Detective Comics - DC's longest-running still-published comic series (though not longest number in issue number, as Action Comics overtook it in the 70s when Detective Comics was occasionally bi-monthly), Batman debuted in issue #27 in 1939, and still headlined it up until 2009, when Batwoman briefly took over the book. Batman has since returned as the headliner. Various supporting characters, including the Martian Manhunter, Green Arrow and Black Canary, the Elongated Man, and the current Question have appeared over the years in various backup strips.
Batman - Batman's self-named monthly title, which debuted in 1940 (issue #1 featured the first appearances of the Joker and Catwoman). Considered to be the main flagship title.
World's Finest Comics - An anthology series that debuted in the late 1940s, originally it featured stand-alone solo stories involving Batman and Superman. However, with issue #71, the series switched formats to its now familiar "Superman/Batman" team-up stories. The series (which featured the first appearance of Scarecrow and Clock King) was cancelled in 1986. Superman/Batman acts as a modern-day Spiritual Successor to World's Finest.
The Joker - the Clown Prince of Crime starred in his own short-lived series in the mid-1970s. Largely forgettable.
Batman Family - Anthology title, focusing on the supporting cast.
Batman and the Outsiders. Batman leading his own team. Launched in 1983. The team has gone through several incarnations, typically without their original leader.
Legends of the Dark Knight - An anthology series that debuted in 1989, to tie into the release of the 1989 live action Batman movie. The series originally was a flashback book, focusing on past adventures of Batman, though by the early '90s (and the events of Knightfall), the book was revamped and took place in the here and now. Suffers from continuity issues, with several stories being considered non-canon.
Batman: Shadow of the Bat - Another Batman book, launched mainly as a vehicle for then Detective Comics writer Alan Grant. The series was much darker than the main Batman books at the time; in particular, the stories were often told from the POV of the villain.
Robin - The solo series of Tim Drake, the third Robin. The series began as a three issue miniseries, before launching as an ongoing in 1993 that lasted until 2009. It was later relaunched as Red Robin, which ran from 2009-2011.
Nightwing - The solo series of Dick Grayson, the first Robin, as he carved his own identity. The series initially began as a 4 issue miniseries, before relaunching as an ongoing, which lasted until 2009. During the New 52, the series was relaunched again. Following Forever Evil, the series was re-named Grayson.
Gotham Central - A series that starred Renee Montoya and members of the Gotham City Police Department, with Batman only playing a minor role. While receiving critical acclaim (most notably for the story where Montoya is outed as a lesbian), the series ran for only 40 issues.
Batman: Gotham Knights - A series focused on Batman, but heavily spotlighting and examining the rest of the Batfamily, his Rogues Gallery, and their relationships to each other.
Batman Confidential - Another anthology series that replaced Legends of the Dark Knight. The series features classic Batman villains (who rarely appeared in Legends of the Dark Knight) and early adventures between them and Batman. Most notably (and infamously) the series is known for it's Joker origin story, which uses the 1989 movie as it's template.
Batman and Robin - Grant Morrison, who wrote Batman's ongoing comic from 2006-2009, was given his own book in which to tell the further adventures of the new Batman (Dick Grayson) and Bruce Wayne's son Damian Wayne, the new Robin. The series focuses on the fall-out from Morrison's popular run on the main Batman book as well as Damian's attempt to adjust to being a hero. As of 2011, this Book contains the adventures of the Bruce Wayne Batman and his son Damian. Written by Peter J. Tomasi.
Streets of Gotham - A series written by Paul Dini that features the new Batman and Robin in the eyes of other characters. Also features a back-up feature starring Kate Spencer, the current Manhunter.
Batwoman - The solo series of Katherine "Kate" Kane, who originally debuted in FiftyTwo.
Year One - Flashback tale written by Frank Miller and illustrated by David Mazzucchelli which told of The Caped Crusader's first year in Gotham City and how he met then Lieutenant James Gordon. Critically acclaimed, it spawned a slew of sequels (Batman: Year Two, Batman: Year Three, the continuity of both being debatable) and mini-series that take place afterwards. It also created a massive Continuity Snarl (which was more-or-less, albeit uneasily, taken care of later), as far as erasing Batgirl from canon and introducing a new offspring for Commissioner Gordon, as well as a controversial new origin for Catwoman where she is a former prostitute. Many elements of the story were adapted into Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.
A Death In The Family - Batman and Robin II (Jason Todd) go to the Middle East, to track down Jason's birth mother and stop Joker from stealing relief aid from the Red Cross for cash. In the process, Joker kills Jason Todd and his mom and ultimately finds immunity waiting for him in Iran, who offer to make him their ambassador in exchange for him poisoning the entire UN with Joker gas. Superman stops the gas attack and Batman beats the crap out of the Joker, who gets shot by a stray bullet from his Iranian henchmen, and his plane crashes into the ocean. Famous for the fact that Jason's fate was decided by a "1-900" call-in phone poll.
Knightfall/Knightquest/Knightsend - Introduces Bane, who after forcing Batman to run a gauntlet of his worst enemies, breaks Batman's back. This forces Bruce to promote his latest sidekick Azrael to Batman status, which backfires due to Azrael having still not shaken the effects of being brainwashed into becoming an assassin and ultimately forces Bruce (when he's recovered) to face him down to reclaim the cape and cowl.
Contagion & Legacy: Two arcs which pretty much go together back-to-back. In the former, Gotham has to deal with an outbreak of Ebola-A and chronicles Batman's attempts to help contain and cure the virus. After which, in the latter, Ra's Al Ghul makes his return to the Batman books as he unleashes a massive plague upon Gotham City, as a test run to unleashing the virus upon humanity. Batman is forced to call in all of his allies (Catwoman, Azrael, Nightwing, and Robin) to help stop Ra's Al Ghul. But victory ultimately depends on Poison Ivy (whose blood holds the cure for the virus) and Bane (who has been recruited by Ra's Al Ghul to marry his daughter) helping Batman and his crew in saving the world.
Cataclysm and Batman: No Man's Land - An earthquake hits Gotham and the U.S. Government, rather than rebuild, orders the city sealed off. As Batman and his crew struggle to keep the peace, it soon becomes apparent that Lex Luthor is behind the government turning its back on Gotham City. With no government in the city, Luthor plans on destroying all records of land ownership, to claim the city as his own but fails when Batman stops him (though he is unable to prove to the world what Lex did). Mainly known for introducing the third Batgirl (Cassandra Cain) and reintroducing Black Mask into the Batman books.
