Dozier sought to renew the Batman program for a third season, he asked Schwartz for a new female character to be introduced in the comic book medium, which could be adapted into the television series in order to attract a female audience. The new version of Batgirl was written as an adult, having earned a doctorate in library science and maintaining a career as head of Gotham City Public Library.
As Batgirl, Barbara Gordon proved to be more popular than the previous Bat-Girl and Batwoman duo, though she was not a sidekick, but an independent crime fighter. Barbara Gordon appeared as Batgirl in both Batman and Detective Comics, as well as other DC Comics publications unrelated to Batman. The character also received a starring role in the Batman Family comic book series which debuted in 1975, where she became part of the "Dynamite Duo: Batgirl & Robin" with Dick Grayson. Described as one of the most popular characters to appear in publications during the Silver Age of Comic Books, Barbara Gordon appeared as Batgirl regularly from 1966 to 1988, and she is frequently featured as Batgirl in "flashback" stories in current DC Comics publications. Famously, Barbara Gordon is shot through the spinal cord by the Joker in Batman: The Killing Joke. The plot, which led to Gordon's paralysis, subsequently became a point of controversy among critics and commentators. Editor Kim Yale and author John Ostrander revived the character in Suicide Squad #23 (1989) under the guise of Oracle, a freelance information broker and expert hacker. As Oracle, Barbara Gordon is written as an ally to various DC Universe superheroes, but is most notable as the founder and leader of operations of the "Birds of Prey" superhero organization.
As part of DC Comics' 2011 line-wide title relaunch, The New 52, Barbara Gordon's paralysis, and her identity of Oracle, were retconned as lasting only a temporary span of time. In the Batgirl series (volume 4) that was launched in September 2011 as part of the retcon, Gordon has resumed her activities as Batgirl, though the trauma of the events of The Killing Joke still manifests itself when confronted with an opponent who points a gun at her.
 Helena Bertinelli
Main articles: Huntress (Helena Bertinelli) and No Man's Land (comics)
Eleven years after the editorial retirement of Barbara Gordon as Batgirl, a new version of the character was introduced in Shadow of the Bat #83 during the maxiseries Batman: No Man's Land (1999). In Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #120 (1999), the new Batgirl is revealed to be Helena Bertinelli, an established DC comics superhero alternatively known as the Huntress. Bertinelli is eventually forced to abandon the mantle by Batman. After reclaiming her identity as the Huntress, Bertinelli later joins Oracle's Birds of Prey, becoming the second former Batgirl to be on the team's roster.
 Cassandra Cain
Main article: Cassandra Cain
Depicted as a martial arts child prodigy, Cassandra Cain is written as a young woman of partly Asian descent who becomes the third in-continuity Batgirl, with the approval of both Batman and Oracle, following her introduction in Batman #567 (1999) as part of the Batman: No Man's Land crossover. Cassandra Cain wears the same Batgirl costume worn by Helena Bertinelli. Raised by assassin David Cain, Cassandra Cain was not taught spoken language, but instead was taught to "read" physical movement. Subsequently, Cain's only form of communication was body language. The parts of the character's brain normally used for speech were trained so Cain could read other people's body language and predict, with uncanny accuracy, their next move. This also caused her brain to develop learning functions different from most, a form of dyslexia that hampers her abilities to read and write.
Despite Cain's disability, author Andersen Gabrych describes the character's unique form of language as the key factor in what makes Cain an excellent detective; the ability to walk into a room and "know" something is wrong based on body language. During the first arc of the Batgirl comic book series entitled Silent Running, Cassandra Cain encounters a psychic who "reprograms" her brain, enabling her to comprehend verbal language, while simultaneously losing the ability to predict movements. This issue is resolved during the second arc of the series, Batgirl: A Knight Alone, when Batgirl encounters the assassin Lady Shiva who agrees to teach her how to predict movement once again. Six years after its debut, DC Comics canceled the Batgirl comic book series with issue #73 (2006), ending with Cain relinquishing her role as Batgirl.
When DC Comics continuity skipped forward one year after the events of the limited series Infinite Crisis, Cassandra Cain is revived as leader of the League of Assassins, having abandoned her previous characterization as an altruist. The character's progression from hero to villain angered some of her fans and was accompanied by heavy criticism. Cain reprised her role as Batgirl in the "Titans East" (2007) storyline of Teen Titans, where it was discovered that she had been influenced by a mind-altering drug administered by supervillain Deathstroke the Terminator. Following the conclusion of the storyline, DC Comics has restored Cain's original characterization as a superhero and the character has been given a supporting role in the comic book series Batman and the Outsiders.
Following the events of Batman's disappearance, Cassandra, acting under her mentor's orders in the event of his death, handed over the Batgirl mantle to Stephanie Brown, the former Spoiler and Robin. After decling an offer from Tim Drake to reclaim the Batgirl mantle from Stephanie, Cassandra rejoined the Batman Family under the new identity of Blackbat. She currently acts as the Hong Kong representative of Batman Inc.
 Stephanie Brown
Main article: Stephanie Brown (comics)
Stephanie Brown, formerly the Spoiler and briefly the fourth Robin, takes up the mantle of Batgirl after Cassandra Cain gives Brown her costume under Batman's order. Eventually, Barbara Gordon approves of Brown as her newest successor — and she gives Brown her own Batgirl costume and becomes her mentor for a period. Brown is the fourth in-continuity Batgirl and the second Batgirl to star in her own ongoing Batgirl comic book series.
 Publication history
The first Batgirl ongoing comic book series was published in 2000 and featured Cassandra Cain as Batgirl. In 2009, a new Batgirl miniseries was created also featuring Cain, whom, by the end of the series, passes on her Batgirl identity to character Stephanie Brown. The third series features new characters, as well as Batman and Robin, who will monitor Brown's actions as Batgirl. The series is a direct sequel to Oracle: The Cure, part of the "Batman: Battle for the Cowl" story arc.
 Volume one (2000–2006)
Cassandra Cain was DC Universe's Batgirl from 1999 until 2009. The Asian American daughter of two assassins, Cain herself grew up to be the greatest assassin in the world. She is featured in the comic book series No Man's Land, the eponymous Batgirl (2000 series and 2008 mini-series), the "One Year Later" storyline, 52: World War III, and Batman and the Outsiders (vol. 2).
 Miniseries (2008)
In this four-issue miniseries, Cassandra searches for her father and Deathstroke the Terminator. She eventually finds her father and faces him. Her father falls off a building when Cain is unable to save him. Batman saves him and lets Batgirl move into Wayne Manor again. Batgirl soon realizes that Deathstroke has opened up an academy where he is training her siblings.
 Character attributes
Betty Kane's Bat-Girl was primarily interested in vigilantism in order to develop a relationship with the original Robin, Dick Grayson, as her introduction into publication was a deliberate attempt to avoid further allegations of homosexuality that Seduction of the Innocent presented to the public. Depicted as the niece of Batwoman, Bat-Girl had developed a crush on Robin after arriving in Gotham City and decided to fashion her own superhero persona based on Robin's costume. Her appearance in comic books primarily displayed her character attempting to develop a romantic relationship with Robin, despite his embarrassment or lack of interest. Unlike later Batgirl characters, Bat-Girl was not a female version of Batman but rather a female version of Robin.
When Julius Schwartz asked Carmine Infantino for a redesign of the Bat-Girl character, Infantino recalled Betty Kane's character as a "pesky girl version of Robin", and decided to come up with something more original. Gardner Fox and Carmine Infantino's new "Batgirl" was written as an adult and as a career woman working as head of Gotham City Public Library. Though the Barbara Gordon character saw Batman as her inspiration and idol, fashioning her crime-fighting persona after him, her primary concern was solving cases and often worked independently from Batman and Robin. Batgirl was primarily featured in Detective Comics in stories separate from the Dynamic Duo.
 In other media
Main article: Barbara Gordon in other media
A pop culture icon, the Barbara Gordon version of Batgirl has been adapted into all media relating to the Batman franchise including merchandise, television, animation, video game, and feature film. The Barbara Gordon Batgirl, jointly inspired by producer William Dozier and DC Comics editor Julius Schwartz, appeared in the final season of the live-action Batman television series in 1967, promptly following the character's comic book debut. Actress Yvonne Craig was featured in a promotional short, which was shown to ABC executives in order not only to add Batgirl to the cast, but also to ensure a third season for the television series. As Barbara Gordon, Craig was a replica of her comic book counterpart, working as a librarian for Gotham City Public Library; she led a double life as Batgirl, helping Batman, Robin and the Gotham City police department to solve an array of cases. Although Craig's addition to the cast was able to renew the program for a third season, it did not save the series from cancellation; Batman was officially canceled in March 1968.
Barbara Gordon's Batgirl made her first animated appearance in The Adventures of Batman in 1968 and was also adapted into its successor animated program The New Adventures of Batman in 1977. During the 1990s and 2000s, Barbara Gordon appears as Batgirl in the series of animated programs and animated films which comprise the DC Animated Universe; these include Batman: The Animated Series, Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero, The New Batman Adventures, and Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker. A younger version of the Barbara Gordon character also played a recurring role in the animated series entitled The Batman.
In Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Batgirl's costume somewhat resembles the design worn by her DC animated universe incarnation. In her first appearance on the series in the episode "The Last Patrol!", an in-joke reference to the 1960s television series is made, with Batman being unaware of Batgirl's identity. Barbara Gordon and Bette Kane have also appeared in Young Justice. In 2012, Batgirl will star alongside Supergirl and Wonder Girl in Super Best Friends Forever, a series of shorts developed by Lauren Faust for the DC Nation block on Cartoon Network.
In addition to animated adaptations, the Barbara Gordon version of Batgirl served as the inspiration for the character Barbara Wilson in the 1997 feature film Batman & Robin. Departing from the comic book character's history, the alternate version of Barbara is portrayed by Alicia Silverstone as the niece of Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce Wayne's butler and Batman's loyal assistant. The short-lived Birds of Prey television series, which aired on The WB network in 2002, features a paralyzed Barbara Gordon donning her Batgirl costume after creating a device that allows her to walk. The series featured Dina Meyer as Barbara Gordon, in a future where she has been paralyzed by the Joker and operates as Oracle.
List of Batman supporting characters
Throughout the stories published in DC Comics and in adaptations in other media since 1939, the Batman character has accumulated a number of recognizable supporting characters. The first Batman supporting character was Commissioner James Gordon, who first appeared in the same comic as Batman (Detective Comics #27), and is Batman's ally in the Gotham City Police Department. Robin, Batman's sidekick, was introduced in the Spring of 1940 and Alfred Pennyworth, Batman's butler, was introduced in 1943. Batman also forms strong bonds or close working relationships with other superheroes, including Justice League members Superman, Black Canary, and Green Arrow, as well as members of the Outsiders superhero team. Others such as Jason Bard, Harold, Onyx, and Toyman work for him. In addition, Batman has perhaps the most well known rogues gallery in fiction, including The Joker, Catwoman, and The Penguin.
 Gotham City Police Department
Main article: Gotham City Police Department
The most notable member of the GCPD is Commissioner James Gordon, the police commissioner of Gotham City. Appearing alongside the main character in his first appearance, Gordon was the first Batman supporting character. Batman has a strong (though secret and unofficial) working relationship with him. Gordon, like other characters, has changed considerably over the years. Of particular note, is that in the early days of the characters, Gordon was not allied with Batman, and was more antagonistic towards him. However, he was a friend of Bruce Wayne. In "Batman: Year One", Gordon is portrayed as one of the few honest, non-corrupt Gotham cops. During "No Man's Land", Bruce offered him the knowledge of his secret identity, but Jim (still angry for Batman's early abandonment of Gotham in the days near the beginning of NML) refused to look and find out, hinting he may already know. Jim retired several months after NML, but returned to duty in the One Year Later storyline.
Members of the Gotham City Police Department have played prominent roles in Batman's extended 'family.' The GCPD were featured in their own series: the limited series Batman: GCPD and the ongoing series Gotham Central, in which they investigate the unusual crimes that plague the city, in a personal effort to minimize Batman's involvement. Gotham Central series ended its 40 issue run in 2006.
 Batman Family
"Batman Family," is the informal name for a group of characters closely associated with Batman, generally costumed vigilantes who either have been trained by Batman or operate in Gotham City with his tacit approval. The group functions like a tactical unit of similarly-minded superheroes who operate in and around Gotham, with Batman as its team leader and, in many cases, its dispatch. Various members of the group are usually seen interacting with one another and assisting in each other's cases, even within their respective series. Although some members occasionally resent Batman’s intrusion into their lives, all respect him as a legend within the superhero community and rarely dare to challenge his authority. Most of the members also have a strong rapport with the Dark Knight due to their long and close relationships with him over the years, and consider him a close friend and ally, and acknowledge that he most likely shares that sentiment, no matter how averse he is to actually showing it. In a 2002 storyline in which Bruce Wayne is accused of murder, Batman's friends gather to prove his innocence. It has also been implied through Batman's history that this network serves as a surrogate family for Batman and keeps him from slipping too far into his ruthless vigilante persona.
Batman (Bruce Wayne) – The "patriarch" of the team, young Bruce Wayne
witnessed the brutal murder of his parents as a child, and used this trauma
and his vast personal wealth to travel the world and acquire the skills needed
to wage his war on crime. After returning from his apparent death and
disappearance at the hands of Darkseid, Wayne reasoned that his
return to the present would be the appropriate time to escalate Batman's war
on crime to a global scale. To that end, he revealed to the public that he had
been secretly funding Batman's activities for years (stopping short of
admitting that he is Batman) and would use a new corporation, Batman
Incorporated, to take Batman and his mission around the world.
Nightwing (Dick Grayson) – An orphaned child acrobat who originally served as
Batman’s first sidekick, Robin, and became Bruce Wayne's ward and later
adopted son. As an adult, he took up the identity of Nightwing, and served
as protector of Blüdhaven, Gotham's ugly sister city to the south. In the
wake of Bruce Wayne's apparent death, he began serving as the new Batman.
After Wayne's return, Grayson continues operating as Batman in Gotham City
while Bruce Wayne himself takes to the world as the head "general" of Batman
Alfred Thaddeus Crane Pennyworth
Alfred J. Pennyworth (The Dark Knight Rises)
Supporting character of
Alfred J. Pennyworth is a fictional character who appears throughout the DC Universe. The character first appears in Batman #16 (April–May 1943), and was created by writers Bob Kane & Bill Finger and artist Jerry Robinson. Alfred serves as Bruce Wayne’s tireless valet, assistant, butler, confidant, and surrogate father figure. In modern interpretations, this has gone to the point where Alfred was Bruce's legal guardian following the death of his parents. He has sometimes been called "Batman's batman." Alfred also provides comic relief, as his sometimes sarcastic and cynical attitude often adds humor to dialogue occurring between himself and Batman. Alfred is a vital part of the Batman mythos, and appears in most other media adaptations of the character.
The character has been consistently popular over the years, having received a nomination for the R.A.C. Squiddy Award for Favorite Supporting Character in 1994 and for Best Character in 2001. Alfred was also nominated for the Wizard Fan Award for Favorite Supporting Male Character in 1994.
Alfred in his first appearance as an overweight, bumbling detective.When Alfred first appeared, he was overweight and clean-shaven; however, when the 1943 Batman serial was released, William Austin, the actor who played Alfred, was trim and sported a thin moustache. DC editors wanted the comic Alfred to resemble his cinematic counterpart, so in Detective Comics #83 (January 1944), Alfred vacationed at a health resort, where he slimmed down and grew a mustache. This look has remained with the character ever since, even surviving his "death"[Comics 1] and resurrection.[Comics 2]
Alfred was originally conceived as a comedic foil for Batman and Robin. In most early tales, he made bungling attempts to be a detective on a par with the young masters. He was given a four-page feature of his own,[Comics 3] and the feature lasted thirteen issues, skipping Batman #35, with the last story in Batman #36.[Comics 4] The stories followed a simple formula with Alfred somehow managing to solve a crime and catch the culprits entirely by accident. Afterthat, the comedic aspects of the character were downplayed.
The Pre-Crisis comics (the comics that were published by DC Comics between 1938 and 1986) established Alfred as a retired actor and intelligence agent who followed the deathbed wish of his dying father Jarvis Pennyworth to carry on the tradition of serving the Wayne family. To that end, Alfred introduced himself to Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson at Wayne Manor and insisted on becoming their valet. Although the pair did not want one, especially since they did not want to jeopardize their secret identities with a servant in the house, they did not have the heart to reject Alfred.
Initially, Alfred discovered their identities by accident; while fighting a burglar in Batman #16 (Alfred's first appearance), he accidentally hit a switch and opened a sliding panel leading to the Batcave. He is helpful to the duo, following them to a theatre where they are captured, bound and gagged by a criminal gang, and rescues them after Batman attracts his attention by knocking a rope down before the crooks return. This was revised in Batman #110 (September 1957); during his first night at Wayne Manor, Alfred awoke to moaning and followed the sound to the secret passage to the staircase leading to the Batcave and met his would-be employers in their superhero identities. As it turned out, the wounds were actually insignificant, but Alfred's care convinced the residents that their butler could be trusted. Since then, Alfred included the support staff duties of the Dynamic Duo on top of his regular tasks.
Ironically, Alfred's loyalty would lead him to become a member of Batman's rogue's gallery. While pushing Batman and Robin out of the way of a falling boulder, Alfred was seemingly killed in Detective #328 (June 1964). It was revealed in Detective #356 (October 1966) that he had been revived by a scientist named Brandon Crawford. His attempt at regeneration resulted in a dramatic change: Alfred awoke from his apparent death with pasty white skin with circular markings, superhuman powers, including telekinesis, and a desire to destroy Batman and Robin. Calling himself The Outsider, he indirectly battled the Dynamic Duo on a number of occasions, using others as his puppets – the Grasshopper Gang in Detective #334, Zatanna in Detective #336, and even the Batmobile itself in Detective #340 – and generally only appeared as a mocking voice over the radio. He did not physically appear in the comics until Detective #356, when he is bathed again in the rays of the regeneration machine during a struggle with Batman, and returns to normal, with no memory of his time as a supervillain. His time as the Outsider is collected in Showcase Presents: Batman Volumes 1 and 2.
Alfred was later reunited with his long-lost daughter, Julia Remarque, though this element was not included in Post-Crisis comics. Her mother was the DC war heroine Mademoiselle Marie, whom Alfred had met while working as an intelligence agent in occupied France during World War II.
In the Post-Crisis comics' continuity, Alfred has been the Wayne family valet all of Bruce's life, and had helped his master establish his superhero career from the beginning. In addition he was Bruce's legal guardian following the deaths of his parents. Alfred's history has been modified several times over the years, creating assorted versions. In one such version Alfred was hired away from the British Royal Family by Bruce's parents, and he virtually raised Bruce after they were murdered.
Meanwhile another version of Alfred's Post-Crisis life was slightly more closely linked to his pre-Crisis counterpart. In this version Alfred was an actor on the English stage, who agreed to become the Waynes' butler, only so as to honor the dying wish of his father. At the time he begins working for the Waynes, Bruce is but a young child. After several months, Alfred voices the desire to quit and return home to continue his life as an actor. However, these plans are momentarily forgotten when young Bruce returns home, after getting into a fight with a school bully. Alfred teaches Bruce to handle the bully strategically, rather than using brute force. Following Alfred's advice, Bruce manages to take care of his bully problem. Upon returning home, Bruce requests that Alfred stay, and Alfred agrees without a second thought. After the Waynes' murders, Alfred raises Bruce.
Alfred would later aid Bruce in raising Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, and Tim Drake, all of whom would be adopted by Bruce Wayne and become his partner Robin. He also had close friendships with other members of the Bat-Clan including Barbara Gordon and Cassandra Cain. Alfred often acts as a father-figure to Bruce, and a grandfather to Dick, Jason, and Tim. He is also highly respected by those heroes who are aware of his existence, including Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and the original Teen Titans.
Alfred has also been romantically linked to Dr. Leslie Thompkins, though his relationship with her never came to anything, particularly after she apparently allowed Stephanie Brown to die from neglect. He also developed feelings for Tim Drake's stepmother, but again, nothing came of it.
During the events of Knightquest, Alfred accompanies Wayne to England, and becomes enraged when Wayne insists on endangering his own health while paraplegic. This was the culmination of several weeks of Wayne's self-destructive behavior, and when Wayne returns to Gotham City, Alfred remains in England, tendering his resignation. He spends some time vacationing in Antarctica and The Bahamas before returning to England. Dick Grayson tracks him down several months later and convinces him to return to Wayne Manor. In that story, it was revealed he had walked out of his own wedding years earlier.
His resourcefulness came to the fore in the No Man's Land storyline, especially in Legends of the Dark Knight #118. Batman is missing for weeks, leaving Alfred alone to watch his city for him. He uses his skills as an actor, storyteller, medic, and spy to survive and collect information on the recently destroyed society. Alfred even uses hand-to-hand combat in a rare one-panel fight sequence between him and a pair of slavers that ends with his rescue by Batman.
In Batman #677, agents of Batman's mysterious enemy the Black Glove attack and beat Alfred in front of Bruce and Jezebel Jet, severely injuring him. In the same issue, a reporter from The Gotham Gazette suggests to Commissioner Gordon that Alfred may be Bruce's biological father, and that this may be a reason for the murder of Martha Wayne. Alfred later denies the entire story, agreeing with Bruce that it was a fabrication. In Batman and the Outsiders Special, Alfred is seen apologizing at the graves of Thomas and Martha Wayne at the loss of Bruce, commenting that he grieves as a parent, regarding Bruce as his son. Later, a secret panel in Alfred's room opens, the result of a fail-safe planted by Bruce in the event of his death. Bruce leaves his one final task, and also gives him an emotional goodbye, telling Alfred he considered him as a father.
Alfred is left emotionally shattered, commenting more than once that, even if his biological fatherhood is a fabrication, in a deeper sense he actually was Bruce Wayne's father, having watched over him for years and feeling to have failed him in the last moments.
After the event of Final Crisis, when Batman was apparently killed in action, Alfred finds himself with the task of raising Bruce's biological son Damian with Grayson. Batman: Battle for the Cowl sees Alfred allowing Damian Wayne to take on his first mission as Robin, giving Damian a Robin tunic and calling on Squire to assist the new Boy Wonder in finding Tim Drake, who went missing hunting down Jason Todd. Alfred also assists Grayson in his role as Gotham's new Dark Knight.
After discovering that the original Batman was actually lost in time after his battle with Darkseid, Alfred immediately seeks clues of his whereabouts. Eventually, Bruce finds his way to the present. After Batman successfully expands his mission globally with Batman Inc., Bruce assumes full responsibility as a father and Alfred assists him in raising Damian.
Skills, resources, and abilities
A highly intelligent and resourceful man, Alfred runs the day-to-day operations of Wayne Manor and maintains much of the equipment of the Batcave beneath it. A former actor, he can use his acting and disguise skills to help Batman in the field when necessary, and is even capable of impersonating Bruce Wayne on the telephone convincingly. He has also provided first aid up to and including suturing wounds and removing bullets, as well as occasional tactical support. He is also able to perform arthroscopy and other advanced medical procedures, thus limiting, if not eliminating, the need for hospital medical treatment even in the face of grievous injuries. Nevertheless, Batman still requires professional medical treatment when Bane breaks his back (Batman: Knightfall) and Hush's machinations result in his suffering a skull fracture (Batman: Hush). On these occasions, Alfred admits that his own skills are inadequate for such medical procedures.
While not as skilled at martial arts as Bruce Wayne, Alfred is still nearly as resourceful. In one story in which he is kidnapped, he readily escapes and overcomes his captors without disturbing the cut of his suit. It was later mentioned that he had been kidnapped unsuccessfully 27 times (it should be noted, however, that these events take place in the Gotham Adventures comics, based on the animated adventures of Batman, and not within the standard DCU continuity).[Comics 15] During Batman: The Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul, Ubu, Ra's al Ghul's musclebound bodyguard, attempts to use Alfred as a hostage, only to be disabled by a well timed sucker punch from Alfred.
Presumably due to his lack of superpowers, the advanced combat training Bruce's other associates have, and Alfred's age, Alfred is the only member of the "Batman Family" that Bruce does not mind using a firearm, in his case favoring a shotgun when dealing with direct attacks on his person.
Current issues of the various Batman comics seem to indicate that Alfred is a pioneer in and has also mastered several fields of rose breeding (even creating his own, the "Pennyworth Blue"), computer programming, computer engineering, electrical engineering, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, nanotechnology, and biotechnology as he singlehandedly builds, programs, and maintains much of Batman's next-generational technology such as the Batcomputer.
Red Robin (Tim Drake/Wayne) – Another teenage crime fighter who took-up the
mantle of Robin to assist Batman after the death of Jason Todd. After the last
of his living family is murdered, he is adopted by Bruce Wayne at the end of
the Batman story arc "Face the Face." In the aftermath of Bruce Wayne's
death and Damian taking up the mantle of Robin, Tim takes the identity of Red
Robin to begin a global search for evidence of Bruce Wayne still being
alive. For a long time, Tim was the only hero in the DC Universe that
believed Batman survived his encounter with Darkseid. However, when trying
to resurrect the body left behind at the conclusion of Final Crisis, Dick
Grayson and Damian Wayne also adopted this belief, and they were closely
followed with the rest of the DC Universe at the conclusion to Blackest
Robin (Damian Wayne) – The biological son of Bruce Wayne and Talia al
Ghul. In Battle for the Cowl, Damian has been placed in the care of Dick
Grayson by his mother, who apparently continues to keep a distant eye on him.
