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Batman: Incidentally, I spoke to Commissioner Gordon before I came in here. He's fine. Despite all your sick, vicious little games, he's as sane as he ever was. So maybe people don't always crack. Maybe there isn't any need to crawl under a rock with all the other slimy little things when trouble hits. Maybe it was just you, all the time.
Brian Azzarello's Joker: mostly it's about the Joker versus Two-Face, gangland style, and Batman stalking the Joker throughout. At the climax, when the Joker asks why Batman leaves a little window on his mask, 'a glimpse' at the human face underneath. When Batman shuts him up in three words — "to mock you"—the Joker loses his shit completely.
Even more awesome? That's Batman's only line in the book.
Batman and Nightwing taking down Amazo in the "Under The Hood" storyline is pretty tight, and is This Troper's usual way of showing a good example of Batman taking down an enemy with just tactical planning. He and Nightwing basically take down most of Amazo's powers (note, that this is an android who normally has all the powers of the Justice League) individually, including taking out his Heat Vision by tricking him into blasting it into plastic explosives. Then he runs him over with the Batmobile. Now that's thorough.
In Justice #8, Batman is interrogating Captain Cold while examining his freeze gun:
Batman: "Are you sentimental, Mr. Snart?"
Captain Cold: "No, Bruce, not really, why?"
Batman: "I'm thinking of this gun. I myself hate guns. Have ever since I was a boy. Nice trigger."
Captain Cold: "What are you talking about, Bruce? Where are you going with this? Do you really want to know if I have sentimental feelings about my gun?"
Batman: "No. I'm thinking about your fingers. And how many of them you'd like to keep."
Later, Superman's internal monologue reveals that since Batman had Wonder Woman's Lasso of Truth wrapped around him to combat Brainiac's Mind Control nanobots, he wasn't bluffing in the slightest.
Two-Face almost had one in The Long Halloween, when he, in his first tragic appearance after his Face-Heel Turn, casually shoots untouchable crime boss Carmine Falcone with the line: "Two shots to the head... couldn't've happened to a nicer guy." But, then in Dark Victory, he trumps it all when he escapes from court in broad daylight under Batman's nose with a delicious setup that came out of nowhere. Most who've read it will attest. Here are the quotes:
Two-Face (interrupting questioning): "What time do you have?"
Batman (thinking): "Something's wrong. Two-Face is wearing a watch."
Porter, The New District Attorney: "Two o' Clock"
Courtroom explodes as Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy, and Solomon Grundy come bursting through the floor.
Two-Face: I move for a recess.
Batman's found himself caring for a baby that's wanted by villains, and can't risk leaving him alone, and so goes out to fight crime anyway, with the baby under his arm. A bunch of crooks aren't impressed... at first.
Batman: "You know who I am. You know what I can do. But I am holding a small child here. And if you make me do anything that could possibly endanger this baby... * next panel* You will be very, very sorry. * pause* Forever."
And the thugs immediately surrender their weapons. The moment is broken, though, when they have to tell him he's holding the baby wrong!
One favorite Batman moment comes from the reintroduction storyline of Supergirl in Superman/Batman. Darkseid and his toadies just beat the crap out of the heroes and are about to kill them. Enter Batman, informing Darkseid that he just raided his weapons cache and scattered his own bombs all over HIS planet. Furious, Darkseid gives the deactivation code for the armed weapons, but to his shock, it doesn't work. Batman calmly informs him that he changed the codes for all of them and he will trade it to Darkseid for a safe return to Earth for all the heroes. Darkseid threatens to kill him, and while dangling on Darkseid's fist by his neck, Batman tells him: "But that won't stop the bombs." As they were going home, Darkseid tells him, "If it was the Kryptonian or the Amazon, I would not have believed they would be capable of destroying a whole world."
To be fair, though, that was because Darkseid doesn't think humans have honor.
Let us reiterate: Batman, a normal human with no powers whatsoever, is staring down Darkseid, a freaking god. AND BATMAN WINS.
During Grant Morrison's run on JLA, Batman is portrayed as the Crazy-PreparedBadass Normal. In this capacity, he understandably supplies at least one Moment of Awesome per story arc. The most memorable of these is during the "Tower of Babel" arc where it is revealed that for years, Batman has kept secret files on incredibly inventive and effective ways to incapacitate and/or kill every member of the JLA.
"Tower of Babel" was actually Mark Waid's first storyline after Grant Morrison left. This actually counts as a moment for Waid himself, who stepped in after the rock star of comic books left the title and showed the fanboys he could deliver equally awesome stories (he had already done a couple of filler issues for Morrison including one that gets mentioned on this wiki amongst the Moments of Awesome where Amazo had the powers of the current Justice League and got more powerful when the reserves were activated, so Atom defeated Amazo by having Superman declare the League disbanded.)
Ra's Al Ghul gets TWO crowning moments in that storyline, first by distracting Batman through a method so obvious, he's surprised he didn't think of it sooner ( stealing the bodies of the Waynes), and later by stealing Batman's aforementioned plans.
Sorry, that Amazo story was actually written by Morrison's regular writing partner, Mark Millar.
The "Rock of Ages" story, which shared many plot elements with Morrison's Final Crisis. In an alternate future where Darkseid has enslaved earth and killed most of the JLA, an aging Batman confronts Darkseid after outsmarting and impersonating hisTorture Technician, Desaad. Before his death, Bats successfully breaks the god of evil by talking: "You always say you're surrounded by these 'worthless maggots'. Well, that's because you won, and did exactly what you said you'd do. You've recreated the whole world in your image; and what we see in it is your own ugly face."
Batman earned his "Batgod" status after surprisingly few instances of this on Morrison's run. Morrison wanted to give Batman some early Moments of Awesome to prove that he was worthy of being the sole non-powered member of the Big Seven League (Aquaman also got some of this treatment). Just as often, Batman awesomeness was demonstrated by having the League rookies panic when Batman disappeared or was defeated. Here's the complete list from Morrison's run.
Batman hiding near Superman for over an hour. When Superman comments that he didn't hear a heartbeat, Batman revealed "the gadget worked."
Batman turning the tide in the Hyperclan battle by figuring out that the Hyperclan are all White Martians. After explaining this to a group of them who have surrounded him, he lights a ring of kerosene on fire and cracks his knuckles.
Paying Mirror Master to go turncoat, effectively thwarting Luthor's "corporate takeover" of the League and proving he's a better CEO than Lex.
Deducing the exact state of his situation while trapped unconscious in a virtual reality by realizing that his heart rhythm was wrong for a man of his supposed age and then realizing that the villain actually wanted them to figure out they were dreaming to harness the power of their waking up (though he realizes it a bit too late).
The aforementioned outwitting of Desaad.
Nearly beating the implacable Shaggy Man by hypnotizing him into stepping on a teleporter rigged to teleport him to the asteroid belt. It would have worked if the League hadn't crashed through the wall at that moment, disrupting the hypnosis and leaving them to have to achieve the same effect by brute force. Hypnosis would have been effective in this case because General Eiling downloaded his mind into the creature (whose brain wasn't designed to host a human level intelligence).