Officer Down - It's a normal night in Gotham City, until a lucky punk has shot Commissioner Gordon and all of Gotham City's finest are looking for the shooter. Notable for largely writing Commissioner Gordon and Detective Harvey Bullock out of the Bat-books until Infinite Crisis.
Bruce Wayne: Murderer?/Fugitive - Following the events of No Man's Land, Lex Luthor became President and Bruce Wayne, in retaliation, severed all business ties with the U.S. Government in protest. In revenge, Lex orders Bruce Wayne's girlfriend murdered and Bruce framed for the deed. Making things worse for Batman, Lex Luthor hires the new Batgirl's dad to carry out the hit and since he knows Bruce Wayne is Batman, he is able to turn Batman's friends & allies against him as Batman struggles to prove his innocence.
Hush and Under the Hood - "Hush" was a warmly received and massively hyped story written by Jeph Loeb and illustrated by Jim Lee. The story deals with an alliance with new Bat-foe Hush and the Riddler after the latter figures out Batman's identity. While Hush had Batman run the gauntlet with much of his Rogues Gallery, a figure appearing to be a resurrected Jason Todd appears to confuse Batman. In the end, Hush's identity is revealed to be Bruce Wayne's childhood friend, Thomas Elliot, who has decided to harbor a deep hatred over Bruce's "gifted childhood" (AKA the dead parents). The buzz over the appearance of the supposed Jason Todd lead to "Under The Hood" where Judd Winick detailed the rise of a new Red Hood, which was originally held by the man who would become the Joker. Upon the discovery that the Red Hood was indeed Jason returned from the dead, angry that Batman replaced him and didn't kill his "killer", Batman has to stop his adopted son and former ward's Roaring Rampage of Revenge. Hush also saw Harvey Dent's face repaired and cured of his Two-Face persona until Infinite Crisis.
War Games and War Crimes - Spoiler decided to prove to Batman she was worthy of being the newest Robin by taking one of his plans and engaging in a massive Batman Gambit against all of Gotham's gangs that goes horribly wrong. The result? Black Mask becoming the top crime boss in Gotham and Stephanie Brown, AKA the fourth Robin, dying because Batman waited too long to get her medical treatment. The story was almost immediately followed up with War Crimes, which tried to retcon the story by saying it was longtime Batman ally Leslie Thompkins who withheld medical treatment from Stephanie, and then Infinite Crisis warped reality within months of the publication of War Crimes. War Crimes was erased from canon and replaced with a scenario where Thompkins, with Batman's permission, faked Stephanie's death to protect her from further reprisals from Black Mask.
Face The Face: Set during the One Year Later Time Skip after Infinite Crisis, Batman and the Tim Drake Robin return to action just in time to deal with someone killing off several of Batman's rogues gallery, with evidence pointing to Harvey Dent, who Batman left in charge of protecting Gotham while he was away after being cured. Notable for making the Great White Shark (introduced in Arkham Asylum: Living Hell) Gotham's top crime boss and the aforementioned returns of Commissioner Gordon, Detective Bullock, and Harvey Dent's Two-Face persona (including rescarring). Batman also adopts Tim Drake, who takes up a costume similar to his The New Batman Adventures incarnation.
Batman and Son: Batman discovers that his one-time sexual encounter with Talia Al Ghul left her pregnant. And now, several years later, she's dropping off her son on Batman's doorsteps so that he can teach the kid how to be a great man, as she prepares to take over the world with her army of Manbat Ninjas. Introduces Damian Wayne to the Batman universe.
The Black Glove: Batman's weekend vacation with a cadre of international superheroes he inspired takes a turn for the worst when the mysterious "Black Glove" destroys their transportation off an island, so that they can be killed off one by one.
The Three Ghosts of Batman: Bruce faces off against three psychotic Batman impersonators (a marksman, a steroid-fueled behemoth, and a raving Satanic killer) with ties to a cadre of corrupt police officers and a mysterious military experiment that Bruce himself took part in years ago. A prelude to Batman: R.I.P that introduces Dr. Simon Hurt, the leader of the Black Glove organization. Notable for giving us a glimpse of a possible future where Damian has become the new Batman.
Batman R.I.P. - The Black Glove makes its assault against Batman, and attempts to destroy his personality with long dormant mental triggers which were placed in Batman's mind years ago. Upon the activation of a mental safeguard in the case of such a scenario, the personality of "the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh" keeps Batman functioning until his mind repairs the damage and stops the Black Glove from killing him and invading Gotham City. Upon confronting the leader in an escaping helicopter, Batman becomes "cursed" to die the next time he wears the cape and cowl. After escaping the helicopter crash, Batman is summoned by Superman to investigate the death of a God...
Battle For The Cowl (not written by Morrison, but fits into the overarching story) - Bruce Wayne is dead, and a great void has been created in Gotham City. A war on two fronts has started that the Bat-Family must deal with: the recently escaped Rogues Gallery from Arkham, along with the various gangs and factions trying to claim Gotham as their own; and the appearance of a mysterious masked "Batman", who holds no qualms for murder (eventually revealed to be Jason Todd). After attempting to kill both Tim Drake and Damian Wayne, Jason fights Nightwing, and is defeated. Dick takes over the mantle of the Bat, and Damian becomes the new Robin while Tim heals from his injuries.
Batman: Reborn - Umbrella title for the various Batbooks dealing with Dick Grayson as the new Batman and Damian as the new Robin. Threats facing them are Jason Todd and a new Black Mask, along with new villains such as Professor Pyg and his army of circus freak show villains and the assassin known as "The Flamingo".
Batman, Inc.: After the events of the above storyline, Bruce Wayne decides to take the Batman operation international and train potential Batmen worldwide, leaving Dick and Damian to continue their roles as Batman and Robin in Gotham City.
Night of the Owls: Batman as of the New 52. Bruce is Batman again, though Damian is still Robin, and Dick still operates as Nightwing. A shadowy organization known as The Court of Owls, basically Gotham City's Illuminati, are trying to take back Gotham City, using pseudo-immortal assassins as their footsoldiers.