After Grayson takes up the mantle of Batman, he chooses Damian to be the new
Robin. Confronting his father with what happens to him since his return,
Bruce Wayne told Robin, "Batman and Robin will never die, Damian. Get ready to
meet the public."
Batgirl (Barbara Gordon) – The original Batgirl, daughter of Gotham police
commissioner James Gordon. After she was left paraplegic by the Joker, she
became Oracle, the information broker to the DC Universe, and founded a covert
team of female operatives called the Birds of Prey. Following the
reality-warping events of Flashpoint, Barbara returned to the Batgirl
Catwoman (Selina Kyle) was one of Batman's early adversaries. In later years,
she becomes his frequent love interest and defender of Gotham City's East
End. One year after the events of Infinite Crisis, she retired (allowing
Holly Robinson to take the mantle of Catwoman) and gave birth to a baby girl
named Helena. Batman calls her out of retirement to infiltrate an Amazon
sect. Following a series of kidnappings of her baby, Catwoman gives her
daughter up for adoption.
Harvey Dent was the former District Attorney, and previously known as the
villain Two-Face. He was deemed cured after his facial reconstruction surgery
by Dr. Thomas Elliot. Dent was requested by Batman to watch over Gotham City
during his one year absence with Robin. Dent's style of justice has been more
brutal than Batman's precision-style vigilantism. Upon Batman's return to
Gotham, a series of grisly murders of several members of Batman's rogues
gallery points to Dent. When confronted by Batman, Dent blows up his
apartment. The inner turmoil created by the situation forced Two-Face out of
his psyche once again, and he's seen re-scarring his face with a scalpel and
 Love interests
Batman has had many romantic relationships with various female characters throughout his years fighting crime. The following characters do not include the various female hangers-on that Bruce has employed to maintain his image as a playboy. Like his mentor Dick Grayson, who assumed the identity of Batman after Bruce Wayne's "death" until his return, has had a lot of romantic relationships with many women in the comics throughout his time fighting side by side with Batman.
 Bruce Wayne's love interests
Julie Madison: In the earliest Batman comics, Bruce Wayne dates the
often-imperiled Julie Madison. The two eventually separate and Julie weds
into European royalty, much in the manner of Grace Kelly.
In Batman & Robin, Elle Macpherson plays Julie, though the character seems
to have little in common with her comic book self. The character adds little
to the plot, and many of her scenes were edited out of the film's final
Vicki Vale: In several 1950s stories, reporter for the Gotham Gazette
newspaper Vicki Vale, was shown as an occasional romantic interest of
Batman. Vicki Vale returned in the early 1980s, brought back by Doug Moench.
Kim Basinger plays Vicki in the 1989 film Batman, although Batman Returns
stated that she eventually left because she could not cope with his double
Selina Kyle (Catwoman) In All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder Batman's
feelings towards her are based on the fact that she's sort of a female
version of himself: another dark, beautiful creature that prowls in the
night. In the current timeline, Batman and Catwoman became romantically
involved during the Batman: Hush story arc.
Catwoman and Batman in Batman: The Animated Series Batman ended the
relationship because he was afraid if they had a relationship that Hush
would use her to get to him. Later in "Batman: Heart of Hush" in attempted
to kill Bruce, Hush kidnaps Catwoman and cuts out her heart. Even when their
romance rekindled later on, Batman still suspected that Selina's reformation
could be a result of a personality-altering mindwipe by Zatanna.
In pre-Crisis continuity, the Earth-Two versions of Batman and Catwoman
were shown to have married in the 1950s, and later Selina gave birth to a
daughter, Helena Wayne (alias Huntress) in 1957.
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 towards 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.
In Batman: The Animated Series, Bruce Wayne regularly dates Selina Kyle. In
Batman Beyond, Bruce hints at a relationship with Selina in his past, as
well as comparing that relationship with Terry's and the current 10 of the
Royal Flush Gang. As in the comic books, sexual tension between their
costumed characters is a major story point in Batman: The Animated Series.
Wonder Woman: Diana and Bruce briefly dated within the pages of the Justice
League of America comics  but nothing came of the relationship and the two
remain friends. This is echoed in the Justice League animated series, but
Bruce and Diana seem to grow very close in the TV show, and even Batman hints
at romance between them in the episode "This Little Piggy". In Blackest Night:
Wonder Woman, their past relationship is referenced when Wonder Woman is able
to use her feelings for Bruce to throw off the influence of her Black Lantern
ring and join the Star Sapphires.
Kathy Kane In the eriginal Pre-crisis continuity Kathy Kane is a wealthy
Gotham City heiress and former circus performer, decides to use her skills
and resources to become a costumed crime-fighter. This is partly out of
altruism and partly to attract the romantic attentions of Batman. While
Batman wished for Kane to retire from crime-fighting due to the danger, she
remained his ally. Kathy was romantically interested in Batman but Batman
remained aloof until her death in the hands of Bronze Tiger.
In a pre-Crisis Earth-Two Kathy, who is a middle-aged woman is still in
love with the now-deceased Commissioner Bruce Wayne.
In Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman, while investigating the identity of
Gotham's newest masked vigilante, Batman develops an affection to one of the
suspects, Kathy Duquesne, daughter of mob boss Carlton Duquesne.
Talia al Ghul: The daughter of the supervillain, Ra's al Ghul, Talia's father
has encouraged the relationship in hopes of recruiting Batman as his
successor. Unlike Catwoman, Talia is more than willing to play second-fiddle
to Bruce's mission. The two are currently at odds, as Talia has been
brainwashed into hating both her father and Batman; however, she claims to
be the mother of his son Damian, introduced in Batman #656.
In the now out-of-continuity graphic novel Batman: Son of the Demon, Talia
bore his son (later named Ibn al Xu'ffasch).
In Earth-22's Kingdom Come, Talia admires Batman in his drive,
determination, and nobility, but is always torn between him and the love for
her terrorist father.
Pamela Isley: A peculiar relationship can be found between Batman and Pamela
Isley, aka Poison Ivy. There has always been a sexual tension between the two,
most notably in their canonical earlier encounters. In Batman & Poison
Ivy: Cast Shadows, Batman filled Ivy's cell at Arkham with flowers as a gift.
The relationship even briefly deviated from the Batman/Ivy relationship into a
Bruce/Pamela one when, in the comic series Batman: Gotham Knights, he helps
her return to normal. This relationship has not been carried over to the
mainstream Batman comics. In other instances, however, she is more than
willing to kill Batman to achieve her goals. She is portrayed in the 1997 film
Batman & Robin by Uma Thurman.
 Dick Grayson's love interests
Starfire: Having a longtime on-and-off again relationship with Dick Grayson
during their time together in the Titans and Outsiders and beyond, the pair at
one time almost married.
Barbara Gordon When Barbara started her career as Batgirl working with
Batman and Robin, she and Dick began to grew closer time by time and
eventually they began a romantic relationship. This relationship bacame a
longtime on-and-off relationsip continued even after Barbara's retirement.
In the movie Batman and Robin Dick meets Barbara Wilson, Alfred's niece,
who later becomes Batgirl. In the film they have the same relationship that
Dick has with Barbara Gordon in the comics.
Batman #307 (January 1979)
Supporting character of
Batman (Bruce Wayne)
Lucius Fox is a fictional character appearing in Batman comic books by DC Comics. He was created by John Calnan, and first appeared in Batman #307 (January 1979). As a supporting character, he acts as Bruce Wayne's business manager who supposedly unknowingly runs the business interests that supply Batman's equipment needs as well as financing his operations. Lucius Fox has been featured in various media adaptions, most notably by Morgan Freeman in the Christopher Nolan Batman films.
CEO of Wayne Enterprises, Fox has the "Midas Touch", an ability to turn failing businesses into successful conglomerates. Fox is called in to the failing Wayne Enterprises and brings a balance to both Wayne's private and business finances. In Batman Confidential, he is shown heading the project that produced the prototype that would become the Batwing. He also manages the particulars of the Wayne Foundation while Wayne dictates the organization's general policies. Since then, Fox has been approached time and time again by other companies seeking his expertise. After overcoming the original challenge of returning Wayne Enterprises to its glory, Fox has elected to stay, having been given an unparalleled freedom in the company.
In Batman: Haunted Knight, it is explained that Lucius Fox is rescued from muggers by a young Bruce Wayne in Paris. Later, Fox asks him if he wants to start a foundation for charity, to which Bruce agrees many years later, deciding that not all of his money has to go to crime fighting.
Bruce Wayne, as Batman, originally forms the Outsiders in order to rescue Fox from Baron Bedlam.  When Fox later suffers a stroke, Wayne makes sure that Fox gets the best care possible and supports him and his family.
Making her debut in the issues of Red Robin was Fox's daughter Tam.  Her father sent her to personally locate Tim Drake, only to discover his secret identity as Red Robin and get unwittingly involved in his conflicts with the League of Assassins. For a time it was believed Fox was dead, but this was a ruse to help combat his enemies.  It is believed that learning Drake's secrets has led Tam Fox to realize that Bruce Wayne is Batman. However, she apparently did not report her findings to her father.
Lucius is also established as having a son named Luke Fox, who becomes the vigilante known as Batwing using a high-tech costume designed by his father. Both Luke and his predecessor as Batwing, David Zavimbe, are agents of the international crime-fighting organization Batman Incorporated.
After Bruce Wayne announces his public support for Batman Inc., Fox becomes active supplying Wayne with the company's resources and research prototypes thus bringing him closer to his portrayal in the Christopher Nolan Batman films. 
Martha Wayne: The mother of Bruce Wayne. Just like Thomas, she was shot by a mugger, which would be responsible for the creation of Batman.
Thomas Wayne: The father of Bruce Wayne. His death by a mugger, when Bruce was just a boy, inspired Bruce to become Batman.
The Masked Man, Antonio Diego, Niño, Dorance
Peak human physical condition
Venom enhances his physical abilities to superhuman levels
Expert tactician, strategist, combatant, mercenary, and escapologist
Master of disguise
Bane has been one of Batman's more physically and intellectually powerful foes. He is often credited for being the only villain to have "Broken The Bat".
Bane's origin story is established in the story "Vengeance of Bane". He was born in the fictional Caribbean Republic of Santa Prisca, in a prison called Peña Dura. His father, Edmund Dorrance (better known as King Snake), had been a revolutionary who had escaped Santa Prisca's court system. The corrupt government, however, decreed that his young son would serve out the man's life sentence, and thus Bane's childhood and early adult life were spent in the amoral penitentiary environment.
Though he was imprisoned, his natural abilities allowed him to develop extraordinary skills within the prison's walls. He read as many books as he could get his hands on, built up his body in the prison's gym, and learned to fight in the merciless school of prison life. Because of the cultural and supposed geographical location of Santa Prisca, Bane knew how to speak English, Spanish, Portuguese and Latin. Despite his circumstances, he found teachers of various sorts during his incarceration, ranging from hardened convicts to an elderly Jesuit priest, under whose tutelage he apparently received a classical education. Bane murdered this priest upon his return to Santa Prisca years later. He committed his first murder at the age of eight, stabbing a criminal who wanted to use him to gain information about the prison. During his years in prison, Bane carried a teddy bear he calls Osito ("Little bear" in Spanish), whom he considered his only friend. It is revealed that Osito has a hole in his back to hold a knife that Bane used to defend himself.
Bane would be haunted, in his dreams, by a bat. He ultimately established himself as the "king" of Peña Dura prison. The prison's controllers took note and eventually forced him to become a test subject for a mysterious drug known as Venom, which had killed all other subjects; the drug was administered by a doctor who bore a passing resemblance to another Batman foe, Hugo Strange. Later, in Vengeance of Bane II the very same doctor encountered Bane again in Gotham and it is confirmed that it is not Hugo Strange, who, at that point in Batman continuity, was a crazed psychologist and not a surgeon. The Peña Dura prison Venom experiment nearly killed Bane at first, but he survived and found that the drug vastly increases his physical strength, although he needs to take it every 12 hours (via a system of tubes pumped directly into his brain) or he will suffer debilitating side-effects.
During the Knightfall storyline, Bane escapes Peña Dura, along with several accomplices based on the Fabulous Five (his minions Trogg, Zombie, and Bird, all of whom are named after 1960s rock bands — The Troggs, The Zombies, and The Byrds — and were designed to mimic three of Doc Savage's assistants Monk, Ham, and Renny). His ambition turns to destroying Batman, about whom he had heard stories while an inmate. Gotham fascinates Bane because, like Peña Dura, fear rules Gotham - but it is the fear of the Batman. Bane is convinced that Batman is the demonic bat which haunted his dreams since childhood. Therefore, Bane believes fate placed Batman on a collision course with him.
Aware that a direct assault on Batman would be foolish, Bane instead destroys the walls of Arkham Asylum—allowing its deranged inmates (including the Joker, Two-Face, the Riddler, the Scarecrow, the Mad Hatter, the Ventriloquist, Firefly, Poison Ivy, Cornelius Stirk, Film Freak and Victor Zsasz) to escape into Gotham City. Consequently, Batman is forced to recapture the escapees, a mission that takes him three months. Having run himself to exhaustion in the process of completing this mission, Batman returns to Wayne Manor where he finds Bane waiting for him (having previously determined his secret identity). After a brief explanation of his obsession to destroy him, Bane attacks Batman, first in the manor and soon the two tumble into the Batcave below where Bane continues his assault on the detective, toying with him throughout. Bane delivers the final blow by raising the Batman up and throwing him down upon his knee, breaking his back and leaving him a paraplegic. Bane thus becomes the only man to have "Broken the Bat". This iconic moment is befallen in The Dark Knight Rises and alluded to numerous times in the DCAU cartoons. (and nearly every other media he's in)
While Bane establishes himself as the new ruler of Gotham's criminal underworld, Bruce Wayne passes the mantle of Batman to Jean-Paul Valley, also known as Azrael. As the "new" Batman, however, Jean-Paul grows increasingly violent, ruthless and has little to no regard for innocent bystanders. Believing that Bruce Wayne's way of crime fighting is now obsolete, he vows to fight on the villains' level to defeat them. Valley also refuses to recognize Robin as his partner. Despite Bruce Wayne's strict orders that Valley avoid Bane, he disregards those commands and boldly attempts to confront Bane in his home; with the villain now living in luxury high above Gotham in a penthouse suite. With a set of high-tech, heavy metal gauntlets that Valley added to the Batsuit, he uses them to shoot sharp projectiles at Bane, leaving him bleeding and hurt. But Bane is able to get the upper hand in the fight after using Venom and taunting Valley, making him angry enough to foolishly rush him. Despite besting Valley, Bane sustained deep lacerations in the battle and lost much blood. Hunted by law enforcement, it was impossible for Bane to admit himself to a hospital despite his worsening condition. Thus, Bane's solution was to increase his Venom intake to temporarily block the pain and buy himself time to defeat this new Batman. Humiliated, Valley returned to the Batcave where he built an advanced combat suit of metal, in place of the traditional Batman uniform, with many chambers within the suit that fired razor-sharp weapons. Reduced to little more than a wounded animal fleeing for survival, Bane is no match against the "new" Batman and is overwhelmed by him. Weakened and desperate, Bane's defeat is ensured when Valley severs the tubes that pump Venom into his bloodstream, causing severe withdrawal. With Commissioner Jim Gordon, Harvey Bullock, and Robin watching in horror as this new Batman tortures a defeated Bane; Bane asks for mercy at the hands of Valley when he asks to be killed. Despite his programming as the assassin Azrael, the "Knightfall" arc ends as Valley denies his innate urge to kill Bane.
Further following the events of Knightfall, Bane recovers from his Venom addiction while serving time in Blackgate Prison, as seen in Vengeance of Bane II: The Redemption (1995). He eventually escapes from prison and returns to Gotham, where he fights alongside Batman to take out a criminal ring that is distributing a Venom derivative to street-level thugs. Following a victory over the criminals (and the revelation that behind it is the same doctor that performed the surgery on Bane years earlier in Peña Dura), Bane proclaims that he is "innocent" of his past crimes and urges Batman to stop hunting him. He then leaves Gotham (without fighting Batman) to begin a search for his father.
Bane's search brings him back to Santa Prisca. In search of leads, Bane questions the Jesuit priest who had taught him while he was in Peña Dura. The priest explains that there were four men who could possibly have been his father: a Santa Priscan revolutionary, an American doctor, an English mercenary, and a Swiss banker. While searching for the Swiss man in Rome, Bane encounters Talia al Ghul and the League of Assassins and eventually impresses Ra's al Ghul so much that he chooses Bane to marry Talia and become his heir (an "honor" he had previously bestowed on Batman).
Ra's al Ghul then launches a plague attack on Gotham in the "Legacy" storyline, with Bane at his side, who is posing as Ubu. Bruce Wayne, again costumed as Batman, gets his rematch with Bane in Detective Comics #701 and finally defeats him in single combat. The defeat causes Ra's to call off the engagement to Talia and disown Bane.
Following the "Legacy" storyline, Bane appears in a one-shot publication called Batman: Bane (1997) with the intent of destroying Gotham City using a nuclear reactor until the plan is stopped by Batman and his allies. He fights Azrael in the "Angel and the Bane" storyline. Bane then surfaces in the story arc "No Man's Land", serving as an enforcer for Lex Luthor during Luthor's attempts to take control of Gotham under the cover of helping it to rebuild, but Batman convinces Bane to leave after a brief confrontation between Bane and the Joker. Following the fallout with Ra's al Ghul, Bane later embarks on a campaign to destroy Lazarus Pits around the world, and in the process, encounters Black Canary.
According to the Jesuit priest, with whom Bane speaks, there is a possibility that Bane's biological father is an American doctor. In researching this issue, Bane comes to the conclusion that he and Batman share Dr. Thomas Wayne as their biological father, with Dr. Wayne allegedly becoming close to Bane's mother during his time in Santa Prisca. Bane alerts Batman to this possibility and during the time that the DNA tests are being performed, stays at Wayne Manor and fights alongside Batman on the streets of Gotham in the "Tabula Rasa" storyline. Ultimately, it is revealed that Dr. Wayne is not Bane's father, and Bane leaves Gotham peacefully (and with Batman's blessing and financial backing) to pursue leads in the snowy mountains of Kangchenjunga.
Bane eventually finds his father, who turns out to be the unscrupulous King Snake (validating the English mercenary hypothesis), and not El Jefe del País de Santa Prisca, in the "Veritas Liberat" storyline. Bane, with Batman looking on, helps foil King Snake's plans to unleash a powerful weapon upon the world. Bane saves Batman from being shot by King Snake, but is mortally wounded in the process. Batman then saves Bane by bathing him in a Lazarus Pit, and leaves him with a clean slate.
Infinite Crisis & One Year Later
In Infinite Crisis #7, Bane fights alongside the villains during the Battle of Metropolis. During the battle, he breaks the back of the hero Judomaster, killing him. No reason was given for his actions in #7, though in Infinite Crisis' collected edition, one of the many changes made to the original series was Bane saying "I finally know who I am. I am 'Bane'. I 'break' people." while breaking Judomaster's back and yelling at young Koch (Jacob).
Bane resurfaces in the One Year Later continuity of JSA Classified #17-18 searching for the Hourmen (Rex and Rick Tyler), asking them for help. To win their trust, he tells them how, prior to the Battle of Metropolis, he returned to his homeland to put an end to the drug lords' government and in the process discovered that a new, more addictive strain of Venom had been created. In his furious carelessness to wipe out the drug trade, he was captured, and reimplanted with the cranial tubes, hooked to the new Venom, and now unable to shake off his addiction without dying from the withdrawal. Bane was forced to work as an enforcer for the drug cartel, unable to escape. Believing that Bane sought Rex Tyler's expertise in chemistry, Rick lets him approach his father, only to discover that the story is a ruse. Bane, who had never truly been addicted to Venom, had in fact wiped out the drug lords, and destroyed every research note on Venom. He discovered in the process both strains of Venom derived from Rex Tyler's early research on Miraclo. He discovers from the Tylers that no written notes exist of Rex's work, captures Rex, and steals Rick's equipment, planning to kill Rex and force Rick to take the last of the new Venom, living forever as an addict. Rick manipulates Bane into using Miraclo and demolishing the building as he and his father escape, burying the mercenary in the rubble of the very same Santa Priscan penitentiary where his story began.
Eventually, Bane resurfaces in Santa Prisca and leads the country to democratic elections. Upon discovering that the elections were rigged by Computron, he uses his influence to enforce martial law, plunging the country into a civil war. Computron offers information to Checkmate who ordered him to rig the elections in exchange for their help to escape the country. Fire and Judomaster's son, Thomas Jagger, are sent on the mission, with Jagger debating whether or not to seek revenge for his father's murder. He fights Bane in order to allow Fire to escape, defeating him easily, but chooses not to kill him.
At the end of the miniseries Suicide Squad: Raise the Flag, Amanda Waller recruits Bane into the Squad. In Outsiders #50, he appears once more to be wearing the tubing system to apply Venom.
In Salvation Run #2, Bane was tricked by his fellow squad members, and sent to the prison planet. In Salvation Run #3, Bane remains with Lex Luthor's faction after Joker's faction rebels against Luthor's leadership. He attacks Thunder and Lightning when they were attempting to feed Martian Manhunter.
Superman/Batman #53-#56 reveals Bane is trading his Venom supplies with drug lords across the globe. One of his shipments includes a trip to Gotham. Batman, who was temporarily endowed with Superman's powers, responded by attacking Bane at his home. Not only was the Dark Knight able to easily defeat the villain, the hero nearly killed him with his far superior strength. Bane survived his injuries due to the enhanced stamina from his Venom supplies. Whether these events are in continuity with the mainstream DC Universe is debatable, like much of the Superman/Batman book after Jeph Loeb left writing duties. Seeing Bane using Venom again after previously stating that he would sooner die than use it, as well selling it instead of actively seeking to rid the world of the drug entirely, lends credence to the idea that this story is not canon.
Since September 2008, Bane has appeared as a regular character in the ongoing Secret Six series. In the first issue, Bane is depicted as a stoic devil's advocate for the group, offering alternative points of view for both Deadshot and Catman on the subject of love. He is later shown to have an almost father like concern for Scandal Savage's well-being. Although this is largely played for laughs in the early issues, the first arc's final issue displays the depth of Bane's affection. When the Six are attacked by an army of supervillains, a wounded (and seemingly dying) Bane's concern for Scandal results in temporarily breaking his vow to never takeVenom again in order to save her. Ban is later shown to have recovered from his ordeal, appearing in Gotham City with Catman and Ragdoll in an attempt to stem some of the chaos caused by the apparent death of Batman. During the team's several escapades, Bane reveals both a deep respect for his onetime adversary and a painful yearning to assume the mantle of Batman, telling a trio of rescued citizens to tell people that it was the Batman who saved them. Bane ultimately gives his blessing to Dick Grayson, praying that "God help him." Following a near-disastrous mission, Bane assumes leadership over the Six. His first act as leader is to remove Scandal from active duty, not wishing for her to be endangered. In the latest issue of Secret Six, Bane's Secret Six and Scandal Savage's Secret Six finally square off against each other. Bane and Scandal engage in a one on one fight where he refuses to fight back until Scandal uses her Lamentation Blades to slash his throat. The card is ultimately used to resurrect Knockout.
Driven to near madness, Bane decides to lead the Secret Six to Gotham in an attempt to psychologically break Batman by killing several of his closest allies. The team kidnaps the Penguin, who Bane pumps for information about Batman's partners. In the final issue of the series, Bane ultimately decides on Red Robin, Azrael and Batgirl as his victims. Before the Six can make their move, Penguin betrays their location, resulting in a massive army of superheroes ranging from Green Lantern, Batman and the Superman family to the Justice League, Birds of Prey, and Booster Gold converging on Gotham. The Secret Six stage a desperate last stand, but are quickly defeated. With the fates of the other Secret Six members left ambiguous, Bane is last shown being driven away in a Gotham police van. The ending of the issue implies that he plans to escape.
Powers and abilities
Bane is highly intelligent; in Bane of the Demon, Ra's al Ghul says that Bane "has a mind equal to the greatest he has known" (although Talia dismisses Bane's intellect as the cunning of an animal rather than the cultured, trained intellect of Batman). In prison, he taught himself various scientific disciplines equal to the level of understanding of leading experts in those fields. He knows six active languages and at least two additional arcane and dead ones. Among these are Spanish, English, Persian, and Latin. The Bane of the Demon storyline reveals that he has a photographic memory. Within one year, he is able to deduce Batman's secret identity.
He is also highly devious and a superb strategist and tactician. In prison, Bane also invented his own form of calisthenics, meditation, and a fighting style that he uses against other well-known martial arts fighters within the DC Universe. Bane creator Chuck Dixon's early tales portray Bane as a very calm, centered warrior akin to the Bruce Lee; in as much that he draws strength through calm meditation, and the spiritual energy of the "very rock of Peña Dura". Dixon imbued Bane with an almost supernatural quality when he explained that Bane triumphed in all of his prison fights by employing these abilities, while his opponents had only rage and greed to propel them. Multiple scenes in "Vengeance of Bane" explore this aspect when it explains that Bane's mastery of meditation techniques "made time and space playthings to him". A subsequent scene that reinforces this ability comes when Bird first comes to Bane for help, because he heard from other inmates that Bane has "magic... the kind that allows him to travel beyond the prison walls."  Usage of Venom enhances his physical abilities, including his strength and healing process, to superhuman levels. Although Bane had sworn off using Venom in Vengeance of Bane II in 1995, and his character is actually written as having kept that promise to himself, it is still not uncommon for artists to draw Bane as still wearing the tube leading from his old wrist device to the back of his head, as well as almost all media adaptations of the character show him actively using the Venom compound. Writer Gail Simone explained these lapses in the continuity of Bane's appearance in an issue of Secret Six, in which Deadshot remarked that Bane merely kept his old Venom equipment with him out of habit, even though Bane states that he would sooner die than use it again.