Mindlinking with Superman when his mind is in the throes of Mageddon and goading him into fighting off Mageddon's influence.
After losing his first match to Prometheus, he wins the rematch by revealing that he had reverse-engineered the helmet and pressed a button to give Prometheus the fighting skills and motor characteristics of Professor Stephen Hawking.
Huntress: Did I see you cheating?
Batman: Winning. First time I've ever hit a man with a motor neuron disease.
Cassandra Cain demonstrates a classic example of the "Holy... she is that good" subtrope when she faces off against four government agents at optimal pistol range with laser sights trained on her. They pull the triggers more or less at once. She explicitly dodges out of the path of each bullet in turnwhile smiling, then drops three of them and slams the fourth into a wall before they can do more than look shocked.
How about when a government agent tries to intimidate her into surrendering?
Agent:With one phone call I can have your name, address, and favorite flavor of ice cream.
This troper personally considers it to be taking down Ravager. An epic fight already, made more epic considering that the latter was heavily armed, had precognitive abilities, and surprise, while the former was an unarmed Badass Normal. Little moments, like Batgirl knocking one of Ravager's swords out of her hand, then dueling her with it, then embedding it into a wall and using it as a springboard to escape briefly are all impressive, but it hits its finale when she deals with her father, Deathstroke, who was watching the fight to see Ravager's success: she stabs Ravager in the throat.
Deathstroke:I'll kill you.
Batgirl:No. You won't. It's "her job." As long as she lives. Which is about—another ten minutes. Unless—you save her. Now.
Having led several iterations of the Teen Titans and formed more connections with the superhero community than Superman himself, Nightwing has had his fair share of moments, but one of the best comes in an issue of The Brave and the Bold when, faced with a group of marauding ghosts that can take over and kill any being they come in contact with, tricks every single big name superhero into hiding in another dimension. "Next to Superman, Dick Grayson is the one guy alive that every other crimefighter trusts."
A great simple one was in an early issue of Nightwing, as Dick is smuggling an injured victim out of a hospital, he intuits on the fly that one of the bad guys chasing him is likely a former football player from his body positioning. As a result, he assumes he has a football player's badly injured knees... which is where Dick delivers a pair of kicks, leaving the bad guy whimpering.
Now under the pen of Grant Morrison, Dick will likely need his own page of this fairly soon if the first issue of Batman & Robin is any indication.
Confirmed. One example has Damien (in a moment of his own) distract the Ax-Crazy, Implacable Man Flamingo by firing a RPG at him. While Flamingo's attention is focused on Damien.
Damien: "He's behind you by the way."
Flamingo turns around just in time for Dick's boot to connect with his jaw.
The Joker gets a nice one at the end of the No Man's Land storyline, when he tricks a maddened, angry rival into killing all of his own men himself, then shoots him dead, then almost kills the Huntress (who had just gone through an awesome moment herself beating the rest of Joker's gang all by herself). Then he went and tricked the whole Batman family and the Gotham Police Department into going into a distracting wild goose chase while he killed Commissioner Gordon's wife for good measure.
Long after his transformation into Two-Face, Harvey Dent gets a crowning moment during the No Man's Land storyline, sharing it with Renee Montoya. Having put Commissioner Gordon on trial in his own private court, Two-Face is about to pronounce him guilty when Montoya points out he's entitled to a defense. Two-Face won't let anyone but a lawyer defend Gordon, so Montoya asks for the only lawyer in the room: Harvey Dent. Dent then calls Two-Face as a witness and argues his alter-ego to a standstill. See it here.
Batman saving an orphan boy and his dog from a couple of bloodthirsty hoods.
"Are you really him?" "Him who?" "Batman." "Yes." "Cool."
Batman threatening Lex Luthor with all the subtlety of a brick to the face.
As part of her introduction, Cassandra Cain takes a form of justice on Two-Face after he hires David Cain to kill Jim Gordon. Breaking into one of Two-Face's mock courts, Cassandra promptly holds him hostage while stealing every last silver dollar coin he has, leaving Two-Face a paralyzed wreck unable to make a single choice until his men find another silver dollar. It's enough to even impress Batman.
In Batman - Bruce Wayne: Fugitive, Batman is tracking down the group of people responsible for framing him for the murder of Vesper Fairchild. He comes across a group commando/mercenaries looking for information. Cue 4 pages of an epic beatdown courtesy of Bats. Utilizing batarangs and kicking just about everybody's ass. Bats ends the fight slaughter and knocks everyone out using a knock-out gas ball. Batman faces down with the leader of the squadron (smart enough to get his gas mask out) talking tough refusing to tell him the location of the agent responsible for framing Bruce Wayne for Vesper Fairchild's murder.
Commando:"Okay, so maybe I helped him with a little cleaning. What makes you think I know where he is now? See, I did some recon before we stationed here. Got the whole brief on Gotham—the overambitious P.D., the criminal element, The Batman... Batman won't kill me. We have no intel on Batman ever killing anyone"
Batman:"What you mean is that you have no evidence. But you're right, I won't kill you. I'll just incapacitate your men"''.
He names EVERY single soldier in the room that's on cringing in pain on the ground. Not only names but history but medical history as well. How scary is that?
Batman: Deren, Robert. Age twenty-three. Gave a kidney to his diabetic sister two years ago. Probably needs the other one. *kidney punch* Wilson, Scott. Thirty-four. Football knee injury. *wrenches the knee* Kellerman, Dana. Twenty-nine. Took shrapnel in the shoulder during the Gulf War. Still takes pain-killers for it. *punches him square in the shoulder* Goldman, Eli. Thirty-one. Allergic to penicillin. Joint wounds are slow to heal and prone to infection. *drags the edge of a batarang along the inside of his elbow!* Baithswaine, Gregory. Twenty-eight. Perfect medical record. So far.
In the first Batman Vs Predator Alfred gets one by attacking a predator to save Batman. his weapon? A baseball bat. The predators that come to take the rogue away are so impressed he's allowed to live.
In one Halloween special, the Mad Hatter has kidnapped a pre-Batgirl Barbara Gordon, among a number of other kids to play out a demented version of high tea. When Batman arrives, the Hatter has a spiked garotte around Barbara's neck. After Bats surmises that every scenario he can think of ends up with Barbara injured or worse, Commissioner Gordon crashes through the window behind the Mad Hatter, saving the day.
The Dark Knight Returns:
"There are seven working defenses from this position. Three disarm with minimal contact. Three kill. The other...hurts."
"It was tough work, carrying 220 pounds of sociopath to the top of Gotham Towers, the highest spot in the city. The scream alone is worth it."
"You don't get it, boy. This isn't a mudhole... It's an operating table. And I'm the surgeon."
"Something tells me to stop with the leg. I don't listen to it."
Also, "Well, why do you think I wear a target on my chest? I can't bulletproof my head."