Batman Zero Year: The revision of Batman's origin for the New 52. Unlike Year One, it has direct involvement of several classic villains, with The Riddler in particular serving as Gotham City's first supervillain and the arc's Big Bad, and has tie-in crossovers with many other heroes. Replaces Year One as the official Batman story.
Batman Eternal: A Milestone Celebration of the 75th anniversary of Batman's first appearance, as a weekly series that incorporates many elements of his supporting cast and rogues gallery back into the New 52.
The Killing Joke - With the help of Alan Moore, The Joker gets reinvented into the insane sociopath we all know and love. This book is a major influence over all adaptations of the Joker following it. Notable for featuring Batgirl being crippled, paving the way for her reinvention as "Oracle", super-hacker extraordinaire.
Batman: The Cult - A man named Deacon Blackfire plans on using his secret underground cult to take over Gotham City. He kidnaps, tortures, and drugs Batman to convert him and use him against the very city he swore to protect. It's up to Robin (Jason Todd) to find Batman, escape Gotham, and together, put an end to Blackfire's reign of terror.
Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth - Grant Morrison's first Batman story, Arkham Asylum is what happens when the Batman's rogues gallery gets overdosed on horror, with a little of Lewis Carroll as well. An unholy force has taken over the asylum, forcing Batman to have to storm the place and save the staff. Notable for giving the back story behind the place, and it definitely wasn't pretty.
Arkham Asylum: Living Hell: A limited series that focuses on the hellish environment inside the walls of Arkham Asylum from the viewpoint of Warren White, a white collar criminal who declares himself insane to escape jailtime, only to find himself in Arkham, and is eventually driven insane by the other inmates, transforming him into the villain The Great White Shark. Also notable for focusing mostly on the C-list villains, as well as small time inmates created for the series, such as Humpty Dumpty, Death Rattle, Doodlebug and Lunkhead.
The Long Halloween: A sequel of sorts to Year One, detailing the origin of Two-Face. The story itself involves a serial killer named "Holiday" bumping off members of Carmine "The Roman" Falcone's mob on various holidays. Much like Year One, many elements were adapted into Batman Begins (as well as The Dark Knight).
Dark Victory - Written and drawn by the guys who did The Long Halloween, this limited series deals with the fall-out of Harvey Dent's transformation into Two-Face as another serial killer "The Hangman" attempts to kill off a number of former and current GCPD members - including Jim Gordon. It also features the story of how Bruce Wayne adopted Dick Grayson, who dons the Robin identity at the end of the story.
Batman: Thrillkiller - An Elseworlds limited series taking place in The Sixties, in an alternate timeline where Bruce Wayne became a police officer after his parents' murder and Barbara Gordon inherited Wayne Manor after a penniless Bruce sold it. By 1960, Babs Gordon fights crime as Batgirl alongside her partner Dick Grayson (aka Robin, the Man Wonder) while Commissioner Wayne of the GCPD tries to put them both behind bars. Oh... and The Joker's a woman.
The Dark Knight Strikes Again - A sequel to The Dark Knight Returns, once again written by Frank Miller. Unlike The Dark Knight Returns, it features a cast of dozens, as Batman gathers an army of his former friends to free America from Lex Luthor and Brainiac, who have taken over the U.S. thanks to a sentient hologram president.
The Man Who Laughs - A one-shot issue written by Ed Brubaker and another intended sequel of Year One, detailing the Batman's first encounter with the Joker. (Mainly an attempt to re-write the original Joker story with the modern characterization of the Joker).
Gotham Underground - A limited series that focuses on the effects of the Countdown to Final Crisis on Batman's Rogues Gallery, not to mention the recent death of Black Mask. While the rest of the Bat-family struggle to prevent a gang war from breaking out, Batman - undercover as a henchman - winds up in prison. By the end of the series, Penguin finds himself Batman's informant - whether he likes it or not.
Joker - Another one-shot, written by Brian Azzarello, detailing the Joker's release from Arkham and his subsequent rise (and fall). The Bat himself makes only a short but effective appearance. Quite a few similarities between the Joker depicted within and Heath Ledger's portrayal in The Dark Knight, but this is coincidental, this being written a good bit before the film was released.
Batman Beyond - Based off the Batman Beyond animated series continuity. It started out as a six-part miniseries, but became an ongoing series in 2011.
Batman: Digital Justice - An Alternate Reality story set exty years from now, featuring the grandson of Commissioner Gordon taking up the mantle of Batman to fight cyber-crime in Gotham City. Written/illustrated by Pepe Moreno and created entirely on computer (a new idea in 1990).
Batman: Detective No. 27 - An "elseworld" where Bruce Wayne never becomes Batman, instead becoming Detective No. 27. Named after Detective Comics #27, Batman's debut appearance.
Mad Love - Harley Quinn's origin story, which was later adapted for an episode of Batman: The Animated Series. It received massive critical praise and won the 1994 Eisner Award for "Best Single Issue."
Batman: Earth One - A reimaging of Batman's origin where he attempts to bring the man who ordered his parents assassination to justice.
Batman: The Ultimate Evil - a dark story, even for Batman. Batman takes on an international child pornography/prostitution ring. Somewhat controversial for having the death of Wayne's parents being an assassination of his mother by the same ring, a generation earlier.
Batman Murder At Wayne Manor - A construction crew locates a decayed corpse on the grounds of Wayne Manor, and all evidence points to her being a victim of Bruce's father...but is that what really happened? Marketed as "An Interactive Batman Mystery", the solution is sealed in the last few pages and left for the reader to deduce on their own first, and comes with lots of Feelies of the various bits of evidence that Batman finds.
Live Action TV
Batman: "Holy surrealism, Batman!" The colorful, campy '60s series that pretty much defines the bright, shiny Batman.
Gotham: An upcoming series on Fox featuring the early years of Detective James Gordon and Batman's Rogues Gallery before Bruce Wayne became Batman.
The Batman: Batman's film debut in 1943, a 15-chapter serial, served as the inspiration and cause of the 1960s show.