Alter ego: Selina Kyle
Notable aliases: The Cat, Irena Dubrovna
Abilities: Peak athlete, extremely skilled gymnast and hand-to-hand combatant, expert burglar, possesses costumes with steel spring-loaded climbing pitons and razor-sharp retractable claws, wields an assortment of bullwhips and cat o' nine tails as gymnastic equipment, empathic relationship ability with all types of cats
The original and most widely known Catwoman, Selina Kyle, in which she is known as The Cat. She is usually depicted as an adversary of Batman, known for having a complex love-hate relationship with him. In her first appearance, she was a whip-carrying burglar with a taste for high-stake thefts. Since the 1990s, Catwoman has been featured in an eponymous series that cast her as an antiheroine classy cat burglar rather than a traditional villain. The character has been one of Batman's most enduring love interests.
Catwoman, then called "the Cat", was a mysterious burglar and jewel thief, revealed at the end of the story to be a young, attractive woman (unnamed in the first story), having disguised herself as an old woman during the story and been hired to commit a robbery. Although the story does not have her wearing her iconic cat-suit, it establishes her core personality as a femme fatale who both antagonizes and attracts Batman. It is implied Batman may have deliberately let her get away, by blocking Robin as he tried to leap after her. She next appears in Batman #2 in a story also involving the Joker but escapes Batman in the end. In Batman #3 she wears a fur mask and again succeeds in escaping Batman.
Batman #62 (December/January 1950) revealed that Catwoman is an amnesiac flight attendant who had turned to crime after suffering a prior blow to the head during a plane crash she survived. She reveals this after being hit on the head by a piece of rubble while saving Batman while he was chasing her. Although, in issue 197 of The Brave and the Bold, she admits that she made up the amnesia story because she wanted a way out of the past life of crime. She reforms for several years, helping out Batman in Batman #65 (June/July 1951) and #69 (February/March 1952), until she decides to return to a life of crime in Detective Comics #203 (January 1954), after a newspaper decides to publish stories of Batman's past adventures, and some crooks mock her about it. However in this story when Batman prevents a robbery and is knocked out by sleeping gas, Catwoman prevents her thugs from murdering him, though quickly claims she wants him as a hostage. Catwoman appears again as a criminal in Batman #84 (June 1954) and Detective Comics #211 (September 1954) for her final appearance until 1966. This was mostly due to her possible violation of the developing Comics Code Authority's rules for portrayal of female characters that started in 1954.
In the 1970s comics, a series of stories taking place on Earth-Two (the parallel Earth that was retroactively declared as the home of DC's Golden Age characters) reveal that on that world, Selina reformed in the 1950s (after the events of Batman #69) and had married Bruce Wayne; soon afterward, she gave birth to the couple's only child, Helena Wayne (the Huntress). The Brave and the Bold #197 (April 1983) elaborates upon the Golden Age origin of Catwoman given in Batman #62, after Selina reveals that she never actually had amnesia. It is revealed that Selina Kyle had been in an abusive marriage, and eventually decides to leave her husband. However, her husband keeps her jewelry in his private vault, and she has to break into it to retrieve it. Selina enjoys this experience so much she decides to become a professional costumed cat burglar, and thus begins a career that repeatedly leads to her encountering Batman.
Modern Age version
Catwoman's origin—and, to an extent, her character—was revised in 1987 when writer Frank Miller and artist David Mazzucchelli published Batman: Year One, a revision of Batman's origin. She works as a dominatrix in order to survive and wants to break away from her abusive pimp (and former boyfriend). She witnesses his crimes and, because of an event that occurs to her sister, fears for her sister's life and begins to study self-defense and martial arts. Her teacher inspires Selina to become more than what she has been and she realizes that prostitution is no life for her, or for Holly.
Holly Robinson is a young runaway who idolizes Selina, but is much too young to be on the streets as far as Selina is concerned. Selina shares her home with Holly after she takes her in. As the story progresses Selina is led to a bit of burglary, she dons a catsuit costume that her now former pimp gave to her the day that she told him she was out of the business. After costuming herself so as not to be revealed, she gets a taste for burglary and begins to do it in more of a Robin Hood way than an actual thief. This is, however, how she runs into Batman. After a small confrontation, she begins to be inspired to stay in her costume and become the "Catwoman" after seeing Batman in action with others. Selina gets the idea that, if there is a "bat", why can there not be a "cat"?
The 1989 Catwoman limited series, written by Mindy Newell and with art by J.J. Birch, expanded upon Miller's Year One origin. This storyline, known as "Her Sister's Keeper", explores Selina's early life as a dominatrix and the start of her career as Catwoman. The story culminates with Selina's former pimp, Stan, abducting and violently abusing her sister Maggie, who, in contrast to Selina, is a nun. Selina kills Stan to save her sister, and gets away with it. Most of this is revealed in the former series, but is expanded upon in "Her Sister's Keeper".
Catwoman (vol. 2) #69, which provides details about Selina's childhood, neglects Maggie's existence. Maria Kyle is a distant parent who preferred to spend her time with cats, and commits suicide when Selina is very young. Her alcoholic father, Brian, is cold to Selina for resembling her mother (whom he resents for dying), and eventually drinks himself to death. To survive, Selina takes to the streets for a time before getting caught and sent first to an orphanage, then juvenile hall, "where Selina began to see how hard the world could really be." Maggie's fate at this point in the time-line is not alluded to. However, when Ed Brubaker reintroduces her into the comic, he implies that Maggie may have directly entered an orphanage and promptly been adopted.
When she is 13, Selina discovers that the hall's administrator has been embezzling funds, and she confronts her. In an attempt to cover up her crime, the administrator puts Selina in a bag and drops her in a river to drown (like a cat). She escapes and returns to the orphanage, where she steals documents exposing the administrator's corruption. She uses these to blackmail the administrator into erasing "Selina Kyle" from the city's records, then steals the administrator's diamond necklace and escapes the orphanage. Selina eventually finds herself in "Alleytown - a network of cobblestone streets that form a small borough between the East End and Old Gotham." Selina is taken in by Mama Fortuna, the elderly leader of a gang of young thieves, and is taught how to steal. Fortuna treats her students like slaves, keeping their earnings for herself. Selina eventually runs away, accompanied by her friend Sylvia. However, the two have difficulty surviving on their own, and in desperation try to support themselves by working as prostitutes. The two drift apart afterward, with Sylvia coming to resent Selina for not inquiring about what had happened to her at the hands of her abusive first client.
In the Catwoman: Year One story, Selina (now an adult) achieves some success as a thief. Following a disastrous burglary, however, she accepts an offer to "lie low" as a dominatrix in the employ of a pimp named Stan. They plan to trick men into divulging information that might be used in future crimes. According to this storyline, Selina trains under the Armless Master of Gotham City, receiving education in martial arts and culture. During this time, a client gives her a cat o' nine tails, which Selina kept as a trophy.
Batman: Dark Victory, the sequel to The Long Halloween, implies that Catwoman suspects she is the illegitimate daughter of mafia boss Carmine Falcone, although she finds no definitive proof. Selina's connection to the Falcone family is further explored in the miniseries Catwoman: When in Rome. Though the story adds more circumstantial evidence to the theory of Selina's Falcone heritage, establishing that the Falcones' secondborn daughter was put up for adoption in America, it also supplies no definitive proof. During The Long Halloween, Selina (out of costume) develops a relationship with Bruce Wayne, even leading her to save Bruce from Poison Ivy. However, this relationship appears to end on the Fourth of July when Bruce rejects her advances twice—once as Bruce, and once as Batman. She leaves him for good and also leaves Gotham for a while in Batman: Dark Victory, after he stands her up on two holidays. When the two meet at an opera many years later, during the events of Hush, Bruce comments that the two no longer have a relationship as Bruce and Selina.
Catwoman also appears in the Batman: Knightfall saga, where she is approached by Bane's henchmen while robbing a house. Bane asks her to work for him, but she refuses, as she is repulsed by the criminal who "broke" Batman. Later in the story, she boards a plane with Bruce Wayne to fly to Santa Prisca. She next appears in the Batman: Knightquest saga, where Azrael is masquerading as Batman. She is one of the few to recognize that Batman is an impostor, later being present when the true Batman returns to the fold as he struggles against his successor, his willingness to save even criminals confirming his true identity for Selina.
Catwoman appears to be completely reformed, and her love for Batman true (although brash and unpredictable). However, she has learned her reformation was the result of a mindwipe by Zatanna, a procedure known to deeply affect and, in at least one case, physically incapacitate its victims. Zatanna gives no reason for her actions, but in a flashback, it is shown that she had acted with the consent and aid of five of the seven JLA members who had helped her mindwipe Dr. Light and Batman. Catwoman's response to this revelation is unequivocal: she duct-tapes Zatanna's mouth shut and pitches her out a window (Zatanna survives the fall). Afterward, she is seen covering her bed with past versions of her Catwoman costume.
Still unbalanced and uncertain of herself in issue #52, Selina is forced to decide whether to kill a supervillain. The Black Mask, in an attempt to "improve himself," threatens the most important people in Selina's life, from Slam Bradley to Holly. The villain had also previously tortured Selina's sister Maggie by drilling out her husband's eyeballs and feeding them to Maggie, which drove her insane. Black Mask learns Selina's identity through his earlier alliance with Selina's childhood friend Sylvia, who still harbors a grudge against Selina. Still thinking that Selina adheres to a strict no-kill rule, Black Mask is caught by surprise when Selina shoots him in the head. This action continues to haunt her throughout the One Year Later storyline, and it is suggested that this might have been the first time she had ever directly taken a life.
As a mother
Following the events of Infinite Crisis, the DC Universe jumps forward in time. After One Year later, Selina Kyle is no longer Catwoman, she has left the East End, and has given birth to a daughter named Helena. The father of her new daughter is initially unrevealed; however, Batman demonstrates great concern for the child and at one point asks to have Helena stay at his mansion. Selina attempts to live a safe and somewhat normal life, and gives up her more dangerous ways of living as Catwoman. Holly Robinson takes over as the new Catwoman while Selina, living under the alias Irena Dubrovna, turns her attention to caring for her daughter (Selina's alias was inspired by the name of the main character in the 1942 film Cat People).
Though she takes her role as a new mother quite seriously, Selina dons the costume for a run through the East End some days after Helena's birth. Having understandably gained a few pounds, Selina finds that her costume is now tighter. In addition, she is easily distracted by a common criminal. Although the situation is defused through Holly's opportune arrival, the sight of two Catwomen active simultaneously in the city is caught on video. Selina returns home from her adventure to find that the mysterious movie aficionado Film Freak has deduced her alias, joined with Angle Man, and grabbed Helena. After rescuing her daughter, Selina convinces Zatanna to mind-wipe Film Freak and Angle Man in order to preserve her secret identity. Following the procedure, Angle Man turns himself in to the authorities; Film Freak, however, embarks upon a murderous rampage.
A twist occurs when Wildcat informs Selina that Holly has been arrested for the murder of Black Mask. Selina infiltrates the police station and frees Holly. Finally defeating Film Freak, Selina returns home to find that Bradley has deduced that Helena is the daughter of his son Sam Bradley, Jr., and therefore his granddaughter (although it is still strongly hinted that Bruce Wayne may be the father).
Batman asks Catwoman to infiltrate the violent tribe of the Bana Amazons during the Amazons Attack! crossover. Posing as a criminal, Selina gains the Bana's trust and thwarts a terror attack aimed at causing mass casualties in Gotham City.
Selina questions whether she should be raising a daughter when her life as Catwoman has already proven to be such a danger to the child. After enlisting Batman's help in faking the death of both herself and her daughter, Selina puts Helena up for adoption. A month after Helena is placed with a new family, Catwoman asks Zatanna to erase her memories of Helena and change her mind back to a criminal mentality. Zatanna refuses, judging that such an act would be cruel to both mother and daughter. She tells Selina that she could never reverse Selina's mindset, since she was on the path to becoming a hero on her own. Believing she can no longer function as a criminal, Selina decided to become one of Batman's Outsiders. She quickly quits, however, and was replaced by Batgirl.
In Salvation Run #2, Catwoman is sent to the Prison Planet. She allies herself with Lex Luthor in an attempt to return to Earth, and mistakenly ends up on an alternate universe-Earth where Catwoman is a notorious villain. It is later revealed that this Earth is a creation of her own mind, and she has not left Prison Planet. When accused of being a traitor by Luthor, she reveals Martian Manhunter is posing as Blockbuster, which would soon lead to the hero's death.
Using the trust she regained in Luthor's eyes, she earns a passage to the "real" Earth, in a jerry-rigged teleport machine built by Luthor for letting the villains escape. On Earth, she resumes being a hero, with occasional lapses into thievery by commission, simply for the thrill of it.
The current volume of Catwoman concluded with issue #82, and details a cat-and-mouse chase between Batman and Catwoman across Gotham City rooftops, ending with Selina stealing the Batmobile.
Heart of Hush
Later, as in Detective Comics, she is quite uncertain if she should pursue her "relationship" with Batman, Selina talks with Bruce about Jezebel Jet, his current girlfriend, and then has a quick pep talk with Zatanna, whom she believes is also courting Bruce. Zatanna confirms and admits her feelings, adding that she has since chosen to forget them, but extremely encourages Selina to open her heart to Bruce Wayne before Jet is able to "seal the deal." Hush eavesdrops on the conversation, targeting both women as a way to hurt his enemy, Bruce Wayne.
In Detective Comics #848 (November 2008), Hush attacks Selina as she is in her apartment, kidnapping her and surgically removing her heart. She is delivered anonymously to a Gotham hospital. Batman receives word of her situation, and while he goes in search of Hush, he leaves Selina in the care of Doctor Mid-Nite, who is considered the superhero community's chief doctor.
Batman recovers her heart, and Dr. Mid-Nite restores it to her body; however, the doctor also makes a prognosis on whether she can still return to her former life swinging through rooftops. While Selina is still in a coma, she encounters Zatanna, who apologizes for not warning her about Hush. She tells Selina that she was so happy about her relationship with Bruce that she ignored the other warnings in the cards. Zatanna gives her a little bottle supposedly containing aloe vera for her post-op scars. It is hinted that there is a little magic in there to help Selina with her recovery. Selina is sad that she might end up alone again. In the meantime, Bruce enters the recovery room and, believing her unconscious, launches into a soliloquy. He ends by telling Selina that he will always love her, when she opens her eyes and reveals to him that she was awake all the time and heard his confession.
During the Silver Age, Catwoman, like most Batman villains, used a variety of themed weapons, vehicles, and equipment, such as a custom cat-themed car called the "Cat-illac". This usage also appeared in the 1960s Batman television series. In her post-Crisis appearances, Catwoman's favored weapon is a whip. She wields both a standard bullwhip and the cat o' nine tails with expert proficiency. She uses the whip because it is a weapon that the user must be trained to use, and therefore it can not be taken from her and used against her in a confrontation. She can also be seen using a pistol against people if her whip is taken from her. She uses caltrops as an anti-personnel weapon and bolas to entangle opponents at a distance. In addition, Catwoman has been shown to have various items to restrain her victims, such rope for binding hands and feet, and a roll of duct tape used to gag her targets, like she did with Robin, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and various victims during her robberies over the years. . Although, eventually Wonder Woman heard his muffled cries of help and rescued him. Often, especially in the TV series, she uses sleeping gas or knockout darts to subdue victims. Catwoman's attractiveness and feminine wiles have also allowed her to take advantage of male opponents.
Catwoman, in her first appearance, wore no costume or disguise at all. It was not until her next appearance that she donned a mask, which was a theatrically face-covering cat-mask that had the appearance of a real cat, rather than a more stylized face mask seen in her later incarnations. Later, she wore a dress with a hood that came with ears, and still later, a catsuit with attached boots and either a domino or glasses-mask.
In the 1960s, Catwoman's catsuit was green in color, which was typical of villains of that era. In the 1990s, she usually wore a skintight purple catsuit, before switching to a black PVC catsuit that recalls Michelle Pfeiffer's costume in Batman Returns (except not stitched together).
In recent years, artists' depictions have usually alternated between those two costumes. Ed Brubaker, the writer behind the 2001 revamp of the character, has stated that Selina's current costume was inspired by Emma Peel's iconic leather catsuit in The Avengers television series. It has a more high tech look, with domino-shaped infrared goggles on her cowl.
Many of her costumes have incorporated retractable metal claws on the fingertips of her gloves and sometimes on the toes of her boots. On rare occasions, she has also sported a cat's tail.
Basil Jamal Karlo
Matthew D. Hagen
Preston 'Bill Payne
Dr. Peter Malley
(Fuller) Lady Clay
(Karlo) Shapeshifting (body made out of mud)
(Hagen) Temporary shapeshifting and voice-shifting
Body constituted by living mud, which he can divide or change the tone of
(Payne) Superhuman strength from exo-skeleton suit
Melting people by touching them
(Cassius "Clay" Payne) Shapeshifting
(Dr. Peter Malley) Shapeshifting
Melting people by looking at them
(Todd Russell) Shapeshifting
(Johnny Williams) Shapeshifting
Clayface is an alias used by several DC Comics fictional characters, most of them possessing clay-like bodies and shape-shifting abilities. All of them have been enemies of Batman.
In 2010, IGN named Clayface 73rd greatest villain in comic book history.
Created by Bob Kane, the original Clayface (Basil Karlo) was a B-movie actor who began a life of crime using the identity of a villain he portrayed in a horror film.
In the late 1950s, Batman began facing a series of science fiction-inspired foes, including Matt Hagen, a treasure-hunter given vast shape-shifting powers and resiliency by radioactive protoplasm, who became the new Clayface. He retained the title for the next several decades of comic book history. In the late 1970s, Preston Payne became the third Clayface. A scientist suffering from hyperpituitarism, Preston Payne used the second Clayface's blood to create a cure but became a claylike creature that needed to pass his condition onto others to survive instead. His condition was used as a metaphor for drug abuse and sexually transmitted disease.
Sondra Fuller of Strike Force Kobra, used the terrorist group's technology to become the fourth Clayface, also known as Lady Clay. She formed the Mudpack with the original, second, and third Clayfaces. During that time, Payne and Fuller had a son dubbed "Cassius 'Clay' Payne", who also had metahuman clay powers. During this era, the original Clayface used the DNA of Payne and Fuller to become the most powerful Clayface, often considered the current and ultimate incarnation of the villain.
Clayface has appeared in three animated adaptations of Batman, starting with the late 1970s-era The New Adventures of Batman, which featured a comedic version of Hagen. The 1990s-era Batman: The Animated Series featured a past-his-prime actor disfigured in a car accident who uses an experimental, addictive cosmetic to regain his appearance only to become a monstrous hunk of clay after a massive overdose of the substance. This interpretation, like the series' Mr. Freeze, was applauded as a deeper, more sympathetic version of a sci-fi-era villain, and the comic book incarnation of the Basil Karlo Clayface was retooled after it. The 2000s-era The Batman featured a new character Ethan Bennett, who had ties to a young Bruce Wayne, as Clayface before introducing a version of Basil Karlo.
Fictional character biography
The Basil Karlo Clayface. Art by Glen Orbik and Laurel Blechman.
The original Clayface, Basil Karlo, appeared in Detective Comics #40. He is an actor who is driven insane when he hears that a remake of the classic horror film he had starred in, The Terror, would be shot without him acting in the film, even though he is to be one of the advising staff. Donning the mask of the film's villain, Clayface, he begins killing the actors playing characters he killed in the order and way they die in the film, along with someone who knew his identity. Last, he plans to murder the actor playing the Clayface killer. He is foiled by Batman and Robin. He reappears in Detective Comics #49 (March 1941) after the prison ambulance he is riding in plunges off a cliff. He once again dons the mask of Clayface and targets Bruce Wayne's fiancée, Julie Madison. Once again, the Dynamic Duo foil his plans. A movie buff, Batman creator Bob Kane states that the character was partially inspired by the Lon Chaney, Sr. version of The Phantom of the Opera and that the name of the character comes from Boris Karloff and Basil Rathbone.
Much later, Karlo languishes in a prison hospital, when the current Clayface, Sondra Fuller, visits him out of curiosity. Karlo proposes an alliance between all living Clayfaces to kill Batman. Even though the Mud Pack, as the group called itself, is defeated, Karlo injects himself with samples from Preston Payne and Sondra Fuller, gaining the abilities to shapeshift and melt with a touch; he becomes the self-declared "Ultimate" Clayface. He is defeated by the combined efforts of Batman and Looker of the Outsiders by overloading his abilities, making him melt into the ground. He literally sinks into the Earth's crust when he loses control of his powers; he survives, however, and now his body sports crystals similar to quartz that endow him with greater powers. Karlo escapes his underground prison when Gotham City is struck by a great Cataclysm. He captures Batman and is about to kill him, but he gets into a feud with Mr. Freeze on who has a right to kill the Caped Crusader. Using that distraction, Batman soundly defeats both of them.
During the "No Man's Land" storyline, Karlo holds Poison Ivy, who is in charge of producing fresh vegetables for the remaining people in the city, prisoner in Robinson Park. Poison Ivy eventually battles and defeats Karlo, sinking him deep into the ground. It appears that the Ultimate Clayface is destroyed in this battle, but has resurfaced as a member of the Secret Society of Super Villains. Later, he seeks to increase his already formidable powers by absorbing Wonder Woman (a clay construct similar to him), giving him an amount of powers that bordered on invulnerability. While he is successful in absorbing some of the heroine's powers- causing her to regress to a teenage appearance resembling Donna Troy-, he is ultimately returned to normal when Wonder Woman and Donna were able to trick Clayface into entering a train carriage with Wonder Woman while she was disguised as Donna, Donna subsequently using the Lasso of Truth to swing the carriage around and turn it into a mystical centrifuge, causing the clay Clayface had taken from Wonder Woman to split away from him and re-merge with Wonder Woman due to the differences between the two types of clay
Basil Karlo is among the members of the Injustice League and is among the villains seen in Salvation Run. He can be seen as the member of Libra's Secret Society of Super Villains. In the second issue of Final Crisis, he triggers an explosion at the Daily Planet under Libra's orders when Lex Luthor demands for Libra to do something that will draw Superman to them.
In The New 52 as a part of "Death of the Family" storyline, Poison Ivy breaks Basil Karlo out of Arkham intent on marrying him. This turns out to be a ruse with Poison Ivy messing with Karlo's mind. He later sets out to seek revenge.
Cover to Detective Comics #298. Matt Hagen as Clayface II.
The second Clayface, Matt Hagen, first appeared in Detective Comics #298. A treasure hunter, Hagen finds a mysterious radioactive pool of protoplasm in a cave. Immersing himself in it, he is transformed into a malleable clay-like form which could be shaped into almost anything he desires. This is only a temporary effect, however, requiring him to return to the pool periodically in order to maintain use of his powers.
He eventually copies the pool's protoplasmic jelly by chemistry studies, although the artificial proptoplasm only allows him five hours of Clayface powers compared to the full two days of the pool's.
Hagen is ultimately killed by a shadow demon during the
12-issue limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Clayface appeared alongside the other dead villains only to be defeated by Hawk and Dove and the Teen Titans.
During the "Mud Pack" storyline, the other villains who use the name Clayface gather Hagen's remains and make him a post-mortem member of their gang.
In the Post-Crisis, it is revealed that Hagen survived the shadow demon attack. He later attempts to capture Power Girl shortly before Infinite Crisis occurs in JSA: Classified issues 1-4, but he is later defeated by the original Multiverse's Earth-Two Superman during the Infinite Crisis as he's about to capture her alongside several other villains for Alexander Luthor, Jr. of the original Multiverse's Earth-3, as seen in issue 2 of Infinite Crisis.
Preston Payne as Clayface III battles Batman. From Detective Comics #479.
The third Clayface, Preston Payne, first appeared at the end of Detective Comics #477 before making his first full appearance in #478. Suffering from hyperpituitarism, Payne works at S.T.A.R. Labs searching for a cure. He obtains a sample of the then-living Matt Hagen's blood, and isolates an enzyme which he introduces into his own bloodstream. Although he is briefly able to shape his own appearance, this effect is short-lived: while on a date, his flesh begins to melt, and when he touches his horrified girlfriend, she completely melts. Payne builds an exoskeleton anti-melting suit to prevent himself from touching anyone, but he learns that he needs to spread his melting contagion onto others to survive (he feels pain if he doesn't melt anyone). During this time his mental health starts to slip as he falls in love with a wax mannequin he names "Helena", thinking she is the only woman immune to his touch. After another breakdown, he thinks Helena enjoys watching men "fighting over her" when he battles Batman yet again in front of the wax doll. Although he doesn't give her up, he keeps her in Arkham Asylum, saying "we're both too polite to admit divorce, but she can't live forever."
When Swamp Thing visits Arkham Asylum, he witnesses Payne in an argument with "Helena".
Dr. R. Hutton takes a nightshift at Arkham Asylum in order to do research for his new book detailing superhuman psychology. He keeps a close watch on the inmates at Arkham Asylum. During this time, he sees Clayface spending intimate time with "Helena."
During the events of the Mud Pack, Sondra Fuller, the fourth Clayface, begins masquerading as the hero Looker and visits Payne at Arkham. That same night, he gets into an argument with "Helena" and unintentionally knocks her head off. Believing he has killed her, Payne goes on a rampage until subdued in a nearby swamp by the asylum guards. Fuller, who is still using Looker's appearance and powers, rescues him and influences him to follow Basil Karlo's commands. Karlo ultimately betrays Fuller, and takes samples of her and Payne's blood to inject into himself. Payne finally breaks free of Fuller's control, and is about to kill her when she admits how sorry she is for using him. The two fall in love and go on to live together, leading to Fuller becoming pregnant with their child, Cassius.