"Rubber bullets. Honest."
"I've become a political liability, and you, you're a joke. I want you to remember Clark, in all the years to come, in your most private moments, I want you to remember my hand at your throat. I want you to remember the one man who beat you."
Bruce faking suicide well enough to fool Superman, however temporarily - even stopping his own heart - probably counts. It was perfectly set up to make you really believe he's gone off the deep end, but 60-YO Bats is as rational and calculating as ever.
Gotham's going mad due to an EMP. Planes falling from the sky, chaos in the streets, cars exploding... and the Sons of Batman are about to go on a shooting spree to calm things down. Batman himself calmly rides in on a freakin' horse, grabs the rifle from the leader, and snaps it in half, and lectures the group on why they're not gonna be using guns.
The Joker has a great scene in Underworld Unleashed. A bunch of supervillains have been summoned to hell, and are given the opportunity to sell their souls to the demon Neron in exchange for whatever they want. The Trickster (narrating), marvels at whom has shown up. When he sees that the Joker is there, he mentions that all villains, regardless of how powerful they are, tell Joker stories to scare each other. On top of that, while everyone else there makes the deal in exchange for power or influence, the Joker sells his soul for a box of Cuban cigars... and man, he makes it clear that they're great cigars.
Oracle gets one in the same crossover. Neron confronts Oracle with a simple task - become his chronicler and he'd give her her legs back. No soul-stealing, no sudden switches, just a simple desire. Oracle muses that point and the desire to return to action, but ultimately decides to turn him down, telling him that even if he said that she wouldn't lose her soul, she'd still end up losing it anyway.
Though this may be the opposite; it's ticked off a buttload of people.
Not least because it didn't really accomplish anything. Superman would have wtfpwned Darkseid in the next issue with the Miracle Machine whether or not Batman wounded him. If you're going to have a guy violate a personal code of honor he's held unflinchingly for more than sixty freakin' years, at least have it be necessary.
That's one interpretation, at least. Due to the... unique pacing of Final Crisis, it may not be clear. Batman poisoned Darkseid with radion. Not only was it irony with it being what killed Orion, but Batman knew it was the last thing he was going to be able to do. For all he knew, Superman could have still been dicking around off Earth looking for a way to save Lois. Darkseid is literally the strongest he's ever been and Batman fatally poisoned him.
It should be pointed out a lot of fans didn't mind that, when the fate of ALL REALITY is hanging in the balance, Batman is able to realize that his personal hang-ups come second, and do what's necessary to triumph, rather than being handicapped by his own issues.
And the subsequent Batman RIP: The Lost Chapter and the final issue of Return of Bruce Wayne have made it clear that this was a mythic confrontation for the fate of everything. It was Batman, an ordinary human having been tortured and abused for weeks or possibly months by Darkseid's minions and the Omega Adaptor in the form of Dr. Hurt, confronting the god of evil when all the super people have failed and creating "a New Myth.. a myth where Ultimate Evil turns its gaze on humanity and humanity gazes right back and says... Gotcha." It was not Batman just shooting some guy.
Exactly. It goes all the way back to a conversation with Commissioner Gordon a few weeks before:
"Look at you, all beat up to Hell. Why did you have to choose an enemy that's as old as time and bigger than all of us, Batman?"
"Same reason you did, Jim. I figured I could take him."
If Batman shouldn't destroy the literal Personification of Tyranny, a self-aware idea that's not even alive as humans reckon, then WTF should he attempt to destroy?
Batman in Infinite Crisis. Alexander Luthor just injured Nightwing, who took a nearly-fatal blast to save Batman. Bruce, who'd earlier had an epiphany to be more open, nearly breaks and pulls a gun to Alex's head. He's about to shoot, but at the last minute realizes the higher ground and sticks to his morals, leaving Alex, with his philosophy that the current DC Universe was too evil and violent, defeated.
The Joker in Paul Dini's Christmas issue of Detective Comics. He's got Robin (Tim) trussed up on the passenger seat of the stolen car he's driving on a death ride through Gotham, and he stops at a drivethru. When the attendant screws up his order, he pulls up to the window and maniacally demands to see the manager. The poor sod barely gets out a "How may I help you" when Mr. J shoots him and drives off grumpy. We have all felt exactly like that, and that's the beauty of the Joker. He acts on the chaotic, evil impulses that we mere mortals have to suppress. The entire issue is a Moment of Awesome for Paul Dini, actually.
And then, Robin escapes by distracting the Joker with an argument over Marx Brothers quotes. Then kicking him off over a bridge. It is also awesome.
Really, the best moment in that book is when Robin's trying to escape from some thugs. A van pulls up next to him and the door swings open. A voice yells "Robin! Get in!"
Robin's Narration: I don't know who that is, but I'll take what I can get.
He jumps in the car and looks up to see who rescued him
At one point in Year One, the cops have Batman pinned down in a derelict building (which they have previously bombed to hell, recklessly killing a number of vagrants in the process. Batman is hiding, wounded, in the rubble, whilst a squad of corrupt, borderline sociopathic SWAT cops hunt him. Then a cat appears, prompting the cops to try and shoot it for no reason. Batman leaps out of hiding, saves the cat's life, and hands every single member of the squad a beating they'll never forget, saving the worst for last:
Batman: You're the one who tried to shoot the cat. [punches the cop through a brick wall.]
Also in Year One. Gordon curb-stomps a Green Beret and then comments on how the guy will have to make up a story including at least ten attackers to keep his pride:
Gordon: He's big. Green Beret trained. It's been ten years since I had to take on a Green Beret. Still ... he probably deserves a handicap. (Throws his opponent a baseball bat. And then kicks his ass.)
Early in Year One, Batman has been preying only on the low-level criminals and dealers. At a high society dinner party, several high-ranking mobsters press the corrupt police commissioner about the Batman issue and how it's threatening their operations, only for the commissioner to smugly point out that Batman's only going after the low-level scum, which makes people feel safer and distracts them from higher levels of corruption, and that the high-level crooks have nothing to worry about. Unfortunately for the commissioner, Batman has chosen that evening to prove him and the other high-ranking mobsters very, very wrong... by staging an attack on the mansion, plunging it into darkness, and appearing in front of all the terrified guests like a demon straight out of hell:
Batman: Ladies. Gentlemen. You have eaten well. You have eaten Gotham's wealth. Its spirit. Your feast is nearly over. From this moment on, none of you are safe.
This troper might be the only one, but he's always liked the single issue story "A Day in the Life" (or maybe it has different title). It takes place after the "No Man's Land" storyline, and follows a day in the life of Bruce Wayne. This is a Crowning Story of Awesome, as he convinces a fellow businessman in donating property to build a community center, treats the elderly of a poor neighborhood to lunch, and other acts of charity. Though he does put on the mask at night, he somehow manages to be awesome even without throwing a single punch. It has to be read to be understood.