Jan And Dean Meet Batman: At the height of their fame, the Surf Rock duo of Jan Berry and Dean Torrence approached National Periodical Publications (as DC was then known) about doing a licensed (i.e. copyright-compliant) album based both on the comic books and the TV show, which was also at the height of its popularity. NPP gave its blessing, and this strong contender for the title of "Weirdest Concept Album Ever" was born. Half the record is music inspired by the comic books and the show, including a cover of the latter's theme. The other half details the adventures of "Captain Jan & Dean the Boy Blunder," an Affectionate Parody both of The Silver Age of Comic Books — or, from their perspective, the current time — and also of the just-passed Golden Age of Radio. The cuts alternate between type, and the comedy pieces are as goofy as you'd expect; besides ribbing many of the tropes listed here, our heroes have abilities like Power Breath and "Instant Distance Mental Powers" that, when their intended destination is the Surf City Circus, land them in the Jersey City Surplus Store via a literal Wrong Turn at Albuquerque. However, the Bat-music cuts are played almost completely straight, or at least as straight as the era allowed; some lyrics are taken directly from ""Detective Comics'' #27.
As That Other Wikinotes, two attempts at a U.S. series during the Golden Age of Radio never got off the ground, though the Dynamic Duo did make guest appearances on The Adventures of Superman. Decades later, award-winning producer Dirk Maggs created two acclaimed radio series for the BBC starring the Dark Knight. The first, The Lazarus Syndrome, is a completely original drama. The second, an adaptation of Knightfall, ran as short segments within the DJ show hosted by Mark Goodier.
Batman Live: a big-budget arena show that premiered in the UK July '11 and toured Europe and North America. It focuses on the relationship between Batman and Robin, and is a fusion between theatre, circus, and hand-drawn animation.
DC Super Friends: a 17-minute short made for Fisher-Price's range of "DC Super Friends" toys.
Young Justice: Batman plays an important, recurring role in the series. He gives the central team their black-ops type missions, missions that the Justice League can't do themselves because of their high public profile.
Advantage Ball: Batman almost always has the advantage in direct conflict. Three guys with knives or a dozen Mooks with machine guns, it makes no difference. As such, the general method of his rogues gallery to deal with him is to attack him indirectly, especially by undermining what he believes in and threatening those he values.
Aesop Collateral Damage: As said above, in War Games, Leslie Thompkins purposefully let Robin die just to prove her point about the dangers of kids fighting crime.
All Girls Want Bad Boys: It's not so much that Bats is a bad guy, but compared to a lot of the other team members within his various groups, his dark, brooding act stirs up the loins of many a female, both superpowered and non.
Alternate Universe: Earth-Two, where Batman married Catwoman and had a daughter, the Huntress.
Amateur Sleuth: Alfred had a great desire to be a detective in the early years after he was added to the cast. He studied detective work via correspondence course, and once even took a month's vacation so he could go to a nearby town and be a detective.
Ambiguously Gay: Aside from accusations on all sides, The Joker sometimes delivers Ho Yay, depending on the writer. After a while, some writers decided to incorporate that aspect of the character into their stories to create ambiguity on purpose.
An Asskicking Christmas/Twisted Christmas: Christmas is never a happy time for Batman. Not only is it an emotional time for him since the loss of his parents, but his enemies LOVE the irony of stirring up crap on what's supposed to be the happiest holiday of the year. The Joker, Mister Freeze and the Calendar Man, in particular, have stirring up crap during Christmas practically as a tradition. Batman's had at least one Christmas story in pretty much all media he's been featured in. This is so common for Batman that the aversion of these tropes is its own trope that he named!
Arkham's Razor: Not related to Arkham Asylum, but Riddler's riddles work this way. The obvious interpretation of his Riddles is almost never the answer. For a relatively grounded example, his first-ever crime used the clue "banquet," sending Batman and the police to a charity dinner. The real, and much less conventional meaning of the clue was that the Riddler had flooded a bank vault — gotten a "bank wet" — to defeat its pressure-sensitive locking mechanism and was looting it in scuba gear.
Artistic License - Biology: After getting a nasty cut during the "Cataclysm" storyline, Batman's internal monologue states that his belt has "anticoagulants to stem the bleeding." An anticoagulant actually makes blood thinner, and thus would make a cut bleed worse.
It often seems like a woefully understaffed Police Department. Chicago, one of the basis cities for Gotham, has nearly 15,000 officers. The most we ever see on one page at one time is about twenty for Gotham, no matter how big the crisis (until The Dark Knight Rises, where they move out of this trope and into Red Shirt).
Bandaged Face: At least one the villains is bound to have this happen to them at some point. Hush in particular is known for this.
Bash Brothers: On occasions, Batman and Robin. This trope could have easily been called "Dynamic Duo".
Batman and Red Hood/Robin II: even after all the time that passed between Jason's death and his return, they're able to fall right back in to this and work together flawlessly.
Bat Scare: Generally associated with Batman, and clouds of bats often appear when he enters the Batcave. On at least a few occasions he has weaponised this, using bat-influencing ultrasound to set up a Bat Scare which distracts an opponent.
Becoming the Mask: Bruce Wayne adopted the identity of Batman as a means to fight injustice. As with most Batman tropes, this is the dark version. It's not that he loves being Batman so much he doesn't want to go back to being Bruce Wayne. It's that he IS Batman because he has to be even when dressed and acting like Bruce Wayne. It's a strong contrast to the modern version of Superman, who always thinks of himself as Clark Kent regardless of the costume.
Berserk Button: Anyone getting killed, whether by any fault of his own or someone else's. Bats is not good with death, for obvious reasons. If you've killed someone within his vicinity, he may not kill you, but you may wish he had.
Big Damn Heroes: Batman and his extended family make a regular habit of this trope.
Big Good: Despite being curmudgeonly, brooding and feared by almost everyone, he and Superman tend to share this role in the larger DC Universe.
Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: With Batman: Reborn and Gotham City Sirens, as well as Blackest Night, Harley Quinn, Catwoman, and Poison Ivy take on this trope respectively.
The three Batgirls: Stephanie, Cassandra and Barbara respectively.
Blood Bath: Garth Ennis once wrote a comic where the villain was a drug lord who got people hooked on a drug so he could kill them, fill a pool with their drugged-up blood, and get high by bathing in it.
In Batman: The Cult, Deacon Blackfire bathed in blood, supposedly to make himself immortal.