Preston acquires medicine to control his pain and now feels the "hunger" only in his mind. It is also revealed that he was abused by his parents.
A stunted, emaciated Preston Payne appears in the graphic novel Arkham Asylum by Grant Morrison and Dave McKean. He is used to metaphorically represent sexually transmitted diseases.
Payne next appears in the Justice League: Cry for Justice miniseries, having been coerced into working for Prometheus, who had threatened the life of his son. Prometheus had further mutated Payne giving him back his old shapeshifting abilities and had him act as a decoy for the Justice League. When the ruse was discovered, an explosive device planted inside Payne's body detonated. It is unknown if the explosive device has killed him.
The fourth Clayface, Sondra Fuller (also known as Lady Clay), first appeared in Outsiders (volume 1) #21. She is a member of Strikeforce Kobra who is transformed into a shape-changer by her employer Kobra's technologies. She agreed to going through with the process because she hates her own face.
She possesses identical abilities to those of Matt Hagen, but they are permanent, without the requirement for a source of protoplasm. She can additionally copy any special powers of the being she is mimicking. She is defeated by the Outsiders.
Later, after the Mud Pack forms and battles Batman, Fuller falls in love with Preston Payne. After Clayface-Prime (Karlo) is defeated, Preston Payne and Sondra Fuller get married and they have a child named Cassius "Clay" Payne. After Abbatoir kidnaps the child, the couple get into a fight involving Azrael/Batman.
Before the debut appearances of the fifth and sixth Clayfaces, Lady Clay and Clayface III team up, breaking Clayface I out of prison and futilely revive Clayface II. Together, the quartet form "the Mudpack." Clayface I later copies the others' powers by injecting himself with extracts of samples of Clayface III and Lady Clay, becoming the "Ultimate Clayface." The three battle, and are defeated by Batman in Detective Comics #604-607. 
Cassius "Clay" Payne
After the Mud Pack, Payne and Fuller fall in love and eventually have a child together named Cassius "Clay" Payne, who becomes the fifth Clayface and debuted in Batman #550. The boy is separated from his parents and held in a government laboratory. The name "Cassius" is a pun on "Cassius Clay", the birth name of boxer Muhammad Ali.
If a piece of him is separated from his body, it can grow a mind of its own, but it mostly thinks in an unstable form of what Cassius wants. If bonded with another human, becoming a Claything, the piece can give that human Clayface-like abilities, such as becoming soft and malleable, being able to withstand bullets and other harm, and could also manifest Payne's ability to melt objects; all this person would have to do to perform such an action is think about it.
In an issue of Batman: Gotham Knights, Cassius is depicted as having the clay-like appearance of his mother and father, but can only stay in Clayface mode while awake (a similar trait shared by Plasmus in the Teen Titans animated series (2003-2006).
Following the Final Crisis storyline, Cassius attacks the National Guard on the roadblock, but when he was approached by General Immortus' team, he is able to recognize one of the team, Human Flame. Cassius attacks and blames him for Libra enslaving the Earth. The Justice League arrives to end the fight as Human Flame and General Immortus' team teleport away, leaving Cassius to be captured. After the League interrogates him, he is taken to FBI vehicles, but the measures to contain him are proven useless; Cassius breaks loose, escaping into the desert.
Dr. Peter "Claything" Malley
The sixth Clayface, also known as Claything, also debuted in Batman #550. Claything is created when a skin sample from Cassius Payne comes to life and merges with a DEO (Department of Extranormal Operations) scientist, Dr. Peter Malley. He has the ability to melt objects simply by looking at them. Claything is destroyed and his remains are stored at the DEO Headquarters.
The seventh Clayface debuted in Catwoman Vol. 3, #1 (January 2002), but is not actually shown until Catwoman Vol. 3, #4 (May 2002). This version of Clayface is not named until Catwoman Vol. 3, #44. Having the power to change into virtually any shape and size, he preys upon prostitutes in Gotham's East End until Catwoman is able to capture his shriveled body inside of a freezer. There are very few background details given about the seventh Clayface's past. He was in the army, suffered injuries, and was subsequently experimented on (possibly by the DEO) before losing most of his memory and discovering his new powers. After his capture, he is held captive and further experimented upon for almost two years at S.T.A.R. Labs in Gotham before being freed by Catwoman.
The eighth Clayface debuted in Batman: Gotham Knights #60 (February 2005). Johnny Williams is introduced as a former firefighter in Gotham who is transformed into a clay-based creature by an explosion in a chemical plant. He first discovers his transformation after he accidentally kills a prostitute; horrified and stricken with guilt, he plans to commit suicide. Just then, he is approached by Hush and the Riddler, who tell him that the chemicals turned him into the latest Clayface. They begin to manipulate Williams, holding out the promise of a cure and making him do their bidding, including pretending to be Tommy Elliot (Hush's true identity) and an adult Jason Todd, to hurt and confuse Bruce Wayne. Eventually, Williams realizes he is being manipulated. Knowing that he is going to die, he offers Batman assistance against Hush in exchange for protecting his family. He redeems himself in his death, also ensuring that Alfred Pennyworth is cleared of murder.
Powers and abilities
Each of the Clayfaces has a different power with the exception of their
In earlier appearances, Basil Karlo had no powers. In recent comics, Basil
Karlo's body is made out of mud upon taking the DNA of Clayface III and Lady
Clay, enabling him to gain the combined powers of both. In The New 52 these
are improved to a level in which he can mimic the DNA of others.
Matt Hagen had temporary shape-shifting, and voice-shifting, and a body
constituted by living mud which he can divide or change tone at will. Hagen
had to re-immerse himself in the protoplasm to recharge his powers.
Preston Payne originally had shape-shifting powers, yet ended up gaining the
ability to melt people with his touch. He has super-strength from his
exo-skeleton anti-melting suit. Preston's shape-shifting ability was later
restored by Prometheus.
Sondra Fuller has shape-shifting powers and power duplication.
Cassius "Clay" Payne has the powers of both his parents. If a piece of him is
separated from his mass, it can develop some consciousness of its own and even
"bond" with a human to transform them into a "Claything".
Dr. Peter Malley had the same powers as Cassius, but could melt people without
Todd Russell had shape-shifting powers.
Johnny Williams had shape-shifting powers.
Dr. Harleen Frances Quinzel
Immunity to most poisons and toxins due to Poison Ivy's injections
Trained in the field of psychiatry
Metahuman agility and enhanced strength
Above average martial arts skills
Total disregard for human life (apart from Joker & Poison Ivy)
As suggested by her name (a play on the
word "harlequin"), she is clad in the manner of a traditional harlequin jester.
The character is a frequent accomplice/girlfriend of the Joker, and is also
close to Poison Ivy, from whom she gained her immunity to poisons and toxins.
Harley Quinn first appeared in the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Joker's Favor", as what was originally supposed to be the animated equivalent of a walk-on role; a number of police officers were to be taken hostage by someone jumping out of a cake, and it was decided that to have the Joker do so himself would be too bizarre (although he ended up doing so anyway). Dini thus created a female sidekick for the Joker. Arleen Sorkin, a former star of the soap opera Days of Our Lives, appeared in a dream sequence on that series in which she wore a jester costume; Dini used this scene as an inspiration for Quinn. Having been friends with Sorkin since college, he incorporated aspects of her personality into the character.
The 1994 graphic novel Mad Love recounts the character's origin. Told in the style and continuity of Batman: The Animated Series and written and drawn by Dini and Timm, the comic book describes Dr. Harleen Frances Quinzel, M.D. as an Arkham Asylum psychiatrist who falls for the Joker and becomes his accomplice and on-off sidekick. The story received wide praise and won the Eisner and Harvey Awards for Best Single Issue Comic of the Year. The New Batman Adventures series adapted Mad Love as the episode of the same name in 1999, making it the second "animated style" comic book adapted for the series. (The other was Holiday Knights.)
She becomes fascinated with the Joker while interning at Arkham, and volunteers to analyze him. She falls hopelessly in love nearly instantly with the Joker during their sessions, and she helps him escape from the asylum more than once. When the Joker is returned to Arkham after a battle with Batman, the sight of her badly injured patient drives Harleen insane, leading her to quit her psychiatrist job and don a jester costume to become Harley Quinn, the Joker's sidekick. She later becomes fast friends with Poison Ivy, who injects her with an antitoxin which gives her super-human strength, agility, and immunity to toxins.
After Batman: The Animated Series and The New Batman Adventures, Harley makes several other animated appearances. She appears as one of the four main female characters of the web cartoon Gotham Girls. She also made guest appearances in other cartoons in the DC animated universe, appearing in the Justice League episode "Wild Cards" (alongside the Joker) and the Static Shock episode "Hard as Nails" (alongside Poison Ivy).
She appeared in World's Finest: The Batman/Superman Movie as a rival and foil for Lex Luthor's assistant Mercy Graves; each takes an immediate dislike for the other, at one point fighting brutally with each other as Lex Luthor and the Joker have a business meeting. In the film's climax, Harley tied Graves as a human shield to a combat robot set to confront Superman and Batman, but Graves is rescued by the two heroes without suffering any harm (other than the damage Harley had inflicted on her beforehand).
The animated movie Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker takes place in the future, long after the events in Batman: The Animated Series. It includes a flashback scene with Harley falling down a deep pit during a battle with Batgirl. At the end of the movie, a pair of twin juvenile girls who model themselves on the Joker are released on bail to their grandmother, who angrily berates them—to which they answer: "Oh, shut up, Nana Harley!"
Comic book publication history
The character proved so popular that she was eventually added to the Batman comic book canon (although she had already appeared in the Elseworlds Batman: Thrillkiller and Batman: Thrillkiller '62 in 1997). The comic book version of Quinn, like the comic book version of the Joker, is more dangerously violent and less humorously quirky than the animated series version. Despite her noticeably more violent demeanor, Harley does show mercy and compassion from time to time; she notably stops Poison Ivy from killing Batman, instead convincing her to leave the hero hanging bound and gagged from a large statue. Batman is later untied by Batgirl.
Harley resurfaces in Detective Comics #831, written by Paul Dini. Harley has spent the last year applying for parole, only to see her request systematically rejected by Bruce Wayne, the layman member of Arkham's medical commission. She is kidnapped by Peyton Riley, the new female Ventriloquist, who offers her a job; Harley turns the job down out of respect for the memory of Arnold Wesker, the original Ventriloquist, who attempted to cheer her up during her first week in Arkham while the Joker was still on the loose. She then helps Batman and Commissioner Gordon foil the impostor's plans. Although Riley escapes, Bruce Wayne is impressed with Harley's effort at redemption, and agrees with granting her parole.
In Birds of Prey #105, Harley Quinn is revealed as the sixth member of the Secret Six. In issue #108, upon hearing that Oracle has sent the Russian authorities footage of teammate Deadshot murdering the Six's employer as payback for double-crossing them, Harley asks, "Is it a bad time to say 'I quit'?", thus leaving the team.
In Countdown #43, Harley appears to have reformed and is shown to be residing in an Amazon-run women's shelter. Having abandoned her jester costume and clown make-up, she now only wears an Amazonian stola or chiton. She befriends the former Catwoman replacement Holly Robinson, and then succeeds in persuading her to join her at the shelter, where she is working as an assistant. They are both brought to Themiscyra by "Athena" (really Granny Goodness) and begin Amazon training. Holly and Harley then meet the real Athena, and encounter Mary Marvel. The group reveal Granny's deception, and Holly, Harley, and Mary follow her as she retreats to Apokolips. Mary finds the Olympian gods, whom Granny had been holding prisoner, and the group frees them. Harley is granted powers by Thalia as a reward. Upon returning to Earth, the powers vanish, and Harley and Holly return to Gotham City.
Harley Quinn joins forces with Poison Ivy and Catwoman in the series Gotham City Sirens. Having moved in with Pamela Isley at the Riddler's apartment, she meets up with Catwoman, who offers for the three of them to live and work together. A new villain who tried to take down Selina Kyle named Boneblaster breaks into the apartment, and the three of them have to move after they defeat him. Later, after a chance encounter with Hush, the Joker attempts to kill her, apparently out of jealousy. Quinn is rescued by Ivy and Catwoman, and it is later revealed that her attacker wasn't the real Joker, but one of his old henchmen impersonating him.
Gotham City Sirens #7 establishes that she was born and raised in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, into a Jewish-Catholic family. Her father is a con artist who is still in jail. Her brother, Barry, is a slob with dreams of rock stardom, and her mother, Sharon, wants her to stop the "villain and hero stuff".
On a certain instance Harley attempted to steal from Two-Face and the Riddler, but was caught and they were not happy. Later, Poison Ivy discovers Harley bound and gagged in a closet, and Ivy removes the gag and unties her.
Following a number of adventures with Catwoman and Ivy, Harley betrays them and breaks into Arkham with the goal of killing the Joker for abusing her as often as he did. However, Harley ultimately chooses to instead release Joker from his cell, and together the two orchestrate a violent takeover of the facility that results in most of the guards and staff members either being killed or taken hostage by the inmates. Harley and the Joker are eventually defeated by Batman and Catwoman, and Harley is last seen being wheeled away while bound in a straitjacket and muzzle. Shortly after this, Poison Ivy breaks into Harley's cell and attempts to kill her for her betrayal, but instead offers to free her if she helps kill Catwoman, who had left both of her fellow Sirens behind in Arkham. Harley agrees, and the two set out to trap Catwoman. During the ensuing fight, Catwoman says that she saw good in them and only wanted to help. Just as Batman is about to arrest them, Catwoman helps the two of them escape.
Expert in chemistry and engineering
Skilled in hand-to-hand combat
The Joker is a fictional character, a comic book supervillain appearing in publications by DC Comics. The character was created by Jerry Robinson, Bill Finger and Bob Kane, and first appeared in Batman #1 (Spring 1940). As the archenemy of the superhero Batman, the Joker has subsequently appeared in television programs, films, games, as well as on a variety of merchandise. The credit for creating the character is disputed, as both Kane and Robinson claimed responsibility for the Joker's design, but acknowledged Finger's writing contribution.
Throughout his comic book appearances, the Joker is portrayed as a highly intelligent, master criminal. Originally introduced as a psychopath with a warped, sadistic sense of humor, the character became a goofy prankster in the late 1950s in response to the regulation of the Comics Code Authority, before returning to his darker roots in the early 1970s. As Batman's nemesis, Joker has been a part of many of the defining stories of that character, including the paralysis of Batman's ally Batgirl, as well as the murder of Jason Todd, Batman's ward and the second Robin. Throughout the Joker's long history, there have been several different origin tales, but the most common has falling into a tank of chemical waste, which bleaches his skin white and turns his hair green and his lips bright red. He has been repeatedly analyzed by critics as the perfect adversary for Batman: their long, dynamic relationship often parallels the concept of yin and yang.
As one of the most iconic and recognized villains in popular media, the Joker was ranked #1 on Wizard's list of the 100 Greatest Villains of All Time. He was also named #2 on IGN's list of the Top 100 Comic Book Villains of All Time List, was ranked #8 on the Greatest Comic Book Characters in History list by Empire (being the highest ranking villain on the list) and was listed as the fifth Greatest Comic Book Character Ever in Wizard magazine's 200 Greatest Comic Book Characters of all Time list, also the highest villain on the list. On their list of the 100 Greatest Fictional Characters, Fandomania.com ranked the Joker at number 30. TV Guide included Cesar Romero's interpretation of the character in a 2013 list of the "60 nastiest villains of all time".
The Joker has appeared as an adversary for Batman across a wide spectrum of media in both live-action and animated incarnations, including the 1960s Batman television series where he is portrayed by Cesar Romero. He has been portrayed in film by Jack Nicholson in Batman (1989), along with Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight (2008), for which Ledger posthumously earned the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Mark Hamill, Brent Spiner and Michael Emerson, among many others, have voiced the character in animation.
Jerry Robinson, Bill Finger and Bob Kane are generally considered to be responsible for creating the Joker, but much like his arch-enemy Batman, the character's origins are disputed, with each man providing their own version of his conception and their role therein. Accepted elements of the characters inspiration include a photo of actor Conrad Veidt in The Man Who Laughs (1928) seen by Finger, as well as a Joker playing card provided by Robinson. Individually, Finger would state that he also found inspiration from an image he saw at Steeplechase Park on Coney Island, and Robinson cited a sketch he had made in 1940 as the source of the Joker's design. Although Kane adamantly refused to share credit over many of his characters and would refuse to credit Robinson's involvement up until Kane's death, many comic historians credit give credit to Robinson as the Joker's creator, with development by Finger.
In a 1994 interview, Kane said:
Bill Finger and I created the Joker. Bill was the writer. Jerry Robinson came to me with a playing card of the Joker. That's the way I sum it up. [The Joker] looks like Conrad Veidt — you know, the actor in The Man Who Laughs, [the 1928 movie based on the novel] by Victor Hugo. [...] Bill Finger had a book with a photograph of Conrad Veidt and showed it to me and said, 'Here's the Joker'. Jerry Robinson had absolutely nothing to do with it, but he'll always say he created it till he dies. He brought in a playing card, which we used for a couple of issues for him [the Joker] to use as his playing card.
Robinson however credits himself, Finger and Kane for playing a role in the Joker's creation. Robinson countered that he created the Joker to be Batman's larger-than-life nemesis when extra stories needed to be written quickly for Batman #1, and that he received credit for the story in a college course. Robinson said:
In that first meeting when I showed them that sketch of the Joker, Bill said it reminded him of Conrad Veidt in The Man Who Laughs. That was the first mention of it...He can be credited and Bob himself, we all played a role in it. The concept was mine. Bill finished that first script from my outline of the persona and what should happen in the first story. He wrote the script of that, so he really was co-creator, and Bob and I did the visuals, so Bob was also.
Robinson was only 17 years old when he was hired as an assistant by Kane in 1939. Kane had noticed Robinson wearing a white jacket decorated with his own illustrations. Starting as a letterer and background inker, Robinson quickly became the primary artist on the newly created Batman comic book series. In a 1984 interview on creating the Joker, Robinson said that he wanted a supreme arch-villain who could test Batman, but was not another typical crime lord or gangster. Robinson wanted a character who was more exotic and enduring, to serve as a continuing source of conflict for Batman in the vein of Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty, and thus designed a diabolically sinister but clownish villain. Robinson found villains more interesting characters and his studies at Columbia University had taught him that some characters are built on their contradictions which led him give the Joker a sense of humor. Robinson said that the name came first, followed by the image of the playing card from a deck he often had at hand. He said "I wanted somebody visually exciting. I wanted somebody that would make an indelible impression, would be bizarre, would be memorable like the Hunchback of Notre Dame or any other villains that had unique physical characters." Robinson told Finger of his concept by phone, before later providing sketches of the character accompanied by images of what would become his iconic Joker playing card design. Finger thought the concept was not yet complete, providing the aforementioned image of Conrad Veidt bearing a ghastly, permanent rictus grin. An interview from the same time period saw Kane dispute Robinson's story, but because Finger had given credit to Robinson, historians generally accept Robinson's version of events. By 2011, Robinson, Finger, as well as Kane had died, leaving the complete story unresolved.
In his initial dozen or so appearances, starting with Batman #1 (1940), the Joker was a straightforward homicidal maniac, with a bizarre appearance modeled after the Joker playing card. The character was to be killed in his second appearance in Batman #1 after being stabbed in the heart. Finger wanted the Joker to die, as he was concerned that allowing recurring villains would make Batman appear inept, but he was overruled by then-editor Whitney Ellsworth who suggested that the character be spared. A hastily-drawn panel, demonstrating that the Joker was still alive, was subsequently added to the comic. The Joker went on to appear in nine of Batman's first twelve issues. The Joker's frequent appearances quickly defined him as the archenemy of the dynamic duo Batman and Robin, with his murderous persona continuing to claim lives and even derail a train. However, by issue #13, the first signs of a change in the Joker began to appear, with the character kidnapping and ransoming Robin, only to be thwarted when the ransom is paid with a person cheque, preventing him from claiming his money without being arrested. Around the same time, DC Comics had found it was easier to market their stories to kids without the darker elements that had originated the characters. The 1942 cover of Detective Comics #69, known as "Double Guns" (as it depicts the Joker emerging from a genie lamp, wielding two guns at Batman and Robin) is considered one of the greatest superhero comic covers of the Golden Age. Ironically, this was the only image to show the character using traditional guns. Robinson said that other common villains of the time used guns, and the creative team wanted the Joker to be more resourceful, in order to be a worthy adversary for Batman.
The Joker was one of the few popular villains who continued making regular appearances in Batman comics from the Golden Age into the Silver Age, as Batman comics continued publication through the rise of mystery and romance comics. The rise of the Comics Code Authority in the 1950s saw excessive comic violence banned, and resulted in the Joker's transformation into a goofy, thieving trickster, with none of the homicidal menace featured in his earlier incarnation. In 1951, Finger wrote an origin story for the Joker in Detective Comics #168 which introduced the concept of him formerly being the criminal Red Hood, as well as his disfigurement being the result of falling into a chemical vat. The use of the character lessened somewhat by the mid-sixties, when Julius Schwartz took over editorship of the Batman comics in 1964, and the character remained largely absent throughout the decade. This version of the character was adapted into the 1966 television series Batman. The campy show's popularity saw Schwartz instructed to keep the comics of a similar tone, but once the series had ended in 1968, Schwartz was free to begin reversing the trend. The Silver Age introduced defining character traits like the use of acid-squirting flowers, trick guns, as well as the committing of goofy, elaborate crimes.
The Joker's actual first appearance as an Earth-One character is a matter of interpretation, as there has never been an actual distinction between when the Golden Age Earth-Two Joker ceased making regular published appearances and when the Silver Age Joker was introduced. Due to retcons, DC continuity cites Batman #85 as the earliest documented meeting of the Earth-One character. Batman #97 (Feb 1956) and World's Finest Comics #88 (May 1957) are the first comic book appearances of the Joker in what we now consider the Silver Age of Comics.
In 1973, after a four-year disappearance, the character was revived and profoundly revised in Batman stories by writer Dennis O'Neil and artist Neal Adams. Beginning in Batman #251, with "The Joker's Five-Way Revenge", the Joker returns to his roots as a homicidal maniac who murders people on a whim, while enjoying battles of wits with Batman. The story began a trend where the Joker was used more sparingly as a central character. O'Neil said his idea was "simply to take it back to where it started. I went to the DC library and read some of the early stories. I tried to get a sense of what Kane and Finger were after." O'Neil's 1973 run introduced the concept of Joker's legally defined insanity, that resulted in the Joker being sent to Arkham Asylum (then Arkham Hospital) following its creation in 1974, instead of prison. Adams also modified the character's appearance, changing his more average body type to look taller and leaner, with an extended jaw.
In 1975, the Joker became the star of his own comic series The Joker which followed the villain as he faced off with other supervillains and superheroes, with the first issue being written by O'Neil. Because the Comics Code Authority mandated that villains receive punishment, each issue ended with the Joker apprehended: this limited the scope of stories that could be told, and the series lasted only 9 issues.
Writer Steve Englehart and penciler Marshall Rogers, in an acclaimed eight-issue run in Detective Comics #471-476 (Aug. 1977 - April 1978), which went on to influence the 1989 movie Batman and be adapted for the 1990s animated series, added elements deepening the severity of the Joker's insanity. In their story "The Laughing Fish", the Joker is brazen enough to disfigure fish with a rictus grin, then expects to be granted a federal trademark on them, only to start killing bureaucrats who try to explain that obtaining such a claim on a natural resource is legally impossible. Rogers also expanded on Adams' character design, adding a fedora and trench coat to the Joker's wardrobe. Discussing his Joker, Englehart said "He was this very crazy, scary character. I really wanted to get back to the idea of Batman fighting insane murderers at 3 a.m. under the full moon, as the clouds scuttled by."
Years after the end of the 1966 television series, sales of Batman dwindled until the release of Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns in 1986, which helped usher in an era of darker storytelling by reimagining Batman as an older, retired hero, as well as the Joker as a bulkier, muscular villain who is catatonic without his foe. The late 1980s saw the Joker have a large impact on Batman and his supporting cast. The 1988-89 story arc "A Death in the Family" had the Joker murder Batman's sidekick Jason Todd, an action decided by readers who voted via phone for Todd's fate. The 1988 graphic novel The Killing Joke by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland expanded on the Joker's origins, defining the character as a failed comedian who donned the Red Hood identity to help support his pregnant wife. The story is cited as one of the greatest Joker stories ever written, as well as had a significant influence on later comic stories, including the forced retirement of then-Batgirl Barbara Gordon following her paralysis at Joker's hands, as well as films like Batman (1989) and The Dark Knight (2008). Grant Morrison's Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth (1989) explores the psychoses of the Joker, Batman and his other rogues while trapped in the eponymous facility. These stories helped redefine the Joker for DC's Modern Age after the company wide reboot following Crisis on Infinite Earths.
In 1999, the Joker was given a romantic interest in the form of Harley Quinn, a psychologist who falls in love with him and becomes his accomplice. Their relationship is an abusive one, with the Joker frequently insulting, hurting and even trying to kill Quinn. Following the 2011 reboot of DC Comics' story continuity, the Joker appeared in his first major storyline, "Death of the Family" (2012) by writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo. It explores the dependent relationship between Joker and Batman, as well as causes a separation between Batman and his adopted family.