This is very awesome, and I believe the story you are referred to actually right after (almost an epilogue to) 'Bruce Wayne: Fugitive'. I read just last week, its Gotham Knights # 32, and the story is called '24/7'. It is unfortunately not currently collected in any books/trades.
It totally is: the oft-overlooked and potentially out-of-print yet still totally worth it Batman: Bruce Wayne—Fugitive vol. 3. eBay it. You'll be happy you did.
It's also featured in the TPB "The Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told" volume 1 as a perfect way to end the trade.
Right before Tim Drake became Robin, he had to prove himself to Bruce. The time finally came when Batman went missing, Tim found out who was behind the plot (Scarecrow), and put on a ski mask to save him even when Bruce forbade him to. Long story short, Tim was gassed by 'Trauma', hallucinated about the Obeah Man killing him, until the spirits of Jason Todd and Dick Grayson charged him up. He shook the effects off.
Tim:I don't care if I am afraid—I CAN STILL ACT! (smashers Scarecrow into shelf of gases)
Especially noteworthy in that the same dose of fear gas had taken down Batman. Yes, that's right, there was once a time when Tim Drake had more willpower than Bruce Wayne.
Although to be fair, Bruce has got a hell of a lot more to be afraid of than Tim does. Or at least, than Tim did at the time.
Another one for Joker: in the anthology comic Joker's Asylum, the story starring him has him taking over a game show, replacing the categories with ridiculously difficult ones, and threatening to kill the contestants if they get anything wrong. The network executive (or whatever the hell he's supposed to be) is thrilled at how much the Joker would boost ratings, and says (and I quote):
Executive:He could slice them up into little cubes of dog food for all I care, and we wouldn't be held responsible!
Predictably, both contestants get the answers wrong, but instead of killing them, Joker merely teases them with harmless trick weapons. He then proceeds to reveal that he had placed a video camera inside the control room, and recorded everything that the executive was saying, up to him telling his assistant to stall the police. Right before Batman hauls him away, Joker asks this question to everyone in the studio, as well as the audience: who's the bigger monster, the executive that allowed the contestants to be left in the hands of a madman, or the audience who were watching real people suffer and making the ratings rise in the first place? What makes it a true Moment of Awesome is the fact that Joker probably horrified millions without hurting a single soul.
In another issue of the Joker's Asylum anthology series, this one focusing on the Penguin, that same villain gets three such Moments. In the first, Cobblepot just sits in his office, talking about how he's met his One True Love (a poor girl he rescued from a woman slaving ring) in the most casual manner, while Batman is punching the snot out of his goons, as if it was just business as usual. The second comes during a date with the aforementioned woman at a fancy restaurant, when he suddenly starts thinking the head chef is laughing at him. While he does nothing then, the narration reveals that over the course of a year, that same chef then loses his job, his girlfriend gets deported, his best friend arrested for child pornography, he gets a horrible new neighbor in his apartment building, and suffers many other torments until he finally snaps and commits suicide, after which the Penguin sticks his obituary in a scrapbook containing many other such obituaries, thus demonstrating how dangerous a Magnificent Bastard can be. The final such moments comes at the end of the story, after the girl, discovering Cobblepot's true nature, confronts him about it. He merely returns her to the slaver's ring he saved her from, and walks away.
While not the best Superman/Batman mini-series in this troper's opinion, the 1999 World's Finest mini-series by Karl Kesel has a pretty good awesome in it. Short backstory: At the beginning of the series, Batman and Superman fail to save the life of an innocent because they were both too damn arrogant to work together properly, so they resolve to have a yearly team-up on the anniversary of the incident. One meeting occurs during the Return of Superman arc (before the real Superman had actually come back) and Batman has to work with the four other Supermen (Steel, Superboy, the Eradicator, and the Cyborg) to foil a robbery. Afterwards, Steel thanks Batman for the assistance, but asks him why he came to Metropolis in the first place and from that question alone, Batman instantly deduces that not one of the four are the real Superman.
Batman: You don't know [why I'm here], do you? None of you do.
Batman: I came here looking for Superman. I'll know when I find him.
After a couple rounds of Gambit Roulette, the Penguin finds himself deposed as the leader of Gotham's underworld, abandoned by most of his criminal contacts, and given a notice by Intergang that he has twelve hours to leave the country before they send a metahuman death squad to his club. What does old Oswald do? He thanks his few remaining employees for their loyal service, pours himself a glass of wine, and sits at a table in the club with his tommygun umbrella, fully prepared to go out in a blaze of avian glory. In between, he reminisces about his family's history (in this continuity, the Cobblepots have been in Gotham since it was founded), and leaves his club to the Riddler. The fact that he's saved by Batman is almost incidental; this was the first portrayal of the character I'd seen who wasn't a conniving coward, and it was sweet.
Detective Comics #476: The Joker throws Batman and a guy in a wheelchair into a shark tank, and chains Batman's hands. So Batman hooks the chain around the shark's mouth and steers it into the glass to escape.
This scene was later adapted into the "Laughing Fish" episode from Batman: The Animated Series. True, the story that it happened in originally had nothing to do with the "Laughing Fish" storyline, but I guess it was so awesome that Paul Dini decided to include in into the episode regardless.
Also, nitpick: the scene was from Batman #251; Detective Comics #476 was part of the "Laughing Fish" storyline, which has its own set of Moments of Awesome, including: Joker shoving a henchman into the path of a truck for laughs, Joker killing a man with his own cat, and the ghost of Hugo Strange taking revenge on Rupert Thorne.
Batman fighting Deathstroke the Terminator in Infinite Crisis. Mostly because of how Deathstroke had been, in recent years, established as the premier badass of the DCU, defeating the entire Justice League in 19 seconds. During the Final Battle of Infinite Crisis, Deathstroke is shown about to fight Batman. The conflict isn't seen, but several pages later the story cuts to a panel of Deathstroke tied up on the ground bleeding and crying as Batman slams his head into the pavement.
Batman: It's over, Deathstroke.
Actually, the entire fight is seen, and it involves Dick and Tim helping Batman beat Deathstroke to a pulp, which to this troper, is even more awesome, especially when Dick practically dissects his entire motivation in one conversation.
Batman: You've abandoned your code of honor. Why?
Dick: Because his family abandoned him, because he lost his daughter and son.
Deathstroke: Because of YOU. It's always been because of YOU!
Tim: You need to take some responsibility, Slade.
To clarify, the above scene did not appear in the original issue of Infinite Crisis #7, but was added in the collected Infinite Crisis trade paperback.
Battle For The Cowl had its ups and downs, but Commissioner Gordon gets a Moment of Awesome by beating Mr. Freeze, while on the verge of hypothermia, and simultaneously coming to grips with that fact that a trusted friend is gone.
In the Secret Six installment of the above "event," Bane, Ragdoll, and Catman are hired by terrorists to kidnap children, but wind up saving the children and putting down the terrorists instead, in honor of the late Batman. Yes, Nightwing runs them off, but still. MOA because, yes, awesome killing-of-terrorists (including one targeted by Bane pleading "Oh please, oh please don't snap my back!") and because it's a heartfelt memorial for a Worthy Opponent.