The Book Cipher: In the Detective Comics issue "And the Executioner Wore Stiletto Heels", the villain, Stiletto, uses an obscure book about shoes for a cipher. When Batman goes to the bookstore, the owner mentions how strange it is that he just sold several copies of a book nobody would buy normally. Batman asks him who bought the book in order to learn who's in on the plot.
Breakout Character: Alfred was originally intended to be a comedic foil to Batman and Robin, but eventually got more serious. The Post-Crisis version had him as an out and out Battle Butler, and surrogate father figure to the entire Bat-Clan.
Breakout Villain: The Joker is a big one. Originally he was supposed to be killed in his second appearance back in 1940. Fast-forward 70 years later and he's the most famous villain in all of comics.
The first appearances of Batman are notorious for him lacking a code against killing, although even then killing wasn't routine. For example, in his very first story, The Case of the Chemical Syndicate, he punches the villain into a vat of Hollywood Acid, and shows no remorse for it. In the Post-Crisis version of the event, the crook tries to flee, as he cannot stand the shame of being sent to prison, and falls into the acid by accident.
The Joker's first Golden Age appearance had him not as a comedy obsessed Evil Laugh happy nut job that people are likely to see and assorted later comics and adaptations depict him as (such as, Batman: The Animated Series), but rather as a fairly straight forward killer and thief who just happened to be associated with the titular playing card. He also didn't do a noticeable Evil Laugh until his third-last panel in his debut issue, where (true to form) he thinks he's about to die.
Two-Face initially appeared in a three issue arc where Harvey Kent was driven mad by his scarring and used a coin toss to determine whether he acted heroically or villainously. At the end of the story he was reformed and disappeared for the rest of the Golden Age. He was brought back in the 50s as Harvey Dent and instead of being equally villainous and heroic he was a gangster who was obsessed with the number "2," with the coin playing a lesser role in his crimes.
Charity Ball: Bruce Wayne, being a wealthy playboy, attends a lot of these.
Batman himself is a heroic version of this trope due to being a brilliant tactician and superb analytical skills.
Chest Insignia: In Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, he reveals that most of his armor is bulletproof, but he wears a chest insignia because he couldn't make his mask and cowl protective enough (in most versions, he leaves his mouth and chin uncovered). "Why do you think I wear a target on my chest?"
Chew Out Fake Out: Tim Drake/Robin, after losing nearly all of his biological family, sets up an actor to pretend to be his fake uncle so that he doesn't have to go into the foster care system. Batman, being Batman, naturally finds out, and Robin assumes he's about to be reamed out for going behind Bruce's back... but all Bruce can say is that he's so proud of Tim for taking the initiative, and gives him some tips on how to make the deception foolproof.
Clothes Make the Legend: You don't even need to see his emblem - Bats is so infamous and feared that he can be identified just by the silhouette of his cowl.
Combat Parkour: Batman makes use of this. Especially in a confined space surrounded by thugs, at which time he is forced to twist, pounce, and perform somersaults and back handsprings to narrowly dodge attacks coming from multiple directions. Then once out of danger he makes a few attacks of his own to defeat them.
The Comically Serious: Because nothing's more hilarious than Batman singing karaoke, while still completely straight-faced. Though in the rare instance where he cracks a joke, it's all the funnier because of it. In Superman/Batman #44, Superman has been hit in the eye with a shard of Kryptonite and has to wear an eyepatch until it heals.
Superman: I have a strange favor to ask you.
Batman: No, Clark. You can't borrow my pirate ship.
Averted in the Golden Age stories, where Batman loves to joke and make wisecracks as he's roughing up the bad guys. He's as bad as Robin.
Criminal Doppelgänger: Bruce Wayne's childhood friend Thomas Elliot (a.k.a. Hush) got facial reconstruction surgery to look more like Bruce so that he can impersonate him and more easily get away with sapping Bruce's wealth.
Depending on the Writer: The Dark Knight Returns presented Batman as a dangerously-obsessed, deeply-disturbed, paranoid control freak who is possibly a mentally ill Sociopathic Hero as opposed to the stalwart Caped Crusader of the Golden and Silver Ages and the Adam West series. This interpretation is touched on Depending on the Writer and sometimes, it is the basis for whole story arcs.
One example is his creation of the Brother Mk I satellite, which was created by Batman to keep an eye on all of the meta-humans, hero and villain alike.
Another story, "Tower of Babel", centers on Ra's Al Ghul obtaining a file containing Batman's contingency plans to cripple each and every member of the Justice League "just in case" and using them to his own ends. The existence of the files and the secrecy under which they are kept infuriates The League and lead to his expulsion.
Another issue of interpretation is whether he became a man the night his parents died, or if he never truly grew up.
Some versions of Poison Ivy gave her powers to grow and control plants with her mind. While other adaptations she had no superpowers (Unless you count being immune to all poisons), she was simply a massive eco-terrorist who loved plants more than any human.
The Dreaded: Both Batman and The Joker are able to put the fear of god even into those FAR more powerful than they will ever be.
Dumb Muscle: Killer Croc, Amygdala and Clayface at times.
Averted with Bane, who has the mind of a criminal mastermind as well as the colossal strength to back it up, but played annoyingly straight in several adaptations. Though completely averted with The Dark Knight Rises.
Early-Installment Weirdness: In the first two or three comics (and only those), Batman was not only perfectly willing to use firearms, he even directly killed his enemies. This bit of bat-history is so infamous, that it even provides the page image for this trope!
His tech was also much more simplistic early on—the original Batmobile was just a simple red convertible.
His series was initially set in it's own distinct continuity, with no existence of other superheroes prior to retcons—an issue of Batman from the 40s, for instance, had Dick Grayson get an autograph from Jerry Siegel, identified by name and explicitly noted as "the creator of Superman".
The Scarecrow was originally a standard hoodlum-for-hire (albeit one who used to be a college professor) who terrorized his victims the old-fashioned way: with guns and death threats (in this era, fear gas was actually the gimmick of the now-comparatively obscure Hugo Strange). He also managed to hold his own against Batman and Robin physically, at least for a little while.
Fittingly, in The Batman Hugo Strange is basically the show's fill-in for Scarecrow, as he used the same fear tactics and psychological intimidation. One episode even had him make Batman hallucinate into thinking a Zombie Apocalypse had started, when in fact, the "cure" he tried to trick Batman into using, was actually the real Zombie virus.