Fictional character biography
The character of Joker has undergone many revisions over his seven decades in publication. The generally accepted and consistent aspect of the character is that while disguised as the criminal Red Hood, he fell into a vat of chemicals while being pursued by Batman and that these chemicals bleached his skin white, dyed his hair green and his lips ruby red, as well as resulted in his insanity. The context for wearing the Red Hood costume and who he was before his chemical bath have changed over time.
In Batman #1 (1940), he challenges Gotham's underworld and police department by announcing over the radio that he will kill three of Gotham's most prominent citizens at certain times. Batman and Robin investigate the crimes and find the victims' bodies stricken with a perpetual grin upon their faces. The Joker traps Robin and is prepared to murder him with the same deadly Joker venom, but Batman rescues Robin and the Joker goes to prison. In the next issue he is in the hospital recovering, but is broken out by a criminal gang. For the next several appearances, the Joker often escaped capture but suffered an apparent death (falling off a cliff, being caught in a burning building, etc.), from which his body was not recovered. From the Joker's first appearance in Batman #1, he has committed crimes both whimsical and brutal, all with a logic and reasoning that, in Batman's words, "make sense to him alone." In his first appearance, the character leaves his victims with post-mortem smiles on their faces, a modus operandi that has been carried on throughout the decades with the concept of the character. The 1970s redefined the character as a murderous psychopath. "The Joker's Five-Way Revenge" follows the Joker taking violent revenge on the former gang members who betrayed him and "The Laughing Fish" sees Joker chemically add his visage to Gotham's fish in hopes of profiting from the copyright, as well as killing bureaucrats who deny his copyright request.
Batman: The Killing Joke (1988) explores a possible origin for the Joker, portraying him as a failed comedian who commits a robbery to support his pregnant wife, only to go insane after she dies and he is disfigured during an encounter with Batman. He remarks that this story may not be true; he admits that he does not precisely remember his life before becoming the Joker, preferring his past to be "multiple choice". The Killing Joke is also significant in the Batman mythos for its portrayal of the Joker paralyzing then-Batgirl Barbara Gordon and torturing her father, Commissioner James Gordon.
In the 1988 story "A Death in the Family", the Joker beats Jason Todd, the second Robin, with a crowbar and leaves him to die in an explosion. Todd's death haunts Batman, and intensifies his obsession with his archenemy.
During the 1999 "No Man's Land" storyline, the Joker murders Commissioner Gordon's second wife, Sarah as she shields a group of infants. The Joker is shown frowning in the aftermath of the murder. He taunts Gordon, provoking the commissioner to shoot him in the kneecap. The Joker laments that he may never walk again and then collapses with laughter as he realizes that Gordon has avenged Barbara's paralysis.
The 2000s launched with the crossover story "Emperor Joker", in which the Joker steals Mister Mxyzptlk's reality-altering power and remaking the universe in his own image. Joker tortures and kills Batman daily before resurrecting him. The Joker attempts to destroy the universe but is unwilling to erase Batman from existence, causing him to lose control and allow Superman, Mxyzptlk and the Spectre to defeat him. Batman is left broken by his experience and Superman erases Batman's memories so that he can go on. In "Joker's Last Laugh" (2001), the psychiatrists at Arkham Asylum convince the Joker that he is dying in an attempt to rehabilitate him. Instead the Joker, flanked by an army of "Jokerized" supervillains, launches his final crime spree. Believing that Robin has been killed in the chaos, Dick Grayson beats Joker to death. Batman resuscitates his foe to keep Grayson from becoming a murderer.
In "Under the Hood" (2005) Todd is resurrected by Ra's al Ghul's Lazarus Pit, and takes on his murderer's former identity of the Red Hood. He attempts to force Batman to avenge his death by killing the Joker, who finds the conflict between the pair more rewarding than Todd's death. The Joker kills Alexander Luthor in Infinite Crisis (2005) for excluding him from the Secret Society of Super Villains, who considered Joker too unpredictable. The Joker is left physically scarred and disabled in "Batman & Son" (2006) when he is shot by a deranged police officer impersonating Batman. Joker returns recovered in Batman #663 and attempts to kill his henchmen and Quinn to signify his spiritual rebirth. The 2008 story arc "Batman R.I.P." sees Joker recruited into the Black Glove's plans to destroy Batman. He plays along conscious that Batman will survive their attempt. Following Batman's apparent death in "Final Crisis" (2008), Grayson investigates a series of murders which lead him to the Joker, who is diguised as British journalist Oberson Sexton. After the Joker is arrested, then-Robin Damian Wayne beats him with a crowbar: Joker realizes this Robin is Batman's son, noting their physical resemblance. Joker escapes and launches an attack on the Black Glove. Guided to a climatic confrontation, Grayson and Damian are aided against Joker and the Black Glove by the return of Batman: and the Joker is captured.
In the 2010s, DC's The New 52, a 2011 relaunch of their titles, the Joker has his own face cut off. He disappears for a year, returning in the "Death of the Family" storyline to launch an attack on Batman's entire extended family so that he and Batman can be "the best hero and villain they can be". The conclusion of the storyline sees the Joker fall off a cliff into a dark abyss.
The Joker has been referred to as the Clown Prince of Crime (or Chaos), the Harlequin of Hate (Havoc), as well as the Ace of Knaves. Throughout the evolution of the DC Universe, interpretations and incarnations of the Joker have taken two forms. The original and currently dominant image is of a highly intelligent psychopath with a warped, sadistic sense of humor. The other interpretation of the character, popular in the late 1940s through 1960s comic books as well as the 1960s television series, is that of an eccentric but harmless prankster and thief.
In the graphic novel The Joker: Devil's Advocate, the Joker is reported to have killed well over 2,000 people. Despite having murdered enough people to get the death penalty thousands of times over, he is always found not guilty by reason of insanity. The Joker is renowned as Batman's greatest enemy. His unpredictable, homicidal nature makes him one of the most feared supervillains in the DC Universe: in the Villains United and Infinite Crisis mini-series, the members of the villains' Secret Society refuse to induct the Joker for this reason. In the mini-series Underworld Unleashed, the Trickster remarks, "When super-villains want to scare each other, they tell Joker stories."
The Joker's main characteristic is his apparent insanity, although he is not described as fitting any particular psychological disorder. In A Serious House on Serious Earth, Joker is described as processing sensory information from the outside world by simply adapting to it, causing him to create a new personality every day; he is sometimes a mischievous clown and at others a psychopathic killer, depending on what would benefit him the most. The Killing Joke, in which Joker serves as an unreliable narrator, depicts the root of his insanity as having "one bad day", in this case losing his wife and unborn child, as well as being disfigured. He tries and fails to prove that anyone can become like him after one bad day, by psychologically and physically torturing Commissioner Gordon. Batman offers to rehabilitate his foe, but the Joker declines, saying it is "far too late". In other interpretation, his insanity is merely an act. Comics scholar Peter Coogan describes the Joker as trying to reshape reality to fit himself by imposing his visage on his victims, even fish, in an attempt to make the world comprehensible by creating a twisted parody of himself. Englehart's "The Laughing Fish" shows the character's illogical nature: He attempts to copyright fish that bear his face, and does not understand why threatening the copyright clerk cannot produce the desired result.
Joker is alternatively depicted as a sexual and asexual
being. In The Dark Knight Returns and Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on
Serious Earth, Joker openly flirts with Batman, leaving open to interpretation
whether their relationship contains [[homoeroticism}homoerotic]] undertones. Frank
Miller interpreted the character as fixated on death and not interested in a
sexual relationship, while Robinson believes that Joker is capable of having a
girlfriend. His abusive romantic relationship with "henchgirl" Harley Quinn is
the subject of debate. Although Joker keeps her at his side, he frequently
causes her physical harm, even throwing her out of a window without checking to see
if she survived afterwards. While Harley displays sexual interests, Joker
does not, chiding her for distracting him from other plans. Snyder's "Death
of the Family" presents Joker as being in love with Batman, though not
in a traditional romantic way. The Joker believes he makes Batman better,
and that Batman loves him, justifying why Batman has not killed him.
The Joker and Batman represent complete opposites, the extroverted Joker
wearing colorful garb and embracing chaos to the introverted Batman in monochrome
colors represents order and discipline. The Joker is often represented as
existing only because Batman does. In "Going Sane" (1994), believing he has killed
Batman, the Joker alters his appearance and attempts to lead a normal life, only
to instantly become the Joker again when Batman reappears. The Joker has had many
chances to learn Batman's true identity, but has declined each one, as he
has no interest in what lies behind Batman's mask. Notable exceptions to this
portrayal are the DCMAU and Batman: The Brave and the Bold versions of the
Knightfall (1993) sees the supervillain Scarecrow use his fear gas to expose Joker's fears, but it has no effect on him. In Morrison's JLA, the Martian Manhunter uses his telepathic powers to reorganize the Joker's mind and create momentary sanity. In those few moments, the Joker expresses regret for his many crimes and pleads for a chance at redemption. However, during Batman: Cacophony, the Joker is again rendered sane when he is dosed with mood stabilizers and antipsychotics in a prison hospital, after being critically wounded by Onomatopoeia. During a relatively civil conversation with Batman, he expresses regret for the loss that motivated Batman to fight against preventable death, but informs the Dark Knight "I don't hate you 'cause I'm crazy. I'm crazy 'cause I hate you". He then states that he will only stop hurting and killing people when Batman is dead. In Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #145, the Joker became sane when Batman put him in one of Ra's al Ghul's Lazarus Pits after being shot, a reversal of the insanity which comes after experiencing such rejuvenation. However, the sanity is only temporary and soon the Joker is reverted to his "normal" self.
Skills and equipment
The Joker has no inherent superhuman abilities. Instead, he commits crimes with a variety of weaponized comic props such as a deck of bladed playing cards, a flower in his lapel that alternately sprays corrosive acid, poisonous gas, or simply water, cyanide-stuffed pies, exploding cigars filled with nitroglycerin, harpoon guns which shoots a flag saying "BANG!", but then, with another pull of the trigger, the flag fires and impales its target, and a lethally electric joy buzzer. His most prominent weapon is his Joker venom, a poison that infects his victims with a ghoulish rictus grin and uncontrollable laughing fits that lead to paralysis, coma, or death. Joker venom has been his primary calling card from his first appearance. The Joker is immune to every known venom as well as to his own laughing toxin: in Batman #663, Morrison writes that "being an avid consumer of his products, the Joker's immunity to poisons has been built up over years of dedicated abuse".
The Joker is portrayed as highly intelligent and skilled in the fields of chemistry and engineering, as well an expert with explosives. From his first appearance onward, he has been consistently portrayed as capable of hijacking broadcasts - usually news programs - of both the television and radio varieties. The Joker has been shown kidnapping a computer genius, as well as admitting that he does not know much about computers, although later writers have portrayed him as very computer literate.
Joker's skills in unarmed combat vary considerably depending on the writer. In his initial appearances he is portrayed as an equal to Batman, nearly besting him. His versatility in combat is due in part to his own extensive array of hidden gadgets and weapons on his person that he often pulls out on a moment's whim (rolling a handful of explosive marbles on the ground, retractable knives attached to his spats, etc.), other writers, on the other hand, portray Joker as physically frail to the point that he can be defeated with a single punch. He is, however, consistently described as agile.
Though many have been related, a definitive back-story has never been established for the Joker in the comics, as well as his real name having never been confirmed so far. He himself is confused as to what actually happened: as he says in The Killing Joke, "Sometimes I remember it one way, sometimes another... if I'm going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice!" The first origin account, Detective Comics #168 (February 1951), shows the Joker had once been the criminal Red Hood. In the story, he is a chemical engineer looking to steal from the company that employs him. After committing the theft he is thwarted by Batman and falls into a vat of chemical waste. He emerges with bleached white skin, red lips, green hair and a persistent grin.
The most widely cited backstory, which the official DC Comics publication, Who's Who in the DC Universe credits as the most widely supported account, is featured in The Killing Joke. It depicts him as originally being an engineer at a chemical plant who quits his job to become a stand-up comedian, only to fail miserably. To support his pregnant wife, he agrees to help two criminals rob his former workplace. After his wife dies in a household accident, the heartbroken engineer tries to back out of the plan, but the criminals strong-arm him into keeping his commitment. That night, the police unexpectedly show up and kill the two criminals, and Batman appears to confront the engineer. Terrified, the engineer leaps into a vat of chemicals. When he surfaces in a nearby reservoir and removes the hood, he discovers that the chemicals have bleached his skin and dyed his hair green and lips red. The engineer is driven insane by the events of "one bad day" and becomes the Joker. This version of events is cited in Batman: The Man Who Laughs when Batman performs chemical tests on the Red Hood's mask recovered from his first investigation into the Joker. Joker's Red Hood identity is further confirmed in Batman #450 when he finds an old Red Hood costume and puts it on to help his recovery after the events of A Death in the Family.
In the story "Pushback" (Batman: Gotham Knights #50-55), the Riddler recounts that the Joker's wife was kidnapped and murdered by a corrupt cop working for the criminals in order to force the engineer into performing the crime. "Payback" shows pictures of the pre-disfigurement Joker — identified as "Jack" — with his wife, giving further support to this version.
The Paul Dini-Alex Ross story "Case Study" proposes a different origin, suggesting that Joker was a sadistic gangster who worked his way up Gotham's criminal food chain until he was the leader of a powerful mob. Still seeking the thrills that dirty work allowed, he created the Red Hood identity for himself so that he could commit small-time crimes. Eventually, he has his fateful first meeting with Batman, resulting in his disfigurement. It is implied that Joker remains sane, and tailors his crimes to look like the work of a sick mind in order to evade the death penalty. Unfortunately, the written report found explaining this theory is discovered to have been written by Dr. Harleen Quinzel, aka Harley Quinn, which invalidates any credibility it could have in court.
The second arc of Batman Confidential (#7-12) re-imagines the Joker as a gifted criminal named Jack, who has grown bored with his work. Jack becomes obsessed with Batman after the Dark Knight breaks up one of his crimes, and embarks upon a brutal crime wave to get his attention. When Jack wounds Bruce Wayne's girlfriend during a robbery, an enraged Batman scars his face with a batarang, resulting in a permanent grin. Jack escapes and Batman gives Jack's information to mobsters, who torture Jack in a chemical plant. Jack escapes, but falls into an empty vat as wild gunfire punctures the chemical tanks above him and the resultant flood of chemicals used in anti-psychotic medication alters his appearance, completing his transformation into the Joker.
In The Brave and the Bold issue #31, the Atom assists in an operation on the Joker's brain, as well as sees the flashes of the villain committing various brutal crimes before his disfigurement: savagely beating a bully, burning his parents alive after they find him killing pets, as well as joining a gang and needlessly murdering a shopkeeper.
Although many Joker origins conform to the notion of his physical transformation being the result of chemical bleaching, some portrayals suggest that his red lips are purely the result of wearing lipstick. Others have inconsistently depicted the Joker's trademark smile as resulting from some form of additional disfigurement. Most comic portrayals, however, default to depicting the Joker as unscarred and fully capable of not smiling, should the mood take him.
Croc, King Croc
Superhuman strength, speed, agility, reflexes, stamina, durability, and
Hardened scale-like skin
Razor-sharp claws and teeth
Imunity to toxins
Regenerative healing factor
Experienced alligator wrestler
Killer Croc is a fictional character, a supervillain who appears in comic books published by DC Comics. He is an enemy of Batman. The character was created by writer Gerry Conway and by artists Gene Colan & Curt Swan. While there was a shadowy cameo in Detective Comics #523 (February 1983), his first full appearance was in Batman #357 (March 1983), which was also the first appearance of Jason Todd.
Fictional character biography
In Croc's initial string of appearances, a Batman and Detective Comics crossover story arc that culminated in Jason Todd adopting the mantle of Robin, he was depicted as an unnamed, shadowy figure in a trenchcoat. A ruthless criminal who wants to become the crime kingpin of Gotham City, Croc works behind the scenes using methods like sniping to eliminate his criminal competitors. He briefly is in competition with a small army of Batman villains under the leadership of the Joker. When Batman finally confronts his mysterious foe, the villain is revealed to have a massive physique and reptilian appearance. It is then revealed that his real name is Waylon Jones, born with a form of atavism that imparted him with reptilian traits. His drunk aunt grew to hate her nephew's hideous appearance and brutal behavior. While still an adolescent, his aunt abused him and bullied him by calling him names like "lizardboy" and "a reptilian freak". Croc killed his aunt and became a criminal. After countless killings and biting off Aaron Cash's hand, he faced off against Batman and the new Robin, who defeated him.
In these original, pre-crisis appearances, Killer Croc resembled a powerfully-built man covered entirely in green scales, but was still basically human in his facial proportions and build. He was also originally depicted as gunning down Jason Todd's parents (this was later retconned to make Two-Face their murderer). His appearance and personality have become increasingly bestial, explained in the comics that his disease has slowly robbed him of allidentifiable human traits. In his most recent appearances, he has an elongated snout and tail.
In Batman #489, Killer Croc attacks a shopping mall. After delivering several blows to Croc, Batman is distracted by a glimpse of Bane. Croc then grabs Batman and tries to break his back again. He fails, and Bane pits himself against Croc, breaking his arms. He is then put back into Arkham Asylum.
When Bane breaks the inmates out of Arkham Asylum in the Knightfall saga, Croc attempts to get revenge on Bane. While in the sewers, he smells Bane and goes after him and the two fight each other atop a ledge. Bane casually breaks one of Croc's arms again, but Croc keeps fighting him through it until the ledge they are standing on breaks and the two fall into the sewers. The fight ends up as a draw. Croc later returns, attacking the docks to try and lure Robin out, but is defeated by Dick Grayson (now acting as Batman after Bruce defeated Valley before taking time off for self-analysis) without realizing that he is facing a new Batman.
In a storyline that ran in Batman #521 and #522, Croc is summoned by a paranormal force to break out of Arkham and make his way to the Louisiana swamps. Batman follows him there, only to find that the mysterious force is actually Swamp Thing, who offers Croc a place in the swampland where he can finally give in to his animal side and live free from human persecution.
Killer Croc has appeared in both the Hush storyline and its chronological follow up, Broken City. In the former, he is infected with a virus that greatly increases the rate of his devolution, 'overseeing' a kidnapping for Hush before Batman defeats him.
In 2005's Detective Comics #810, Killer Croc attempts to cure his condition. When the doctor fails, Croc devours her.
In Infinite Crisis, Croc becomes a member of Alexander Luthor, Jr.'s Secret Society of Super Villains.
One Year Later during the Face the Face storyline, Killer Croc is shown to have been feeding on the dead body of Orca. He next shows up in Countdown where he breaks free from his shackles in Arkham Asylum and attempts to kill Jimmy Olsen, who uses elastic powers to escape. Killer Croc is then subdued.
He is later seen among the exiled supervillains in Salvation Run. After the Martian Manhunter is defeated and imprisoned in a fiery cage, Croc suggests that he eats him. Lex Luthor forbids it however.
During the Final Crisis storyline, Killer Croc can be seen as the member of Libra's Secret Society of Super Villains. Killer Croc is later turned into a Justifier.
In the Battle for the Cowl storyline, Killer Croc is recruited by a new Black Mask to be a part of a group of villains aiming to take over Gotham.
During the events of Brightest Day, Killer Croc is accidentally released from his cell by a guard whom Osiris kills when Deathstroke and his band of Titans infiltrate Arkham. While attempting to flee from the facility, he is attacked by Osiris who mistakes Killer Croc for his old enemy Sobek.
Powers and abilities
Killer Croc's backstory explains that he was born with a condition resembling epidermolytic hyperkeratosis, a disfiguring skin disorder. However, it is actually a form of regressive atavism, meaning that he has inherited traits of ancestral species of the human race such as reptiles. This condition has been augmented by the presence of a metagene. Consequently, he has several extraordinary physical abilities relating to his endurance, strength, and speed.
His skin is hardened to the degree that it is nearly impenetrable to ordinary forms of abrasion including high caliber weapons fired from a distance. He possesses a degree of super strength; for example, he was able to tear a bank vault door off of its hinges with minimal effort. He has demonstrated regenerative powers allowing him to heal and restore lost limbs and teeth. He possesses superhuman reflexes and speed, especially while he is moving underwater. Killer Croc also has an enhanced sense of smell. Once he has become familiar with a person's scent he can track them from miles away. As his appearance and personality has grown more and more bestial, his misanthropy has increased dramatically. He is jealous and hateful of "normal" people and often lashes out violently without provocation.
Croc's main weakness is consistently portrayed in most adaptations, aside from The Batman series, as being his low intellect. He typically resorts to brute force to solve most of his problems, allowing Batman to outmaneuver him in combat by thinking his way through the problems he faces in defeating the powerful Croc. Batman regularly describes his foe as an animal rather than a man. He acts almost solely on instinct and hardly ever takes the time to plan or rationalize his actions.
In recent years, Killer Croc has been portrayed as being much more reptilian than in past incarnations. An action figure made by Kenner in 1998 featured a tail and dinosaur-like feet. When Mattel got the license to make DC products in the early 2000s, they released their own version of Killer Croc, sculpted by Four Horsemen Studios. This version also featured a tail and dinosaur feet. In late 2005, a re-release of this figure was modified so that the tail, along with his shirt, was removed. This version also sports a more "human" head.
The 2002-2003 Batman storyline Hush featured a more bestial Croc who had been mutated against his will to appear more reptilian. This version of the character was drawn by artist Jim Lee.
In The New 52 he is shown to have a crocodile-like head, though how this came to be has not yet been revealed. Such a design had previously appeared in Red Hood and the Outlaws drawn by Kenneth Rocafort.
The Mad Hatter
Technological mind-control devices
Surprising strength and agility
The Mad Hatter is a fictional character, a supervillain who appears in comic books published by DC Comics. He serves as an enemy of Batman. He is modeled after the Hatter from Lewis Carroll's novel, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, a character often called the "Mad Hatter" in adaptations of Carroll. He made his first appearance in Batman #49 in October 1948.
Like other Batman villains, the Mad Hatter has become a darker character over the years. The Mad Hatter is depicted as a scientist who invents and uses technological mind-controlling devices to influence and manipulate the minds of his victims, believing that "the mind is the weakest part of a person". He is well known for sporting a green-colored hat which is usually slightly oversized, as it houses his mobile mind-manipulating devices.
Jervis Tetch is fascinated with hats of all shapes and sizes, as well as the book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel Through the Looking-Glass, particularly favoring the chapter 'A Mad Tea Party'. According to Dr. Blakloch of Arkham Asylum:
“Jervis is obsessive-compulsive, and highly delusional. He's got an immature self-image, so he identifies more with children than adults. Oh and he's a genius, too. (BPD)
Blakloch also notes that when agitated, Tetch begins rhyming as a defence mechanism. Tetch often quotes and makes reference to Carroll's Wonderland novels, and sometimes even fails to discern between these stories and reality. In addition to his obsession with Lewis Carroll, Tetch has also shown an additional obsession for hats. In Secret Six, he will not eat a piece of food that does not have a hat on it, and states that he is not interested in the sight of his naked teammate Knockout because she is not wearing a hat. In the graphic novel Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, it is implied that he is a pedophile. His storylines in Streets of Gotham #4 and Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale's "Batman: Haunted Knight (1993-1995)" also imply an unhealthy fixation on children, such as when he kidnaps a young Barbara Gordon and forces her into a tea party dressed as Alice, as well as kidnapping other runaway children and dressing them up like characters from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
Tetch reveals that growing up, he never had any friends, due to his appearance. He becomes a scientist, and at some point moves into a boarding house owned by Ella Littleton. There he befriends Ella's daughter, Connie Littleton, and her friends in her junior high school computer club, sometimes helping them with their projects. A few years later, when Connie is in high school, she becomes pregnant. Fearing the reaction of her extremely strict mother, Connie lies to her and claims she had been raped by someone on her high school's baseball team, the Gotham Hawks. Ella, in turn, approaches Tetch for help and convinces him that the Gotham Hawks are "bad kids". Tetch agrees to use his mind control technology on a member of the team, making him use a pipe bomb to kill the other players. Although this is Tetch's first known criminal act, his involvement in the locker room bombing would not be discovered until years later.
Jervis Tetch/The Mad Hatter in his first appearance in Batman #49 (1948).