The fact that Nightwing ran them off without throwing a punch could also be considered a Moment of Awesome, seeing as the one who led the group out was Bane.
For starters, Bane pounding the crap out of Killer Croc.
Topped later by his breakout at Arkham, which was stated to have been heavily reinforced.
And: "I will simply... BREAK YOU!"
Batman persevering through Bane's demented gauntlet, overcoming every challenge until he faced the guy himself.
While dealing with Firefly, he's weighed down by the fireproof batsuit, been attacked by multiple animals (they're fighting at a zoo), and is tired as hell from all the wackos he dealt with earlier. He wins by tying Firefly up with a long length of cable, leaving the guy suspended about a foot or two over the crocodile exhibit.
When he's dealing with Joker and Scarecrow (who have taken the mayor hostage), Bats gets a dose of ol' Johnny's fear gas. This, unfortunately, causes him to hallucinate the murder of Jason Todd. As a result, he proceeds to headbutt the Scarecrow into submission, goes from almost comatose to batshit insane, and pounds seven shades of crap out of the Joker (him being the one who killed Jason) in a manner that rivals the beating given in Hush.
Finally, after Bats has pretty much beaten up every wacko that was released, the REAL challenge begins: having to fight Bane's Quirky Miniboss Squad. The real Moment of Awesome here is when he deals with knife thrower Zombie: he sends his cowl flying toward the guy as a decoy, and while he stabs it, the unmasked Bruce sneaks up on him from behind, grabs his ankles, and slams him facefirst into the roof he's standing on. "Despite the pain... despite the exhaustion... that felt good."
Joker and Scarecrow get their own Moment of Awesome when they force the mayor into sending the police on a wild goose chase. The police arrive at a carnival funhouse, hear sounds of the mayor being tortured inside, and rush in. KABOOM. Twenty officers just became their latest punch line.
When the two of them finally decide to go their separate ways, Scarecrow squirts Joker with his fear toxin, something that he had threatened to do from the beginning of their partnership. Joker proceeds to prove himself immune (even asking if he had any other flavors) and beats Scarecrow unconscious with a chair. And remember: he's still recovering from the beating Batman gave him a few days ago.
The Riddler: "I'm not sane, and I never will be". For those unaware, he just gave the ultimate verbal beatdown to the annoying Strawman Liberal psychiatrist who had been proclaiming for the entire story that the "freaks" released from Arkham are harmless victims of society.
Then there's Batman #500, where the New Batman (Jean-Paul Valley) faces Bane. Bane - who, for the whole Knightfall saga so far, has been nothing but a self-confident Magnificent Bastard - is completely certain that he can take down this impostor as easily as he broke the real Batman. Three minutes later, Bane gets his ass thoroughly handed to him, completely panics, and desperately tries to escape.
And to top it off, the saga ends with Bruce (in traditional Bat-garb) and a Brainwashed and Crazy Azrael fighting for the job. He lures Azrael into a narrow part of the Batcave (forcing him to shed everything but his helmet), and backs up into a pitch-black corridor. When Azrael is in just the right spot, Batman smashes the previously-hidden trap door above him, revealing this to be the same cave he fell into as a kid and letting in a massive amount of light, blinding and forcing Azrael to remove the last piece of his costume. Seeing Batman in the real costume, he is finally shocked back into sanity, and he gives the final Aesop for the entire Knightfall debacle:
Azrael: "You are Batman... and I am nothing."
Batman's investigations lead him to Hong Kong, where he drops off info from Gordon to the local police chief, who promptly tells him in no uncertain terms that any law breaking vigilantism would result in Batman being marked for arrest. Batman's next move is to walk into a gambling den, and ask the local gang where and who their boss is, at which point the gang attacks him, resulting in a huge brawl that pretty much takes out the entire place and gang. As the police approach, Batman goes to the police chief, where this legendary exchange takes place:
Batman: "I simply asked them a question, at which point they attacked me."
Police Chief: "You claim self defense."
The Ventriloquist in Arkham Asylum: Living Hell. Yes, that Ventriloquist. The bald, bespectacled Arnold Wesker that even the Riddler could take in a fistfight. To explain in detail: demons buried beneath Arkham have revived themselves and possessed one of the inmates, before grabbing all of the other inmates and guards and trapping them in the cellar, where they are to be sacrificed. During the sacrificial ceremony, Wesker uses his skills as a ventriloquist to make it appear as if Lunkhead (another inmate who had earlier broken Scarface) had volunteered to be sacrificed. It works, and the guy is dragged straight into the fires of Hell by the demons, while Arnold and Scarface taunt him.
There was a Punisher / Batman crossover where they teamed up to fight crime, but also fought each other, because they have major philosophical differences, and because hey, it's a crossover, obviously they're going to fight. anyways after their team up Punisher punches Batman square in the jaw:
Batman: "I let you have that one because you probably feel you deserve it."
Punisher goes for a second punch, but Batman grabs his fist and throws it aside
Batman: "I said you get one."
In a Planetary / Batman crossover, Planetary was between alternate realities and the Batman they encountered in the first one has been changing into his versions from different decades or works. Modern Age Batman fought Jakita Wagner — a woman with super strength, speed and agility — and clearly has the advantage. Later, Adam West's Batman is stopped by Elijah Snow, when the next shift happens and Elijah finds himself gazing at the facet of pissed DKR Batman. And Snow, who is a hundred year-old immortal and encountered so many wonderful, weird and terrible things in the world he wrote a whole guide of them, whom we never saw losing his cool, was clearly frightened.
"Do you remember your parents? Do you remember their smiles? Do you remember the way they made you feel safe?"
"That's what you hold onto. That's what you can do for other people. You can give them safety. You can show them that they're not alone. That's how you make the world make sense. And if you can do that, you can stop the world from making more people like us. And no one will have to be scared anymore."
Once upon a time, there was an obscure little Bronze Age comic book series known as DC Special, and much like any other anthology series, it rotated around members of the DC Universe. Issue number fifteen featured a charming little text story written by Denny O'Neil, entitled "Death Strikes at Midnight and Three". What happened in it? Here's a taste:
Later, Anthony Toombs would wonder if it was an hallucination, an illusion fostered by his immense fear and the startling, unexpected hope of salvation. Illusion or not, however, he would cherish those few moments of violence the rest of his days, would remain almost convinced that at twelve and three his personal darkness had been briefly lifted and he had seen: The Batman, stark and implacable against the expanse of white, a grim figure congealing from the shadows.
"Looking for a target, gentlemen?" He asked pleasantly. "I volunteer."
Thomas and Malone jerked up their Colts and orange and blue flame gouted from the barrels. The screen shook and two holes puckered its gleaming surface, but The Batman remained untouched; as he had congealed, now he seemingly dissolved.
Unseen, he called, "Sloppy shooting."