Elemental Shapeshifter: Clayface is a walking mountain of mud, and can use his powers for shapeshifting or brute strength. He's one of the few recurring villains Batman admits to being no physical match for.
For starters, there's Prometheus (although he's more of a JLA-specific villain than a Batman villain) and Black Mask (or Roman Sionis) who has a similar back story to Bruce (son of wealthy parents who died to the unnatural causes, although in Roman's case his parents were Rich Bitches who were killed by Roman himself, and Roman ran his company into the ground with his own carelessness).
One of the origins of Catman tried to build him up as an evil mirror counterpart who was inspired by the death of his parents to become a supervillain complete with Catmobile and the like. The idea got dropped quickly.
Hush is a much more recent example, especially when you get into his backstory and how intricately entwined it is with Batman's.
While not to Black-and-white counterpart standards, most of Batman's rogues gallery reflect a part of Batman's characterization.
Killer Moth (of all people) was originally presented as an Evil Counterpart. His MO was that he was an anti-vigilante; he showed up to rescue criminals. He even had a Moth Signal criminals could use to summon him!
Then there is Bane, whom Chuck Dixon created from the idea of a "dark mirror" for Bruce Wayne. They both lost their parents at an early age, but instead of affectionate guardian raising him in comfortable wealth, Bane grew up in possibly the worst prison on earth. Nevertheless, he honed his intellect and body until he could escape and then return for payback. He's Bruce Wayne Gone Horribly Wrong.
An obscure character called The Wrath is gloriously over the top in how closely his backstory mirrors Batman's. His parents were career criminals who were gunned down by the police in front of him the same day as Bruce Wayne's parents were killed. Thus, the Wrath dedicated his life to fighting law and order. Even his costume is almost just a Palette Swap of Batman's.
Deadshot is another, an idle rich boy who moonlighted as a vigilante before turning villain, and also had a retconned family tragedy as his motivation. More gun-focused than the above examples. He's moved further away from this than his friends Bane and Catman, and is sometimes used as an Anti-Green Arrow these days.
Kobra was originally conceived as this as well, being fabulously wealthy and having his own international team of associates loyal to him, in much the same way as Batman's own teammates were to him. Kobra was so much so this that one edition of the DC Heroes RPG had his stats identical to Batman's.
Man-Bat was a literal take on this, working off the in-universe assumption many people have that Batman is some sort of supernatural monster. Kurt Langstrom is a dedicated scientist, almost fanatically driven to his work, just like Bruce, but is an occasional ally to Batman, too.
Ra's al-Ghul has elements of this, most notably in his desire to save the world even at cost to himself, his reluctance to work with others as an equal, and his personal skill. Notably, both Ra's and Batman respect each other enough to work together occasionally, and sometimes Batman is even implied to sympathize with Ra's views, if not his methods.
Black Mask was originally like this, a rich kid turned villain due to a personal tragedy, but the characterization is largely eclipsed by the later mob boss take on him.
Azrael as Az Bats was an intended subversion of this trope. While capable physically, Azrael was nowhere near Batman's match mentally or psychologically, and quickly degenerated.
Kirk "Man-Bat" Langstrom is one of Curt "The Lizard" Connors. Really, regardless of where each character ended up, the only difference between their origins is the specific ailment they were trying to cure and the specific animal they were working on.
Face Car: The Batmobile sometimes has his masked face on it.
Face Death with Dignity: In "The Joker Walks the Last Mile", after turning himself in, confessing to a long list of crimes and getting the death sentence, the Joker walks to his execution, confident that he will make a fresh start once he pays the ultimate penalty with his life, and once his mooks follow through on his plan and bring him Back from the Dead.
Face Your Fears: Whenever Scarecrow manages to get Batman with his Fear Gas, expect this to occur.
"Facing the Bullets" One-Liner: In Detective Comics Issue #64 ("The Joker Walks the Last Mile"), the Clown Prince of Crime says this line to a cop who is leading him to his execution: "So this is the famous Last Mile, eh? Don't cry, boys...this will hurt me worse than it'll hurt you! Ha! Ha!" (Hegetsbetter a little later, though.)
Clayface is the best example in Batman lore. Everything he does: the morphing, the voice, that thing he does where he morphs his features back-to-front rather than turn around. the big kicker is the times he absorbed people inside him to kill them, which he once temporarily did to Wonder Woman.
And then there's the Clayface whose main power was to melt people he touched into bubbling puddles of protoplasmic muck, which is described as horrifically painful even though it's extremely fast.
Felony Murder: One telling of Batman's origin has this law be the explanation for why Batman is a vigilante and not a badged police officer. One of Bruce Wayne's law professors poses a hypothetical situation where two teenagers steal a car for a joyride and end up hitting and killing a pedestrian. When Bruce states that only the driver should be held responsible for the death, the professor corrects him that both teens are responsible because they both participated in the felony that killed the victim. Bruce finds this shockingly unjust, leading him to decide to work outside the law.
Frothy Mugs of Water: Inverted. Bruce Wayne doesn't drink, afraid that it'll ruin his edge; however, a socialite like himself must on occasion be seen drinking, to erase any suspicion of being Batman. Thus, he will often drink non-alcoholic beverages, usually ginger ale, prepared to look to others as though they are made with alcohol. He'll even go so far as to act drunk, usually as an excuse for slipping out to chase after criminals.
Pamela "Poison Ivy" Isley is one of the most famous examples of this trope. Her levels of deadliness vary across different adaptations. She has shown some capacity for good, also. When Gotham was in the midst of No Man's Land, Ivy killed Clayface and used her powers to grow fruits and vegetables for the stranded people to eat in a coordinated effort with Batman. Other times, she can at times be an eco-terrorist, ranging from destroying polluting industries to considering exterminating the human race so they'll knock off the polluting.
Otherwise, she gets her kicks by feeding people to giant pitcher plants and Venus Fly traps. Lady's in Arkham for a reason.
Also, her predecessor, Jason Woodrue, the Floronic Man.
Commissioner Gordon often has the worry of relying too much on Batman to patrol Gotham, and points it out in Batman: No Man's Land by claiming that he can't get himself hired anywhere because his reliance on an "urban legend" damages his credibility. Usually though, he has to admit that the corrupt and perpetually-underfunded police department couldn't handle Gotham's crime rate before, and probably couldn't now.