In his first appearance as the Mad Hatter, Tetch attempts to steal a trophy from the Gotham Yacht Club, and begins a crime spree that ends when he is foiled by Batman while he is trying to rob spectators from a high society horseshow. Tetch is subsequently sent to Arkham Asylum (although his fate is not revealed until Detective Comics #510). The Mad Hatter is not seen again in the Golden Age of Comic Books. In the Silver Age of Comic Books, an Impostor Mad Hatter appears and clashes with Batman many times. He is revealed as an impostor when the Mad Hatter finally reappears, claiming to have "disposed of the impostor" (although the impostor would return one last time in Detective Comics #573 in 1987). Accompanied by several henchmen and a pet monkey (named "Carroll Lewis," although the Mad Hatter claims that the monkey refuses to tell him how it came to have that moniker), the Mad Hatter kidnaps Lucius Fox, the C.E.O. of Wayne Tech. Although he holds Lucius Fox for ransom, the Mad Hatter also unveils a device allowing him to copy the knowledge in Fox's brain, which he intends to use to make an additional fortune. However, Lucius Fox is rescued by Batman, who also captures the Mad Hatter and his henchmen. The Mad Hatter's next appearance marks the first time he is portrayed in comics with the mind-controlling devices for which he would eventually become best known. Allying himself with other villains in an attempt to kill Batman, Hatter uses a mind controlling hat on Scarecrow, forcing the villain (who had been paralyzed with fear) to fight. When Batman overcomes his attackers, Tetch flees and appears to die on a bridge under the wheels of a train. In actuality he had escaped by jumping onto a truck that had been passing underneath the bridge. Subsequent encounters with Batman resulted in Tetch being sent to Arkham. During another early encounter with Batman, the Mad Hatter escapes from Arkham in time for Halloween, and makes his home in an old mansion that had been abandoned after a gruesome murder years before. Retreating deeply into his delusions about Wonderland, Tetch offers sanctuary to runaway children, asking them in return to dress up as characters from Alice in Wonderland and attend his tea parties, where he serves them drugged tea to keep them sedated. Around this time, Barbara "Babs" Gordon comes to Gotham, having been adopted by her uncle, Commissioner Gordon, following the deaths of her parents. Homesick and angry, Barbara argues with her adopted father when he forbids her to go trick-or-treating, saying Gotham is too dangerous. Barbara sneaks out against his orders, and goes to Gotham Park, where she soon finds herself being chased by a group of masked men with knives. The group surround her, and begin implying that they will molest or rape her, making Babs scream for help. The Hatter appears and scares the men away with his gun. Tetch takes Babs to his "Wonderland", where she is expected to play the role of Alice. When Babs refuses to drink tea and asks to leave, Tetch angrily smashes a teapot, scaring another of the runaways into sneaking away while Tetch's attention is on Barbara. The boy leads the police and Batman to Tetch's hideout, and Tetch is defeated by Batman while Commissioner Gordon rescues Babs. When Black Orchid visits Arkham Asylum, attempting to find more about her past from Poison Ivy, she is assisted by a sweet (although clearly insane) Tetch. After Ivy refuses to give Orchid much help, Tetch tries to cheer her up. He also reveals he has been helping other inmates at Arkham, such as bringing Ivy things to make her plant-animal hybrids with. "I believe in helping people," he explains, "we were all put here for a purpose, I say. But it's still nice to get a thank-you." Tetch is delighted to receive a small flower as thank you for his help. Tetch is also aware of Animal Man's identity as Buddy Baker. He is seen laughing hysterically in Arkham with the final page of "The Return with the Man of the Animal Powers," the second Animal Man story, after which he is dragged back to his cell. In the Knightfall saga, the Mad Hatter is the first to strike, following the breakout of Arkham. He invites all criminals to a tea party to which Batman and Robin would come. One of the criminals was Film Freak, on whom Tetch uses a mind control device, sending him to find the person that broke them out of Arkham. Batman and Robin come and defeat the Mad Hatter as Film Freak is defeated by Bane. In Robin: Year One, millionaire third-world dictator Generalissimo Lee hires the Mad Hatter to kidnap a number of young girls using his mind control devices. The Mad Hatter does so by implanting the devices in Walkmen, which he gives out to girls at Dick Grayson's school. The young Robin manages to defeat the Mad Hatter, however.
Mad Hatter's mind control ticket for free coffee and donuts
Another plan consisted of implanting his devices in "free coffee and donuts" tickets he handed out in front of the police stations in Gotham. That plan had him controlling most of the cops in the city, inciting them to steal for him, and ultimately to riot. He even had Gotham police detectives Crispus Allen and Renee Montoya break into a bank for him. Sasha Bordeaux helped Batman stop him this time around. The Mad Hatter shows up in Gotham City after it is rocked by a devastating earthquake. He adds to his body count, callously murdering a policeman. His goal is to unearth a trove of valuables, which in the end turn out to be classic hats. Tetch's role in the deaths of the Gotham Hawks High School Baseball team is eventually discovered by detectives in the Gotham City Police Department. Tetch, imprisoned at Arkham at the time, is interviewed to try and find his motive. After sending the police away, telling them that the team had been "bad kids" that they "deserved it", Tetch contacts Ella Littleton and warns her that the police might uncover her role in the bombing. Tetch had given her one of his mind controlling hats years before, which she used to try to take control of a guard and try to help Tetch escape from Arkham. The Hatter is caught as he tries to escape, and the mind-controlled guard fires on police before dying in return fire. Tetch himself is shot multiple times and left in critical condition. Distraught at the news, Elle Littleton inadvertently tells her daughter Connie that Tetch had killed the team for her, to "avenge her honor." Connie informs the police of everything that had happened, and Ella Littleton is arrested. While working with Black Mask, the Mad Hatter implants a mind control chip directly into Killer Croc's brain, which causes him to mutate again due to the virus he had been injected with by Hush and the Riddler. Killer Croc embarks on a quest to get payback on those responsible for his mutation, and starts with the Mad Hatter. Batman arrives in time to save him, but Killer Croc escapes. During Infinite Crisis, the Mad Hatter is first seen being roundly beaten by Argus, and then later fighting with the Secret Society of Super Villains during the Battle of Metropolis.
One Year Later/Secret Six
Tetch was revealed to have been involved in the plot by The Great White Shark to frame Harvey Dent for murdering various Gotham criminals in the Detective Comics storyline Face The Face. The capacity in which he was involved is left vague, however.
Tetch's base of operations in Gotham City was destroyed following a search for an atomic weapon, by the former Robin, Tim Drake, and the current Captain Boomerang, Owen Mercer. A recording of Tetch appeared on a monitor screen and told them that the roof would be the final hat they will ever wear as it fell down on them. Robin and Boomerang narrowly made it out of the building.
He was later approached by Cat-Man, and he joined the members of the Secret Six to oppose the Secret Society of Super Villains; they have recruited him in hopesof a defense against Doctor Psycho's mind control abilities.
When Rag Doll attacked the Secret Six under Dr. Psycho's control, Tetch put on what he called his "thinking cap" and went into a seizure. After the Six crash-landed, they were attacked by the Doom Patrol, who came close to apprehending the Six until Mad Hatter stepped in and used his mind control abilities to subdue the Doom Patrol singlehandedly, going so far as to almost make Elasti-Girl eat Beast Boy before Scandal stopped him. The Six commented to themselves afterwards that even they had no idea Jervis could do this.
In a later issue of Secret Six, Tetch revealed that he designed a hat to make him happy beyond the measures of what illegal drugs can. He also stated that he had planted miniature listening devices around the House of Secrets to keep tabs on his fellow members. After revealing the true motives of Scandal to leave the team, the Secret Six go after her, finding themselves at Vandal Savage's temple in the mountains, where Doctor Psycho starts attacking the team. Tetch easily gets the upper hand on Doctor Psycho until Cheshire appears and stabs him in the back with a poisoned dagger.
Scandal tended to Hatter's wound, and Cat-Man administered an antidote to Tetch. While the Six faced off against Cheshire and Vandal Savage, Hatter took on Doctor Psycho one on one, and emerged victorious despite his injuries, gravely injuring Dr. Psycho with Cheshire's dagger.
At the end of the mini-series, Hatter saves Scandal from falling to her death, and the Six befriends him, which no one had ever done for him before. As Hatter stands atop Savage's destroyed base with Rag Doll, he promises to be a very good friend in return. Rag Doll then pushes Hatter off the roof, seemingly to his death, saying there was "only room for one dandy freak on the team."
On the final page, it is reveals that Tetch survived the fall. Heartbroken, he vows revenge on the rest of the Six.
Prior to the events of Gotham Underground, Tetch falls victim to his own mind control devices at the hands of Tweedledum and Tweedledee. The two force him to "lead" a gang of Wonderland-related criminals through various gimmicky heists before Batman deduces the Tweedles to be the true masterminds. Once the three are returned to Arkham, the Hatter quickly exacts revenge on the two, manipulating them into a bloody brawl with his mind control chips.
Powers and abilities
While the Mad Hatter has no inherent superpowers, he is a brilliant 'neurotechnician' with considerable knowledge on how to dominate and control the human mind, either through hypnosis or direct technological means. Usually, the Hatter places his mind control devices in the brims of hats, but has been known to utilize other devices as well. More recently, he has been able to directly influence the minds of others at a distance without any apparent equipment. However, this is most likely not a newly emerging superhuman ability; more likely, his skill at miniaturizing and concealing technology, and advances upon his original technology, have probably allowed him to develop technology that permits him to use a device hidden upon his person (such as in his hat) to project mindcontrolling powers in the manner of a meta-human ability such as telepathic powers.
The Mad Hatter is not above using his own inventions on himself, such as creating a hat that can cause him both extreme bliss, as well as return him to lucidity when he deems it necessary.
Despite his small stature, the Mad Hatter has been known to exhibit surprising strength and agility from time to time. In the graphic novel Madness, the Mad Hatter is shown as impressively holding his own in a fist fight with Batman atop a moving train.
Robert Kirkland "Kirk" Langstrom
Robert Kirk Langstrom
Enhanced sight and hearing
Superhuman strength, agility, and endurance
Man-Bat, is a supervillain who appears in comics published by DC Comics, usually as a supervillain and adversary of Batman, though occasionally depicted as a heroic character. He first appeared in Detective Comics #400 (June 1970) and was created by Frank Robbins and Neal Adams. Man-Bat was the star of his own eponymous series in 1975â€“1976, which lasted two issues before being canceled.
Dr. Kirk Langstrom, a scientist specializing in the study of bats, develops an extract intended to give humans a bat's sonar sense and tests the formula on himself because he is becoming deaf. The extract works, but it has a horrible side effect: it transforms him into a hideous man-sized bat. The serum also takes away his intelligence, so he goes on a mad rampage until Batman can find a way to reverse the effects.
Later, Langstrom takes the concoction again, and Man-Bat returns. He also coaxes his wife, Francine Langstrom, into drinking the serum, and she goes through the same transformation, becoming She-Bat. Together, they terrorize Gotham City until Batman can once again restore them.
On some occasions, Langstrom takes the serum and retains enough intelligence to work for the forces of good. During one of these periods he works with the detective Jason Bard. On another occasion, in Action Comics #600, Jimmy Olsen inadvertedly puts Superman into a cave occupied by Man-Bat to protect him from Kryptonite radiation that had reached Earth following the explosion of Krypton. Man-Bat calms the maddened Superman and then summons Hawkman, who helps Superman overcome the radiation.
Kirk and Francine have a daughter, Becky, and a son, Aaron. Because of the effects the serum had on Aaron's DNA, he is born with a deadly illness. Francine turns him into Man-Bat form to save his life. This occurred in issue three of the Man-Bat mini-series by Chuck Dixon.
Infinite Crisis and beyond
Man-Bat is sighted in Alexander Luthor, Jr.'s Secret Society of Super Villains during the events of the 2005â€“2006 storyline "Infinite Crisis".
In the aftermath of that storyline, both Kirk and Francine are shown to be alive in the 2006 "One Year Later" storyline. In Batman #655 (September 2006), Talia al Ghul ties up and gags Francine, and then threatens to poison her if Kirk does not give her the Man-Bat formula. After Langstrom gives her the formula, she releases Francine as promised. Talia utilizes the mutagen to turn members of the League of Assassins into Man-Bats.
In Gotham Underground, Man-Bat is apprehended by the Suicide Squad. He is one of the villains seen in Salvation Run. Francine has appeared in Batman and the Outsiders, serving as the team's technical advisor, and her assistant Salah Miandad operates the "blank" OMAC drone known as ReMAC. In issue #10 of that series, Kirk appeared, seemingly healthy and also aiding Francine.
In the 2008 miniseries Final Crisis, Man-Bat has been turned into a Justifier and was shown attacking Switzerland's Checkmate Headquarters.
During the 2009 "Battle for the Cowl" storyline, following Batman's death, Kirk is haunted by nightmares of becoming Man-Bat and killing his wife. When Francine disappears, he takes the serum and tries to follow her. After an altercation with the Outsiders, he returns to his human form and is captured by Doctor Phosphorus, who reveals the serum is not necessary to trigger the change. Kirk discovers that Phosphorus has also captured Francine, and becomes Man-Bat to save her.
During the 2009â€“2010 "Blackest Night" storyline, Francine tracks down Kirk (as Man-Bat), having created a cure, and revealed that Kirk's next transformation would be permanent if he did not drink it. Kirk attempts to take the cure, but his Man-Bat persona will not let him. Just as Kirk is about to drink it, Francine is wounded in the crossfire of the battle between Black Lantern Solomon Grundy and Bizarro (the latter of whom is already at the scene, trying to prevent Kirk from taking the cure). Distraught at Francine's injuries, Kirk transforms into Man-Bat, seemingly permanently.
In Batgirl (vol.3), Man-Bat is seen under the control of the Calculator as a techno-zombie.
In "Collision" storyline of Red Robin, following Red Robin's actions against Ra's al Ghul and the League of Assassins, the latter attempts to murder people related to the Bat-Family. Man-Bat, following Red Robin's orders protects Julie Madison, a former lover of Bruce Wayne, against Ra's al Ghul's assassins.
Powers and abilities
By taking his bat-gland formula, Kirk Langstrom can transform himself into a bat-like creature. By taking an antidote he can return to human form.
As Man-Bat, his strength, agility and endurance are all enhanced to super human levels. Kirk possesses an extra set of digits that form leathery bat wings that allow him to fly, super-sensitive hearing, and a natural sonar. He emits high-pitched sound waves and can hear the echoes they make when they bounce off nearby objects, enabling Man-Bat to navigate perfectly in pitch black darkness.
If in Man-Bat form for a prolonged time, he loses control
over his animalistic side and works purely on instinct, making him prone to
harm friend and foe alike.
Alter ego: Victor Fries
Notable aliases: Mister Zero, Doctor Zero, Doctor Schimmell
Abilities: Genius-level intellect, Expert in cryogenics, Wields a Freeze Gun, Wears an exo-suit that keeps his body at sub-zero temperatures and gives him superhuman strength
Freeze is a scientist who must wear a cryogenic suit in order to survive, and bases his crimes around a "cold" or "ice" theme, complete with a "freeze gun" that freezes its targets solid. In the most common variation of his origin story, he is a former cryogenics expert who suffered an industrial accident while attempting to cure his terminally ill wife, Nora.
Nearly 30 years later, a television adaptation of Batman revitalized him once again. Batman: The Animated Series retold Mr. Freeze's origin in "Heart of Ice", an episode by writer Paul Dini. The episode introduced his terminally ill, cryogenically frozen wife Nora, which greater explained his obsession with ice and need to build a criminal empire to raise research funds. This more complex, tragic character was enthusiastically accepted by fans, and has become the standard portrayal for the character in most forms of media, including the comic book series itself, which previously had the character casually killed off by the Joker. Freeze was resurrected in the comic after the episode aired.
The episode was seen as groundbreaking for a Saturday morning cartoon and helped set the tone for the rest of the series. This back story was also made canon in the comics and has been the character's official origin in almost every incarnation of Batman since.
Elements of this origin story were incorporated into the 1997 film Batman & Robin, in which he was portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Fictional character biography
From the time of his first appearance in 1959 onwards, Mr. Freeze was portrayed as one of many "joke" villains (see also Killer Moth) cast as stock enemies of Batman. Originally called Mr. Zero, the producers of the 1960s Batman television series renamed him Mr. Freeze (and portrayed Batman addressing him as "Dr. Schivell"), and the name quickly carried over to the comic books.
In the Pre-Crisis continuity series, it is explained that Mr. Freeze is a rogue scientist whose design for an "ice gun" backfires when he inadvertently spills cryogenic chemicals on himself, resulting in his needing subzero temperatures to survive.
Post-Crisis, Freeze was revamped utilizing Paul Dini's backstory. Dr. Victor Fries (surname pronounced "freeze") is a brilliant molecular biologist. As a child, he is fascinated by freezing animals. His parents, horrified by his "hobby", send him to a strict boarding school, where he is miserable, feeling detached from humanity. In college, he meets a woman named Nora, whom he falls in love with and ultimately marries.
A year and a half after Bruce Wayne becomes Batman, Nora has contracted a terminal illness, while Fries works on a freeze ray. Fries' boss decides to tell the mob about the gun, leading Batman to create a team of specialists to help him do his job better. Fries decides to use the device on Nora, to put her in cryo-stasis. His boss interrupts and tampers with the experiment, however, resulting in an explosion that kills Nora. Fries survives, but the chemicals in the freeze ray lower his body temperature to the point that he must wear a cryogenic suit in order to survive. He swears revenge on those responsible for the death of his wife (whom he talks to often), and becomes Mr. Freeze, the first supervillain Batman faces in this continuity.
Batman's operatives find Freeze, who shoots one of them with his freeze gun. Batman eventually apprehends him, however.
Freeze's crimes tend to involve freezing everyone and everything he runs into so he never forges alliances with the other criminals in Gotham, preferring to work alone. On rare occasions he has worked with another member of Batman's rogues gallery, usually as an enforcer for Gotham's mob bosses, such as the Penguin or Black Mask. In one of his notable team-ups, Freeze constructed a cryogenic machine for Hush so that Hush might take revenge on Batman.
During his time with the Secret Society of Super Villains, he fashions for Nyssa al Ghul a sub-zero machine in exchange for the use of her own Lazarus Pit. He attempts to restore Nora to life without waiting for the adjusting needed in the pool chemicals. However, she returns to life as the twisted Lazara, and escapes. She blames her husband for her plight, and she estranges herself from him.
Powers and abilities
Like most Batman villains, Mr. Freeze plans his crimes about a specific theme; in his case, ice and cold. He freezes areas around him using special weapons and equipment, most notably a handheld "Freeze gun". His refrigeration suit grants him superhuman strength and durability, making him a powerful villain in Batman's rogues gallery.
In the Underworld Unleashed storyline, the demon Neron grants Mr. Freeze the ability to generate subzero temperatures, no longer needing his freeze-gun or refrigeration suit. However, after his encounter with Green Lantern, Donna Troy, and Purgatory in Central Park, he reverted to his original subzero biology. He then gained a new subzero armor and weaponry.
Full name: Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot
Abilities: Genius-level intellect, Assorted bird-related paraphernalia, Deadly trick umbrellas, Vast underworld connections, Organizational leadership, Surprising physical strength, Knowledge of judo and boxing
The Penguin is a fictional character, a supervillain who appears in comic books published by DC Comics. He is known as one of Batman's oldest and most persistent enemies. Artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger introduced him in Detective Comics #58 (December 1941). The Penguin is a short, rotund man known for his love of birds and his specialized high-tech umbrellas. A mobster and thief, he fancies himself as being a "gentleman of crime;" his nightclub business provides a cover for criminal activity, which Batman sometimes uses as a source of criminal underworld information. According to Kane the character was inspired from the then advertising mascot of Kool cigarettes – a penguin with a top hat and cane. Finger thought the image of high-society gentlemen in tuxedos was reminiscent of emperor penguins.
Burgess Meredith portrayed the Penguin in the 1960s Batman television series and its movie; this is perhaps the character's most well-known incarnation. Danny DeVito played a darker, more grotesque version in the 1992 film Batman Returns. Subsequent Batman animated series featured him in depictions that alternated between deformed outcast and high-profile aristocrat. The former interpretation appeared in comics, most notably in the miniseries Batman: The Long Halloween and its sequel Dark Victory. He made a cameo appearance at the end of the Long Halloween with no lines. He had a slightly more notable role in Dark Victory – this incarnation included elements of Meredith's interpretation. Paradoxically, the Penguin has repeatedly been named among the worst and best of Batman villains.
Unlike most of Batman's rogues gallery, the Penguin is in control of his actions and perfectly sane, features that help him maintain a unique relationship with the crime-fighter. His latest characterization has him running a nightclub that is popular with the underworld. Batman comes to tolerate his operations so long as the Penguin remains one of his informants. The entrepreneurial Penguin often fences stolen property or arranges early prison furloughs – for a hefty fee, of course.
Fictional character biography
Born Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot, the Penguin was bullied as a child for his short stature, weight, and beak-like nose. In some media, his fingers are fused, resulting in flipper-like hands. Several stories relate that he was forced as a child to always carry an umbrella by his overprotective mother due to his father's death from pneumonia after a drenching. His mother owns pet birds that Cobblepot lavishes with attention, and served as his only friends growing up. His love for birds would eventually lead him to obtaining an Ornithology major in college. In some versions, Cobblepot turns to crime after his mother dies and the birds are repossessed to pay his mother's debts; in others, he is an outcast in his high society family and their rejection drives him to become a criminal. In keeping with his origins, the Penguin pursues his criminal career with class. He prefers formal wear such as a top hat, monocle, and tuxedo while he steals.
The Penguin's alias first came from a childhood taunt over his grotesque appearance and love of birds. In an early account, when Cobblepot first attempted to join a gang, he was belittled as a "penguin" and mocked for his umbrella before being literally kicked from the crime den. Outraged at the rejection, he resolved to make "the Penguin" a name to fear and the umbrella a fearsome weapon. He returned to the den and killed the crime boss with "the world's first .45 caliber umbrella," then claimed leadership of the now-terrified criminals. Some later stories suggest that he tried to abandon the nickname, which he initially hated but came to accept.
Originally known only by his alias, the Penguin first appeared in Gotham City as a skilled thief, sneaking a priceless painting out of the museum by hiding the rolled-up canvas in the handle of his umbrella. The Penguin later used the canvas as proof of his intellect to a local mob, which he was then allowed to join. With the Penguin's help, the mob pulled off a string of ingenious heists, but the mob's leader and the "be-monocled bird" eventually fell out, leading Cobblepot to kill him with his umbrella gun. The Penguin became leader of the mob and attempted to neutralize Batman by framing him for theft. The Penguin's plans were eventually thwarted, but the bandit himself escaped.
The Penguin was a persistent nemesis for the Dynamic Duo (Batman and Robin) throughout the Golden and Silver Ages, pulling off ploy after ploy, such as teaming up with The Joker, attempting to extort money from a shipping company by pretending to flash-freeze a member of its board of directors, and participating in Hugo Strange's auction of Batman's secret identity.
The Penguin's last appearance, fittingly, was the last appearance of the Earth-One Batman. After he and a multitude of Batman's enemies were broken out of Arkham Asylum and Blackgate Prison by Ra's al Ghul, the Penguin accepted the offer of the immortal terrorist and carried out Gul's plans to kidnap Batman's friends and allies. The Penguin, along with the Joker, the Mad Hatter, Cavalier, Deadshot and Killer Moth, laid siege to Gotham City Police Headquarters, but were infuriated when the Joker sabotaged their attempt at holding Commissioner Gordon for ransom. A standoff ensued, with the Joker on one side and the Penguin and the Mad Hatter on the other. The Joker quickly subdued both with a burst of laughing gas from one of his many gadgets.
Following the Crisis rebooting the history of the DC Universe, the Penguin was relegated to cameo appearances, until writer Alan Grant (who had earlier penned the Penguin-origin story "The Killing Peck") and artist Norm Breyfogle brought him back, deadlier than ever. Within the era of the Tim Drake Robin, the Penguin formed a brief partnership with macabre criminal and hypnotist Mortimer Kadaver, who helped him fake his own death as a ploy to strike an unsuspecting Gotham. The Penguin later gunned down Kadaver, after plugging his own ears with toilet paper so that the hypnotist no longer had power over him.
After Batman foiled this particular endeavor, the Penguin embarked on one of his grandest schemes in the three-part story "The Penguin Affair." After finding Harold Allnut on a lonely street, undergoing physical and verbal abuse by two gang members, the Penguin takes the technologically-gifted hunchback in, showing him kindness in exchange for services. Harold builds a gadget that allowed the Penguin to control flocks of birds from miles away, which the Penguin utilized to destroy radio communications in Gotham and crash a passenger plane. This endeavor, too, was foiled by Batman. Batman finally hired Harold as his mechanic.
The Penguin resurfaced during Jean Paul Valley's tenure as Batman as one of the few to deduce that Valley was not the original Batman. To confirm this theory, he kidnapped Sarah Essen Gordon, placed her in a death-trap set to go off at midnight, and turned himself in, utilizing the opportunity to mock Commissioner Gordon as midnight approached. An increasingly infuriated Gordon was nearly driven to throw Cobblepot off the police headquarters roof before Valley showed up in the nick of time with a rescued Sarah. As Valley left, he commented, "There's nothing the Penguin can throw at me that I haven't encountered before." This was a sentiment with which the Penguin reluctantly agreed, accepting that he had become passé.
Subsequently, Cobblepot turned his attentions to a new modus operandi, operating under the front of a legitimate restaurant and casino known as the Iceberg Lounge. Though he was arrested for criminal activities several times during the course of his "reformation", he always managed to secure a release from prison thanks to high-priced lawyers.
During the storyline "No Man's Land," when Gotham City was nearly leveled by an earthquake, Cobblepot stayed behind when the US government closed down and blockaded the city. He became one of the major players in the mostly-abandoned and lawless city, using his connections to profit by trading the money that nobody else in Gotham could use for goods through his outer-Gotham contacts. One of these connections was discovered to be Lex Luthor and his company, LexCorp.
The Penguin was swept up in the events of Infinite Crisis. In the limited series' seventh issue, he was briefly seen as part of the Battle of Metropolis, a multi-character brawl started by the Secret Society of Super Villains. The Penguin, along with several other villains, was bowled over at the surprise appearance of Bart Allen.
One Year Later, while the Penguin was away from Gotham City, the Great White Shark and Tally Man killed many of the villains who had worked for him and framed the reformed Harvey Dent. Great White had planned to take over Gotham's criminal syndicate and eliminate the competition, the Penguin included. Upon his return to Gotham, the Penguin continued to claim that he has gone "straight" and reopened the Iceberg, selling overpriced Penguin merchandise. He urged the Riddler to avoid crime as their non-criminal lifestyle was more lucrative.