Panicked, Thomas and Malone fired in every direction, again and again and again. A sprinkling of plaster dust fell from the ceiling.
The roar of gunfire faded, and there was silence.
"We got 'im," Gimp Malone said.
The blind man knew he [Gimp] was wrong. The blind man could see Batman's fist pitch Malone into the aisle where he lay like refuse.
Then The Batman faced Boilerplate Thomas.
Thomas started to raise the Colt.
"You could conceivably succeed, The Batman said, "If you're quick, and your gun isn't empty, you might be able to nail me before I stuff it in your ear.
And the blind man saw Thomas extend the weapon to The Batman, butt first.
In other words, Batman is so awesome that a blind guy managed to see his pure awesomeness in taking down two thugs.
And what happens afterwards, when the Smug Snake crime boss who had hired the two thugs begins to get away by private jet?
"I'm ready, he [the crime boss, ready to get away] said, into the wild blue yonder."
"The prison or the grave, Milo?"
Milo Lewis recognized the voice coming from the speaker and considered bolting through the escape-hatch, or charging the pilot's compartment, or drawing his Llama automatic. But he did none of those things.
(Close-up of Batman's face, Milo's panicked form reflected in the eye-slit of his cowl)
Instead, he struggled to control an urge to whimper.
Let me take you back to a magical time, right at the junction of the Golden Age and the Silver Age, where The Joker's insanity wasn't taken for granted. A forgotten little story presented this time, known as "The Crazy Crime Clown", gave us this set-up: Joker has Batman trapped in a straitjacket and locked inside a rubber room at the local insane asylum, which is also rapidly filling up with water. Batman, with the help of Robin and an inmate of said asylum who thinks he's Batman, proceeds to inflict the closest thing that you can get to G-RatedMind Rape on Joker. To sum it up - Batman unmasks and boldly reveals his secret identity to Joker, only for the inmate to show up in a Batman costume of his own, declaring himself to be Batman, and tackling the unmasked Bruce, declaring him to be Joker. The real Joker, his mind already somewhat scrambled, attempts to escape, only for Robin to show up (inmate!Batman calls him a fake as well). By the time the entire hoopla is over, Joker's mind is cracked to bits over just who is who, resulting in him having to spend several days in the asylum to recover. And who says Silver Age Batman was a wuss?
Stephanie Brown gets one in Red Robin #10. Prudence, a former partner of Tim Drake's in the League of Assassins, whips out a gun and says she was assigned to kill Stephanie Brown. Tim freaks out about how he can't possibly stop her in time and Steph is going to be killed and it's all his fault... and then Steph ("No, not Steph. Batgirl.") immediately disarms Prudence and takes her down. The look on Tim's face is priceless. See the moment here.
It's also a testament if how far Steph has come once she got Barbara Gordon as her mentor. Someone finally believed in Stephanie Brown and Red Robin #10 was the pay-off.
In what little time he may have before Bruce comes back, Dick is quickly showing why he's the inheritor of the cowl. His thoughts after taking down Black Mask are particularly epic.
Dick Grayson/Batman: I acted as the Dark Knight. To the best of my abilities-I became him. And I succeeded. Not as Dick Grayson. And not as Bruce Wayne. But as Batman.
The often-overlooked five-part story arc "Terror" (in this troper's opinion, one of the greatest Scarecrow stories ever written) has a whole string of these for all parties involved: Batman, Hugo Strange, Scarecrow, and Catwoman. But the biggest one has to be when Strange turns out to NOT have been killed when he was Impaled with Extreme Prejudice on Scarecrow's trap in the basement. When Scarecrow and Batman wind up locked in a Death Trap-rigged basement, he reveals this fact - that he had survived whilst impaled by tempting over the rats in the basement and EATING THEM. He then STRANGLES Scarecrow with one hand AFTER having lost God-knows-how-much blood, stopping him from killing Batman. And the pants-wettingexpression he has on his face when he first surfaces from the water is a Moment of Awesome all on its own.
The entire arc is a Moment of Awesome for writer Doug Moench. Especially considering he also wrote the godawful, cliche-ridden "Masters of Fear". This entire arc, in fact, tells Scarecrow's backstory a lot more smoothly than "Masters of Fear", and feels like an apology for it.
In Red Robin #1, Tim finally does what a lot of people were hoping for and decks Damian. Alfred even compliments him on it later (although Tim wasn't around to hear it).
Tim then proceeds to effectively dismantled the League of Assassins' computer systems, all the while memorizing information that would help him stopped Ra's Al Ghul's plan to steal the Wayne Fortune and his attempt to kill everyone that mattered to Bruce. Sure he got kicked out of a window in the fight, but he earned so much respect from Ra's that he was given the title of "Detective" and apparently seen as a potential heir for Ra's. Really the 6-part Collision was just a giant crowning moment of awesome for Tim.
However, it is later revealed that the whole attack had been a test for Tim. The only reason Tim got access to the Leagues computer system was because Ra`s allowed it . A mistake Ra`s apparently made on purpose, since two of his lieutenants point out how foolish this decision was and they only allowed Tim to proceed because they didn't dare to disobey their master.
Damian almost gets a crowning moment of awesome by giving a tied up Joker a beating with a crowbar, similar to how Joker killed Jason Todd, but Joker steals it. The blood Damian spilled by beating him was poisoned with Joker toxin, which knocks Damian out, allowing Joker to escape with him as his prisoner.
Damian then is then allowed to go so he can save Dick from Dr Hurt, is captured again after fighting against and overwhelming force of Dr Hurts elite mooks, only to escape with Dick again, who has been shot in the head by the Doctor. They are joined by Bruce who has just recently cheated death itself and beat up the rest of Hurts guard together, before Bruce can save Alfred.
Joker then buries Hurt alive, after making him slip on a banana peel, but is captured by Dick directly afterwards. However, Joker still has bombs planted on an underground train... which Damian quickly defuses on his own. Altogether, one long crowning moment of awesome for the new dynamic duo, the old one and their greatest enemy, too.
Shadow of the Bat #4. Batman is (willingly) trapped in Arkham Asylum to keep an eye on Zsasz. Jeremiah Arkham, wanting to break him, makes Bats fight all the crazed inmates at the same time (his entire rogues gallery at that point). He soundly beats the living crap out of them, finishing with the Joker ("And the best... for last").
And the best part? After said beating, he still has enough fuel in his tank to stare straight at the camera that Jeremiah is using to monitor the fight to deliver this humiliating message to him:
Batman: You hear me, Arkham?! It's YOU who should be locked up in here!
Harlan Ellison's second Batman story, "Funny Money", collected in in Batman: Black And White Vol. 2. Critically praised and it deserves all of it, but the best part is the ending. A money forger, certain that he'll get off scot-free since his money is a perfect copy and there's no evidence against him, is asked by Batman to take a look through the microscope at his dollars. At which points he notices that the plates have been tampered with to insert a cheering Batman into every dollar.