And, as Battle for the Cowl demonstrated, Gotham does indeed become a lawless warzone the moment Batman disappeared and only returns to something resembling normality (for Gotham) once Dick accepts that there must be Batman (and he's it).
This happened LONG before Battle for the Cowl. A large portion of the "Knight" arc (Knightfall/Knightquest/Knightsend), apart from being a Take That at people who wanted a Darker and Edgier Batman, was to point out that a huge part of the problem in Gotham was mostly psychological in nature, and that Gotham needs Batman, even a fake one.
Honest Advisor: Alfred, who knows Bruce Wayne better than anyone, isn't afraid to tell him when he's taking himself too seriously or when he's doing something that probably won't end well. He's also the person Bruce most respects, and probably the only person he trusts completely.
Horrifying Hero: Batman by Tim Burton is the first one to truly invoke this trope: A flawless combination of Bob Ringwood's theatrical costume design, Michael Keaton's performance and the visceral musical score of Danny Elfman, Bruce Wayne becomes a mythical, demonic figure that struck such raw terror into the heart of evil that the average petty thug could only incoherently scream to the police: "I'm telling ya man: A Giant Bat!!!"
Horror Hunger: Killer Croc is frequently depicted as being a cannibal, while one of the multiple versions of Clayface to appear exclusively in the comics had a case of Body Horror where not only was it contagious, but the only way to keep it from killing him was to kill other people with it.
Hypocrite: In Batman Heart of Hush, Hush mocks Batman's crime-fighting career as a sign of his inability to move on from his past. This is pretty rich considering that his own vendetta against Bruce stems from a grudge he's held since childhood for something that wasn't even Bruce's fault.
Iconic Sequel Character: Robin, doesn't make his first appearance in Batman until Detective Comics #38, 11 issues and a year of publication after Batman's first appearance in Detective Comics #27.
I'll Kill You!: In his first appearance, The Joker was not played at all as funny, even in a dark way. He was, in fact, a permanently smiling psychotic gangster with no sense of humor whatsoever. In his first fight with Batman, Bats is actually the one making puns, Joker's Line? "I am going to kill you!"
Ink Stain Adaptation: In-universe. A three issue story arc in Detective Comics covered a Batman comic book being written by a publisher who managed to trademark the Batman name and costume because Bruce never did. The story's about how Batman is in fact Satan himself trying earn redemption by cleaning up the evil he let loose on Earth, using a mortal host named Simon Petrarch. The Joker is the manifestation of the demons who don't want evil to be wiped out, Robin is Simon Petrarch's guardian angel whose mortal host, a seven year old boy, is psychologically destroyed by the Joker, Catwoman's a spinster who sold her soul for beauty and power, Batgirl is Simon Petrarch's psychotherapist, and the Bathound's a devil dog that transforms into the Batmobile. The artist and writer based on the series on what he's seen and heard about Batman, but later ended the series when a serial killer was using the issues as the inspiration to kill as "Batman."
Irisless Eye Mask Of Mystery: One of the most notable superheroes to have this trope as part of their design (to the point that he, along with Robin and Batgirl, provide the image for that article). By extension, he has this feature in all other adaptations as well, with the exception of live-action ones. For most Batfamily members, this is explained by the fact that the cowls contain special lenses for Goggles Do Something Unusual purposes.
In general, Bruce is almost always a Knight in Sour Armor (or in this case a Dark Knight in Sour Armor, with the only possible exceptions being when he makes some wry observation about a situation he or the JLA are in.
Knockout Gas: One of his standard tricks, Batman has used knockout gas from various sources: bombs, canisters, guns, etc.
The Lancer: Not in his own series. To Superman in the Justice League, but as the biggest and most recognizable superhero after Superman, he's effectively this for the entire industry.
List of Transgressions: In Detective Comics Issue #64 ("The Joker Walks the Last Mile"), as part of his master plan in putting his Joker Immunity to the test for freedom, the Joker rattles off a "seemingly never-ending list of his incredible crimes" to the police, including robbing the National Bank of Denver; this goes on for days until it's more than enough to warrant a death sentence (he gets better a little later).
Loners Are Freaks: Even though most of his fellow heroes respect him, quite a few do take this viewpoint due to his standoffish and sometimes paranoid nature.
Love Cannot Overcome: This is why Silver St. Cloud broke up with Bruce Wayne in a famous 1970s arc: she can't handle knowing that he's risking his life against people like The Joker every night, so she abandons him and Gotham. This seems to be the source for many other examples of this trope from Batman adaptations in other media.
Make Them Rot: The villains Clayface III (Preston Payne) and Clayface V (Cassius "Clay" Payne) could make the bodies of living creatures melt by touching them. Clayface VI (Dr. Peter Malley) could make them melt without touching them.
Metallicar Syndrome: The Batmobile is Awesome, but Impractical: it gives away the fact that Batman (a hero who depends often on stealth) is in the neighborhood! Some versions have the ability to disguise their appearance as more normal cars, however.
Sometimes out and out invoked, as Batman scares criminals and regularly uses this fact to his advantage.
Moral Myopia: Villains operate on their own twisted morality.
Mr. Fanservice: Batman/Bruce Wayne. Also, Nightwing. Or more accurately, Nightwing's ass. Along with them Tim gets quite a bit of shower scenes to show off his very fine body.
Ms. Fanservice: On the other end of the pole, all the female villains, anti villains, and rogues, then most female supporting characters with Cassandra Cain being the most notable exception. Even there, some artists...
Multiple Demographic Appeal: In the 60's television show, Batgirl was added to attract two demographics that weren't watching the show — young girls and their fathers.
Murder By Inaction: In issue #633, Robin (Stephanie Brown) dies due to torture and Batman later discovers that Dr. Leslie Thompkins deliberately withheld treatment that could've saved her life but chose not to in order to teach the kids of Gotham a lesson about superheroing. This was retconned into Thompkins making Batman think that Stephanie died, but she didn't really die.
Never Smile at a Crocodile: Killer Croc. Depending on the writer, he's a man with a really bad skin disease (which makes him look like reptilian) or in some others a full-blown, hungry crocodile-man.