The Penguin was featured as a prominent figure in the new Gotham Underground tie-in to the series Countdown. He fought a gang war against Tobias Whale and Intergang while supposedly running an "underground railroad" for criminals. As the Penguin conducted his affairs, Two-Face entered the club and wanted in on his underground railroad project. The Penguin told him to meet him later after hours and subsequently held a meeting with several of Gotham's most notorious villains including Hugo Strange, Two-Face, the Scarecrow, and the Mad Hatter. Batman, in the disguise of Matches Malone, spied on the meeting from behind a darkened alcove. Suddenly, the Suicide Squad burst into the room and attacked the assemblage of villains. It was revealed that the Penguin was involved with the Suicide Squad, and that he had set up the other villains to gain the favor of the Squad. The Penguin later met up with Tobias Whale in order to negotiate with him. The Penguin and Spoiler had assembled gangs like the Bat Killers, who were based on Batman's enemies; the Dead End Boys, based on the Suicide Squad; the Femme Fatales, based on female villains; the Five Points Gang, based on the Fearsome Five; the L.O.D., based on the Legion of Doom to which the Penguin himself had once belonged; and the New Rogues, based on the Rogues. The Penguin and Tobias Whale were then fighting each other as Robin, the Huntress, Batgirl, and the fourth Wildcat all got involved. Even though the Penguin got the upper hand, Whale reluctantly called a truce with him to stop Johnny Stitches and Intergang. Johnny Stitches sent the Penguin a package containing the Riddler's glasses and Mr. Jessup's cut-up body. When the Penguin had a talk with Johnny, the latter mentioned that Tobias Whale was not on the "Penguin's side" any longer. Johnny also mentioned that he had threatened the families of those fighting on the Penguin's side and told the Penguin that he was giving him one day to get out of town. When the Penguin and the Riddler were talking in the Iceberg Lounge, members of Intergang attacked. Things were looking bad for the Penguin until Batman arrived and came to his rescue. However, Batman was not there simply to save Cobblepot's life. Instead, he informed the Penguin that he now owned Cobblepot and that he was expected to report everything to Batman concerning Intergang and what was going on in Gotham, to which Cobblepot was actually quite happy to agree.
Cobblepot later lost Batman's support after the latter's mysterious disappearance and Intergang's exploitation of the return of the Apokoliptan Gods. He appeared in Battle for the Cowl: The Underground which showed the effects of Batman's disappearance on his enemies.
The Penguin's mob was absorbed by Black Mask II and his actions controlled. Cobblepot, with the aid of the Mad Hatter, abducted Batman and brainwashed him to assassinate Black Mask.
During the events of Brightest Day, the Birds of Prey discovered the Penguin beaten and stabbed at the feet of a new villainess who was calling herself the White Canary. The Birds rescued him and fled to the Iceberg. While recovering, the Penguin expressed his attraction to Dove. Eventually, the Penguin revealed that his injury had been a ruse, and that he was working with the White Canary in exchange for valuable computer files on the superhero community. He betrayed the Birds and seriously injured both Lady Blackhawk and Hawk before the Huntress defeated him. The Huntress taped him up with the intention of taking him with her, only to be informed by Oracle that she had to let him go due to a police manhunt for the Birds. Enraged at Cobblepot's traitorous actions, the Huntress considered killing him with her crossbow, but ultimately left him bound and gagged in an alleyway with the promise that she would exact her vengeance on him later.
The Penguin was eventually attacked by the Secret Six, who killed many of his guards in an ambush at his mansion. Bane informed Cobblepot that he needed information on Batman's partners as he planned on killing Red Robin, Batgirl, the Catwoman, and Azrael. The Penguin soon betrayed the team's location, which resulted in the Justice League, the Teen Titans, the Birds of Prey, the Justice Society, and various other heroes hunting down and capturing the criminals.
Around this time, a new super-villain, who called himself the Architect, planted a bomb in the Iceberg Lounge as revenge for crimes committed by Cobblepot's ancestor. Though Blackbat and Robin were able to evacuate the building, the Lounge was destroyed in the ensuing explosion.
The New 52
In The New 52 (a reboot of the DC Comics universe), the Penguin was a client of a criminal named Raju who was sent to offer gold to Dollmaker for Batman's release. While in his Iceberg Casino, the Penguin was viewing a disguised Charlotte Rivers on his surveillance cameras and he told his henchwoman Lark to make sure Rivers got a story to die for. During the Death of the Family crossover Penguin put his right-hand man, Ignatius Ogilvy, in charge of his operations in his temporary absence. Ogilvy, however, used the Penguin's absence to declare him dead, taking over his gang completely and killing those who were vocally loyal to the Penguin, and, under the alias of Emperor Penguin, formally took over Cobblepot's operations. Upon the Joker's defeat the Batman unsuccessfully attempted to imprison the Penguin in Blackgate Penitentiary only to be forced to release him later. Oswald would be shocked to learn upon his return that Ignatius, whom he'd adopted into his gang after a teenage Ogilvy's father had been murdered, betrayed him. His subsequent attack on Ogilvy's new empire fails when Batman, following the discovery that Zsasz (who had been hired by Emperor Penguin) had killed Cobblepot's lawyers, sees an opportunity to finally capture Cobblepot and bring him to justice for his crimes. However, Mr. Combustible, who'd secretly remained loyal to his old boss, helped Cobblepot escape the trial without a mark to his record. Meanwhile, Ogilvy released Kirk Langstrom's Man-Bat serum on Gotham City, turning many of the citizens into the creatures. Dr. Langstrom would discover a cure, returning the citizens to normal. Ogilvy then took the serum himself, along with additions made by Poison Ivy, who was, rather uncharacteristically, returning a favor for freeing her from a fate he himself put her in, turning him into a monster with superhuman strength, endurance, speed, and agility. Emperor Penguin then proceeded to challenge Batman openly to a fight, defeating the masked vigilante with his newfound prowess, and leaving Bruce to be rescued by Cobblepot. The pair forge a temporary alliance, and following the ensuing battle, Ignatius found himself in Blackgate Prison where he currently resides, leaving the Penguin free to effectively reclaim his control of the Gotham underworld.
During the Forever Evil storyline, Penguin is among the villains recruited by the Crime Syndicate of America to join the Secret Society of Super Villains. With the heroes gone, Penguin becomes the Mayor of Gotham City and divides the different territories amongst the Arkham inmates.
Powers and abilities
The Penguin is a master criminal strategist and occasional engineer who uses his genius-level intellect to gain wealth and power through criminal means. Driven by self-interest and an inferiority complex, the Penguin relies on cunning, wit, and intimidation to exploit his surroundings for profit. He usually plans crimes, but does not often commit them himself as it makes tracing the crimes back to him much more difficult and acting for himself risks exposing his respectable businessman persona to the general public. Although the dirty work is mostly delegated to his henchmen, he is not above taking aggressive and lethal actions on his own, especially when provoked. In spite of his appearance, he is a dangerous hand-to-hand fighter with enough self-taught skills in Judo and Fisticuffs to overwhelm attackers many times his size and physical bearing. Cobblepot is usually portrayed as a capable physical combatant when he feels the situation calls for it, but his level of skill, like the Joker himself, varies widely depending on the author and as a result the character has been written both as a physical match for Batman and as someone the masked vigilante is capable of defeating with a solid punch and anywhere in between. His crimes often revolve around the stealing of valuable bird-related items and his car and other vehicles often have an avian theme.
The Penguin always carries an umbrella due to his mother's obsessive demands. The umbrellas usually contain weapons such as machine guns, sword tips, missiles, lasers, flame-throwers, and acid or poison gas spraying devices. He often carries an umbrella that can transform its canopy into a series of spinning blades. This can be used as a mini helicopter or as an offensive weapon; he often uses this to escape a threatening situation. Another umbrella has a spiral pattern on the top with which he can hypnotize enemies.
Alter ego: Edward Nigma (Nygma), Sean Shivell
Notable aliases: E. Nigma (Nygma), Edward (Eddie) Nashton, Eddie Nash, Patrick Parker
Abilities: Genius-level intellect, Highly creative and skilled at making and/or solving puzzles and/or riddles be them actual, conceptual, or otherwise that can encompass virtually any conventional difficulty and/or variety especially those that require logical thought be them philosophical and/or mathematical in nature and/or practice, Intellectual prowess including, but not limited to, astonishing feats of inductive, abductive and deductive reasoning, Lateral and critical thinking, Pattern recognition, Vast esoteric knowledge, Mastery of a plethora of different sciences such as engineering chemistry and technology, Photographic memory, Apophenia, Vast knowledge of philosophy, literature and geography.
The Riddler is obsessed with riddles, puzzles and word games. He delights in forewarning both Batman and the police of his capers by sending them complex clues. With this self-conscious use of a gimmick, the Riddler's crimes are flamboyant and ostentatious. The character is depicted as wearing a domino mask either with a green suit and bowler hat, or a green unitard with question mark prints. A black, green, or purple question mark serves as his visual motif.
The Riddler is typically portrayed as a smooth-talking yet quirky character, deemed insane by the courts of intense obsessive compulsion and neurosis. This was first introduced in the 1966 issue of Batman (titled, "The Riddle-less Robberies of the Riddler") in which he tries to refrain from leaving a riddle, but fails. This compulsion has been a recurring theme, as shown in a 1999 issue of Gotham Adventures, in which he tried to commit a crime without leaving a riddle, but fails: "You don't understand... I really didn't want to leave you any clues. I really planned never to go back to Arkham Asylum. But I left you a clue anyway. So I... I have to go back there. Because I might need help. I... I might actually be crazy." It is a theme further explored in the 2003 Batman Adventures story "Free Man", where Riddler, officially ruled a free man, sells communication technology he developed to an electronics firm only to be pursued by shadow assassins; he turns to Batman for help, only to break down when their trap succeeds and Riddler is seized by an overpowering sense of survivor guilt.
Unlike most of the other prominent members of Batman's rogues gallery, the Riddler is not a psychopathic murderer; rather, he is a malignant narcissist with an enormous ego. He commits his crimes in order to flaunt his intellectual superiority and a large portion of his crimes are non-violent in nature. While the Riddler's behavior may often appear insane to some, it is in fact the result of a deep-seated neurosis. As such Batman's direct conflicts with the Riddler are typically more cerebral than physical and usually involve defeating him non-violently.
Fictional character biography
The Riddler's criminal modus operandi is so deeply ingrained into his personality that he is virtually powerless to stop himself from acting it out (as shown in his fourth comic book appearance). He cannot simply kill his opponents when he has the upper hand; he has to put them in a deathtrap to see if he can devise a life and death intellectual challenge that the hero cannot solve and escape. However, unlike many of Batman's themed enemies, Riddler's compulsion is quite flexible, allowing him to commit any crime as long as he can describe it in a riddle or puzzle.
After a teacher announces that a contest will be held over who can solve a puzzle the fastest, a young Edward Nigma (or Nashton, according to some writers) sets his sights on winning this, craving the glory and satisfaction that will come with the victory. He sneaks into the school one night, takes the puzzle out of the teacher's desk, and practices it until he is able to solve it in under a minute. As predicted, he wins the contest and is given a book about riddles as a prize. His cheating rewarded, Edward embraced the mastery of puzzles of all kinds, eventually becoming a carnival employee who excelled at cheating his customers out of their money with his bizarre puzzles and mind games. He soon finds himself longing for greater challenges and thrills, and dons the guise of the Riddler to challenge Batman, who he believes could possibly be a worthy adversary for him.
Skills and abilities
The Riddler possesses extreme originality in decoding and formulating puzzles of all kinds. His deductive ability perfused his role of private detective when he was reformed, during which he was shown to have investigative skills that rival those of the Dark Knight.
Like most of Batman's enemies (and Batman himself) The Riddler has no superhuman abilities, but is a highly cunning criminal strategist. He is not especially talented in fisticuffs (although his endurance has grown from having to engage in them over the years), but sometimes employs weaponry that exploits his gimmick, such as exploding jigsaw pieces, his infamous question mark cane, known to house a wide variety of technological devices and weapons, and question mark shaped pistols. He is shown to be skilled with engineering and technology, confronting Batman and Robin with unique and elaborate deathtraps. He is also well known for being Batman's most intelligent adversary.
Dr. Jonathan Crane
Expert in the fields of psychology and chemistry
Skilled hand-to-hand combatant
Use of fear toxins
Uses a scythe as a weapon
The Scarecrow is a fictional character, a supervillain that appears in comic books published by DC Comics. The character first appeared in World's Finest Comics #3 (Fall 1941) and was created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger. His alter ego is Dr. Jonathan Crane, a psychologist who uses a variety of drugs and psychological tactics to exploit the fears and phobias of his adversaries. He is a member of Batman's rogues gallery.
Finger and Kane introduced the Scarecrow in the fall of 1941 for World's Finest Comics #3. From Batman #189 (1967) onwards, the character becomes a recurring foe in the Silver Age Batman stories and also appears as one of the original members of the Injustice Gang.
Following the 1986 multi-title event Crisis on Infinite Earths reboot, the character's origin story is expanded in Batman Annual #19 and the miniseries Batman/Scarecrow: Year One. This narrative reveals that Crane has a fear of bats, and is obsessed with fear and revenge as a result of having been bullied throughout his childhood and adolescence for his lanky frame and bookishness, especially because of his resemblance to Ichabod Crane from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. After being humiliated by school bully Bo Griggs and rejected by cheerleader Sherry Squires, he takes revenge during the senior prom by donning his trademark scarecrow costume and brandishing a gun in the school parking lot; in the ensuing chaos, Griggs gets into a car accident, paralyzing himself and killing Squires.
Crane's obsession with fear leads to his becoming a psychiatrist, taking a position at Arkham Asylum and performing fear-inducing experiments on his patients. He is also a professor of psychology at Gotham University, specializing in the study of phobias. He loses his job after he fires a gun inside a packed classroom, accidentally wounding a student; he takes revenge by killing the professors responsible for his termination, and becoming a career criminal. As a college professor, Scarecrow mentored a young Thomas Elliot. The character also has a cameo in Sandman #5, seeming uncharacteristically friendly.
In stories by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale, the Scarecrow is depicted as one of the more deranged criminals in Batman's rogues gallery, with a habit of speaking in nursery rhymes. These stories further revise his backstory, explaining that he was raised by his fanatically religious grandmother, whom he murdered as a teenager.
Scarecrow plays a prominent role in Doug Moench's "Terror" storyline, set in Batman's early years, where Scarecrow is broken out of prison by the mysteriously returned Professor Hugo Strange, who selects Scarecrow as a tool/ally to help him capture Batman. However, Scarecrow turns on Strange when Strange's therapy proves effective enough to turn the formerly-broken Scarecrow against his 'benefactor', impaling him on a weather vane and throwing him in the cellar of his own mansion. The Scarecrow then uses Strange's mansion as a trap for Batman, but it is less effective than Strange's plan of attack due to Scarecrow lacking knowledge of Batman's identity; Scarecrow uses Strange's plan to lure Batman to Crime Alley, but his 'trap' consists of simply decapitating one of his former classmates in the alley in front of Batman. With the help of Catwoman- whom Scarecrow had attempted to blackmail into helping him by capturing her and photographing her unmasked face-, Batman catches Scarecrow, but loses sight of Strange, with it being unclear whether Strange had actually survived the fall onto the weather vane- he claimed that he lured rats to himself by using his sweat so that he could eat them- or if Scarecrow and Batman were hallucinating from exposure to Scarecrow's fear-gas, although Batman concludes that the subsequent explosion of the house has definitely killed Strange.
Scarecrow appears in Batman: The Long Halloween, first seen escaping from Arkham on Mother's Day with help from Carmine Falcone, who also helps the Mad Hatter break out. Crane gases Batman with fear toxin as he escapes, causing Batman to flee to his parent's grave as Bruce Wayne, where he is arrested by Commissioner Gordon due to Wayne's suspected ties to Carmine Falcone. Scarecrow robs a bank with Hatter on Independence Day for Falcone, but is stopped by Batman and Catwoman. He later appears in Carmine's office on Halloween with Batman's future rogue's gallery, but is defeated by Batman. Scarecrow returns in Batman: Dark Victory as part of Two-Face's gang, and is first seen putting fear gas in children's dolls on Christmas Eve. He is eventually defeated by Batman. He later appears as one of the villains present at Calendar Man's trial. It is revealed he and Calendar Man had been manipulating Alberto Falcone; Scarecrow had determined that Alberto feared his father, Carmine, and poisoning his cigarettes with fear toxin to bring out the fear; Calendar Man, meanwhile, had been talking to Alberto, with the fear toxin making Alberto hear his father's voice. Together, they manipulate Alberto into making an unsuccessful assassination attempt on his sister, Sofia Gigante. After Two-Face's hideout is attacked, Batman captures Scarecrow, who tells him where Two-Face is heading. In Catwoman: When in Rome, Scarecrow supplies the Riddler with fear gas to manipulate Catwoman, and later aids Riddler when he fights Catwoman in Rome. Scarecrow accidentally attacks Cheetah with his scythe before Catwoman knocks him out.
The Scarecrow appears in such story arcs as Knightfall and Shadow of the Bat, first teaming with the Joker to ransom off the mayor of Gotham City. Batman foils their plan, however, and forces them to beat a hasty retreat. Scarecrow betrays Joker by spraying him with fear gas, but it has absolutely no effect; Joker then beats Scarecrow senseless with a chair. Scarecrow later tries to take over Gotham with an army of hypnotized college students, commanding them to spread his fear gas all over the city. His lieutenant is the son of the first man he killed. He is confronted by both Batman-Azrael and Anarky, and tries to escape by forcing his lieutenant to jump off of a building. Batman-Azrael knocks him out, and Anarky manages to save the boy.
In the 2004 story arc As the Crow Flies, Scarecrow is hired by the Penguin under false pretenses. Dr. Linda Friitawa then secretly mutates Scarecrow into a murderous creature known as the "Scarebeast", who Penguin uses to kill off his disloyal minions. However, the character's later appearances all show him as an unmutated Crane again, with the exception of an appearance during the War Games story arc. Scarecrow appears in the third issue of War Games saving Black Mask from Batman and acting as the crime lord's ally, until Black Mask uses him to disable a security measure in the Clock Tower by literally throwing Scarecrow at it. Scarecrow wakes up, transforms into Scarebeast, and wreaks havoc outside the building trying to find and kill Black Mask. The police are unable to take it down, and allow Catwoman, Robin, Tarantula II, and Onyx to fight Scarebeast, as Commissioner Atkins had told all officers to capture or kill any vigilantes, costumed criminals or "masks" they find. Even they cannot defeat the Scarebeast, though he appears to have been defeated after the Clock Tower explodes.
The Scarecrow reappears alongside other Batman villains in Gotham Underground; first among the villains meeting at the Iceberg Lounge to be captured by the Suicide Squad. Scarecrow escapes by gassing Bronze Tiger with fear toxin. He later appears warning the Ventriloquist II, Firefly, Killer Moth and Lock-Up, who are planning to attack the Penguin that Penguin is allied with the Suicide Squad. The villains wave off his warnings and mock him. He later leads the same four into a trap orchestrated by Tobias Whale. Killer Moth, Firefly and Lock-Up all survive, but are injured and unconscious to varied degrees, the Scarface puppet is "killed", and Peyton Reily, the new Ventriloquist, is unharmed, though after the attack she is taken away by Tobias Whale's men. Whale then betrays Scarecrow simply for touching his shoulder (it is revealed Whale almost pathologically hates "masks" because his grandfather was one of the first citizens of Gotham killed by a masked criminal). The story arc ends with Scarecrow beaten and tied up by Tobias Whale, as a sign to all "masks" that they are not welcome in Whale's new vision of Gotham.
Scarecrow appears in Batman: Hush, working for the Riddler and Hush. He composes profiles on the various villains of Gotham so Riddler and Hush can manipulate them to their own ends. He later gases Huntress with his fear gas, making her attack Catwoman. He attacks Batman in a graveyard, only to learn his fear gas is ineffective (due to Hush's bug), but before he can reveal this he is knocked out by Jason Todd. Scarecrow also appears in Batman: Heart of Hush, kidnapping a child to distract Batman so Hush can attack Catwoman. When Batman goes to rescue the child, Scarecrow activates a Venom implant, causing the boy to attack Batman. He is defeated when Batman ties the boy's teddy bear to Scarecrow, causing the child to attack Scarecrow. After he is captured, Batman attacks him in prison to get Hush's location.
Scarecrow's mastery of fear is such that the yellow power ring of Amon Sur tries to seek him out at Arkham after its master's death, though it does not reach him.
In the Battle for the Cowl storyline, Scarecrow is recruited by a new Black Mask to be a part of a group of villains who are aiming to take over Gotham in the wake of Batman's apparent death. He later assists the crime lord in manufacturing a recreational drug called "Thrill," which draws the attention of Oracle and Batgirl. He is later defeated by Batgirl and once again arrested.
Powers and abilities
Johnathan Crane is a brilliant scientist who specializes in the study of fear. He invented a gas that causes his victims to experience terrifying hallucinations. He wears his Scarecrow mask to enhance the effect of the hallucinogen. The mask contains filters to protect him from his own gas. Although not physically intimidating, Scarecrow is adept in physical combat, using a style called "violent dancing", based partly on the crane style of kung fu and on drunken boxing.
Prolonged exposure to his own gas has damaged Crane's brain, meaning that he cannot feel fear for anything except Batman. This is problematic for him as he has an addiction to fear and compulsively seeks out confrontations with Batman to satiate it.
The Scarecrow at times wields a scythe which he uses in addition to his "violent dancing". Scarecrow also uses a hand-held fear gas sprayer in the shape of a human skull, straws which he leaves as a calling card, special straws which can be snapped in half to release a fear toxin (as seen in Batman: Hush), stuffed scarecrows which scare his victims, and a Sinestro Corps ring (as seen in the Blackest Night mini-series). In the video game Batman: Arkham Asylum, he has needles strapped to each of his fingers on his right hand with which he injects fear toxins into his victim.
Superhuman strength, and stamina
Named after the 19th century nursery rhyme, Grundy was introduced as an enemy of the Golden Age Green Lantern (Alan Scott), but has since become a prominent enemy for a number of superheroes, such as Superman and Batman.
Grundy is the focus of one of the four Faces of Evil one-shots that explore the aftermath of Final Crisis, written by Scott Kolins and Geoff Johns, with art by Shane Davis. It is the introduction to a seven part mini-series featuring the character.
The miniseries depicted a young Cyrus Gold brought to life in the present by The Spectre and The Phantom Stranger. Their goal is for Gold to identify his killer within seven days so that he can rest and thus destroy Solomon Grundy. Etrigan is trying to take him to Hell, instead. Gold has a habit of getting killed. No matter how much damage is done to his body, he resurrects as a complete Solomon Grundy, driven to kill. Killer Croc attacks him, then Bizarro attempts to be his friend. He attacks Green Lantern Alan Scott and Harlequin in their house, destroying it, temporarily destroying the power battery as well. He seemingly kills Poison Ivy. He then kills Amazo, who rebuilds himself as "Amazo-Grundy." Ultimately he is brought down by Frankenstein just as he realizes that he was his own killer. Finally, he is brought back to life as a Black Lantern.
Fictional character biography
Earth-Two version's history
In the late 19th century, a wealthy merchant named Cyrus Gold is murdered and his body disposed of in Slaughter Swamp, near Gotham City. Fifty years later, the corpse is reanimated as a huge shambling figure (composed partly of the swamp matter that has accumulated around the body over the decades) with almost no memory of its past life. Gold murders two escaped criminals who are hiding out in the marsh and steals their clothes. He shows up in a hobo camp and, when asked about his name, one of the few things he can recall is that he was "born on a Monday". One of the men at the camp mentions the nursery rhyme character Solomon Grundy (who was born on a Monday), and Gold adopts the moniker.
Strong, vicious, and nearly mindless, Solomon Grundy falls into a life of crime—or, perhaps returns to one as his scattered residual memories may indicate—attracting the attention of the Green Lantern, Alan Scott. Grundy proves to be a difficult opponent, unkillable (since he is already dead) and with an inherent resistance to Scott's powers (which cannot affect wood, a substance of which Grundy's reassembled body is now largely composed). He apparently kills Green Lantern, who gives off a green flash. Liking this flash, Grundy commits murders hoping to see the flash again. However the first fight ends when Grundy is hurled under a train by Green Lantern.
Grundy is revived when a criminal scientist, known as the Professor, injects Grundy with concentrated chlorophyll. After this second encounter Grundy is trapped in a green plasma bubble for a time, until a freak weather occurrence releases him from his prison. Making his way across country, Grundy heads for JSA HQ. Meanwhile, Green Lantern arrives early for the meeting, when there is a knock on the door. He opens the door and gasps, "You!" Later, when the other members arrive, they find their HQ smashed to pieces and one of their members, G.L., missing from the ranks. Johnny turns on the radio, which blares the warning that Solomon Grundy is on the loose; the members believe, based on a large, muddy footprint on the floor, that Grundy got to HQ and took Green Lantern. The radio continues its report, listing cities where Grundy was seen, so each member picks a city and heads for it [Wonder Woman staying behind] to try to find Green Lantern. The scene now shifts back to the moment at JSA HQ where Green Lantern had opened the door. To his surprise, Doiby Dickles walks in, and informs him that Grundy has freed himself and is on the loose. Green Lantern leaves immediately, hoping to find Grundy before any of the JSA members are hurt going after him. Minutes later, Grundy arrives at JSA HQ, and, not finding the Lantern there, he smashes the place up, then leaves. Green Lantern and Doiby use a special radio-like device Alan Scott had developed that is attuned to the mental wavelengths of Grundy himself; Green Lantern calculates the path of Grundy and announces over the radio in JSA HQ where Grundy will strike. When Green Lantern and Grundy meet, Grundy rips a tree out by its roots and smashes it into the Lantern. Green Lantern fights back with his power ring and fists until both men fall into a nearby stream and over a small waterfall. The Lantern is severely dazed and tries to ward off Grundy with his ring, but he is much too weak. Grundy grabs Green Lantern by the throat and begins to squeeze the life out of him, holding his head underwater. However, Hawkman strikes Grundy with his mace, and Mid-Nite is able to revive the Lantern. A combined attack brings down Grundy, and Green Lantern deposits Grundy on the moon.