From the same volume, "The Bat no More...?" by Alan Grant. A bum wanders into a bar and asks for a beer in exchange for a story. A few goons act interested. He tells them how he saw Batman being poisoned by Scarecrow during a rare book heist, and how the Bat became terrified of anything related to bats: his cowl became a monstrous parasite, the Batmobile became a monster, and so on. The bum gets his beer and is led to Scarecrow to tell the rest of the story, and he tells how Batman managed to amble to a payphone and call a limo to pick him up. At this point, Scarecrow, wholly engrossed, demands to know more... and the bum sprays him with something from his cane. Scarecrow collapses in his chair as he sees his beloved books are steadily becoming more malevolent and monstrous. The disguised Batman comments he bribed Poison Ivy to develop a second fear toxin, and proposes a trade - antidote for antidote. Scarecrow, realizing his toxin's so good, not even Batman can fend it off, resists... and the story ends with a nervous Scarecrow and Batman, with the most evil grin ever, waiting to see who breaks down first.
After the ending of Final Crisis, Bruce fought his way back into the DCU proper in "The Return of Bruce Wayne". In the final issue of the six-issue series, he not only outsmarts Darkseid, the sentient curse chasing him through time, Rip Hunter, the combined forces of the JLA and Red Robin all at the same time, he manages to escape from the end of the time itself, while simultaneously saving the Universe and saving the lives of the time-traveling heroes sent to rescue him. The only end result of reading this comic is a very loud, "Fuck this guy is awesome."
Especially since, if you read Batman and Robin #16 published the previous week, you know that he's immediately off to Gotham to save Dick, Damian and the city from Dr. Hurt, recapture the Joker and tie up all the other loose ends from R.I.P. and Final Crisis. Notwithstanding all he's just been through, doesn't take a single member of the JLA, or even Tim, with him (although Superman or the Flash presumably arranged the transport).
Towards the end, when they're trying to bring Bruce Wayne back to life at the exact point when Darkseid's curse has worn off without either reviving Darkseid or killing Bruce and are worrying how to do it. Tim Drake comes up with the perfect solution:
Tim:[Brandishing the Batman cape and cowl] I know how to bring him back. Tell him Gotham's in trouble. And tell him he'll need this.
The final page is Bruce — in the Batman costume — ready to head straight into Gotham to deal with the crisis that is currently engulfing the city. Keep in mind he was described as 'clinically dead' mere moments before.
Martha Wayne gets one in a flashback story during the "House of Hush" arc. Despite her family having been made virtually destitute recently, she's out fundraising for the Thompkins Clinic. A mobster with designs on the site tries to intimidate her and offers her an enormous bribe in exchange for walking away. Her response? To thank him for the donation, give him a receipt, and remind him to keep it for when he files his taxes. Proving, in one fell swoop, that the Dark Knight gets his flair for the audacious from his mama.
I spoke to Commissioner Gordon before I came in here. He's fine. Despite all your sick, vicious little games, he's as sane as he ever was! So maybe ordinary people don't always crack. Maybe there isn't any need to crawl under a rock with all the other slimy things when trouble hits. Maybe it was just you, all the time!
In Flashpoint, The Flash villain Professor Zoom boasts to Barry Allen that, as a living Temporal Paradox, Barry could never do anything to him again lest he cause another Time Crash. Batman responds by impaling him with a sword. Now, let's get one thing clear - in this timeline, Bruce isn't Batman as he was killed in this timeline. The man behind the mask? Thomas Wayne, Bruce's father. The Bond One-Liner he gives seals the deal:
Batman/Thomas Wayne: Doctor's advice: When you're in the middle of a war, don't stand still.
In Streets of Gotham we find out why Mr. Zsasz has never seemed really afraid of anyone—he sees everyone else in the world as a corpse already. While fighting Damian, Damian starts beating him and Zsasz freaks out because not only is he seeing another person as alive but because he thinks he sees his own corpse in Damian's eyes.
And one to Colin Wilkes, for convincing Damian not to kill Zsasz because that wouldn't be something worthy of the mantle of Robin. There are are reason people love that kid.
Issue 8 of the New 52's Batman, a small army of assassins invade Wayne Manor, and one ends up in the Batcave with Alfred. Bruce of course rushed to save him, but only finds the attacker. The fight is cut short when Alfred pushes the infamous Giant Penny on top of the attacker. GoAlfred.
Multiple from Stephanie Brown and others during her time as Batgirl. Almost once an issue, definitely at least once a story-arc.
Barbara Gordon, former Batgirl who was paralysed by Joker and spent the time since as Oracle, is on a train, narrating to herself. Some goons get on the train, and move up behind her. Cue, in between two panels a black of solid black with sound effects. Second panel, Barbara is leaving the train with the three goons barely conscious.
Steph's flashback to when Cass left, showing the two fighting some mooks by themselves and chatting, Steph in her Spoiler identity, Cass as Batgirl. They both, while kicking in heads, tell the other that someone is behind them. Two panels, almost mirrors of each other, as the two deliver a Offhand Backhand each to a thug.
After fighting through his forces, Batgirl confronts the man responsible, Scarecrow. He drugs her, beats her, all the while she imagines her former identity Spoiler and ex-boyfriend Tim Drake insulting her. Then, at Barbara's encouragement, she wades through the drug's effects, and kicks them in the face to knock them out while answering his question on who she is. "I'm Batgirl."
Barbara: "She might just be."
Steph beating Livewire. A villain who fights Superman, and Steph beats her, Off Panel.
Steph freezes Damian. Freezes him.
Then later swinging him around by his ankle when he attacks her. And later double-teaming Roxy Rocket and Doctor Phosphorous before taking on Riot, saving the current Batman's life and earning his respect.
Oracle's Battle At The Centre Of The Mind with Calculator, from hiding all her knowledge from him with so self taught mental blocks to forcing them into his mind to just beating him up while going through his worst memories. Finally, with help from Steph and Wendy Harris, Calculator's daughter, former Teen Titan who was paralysed and has been receiving counselling from Babs, who leaves Calculat stuck in a loop of all his worst memories.
Catching Detective Gage and saving his life, inverting the classic and sexist cliché of Damsel in Distress.
Steph's Stealth Hi/Bye to a helicopter. Without it turning away. She out-Bruce'd Bruce there.
Steph's Batman Gambit on Slipstream. As well as not getting killed like one wou8ld logically do when dealing with such an enemy, she notes that his reaction time isn't as fast as he is, as he's only going in straight lines and had to memorize Gotham's maps. So, how does one beat an enemy with Super Speed? By, of course, Electromagnetic Gooperangs.
Her teamup with Klarion ...dum dum dum... The Witch-Boy. When challenged by another witch to a duel, she just hits them in the face. Then, later, manages to save Jordana's life by pulling Klarion into a kiss, then takes him out to enjoy Valentine's Day...until Klarion turns Jordana into a toad.
When faced against the Reapers, outnumbered and without her gadgets, how does Steph beat them? Shazam! Cue Big Damn Heroes Moment as some other teenaged heroines come to her aid, allowing them to take out the Reapers.
Steph confronts the mysterious backer of the Reapers, discovering it's her dad, Cluemaster. He explains what he was doing, then uses a Black Mercy on her to stop her catching him. He taunts her to come find him as she tosses a batarang at him, which misses and is embedded next to his hand.
"You missed." (Cue Batarang exploding into goop and trapping his arm to the prison wall so he can be stopped)
After she's recovered from the Black Mercy, Oracle reveals that she managed to pull out of the effects before it was all out of her system. In short, Black Mercy, that thing that traps you in your greatest dreams, isn't enough to hold her down. remember, her dreams included a team-up with the aforementioned young heroes that involves going into a fantasy world, a Brightest Day/Darkest Night tie-in involving Oracle and Damian, the Royal Flush Gang attacking her graduation, her growing up to become a future Nightwing, with her number one fan Nell as the new Batgirl, and none of that was enough to tear her from reality. She's the Goddamn Batgirl.
the appearance of the prototype for the Batman Beyond suit, which Bruce uses to escape with Lucius.
The Riddler gets one in the first issue of Batman '66. As everyone knows, the Riddler is compelled to leave clues in the form of riddles. So, what does he do? He leaves a riddle with two possible answers, one (simple) solution leading to the crime, and one complicated solution leading to a dead end- literally! Naturally, Batman and Robin try too hard to find a hidden meaning, and walk right into a death trap. Thus, the Riddler finally outsmarts the Batman!- at least for a little while.
This troper was in the theater on June 23, 1989. There were two standing ovations during the opening credit sequence alone. First, when the title "B A T M A N" appeared on the screen. Second, when the camera pulled back to reveal the curvaceous structure it was tracking was in fact the Bat-Signal, as Danny Elfman's martial score came to its crescendo.
"He's out there, and I've got to go to work." (cue dramatic music, Batman suit, getting in suit...)
The Joker gets an equivalent moment (lots, in fact) in Batman, during the climax; Batman is in the Batwing gunning directly for the Joker, who is standing defiantly in the middle of a deserted street. Batman lets loose with a barrage of machine-gun fire and missiles, which the Joker calmly stands through whilst they explode around him. The Joker then produces a verylong-barrelled revolver from his jacket and, with one shot, manages to shoot the Batwing out of the sky.
That scene was ripped shot-for-shot from Patton, making George an even bigger badass.
The swelling climax of Danny Elfman's score for the first film turns reading a letter, turning on a light, and standing around into something awesome.
The script has a second part to that last bit of dialogue, said from the Joker to his henchmen: "Well don't just stand there, GO ASK HIM!"
As the Joker, Jack Nicholson was the Heath Ledger of his time (and is still the preferred Joker to some today). My favorite moment was at the end of his Smilex commercial (a deadly poison which killed people while marring them with a Joker face):
Joker: I know what you're thinking! "Where can I get these marvelous products?" Well, that's the gag! Chances are, you've bought them already!
Say what you will about how stupid Knox is, but when he put on the mask, took a baseball bat and was attempting to drive the Joker's goons away, that was really awesome on his part. Not really effective, but the very fact that he had the balls to do it makes it cool.
Bruce had enough with Vicki arguing at him for his disappearance and ignoring her, because he needed to talk to her.
Bruce: You're a real nice girl and I like you a lot. But for right now... shut up!
The scene where Bruce says "Let's get nuts." while narmy. You gotta admit it takes a lot of balls to stand up to the Joker and challenge him to a fight with nothing but a fireplace poker, whilst Joker and his goons have guns.
In Gotham Knights, Young Bruce, after training to withstand pain, takes a piece of wood directly to the head without flinching. The wood breaks, and our hero doesn't even blink. If that's not enough, he immediately repeats the trick with a glass bottle. And yes, it cut him.
Live Action Television
Even the infamous Adam West TV version has some moments such as:
In "Give 'Em the Axe" when Batman disarms Riddler of his sword in the museum and holds him effortlessly in a hand lock, "Didn't your mother tell you not to play with knives?" Then while Batman is forcing Riddler into one of the torture devices to secure him, twisting his hand painfully all the way, the villain learns how pissed off Bats can get. "Let me give you one last word of advice: give up your evil ways! When you've paid your debt to society, and pay it you will, start life anew as a respectable citizen!"
Which has become something of a Canon Immigrant, as Riddler's done just that in the main comics.
In "Flop Goes the Joker", Alfred proves that he is literally Batman's Batman. The Joker invades Wayne Manor, gun in hand, and casually dubs Alfred an "Anglo-fink". Alfred just as casually disarms him with a fireplace poker and then chases him through the house until the Joker enters the study. Thus begins the Joker's Humiliation Conga.
Batman: Alfred, what's happened?
Alfred: Joker accidentally tripped the batpole switch and mistook this for a secret passage.
Robin: Then he's down in the Batcave!
Alfred: Joker didn't quite make the Batcave, Master Robin.
Robin: Then, where is he?
Alfred: I believe he should be arriving presently.
Batman: The Emergency Batpole Elevator Lift. Fast thinking, Alfred.
Alfred: Thank you, sir.
Joker: (At the top of the poles) Somebody get me off this crazy dumbwaiter! I can't breathe!!
Batman: Alfred, Joker says he can't breathe. Why don't you give him some breathing space?
Alfred: With pleasure, Sir. (Presses the down button)
Joker: Oh no! Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!! (Slides back down)
Aunt Harriet: By the way, where is Joker?
Robin: Right now, Joker's having his ups and downs.
Batman: You might say that.
Joker: (At top of poles exhausted) Alfred ol' pal, have pity!
Alfred: We Anglo-finks have a long memory. (Pushes Down Button)
Joker: Oh no!!! Ahhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!! (Slides back down)
Alfred: One shouldn't take pleasure in another creature's misfortunes. But, occasionally, one may be forgiven for a slight twinge of satisfaction.
The Movie, while for the most part cheesy, has Batman's stunning rebuke, "You. FILTHY. CRIMINALS!" He puts so much hate into that one line it puts Christian Bale to shame.
Alfred, of all people. When Batman and Robin become hopelessly trapped and unable to save the city, Gordon and O'Hara call on "that mysterious voice that sometimes answers the Bat Phone."
In "The Wail of the Siren", Robin was so angry at the Siren for nearly killing Bruce Wayne (she hypnotized him with her voice and ordered him to jump off a building), that when Siren stumbles and is desperately holding on to the edge of the roof, he threatens to let her fall. Keep in mind that normally this Robin Wouldn't Hit a Girl. He sternly agrees to pull her up in exchange for her removing her spell from Bruce.
The Joker has his own awesome moment when in his first story, he hijacks a TV news studio, apparently kills the anchorman with his joy buzzer, then plays What's My Crime? on air to give Batman a hint, capped with the taunt after a wrong answer, "As you doubtless know, every wrong answer means that we contribute $1 to the famous Joker's Home for Worn Out Bats!"