A battle soon commences when Grundy's body gravitates towards young astronomer Dick Cashmere as he learns to ride light waves, resulting in his assuming Cashmere's identity for a time while leaving the real one bound and gagged, though the Society finds him soon after. In this incarnation he gains intelligence he subsequently loses when Green Lantern defeats and buries Grundy in 1947.
At this point, he is pulled back to 1941 by the time-traveling criminal Per Degaton, who has enlisted the aid of several supervillains to capture the Justice Society of America on December 7, 1941 (the day of the attack on Pearl Harbor), hoping to change history enabling him to take over the World though he does not want the heroes involved, and tells Grundy he will be able to destroy Green Lantern. However Degaton is planning to get rid of him once his plan succeeds. He encountered Green Lantern, the Flash, and Wonder Woman in Echo Park. None of the heroes have fought Grundy yet the villain claims to have fought them before. Grundy bests the costumed trio and is summoned by a mysterious voice to deliver them or "pay the penalty." The All-Star Squadron comes to their rescue, Sir Justin faces off against Solomon Grundy and Grundy is the last villain to be transported back, he is thrust back to the moon where he remains for over two decades, as this timeline is erased once Degaton is defeated.
Grundy eventually masters the use of stored up emerald energy he has absorbed over the years from his several battles with his arch-foe, and returns to Earth to battle Green Lantern, Hourman, and Doctor Fate. At this point, he has temporary mastery over all wooden objects. He subsequently loses this power over time. He is imprisoned in a bubble in space made by Green lantern and Doctor Fate.
He was once pulled to Earth-1 and substituted for the superstrong Blockbuster due to a machine that was accidentally pulling the Earths together in warp-space and substituting people. During this event he had absorbed some of Dr Fate's magic, is stronger than before, and is even able to telekinetically lift the Flash into the air. He hates Green Lantern so much he thinks everyone he sees is Green Lantern. He is imprisoned inside a mountain by Earth-1 Green Lantern after being lifted up by Earth-1 Hawkman and dazed by blows from all the heroes, but when the machine is turned off he is substituted for Blockbuster on Earth-2 and renews the attack, defeating numerous heroes. However the JSA and JLA went to battle an Anti-Matter being that was threatening both Earths in Warp-Space after being summoned by Doctor Fate, who had sensed the threat due to the Spectre. To occupy the villains Green Lantern placed them together to occupy them, as the heroes return they find Grundy and Blockbuster have knocked the hate out of each other. He is then taken back to his Earth by the Justice Society.
He is briefly a member of the Injustice Society of the World. In the interim, he battles the combined might of both the Justice Society, and later their counterparts the Justice League, nearly to a standstill at Slaughter Swamp, when he develops an affection for a lost alien child who has accidentally been sent to Earth-2 and is dying due to separation from his pet. His magic even enables him to defeat Superman. The alien child is finally reunited with his pet and sent back to his own dimension. Soon after, Grundy crosses over from his Slaughter Swamp prison on Earth-2 to Earth-1 where he encounters that Earth's Superman (see more details below).
Grundy goes on to afflict Green Lantern and his teammates, including the Huntress who is the first female for whom he develops an affection. After Solomon Grundy is rescued from a glacier by Alan Scott's daughter, Jade, Grundy becomes loyal to her and, for a while, is an ally of Infinity, Inc. Eventually, this affectionate relationship turns tragic as the villainous Marcie Cooper, a.k.a. Harlequin of the Dummy's Injustice Unlimited, uses her illusion powers to disguise herself as Jade. Harlequin manipulates Grundy to attack the members of Infinity Inc., one by one. She convinces him to press the unconscious Mister Bones' bare hand against Skyman; since Bones's skin constantly exudes a cyanide-based compound, this quickly leads to Skyman's death. Once Grundy found out that Marcie had duped him, he savagely beat her within an inch of her life. This is the beginning of the end for Infinity Inc., and for Grundy's quasi-heroic career.
Powers and abilities
Solomon Grundy has superhuman strength and stamina. His strength has varied greatly through the years; for instance, in the Long Halloween story arc, Batman beat Grundy, while at various points his strength is on par with Superman's. He is virtually indestructible and immortal thanks to the elemental energy that imbues his form with pseudo-life. He is nearly invulnerable to physical, magical, and energy attacks and he is not affected by fire or cold. He has proven highly resistant to the effects of the original Green Lantern's power ring (which is attributed to his part-plant essence; originally because he had absorbed plant matter from the swamp, and later because he was a partial "plant elemental" like Swamp Thing).
Grundy possesses a healing factor. While he has occasionally been destroyed, he has always returned to life sooner or later, though often with different personalities and powers.
When it came to The New 52, the Earth-2 Solomon Grundy also possesses powers associated with The Grey.
Alter ego: Harvey Dent
Notable aliases: Apollo, Janus, Mr. Duall, Count Enance
Abilities: Extensive knowledge of law enforcement, experienced hand-to-hand combatant, expert marksman
Two-Face was once Harvey Dent, the clean-cut district attorney of Gotham City and an ally of Batman. However, Dent goes insane after mob boss Sal Maroni throws acid at him during a trial, hideously scarring the left side of his face. Dent adopts the "Two-Face" persona and becomes a criminal, choosing to bring about good or evil based upon the outcome of a coin flip. Originally, Two-Face was one of many gimmick-focused comic book villains, plotting crimes based around the number two, such as robbing Gotham Second National Bank at 2:00 on February 2 and stealing 2 million dollars.
The character only made three appearances in the 1940s, and appeared twice in the 1950s (not counting the impostors mentioned below). By this time, he was dropped in favor of more "kid friendly" villains, though he did appear in a 1968 issue (World's Finest Comics #173), in which Batman declared him to be the criminal he most fears. In 1971, writer Dennis O'Neil brought Two-Face back, and it was then that he became one of Batman's arch-enemies.
In the wake of Frank Miller's 1986 revision of Batman's origin (see Batman: Year One), Andrew Helfer rewrote Two-Face's history to match. This origin, presented in Batman Annual (vol. 1) #14, served to emphasize Dent's status as a tragic character, with a back story that included an abusive, alcoholic father, and early struggles with bipolar disorder and paranoia. It was also established, in Batman: Year One, that pre-accident Harvey Dent was one of Batman's earliest allies. He had clear ties to both Batman and Commissioner Gordon, making him an unsettling and personal foe for both men.
At 26, Harvey Dent is the youngest district attorney ever to serve Gotham City, and is nicknamed "Apollo" for his good looks and clean-cut image. He is elected about six months before Batman begins his war on crime. For a time, Gordon speculated that Dent might have been Batman, but eventually dismissed him as a candidate as Dent lacked the Batman's financial resources even if he possessed his desire for justice.
Dent, Captain James Gordon, and Batman forge an alliance to rid Gotham of crime boss Sal Maroni and Carmine Falcone, with Maroni being eventually murdered by Falcone's son Alberto. Falcone hires the corrupt Assistant District Attorney Fields to disfigure Dent with sulfuric acid. Two-Face gets his trademark coin from his abusive father, who would employ the coin in a perverse nightly "game" that would always end with a beating. This would instill in Dent his lifelong struggle with free will and his eventual inability to make choices on his own, relying on the coin to make all of his decisions. Eventually, the scarred Dent takes his revenge on Fields and Falcone, leading to his incarceration in Arkham Asylum.
During the Dark Victory story arc, a serial killer called the Hangman targets various cops who assisted in Harvey Dent's rise to the D.A.'s office. Two-Face gathers Gotham's criminals to assist in the destruction of the city's crime lords. After a climatic struggle in the Batcave, Two-Face falls into a chasm after he is betrayed by the Joker. Batman admits in the aftermath that, even if Two-Face has survived, Harvey Dent is gone forever.
During a much later period, Two-Face is revealed to have murdered Jason Todd's father, a former henchmen. When attempting to apprehend Two-Face, Jason briefly has the criminal at his mercy, but lets Two-Face's punishment be decided by the law. Two-Face later serves as a 'baptism of fire' for Tim Drake, the new Robin: When Two-Face has Batman at his mercy, Tim dons the Robin suit to save him.
In Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, Arkham's doctors attempt to wean Two-Face off the coin by replacing it with a die and eventually a tarot deck, giving him 78 options. The treatment fails: rather than becoming self-reliant, Dent is now unable to make even the smallest of decisions - such as going to the bathroom. Batman returns the coin, telling him to use it to decide whether to kill him. He tells Batman that the coin landed scarred face down, and Batman leaves safely. The next scene shows the scarred face up, however, meaning that he chose to let Batman live.
In the No Man's Land storyline, in which Gotham is devastated by an earthquake, Two-Face carves out a portion of the ruined city for himself and takes up residence in Gotham City Hall. He even forms a temporary alliance with Gordon to share out certain territory. His empire is brought down by Bane (employed by Lex Luthor) who destroys Two-Face's gang during his destruction of the city's Hall of Records. Two-Face kidnaps Gordon and puts him on trial for his activities after Gotham City was declared a No Man's Land, with Two-Face as both judge and prosecutor for Gordon's illegal alliance with him. Gordon plays upon Two-Face's split psyche to demand Harvey Dent as his defense attorney. Dent cross-examines Two-Face and wins an acquittal for Gordon, determining that Two-Face has effectively blackmailed Gordon by implying that he had committed murders to aid the Commissioner.
In Gotham Central, Two-Face meets detective Renee Montoya. Montoya reaches the Dent persona in Two-Face, and is kind to him. He falls in love with her, though the romance is one-sided. and eventually, in the Gotham Central series, he outs her as a lesbian and frames her for murder, hoping that if he takes everything from her, she will be left with no choice but to be with him. She is furious, and the two fight for control of his gun until Batman intervenes, putting Two-Face back in Arkham.
In the Two-Face: Crime and Punishment one-shot book, Two-Face leads a crusade against Gotham City, culminating in the capturing of his own father to humiliate and kill on live television for the years of abuse he suffered. This story reveals that, despite his apparent hatred for his father, Dent still supports him, paying for an expensive home rather than allowing him to live in a slum. At the end of the book, the Dent and Two-Face personalities argue in thought, Two-Face calling Dent "spineless." Dent proves Two-Face wrong, however, choosing to jump off a building and commit suicide just to put a stop to his alter ego's crime spree. Two-Face is surprised when the coin flip comes up scarred, but abides by the decision and jumps. Batman catches him, but the shock of the fall seems to (at least temporarily) destroy the Two-Face side of his psyche.
In Two-Face Strikes Twice, Two-Face is at odds with his ex-wife Gilda, as he believes their marriage failed because he was unable to give her children. She later marries Paul Janus, a reference to the Roman god of doors who had two faces, one facing forward, the other backward. Two-Face attempts to frame Janus as a criminal by kidnapping him and replacing him with a stand-in, whom Two-Face "disfigures" with makeup to make it look as if Janus has gone insane just as Two-Face had. Batman eventually catches Two-Face and puts him away, and Gilda and Janus reunite. Years later, Gilda gives birth to twins, prompting Two-Face to escape once more and take the twins hostage, as he erroneously believes them to be conceived by Janus using an experimental fertility drug. The end of the book reveals a surprise twist; Batman learns from Gilda that Janus is not the father of Gilda's twins—Two-Face is. Some of his sperm had been frozen after a death threat had been made against him, and she used some of it to get pregnant. Batman uses this information to convince Two-Face to free the twins and turn himself in.
In the Batman: Hush storyline, his face is repaired once more via plastic surgery. This time around, only the Harvey Dent persona exists. However, he takes the law into his own hands twice: once by using his ability to manipulate the legal system to free the Joker, and then again by shooting the serial killer Hush. He manipulates the courts into setting him free, as Gotham's prosecutors wouldn't attempt to charge him without a body.
In the Batman story arc Batman: Face the Face, that started in Detective Comics #817, and was part of DC's One Year Later storyline, it is revealed that, at Batman's request and with his training, Dent becomes a vigilante protector of Gotham City in most of Batman's absence of nearly a year. He is reluctant to take the job, but Batman assures him it would serve as atonement for his past crimes. After a month of training, they fight Firebug and Mr. Freeze, before Batman leaves for a year. Dent enjoys his new role, but his methods are seemingly more extreme and less refined than Batman's. Upon Batman's return, Dent begins to feel unnecessary and unappreciated, which prompts the return of the "Two-Face" persona (seen and heard by Dent through hallucinations). In Face the Face, his frustration is compounded by a series of mysterious murders that seem to have been committed by Two-Face; the villains KGBeast, Magpie, The Ventriloquist, and Orca are all shot twice in the head with a double-barreled pistol. When Batman confronts Dent about these deaths, asking him to confirm that he was not responsible, Dent refuses to give a definite answer. He then detonates a bomb in his apartment and leaves Batman dazed as he flees.
Despite escaping the explosion physically unscathed to a motel, Dent suffers a crisis of conscience and a mental battle with his "Two-Face" personality. Although evidence is later uncovered by Batman that exonerates Dent for the murders, it is too late to save him. Prompted by resentment and a paranoid reaction to Batman's questioning, Dent scars half his face with nitric acid and a scalpel, becoming Two-Face once again. Blaming Batman for his return, Two-Face immediately goes on a rampage, threatening to destroy the Gotham Zoo (having retained two of every animal - including two humans) before escaping to fight Batman another day.
On the cover of Justice League of America vol. 2 #23, Two-Face is shown as a member of the new Injustice League. He can be seen in Salvation Run. He appears in Battle for the Cowl: The Underground, which shows the effects of Batman's death on his enemies. In Judd Winick's Long Shadow arc, Two-Face realizes that there's another person under the cowl. He hires a teleporter and manages to infiltrate the Batcave. When the new Batman investigates the cave, he is ambushed by Two-Face with tranquilizer darts, and in a hallucination he sees Dent in a red and black Two-Face themed Batman costume. However, Alfred Pennyworth saved the hero from Two-Face's torture after he subdues his accomplice, and with his help Batman convinces Two-Face that he is the real, original Dark Knight Detective, informing Dent that his problem is that he cannot imagine Batman changing because he himself is incapable of seeing the world in anything other than black and white. In Streets of Gotham, Two-Face has been at odds with Gotham's latest district attorney, Kate Spencer, also known as the vigilante Manhunter. Two-Face has recently been driven out of Gotham City by Jeremiah Arkham.
Abilities and weapons
Before his transformation into Two-Face, Harvey Dent had a reputation as one of the best attorneys in Gotham City, and as proficient in nearly all matters pertaining to criminal law. Despite his later insanity, Two-Face's genius remains, assisting him as he turns to being a crime boss.
Following his disfigurement he developed multiple-personality disorder and became obsessed with duality. He staged crimes centered around the number two - such as robbing buildings with '2' in the address or staging events so that he will take action at 10:22 p.m. (22:22 in military time) - and carried and used dual firearms (such as .22 semiautomatics or a double barreled shotgun). Two-Face does things according to chance and therefore leaves all the decisions he makes to fate at the flip of his two-headed coin in an almost obsessive-compulsive manner, to the point that the Bat-family have exploited his "need" for the coin to their advantage more than once by depriving him of the coin mid-toss to delay his ability to make decisions. On other occasions Two-Face has even helped them when a coin-toss turns out in their favour, such as providing Batman with the antidote to a poison even after he, Joker and Penguin had poisoned the Dark Knight.
Alter ego: Arnold Wesker / Peyton Rily
Abilities: Criminal genius, suffers from dissociative identity disorder (which manifests in a psychotic dummy, Scarface)
A meek, quiet man named Arnold Wesker (the first Ventriloquist) plans and executes his crimes through a dummy named Scarface the Puppet, with the dress and persona of a 1920s gangster (complete with pinstripe suit, cigar, and Tommy gun). His name comes from the nickname of Al Capone, after whom Scarface is modeled.
Born into a powerful mafia family, Wesker develops dissociative identity disorder after seeing his mother assassinated by thugs from a rival family. Growing up, his only outlet is ventriloquism.
The issues Showcase '94 #8-9 establish an alternate origin story: after a barroom brawl in which he kills someone during a violent release of his repressed anger, Wesker is sent to Blackgate Penitentiary. He is introduced to "Woody" — a dummy carved from the former gallows by cellmate Donnegan — who convinces him to escape and kill Donnegan in a fight which scars the dummy, thus resulting in the birth of Scarface.
Wesker lets the Scarface personality do the dirty work, including robbery and murder. He is totally dominated by Scarface, who barks orders at him and degrades him with verbal (and even physical) abuse. Wesker is unable to enunciate the letter "B" while throwing his voice, and replaces them with the letter "G" instead (for example, Scarface often calls Batman "Gatman").
In the 1995 Riddler story The Riddle Factory, it is revealed that a gangster named "Scarface" Scarelli had once been active in Gotham City, though he had apparently died long before Batman's era. A supernatural aspect to Scarface was hinted at in Wesker's origin story in Showcase '94, when Wesker's cellmate creates the first Scarface doll from a piece of gallows wood. 2001's Batman/Scarface: A Psychodrama reinforces this and shows the dummy to be indirectly responsible for two accidents while separated from Wesker (with at least one fatality). The dummy also retained his speech impediment while operated by a young boy and seemed to even show awareness of his name during this period.
In one issue of The Batman Adventures, the comic book based on Batman: The Animated Series, Wesker tries to reform by working puppets in a children's show with "Froggy", a new, friendlier puppet. However, the female star of the show is outraged when the show's cancellation is announced, and, having discovered Wesker's previous crimes with Scarface, reunites her hated boss with the murderous dummy. Later, as Wesker and Scarface are getting away, Froggy comes out to save Wesker from Scarface, resulting in a car wreck and the "death" of Froggy.
The Ventriloquist is one of many villains in the Rogues Gallery to be confined to Arkham Asylum when Batman apprehends him. One particularly memorable series of events concerning him took place during the Knightfall saga, after Bane had destroyed Arkham and released its inmates. Unable to find Scarface, the Ventriloquist uses a sock puppet in his place for a short time (aptly named Socko). After an ill-fated team-up with fellow escapee Amygdala, he procures a number of other hand puppets to fill in for Scarface, including one of a police officer which he refers to as "Chief O'Hara" (in reference to a character from the 1960s Batman TV show). Later, when Wesker does indeed find Scarface, Scarface and Socko are set at odds until a standoff occurs, and the puppets shoot each other, leaving Wesker unconscious and bleeding from two wounded hands.
During the events of the Cataclysm story arc, the stress caused by the earthquake apparently triggered the release of another personality within Wesker in the form of the 'Quakemaster', who claimed to have caused the earthquake himself over a video and threatened to trigger another unless he was paid $100 million. However, the seismologist Quakemaster had captured to provide him with information deliberately feeds him inaccurate scientific data to provide detectives looking for her with information as to her location. Robin subsequently deduces 'Quakemaster's' true identity due to his speeches always taking great effort to avoid saying any words with the letter 'B'.
In one issue, Wesker is apparently killed, and in a bizarre twist, Scarface appears to still talk and act alive before he is destroyed. This death appears to have been retconned in "One Year Later" (presumably due to the events of the Infinite Crisis crossover). Wesker appears as one of the members of the Secret Society of Super Villains that faces the Jade Canary, who pitches Scarface off the top of a roof.
In Detective Comics #818, an issue later included in the trade paperback Batman: Face the Face, Wesker is murdered by an unseen assailant. The puppet Scarface is stepped on and its head crushed. The dying Wesker uses Scarface's hand to leave a clue regarding his murder: a street name. Later in the storyline, it is revealed that Tally Man, acting as an enforcer for the Great White Shark, is responsible for the murder.
A new female Ventriloquist, called "Sugar" by Scarface, soon surfaced in the pages of Detective Comics. Batman responded to a police scanner call - witnesses said Catwoman had been shot. He got to the body, which had a note on it that read "dummy." A counter started at 4 seconds - he got out as the place exploded. When he got back to his car, there was a dummy posing as Robin. He shot it with a grapple and it, too, exploded.
Batman had the police exhume Arnold Wesker's body, but the coffin was empty. Bruce went out disguised as Lefty Knox to see what the underground was saying. Within a week, he heard the Ventriloquist was making a come back at the Iceburg Lounge. "Lefty" attended the big show - as the curtains parted, Wesker sat with Scarface in his lap. A beautiful blonde whom Scarface calls "Sugar" knocked over the dead body, picked up the dummy, and continued on. When she was questioned by an audience member, she shot him. Scarface told the room he was working on a plan to take over the city, but would have to remove Batman from the equation first. He called Batman out, knowing he'd be in the audience. Bruce threw his voice and made it look like one of the other criminals was confessing. A batarang flew and took out the lights. Scarface opened fire. Batman swooped in and grabbed the woman and the dummy. He separated them and realized the dummy was a bomb. The woman escaped. Batman informed Gordon of what had happened.
Sugar is a more compatible partner than Wesker, since Scarface no longer substitutes "b" with "g", and she is far more willing to commit violent crime. When nearly captured by Batman and Harley Quinn (who had been close to Wesker after he tried to cheer her up when she was initially sent to Arkham while the Joker was still on the loose), Sugar has Scarface say, "Save yourself." Unlike Wesker, who is horrified at any damage to Scarface, Sugar rigs her dummies to explode, using this to cover her escapes. She has numerous identical dummies at her hideout, one of which then becomes the "real" Scarface.
During Gotham Underground #2 (January 2008), Sugar and Scarface, along with Lock-Up, Firefly, and Killer Moth are told by the Scarecrow that the Penguin is working for the Suicide Squad. They attack him, but end up meeting a team of criminals working for Penguin. While they try to escape, they are brought to a dead end by Scarecrow. Tobias Whale shoots Scarface, but lets Sugar live, although he informs one of the men escorting her that she is to be "hurt".
In Detective Comics #843 (April 2008), Scarface kidnaps a rival gangster, Johnny Sabatino, and takes Bruce Wayne hostage. While alone, Sugar breaks away from Scarface and talks to Bruce in what appears to be her 'real' personality. She reveals that she was engaged to Wayne's friend, Matthew Atkins, "years ago." Her real name is revealed to be Peyton Riley, and she expresses remorse for her crimes before the Scarface persona reappears and interrupts their conversation.
In the following issue, Riley reveals that her father, an Irish Mafia boss named Sean Riley, wanted to marry her off to Sabatino, forming a permanent alliance between Gotham's Irish and Italian gangs. Sean Riley therefore assaults Peyton's fiance, leaving him in intensive care. He subsequently becomes an alcoholic, and Peyton was forced to marry Sabatino. This does not lead to the hoped-for gang alliance, as Sabatino proves to be an inept gangster. He and Peyton are eventually taken to see Scarface, as Sabatino had cheated him on a weapons deal. Both Scarface and Wesker were impressed by Peyton's intelligence, and give Sabatino a second chance, taking 30% of his profits.
In Detective Comics #850 (November 2008), she and Tommy Elliot bond over their mutual resentment of their families, and vow that they'll escape together when Elliot comes into his fortune. However, Elliot's ailing mother does not approve of their relationship, and when Tommy refuses to stop seeing Peyton, she writes him out of her will. Peyton subsequently runs the departing family lawyer off of the road and kills him (calling in a favour from some of her father's men to "take care of the details"), while Elliot murders his mother. Peyton declares that they can finally be free together - only to be abandoned by Elliot, who later describes her as a "sweet girl, but too needy."
When Scarface's hold on the mob begins to crumble, Sabatino, now a crime boss in his own right, decides to cement his own position by wiping out the Rileys. After killing his father-in-law, he takes Peyton to a gangster's hide-out and shoots her in the head. She survives, however, and regains consciousness just as Tally Man is killing Wesker nearby. Peyton finds the body of Wesker, and is shocked to hear Scarface talking to her. Although she suspects she may be hallucinating, she forms a partnership with him.
Scarface and Peyton plan to throw Sabatino over the side of his own yacht. Zatanna rescues Wayne from something, and, as Batman, he proceeds to rescue Sabatino while Zatanna tries to talk down Peyton, explaining that dolls and puppets have powerful magic. Before she can have any effect, a thug named Moose hits her with an oar. While Batman protects Zatanna from Moose, Peyton makes another attempt to throw Sabatino over the side, but gets too close, and he begins to strangle her with his own bonds. Scarface quietly says, "Jump, Sugar", and Peyton sends them both over the side. Before they hit the water, Scarface says "G'bye, kiddo. I loved y..." Riley has not appeared since.
Powers and abilities
The Ventriloquist has no superhuman powers and is not a good hand-to-hand combatant. He is a skilled ventriloquist and his Scarface persona is a skilled criminal strategist. However, he is unable to pronounce any word with a letter "B" accurately without moving his lips, giving Scarface a speech impediment. Wesker usually carries a handgun of some kind, while Scarface carries a trademark Tommy gun. However Wesker tends to show that he and Scarface hold two different personalities and he and Scarface can sometimes argue amongst each other, which tends to work as an advantage to Batman in several occasions.
The second Ventriloquist is much more skilled in ventriloquism than her predecessor, and is capable to pronounce all speech patterns with more proficiency when in her Scarface persona. Unlike the first one, the second ventriloquist's personality does not contradict Scarface's and is much more willing to do cruel acts, especially since she believes that the dummy and her are in a romantic relationship. Coming from an elite mafia family, she is also a brilliant criminal mastermind.
The third Ventriloquist is, possibly, a metahuman capable of controlling other beings. Her psychotic mind often leads those to gain their own personalities.