Not So Different: It is generally agreed upon that one of the biggest reasons Batman has the best villains in the business (Joker, Scarecrow, et cetera) is the fact that each of them reflect an element of Batman himself. However, Joker is the most prominent, oft-referenced version of this; in many of his incarnations, he is very fond of pointing out that Batman has no greater claim to sanity than Joker himself does, often lampshading - if not directly invoking - this trope.
No OSHA Compliance: A lot of Gotham's buildings, warehouses and factories are like this, but the most glaring example is the Batcave. Platforms suspended over near-Bottomless Pits with nary a bit of railing in sight. The health hazards of all the moisture and wild bats have been pointed out from time-to-time as well.
Offing the Mouth: The number of times that Gotham City mooks have been killed by their bosses precisely for this reason could fill up a page in and of itself.
Old Money: Where Bats gets the money to fund his crimefighting. The Waynes are one of the oldest, richest, and most respected families in Gotham, and often depicted as having been involved in its founding.
One Super One Powerset: Batman is the head of Wayne Enterprises, has fought against and alongside many superpowered beings that possess advanced technology, use magic, and have reliable and effective mutagens. Despite this, he has been, and most likely always will be, only a mere Badass NormalCrazy-Prepared genius detective.
Only Mostly Dead: In the Detective Comics Issue #64, "The Joker Walks the Last Mile" (June 1942), this is part of a plan for the Joker: after he is fried by the electric chair for all of his past offenses, his henchmen quickly retrieve his body from the prison morgue and bring him Back from the Dead with a life serum within 15 minutes in order to keep him from slipping off from "only mostly dead" to "all dead". Once he is revived, he walks away a free man... that is, until he is apprehended for newer robberies.
Orphan's Ordeal: In most versions, Batman becomes who he is through witnessing the deaths of his parents as a child, leaving him to dedicate his life to ridding Gotham of crime.
Papa Wolf: Batman himself, and Commissioner Gordon when his kids' involved.
Photo Doodle Recognition: In one Golden Age story, Bruce Wayne realises that a new playboy in town and the master thief he is hunting are one and the same when Dick Grayson doodles a moustache and goatee on a picture of the playboy in the newspaper.
Pimped Out Cape: In some continuities where his cape has some gadgets built in.
Plant Aliens: He has dealt with them in the story "The Plants of Plunder".
The Proud Elite: He is handsome, and, while charming, tries to be aloof enough that he makes people think he's a bit arrogant. However, when he catches criminals as Batman, he'll get them jobs at Wayne Enterprises. Even the Ventriloquist got a second chance once on an episode of New Batman Adventures.
Reckless Pacifist: Batman, on and off. Excluding incarnations that actually did kill people (or just refused to save them), The Bat has been known to get really, really rough with with his enemies despite his Thou Shalt Not Kill policy.
Recruited From The Gutter: In some versions of the origin of Robin II, Jason Todd was a street urchin that tried stealing the wheels off the Batmobile. Bruce Wayne takes him as his ward and trains him up as his new sidekick.
Red Baron: The Batman has been known as the Caped Crusader, the Gotham Guardian, the Masked Manhunter or more commonly, the Dark Knight.
Revealing Skill: In the backstory of the third Robin (Tim Drake), this is how he learned the secret identities of Batman and Robin (Dick Grayson): by watching news coverage of the Dynamic Duo's escapades, during which Robin performed a complicated gymnastics move (a quadruple somersault) — which it had been established could be performed only by orphaned circus artist Dick Grayson.
The Reveal Prompts Romance: Batman has unmasked himself as Bruce Wayne to various women in various continuities. Neither the reveal nor the romance has stuck, yet.
Reverse Cerebus Syndrome: When the stories first began, they followed the pulp magazine model. Things became Lighter and Softer shortly after Robin was introduced, and the Jack Schiff era relished in this trope. Julius Schwartz attempted Cerebus Syndrome when his term as editor started, but then the 1960's show debuted and the trope was forced to reverse itself for the comic to emulate the show. The syndrome has waved back and forth since then.
Say My Name: If you haven't figured it out by now, He's Batman
Secret Identity Apathy: Batman and the Joker have always been the most well-known example. At one point, the Joker actively threatened a mob boss who'd tried to buy Batman's secret identity from Hugo Strange, declaring that learning the truth of Batman's identity would ruin all his fun.
Secret Identity Identity: Depending on the Writer, and something of a Cyclic Trope. Bruce Wayne is a violent, obsessive loner who plays the dual roles of Batman (who gives him the power to instill fear in criminals and take revenge) and "Billionaire Playboy" Bruce Wayne (leading the carefree life he cannot truly enjoy, and actually disdains). He usually identifies more with Batman (to the point of calling himself such in his head), but not always. The one thing they all have in common is that they are self-absorbed misanthropes who cannot get over the murder of Bruce's parents in Crime Alley.
Bruce Wayne's childhood friend Thomas Elliot tried to kill his parents at a young age in order to inherit their riches and because his father was an abusive monster and his mother a simpering money hungry lunatic. He only succeeded in killing his father, and, to avoid suspicion, didn't try again, only truly being orphaned when he smothered his raving senile mother in a fit of anger. This left him with a bitter hatred of Bruce, who tragically lost his parents soon after Tommy tried to kill his. Later on in his life, he joins the Riddler (who discovered that Bruce was Batman on a vendetta against him, feeling that, not only did Bruce get the riches Tommy wanted, but that he was wasting those riches as well. Predictably, his vendetta eventually causes him to lose everything and become the full time Super Villain Hush.
Black Mask killed his parents in a fire to inherit their business and fortune. Unfortunately, he was a lousy businessman and when he tried to burn down the factory to cover his tracks, he wound up with the facial injury that gave him his villain name. He was a lot better at being Ax-Crazy than a businessman anyways.
The Penguin. In most versions his father dies of bronchial pneumonia, but in Penguin: Pain and Prejudice His father's behavior and commentary eventually pushed him too far, and he murdered Tucker Cobblepot, leaving him alone with his mother. The only one that showed any signs of loving him.
A one-off character in the debut issue of Gotham Knights is a child that kills his parents.
Shadow Archetype: Several of Batman's villains apply, such as The Joker (obsession and mental issues), Catwoman (night animal motif and skills with things like spying and thievery, was also a wealthy socialite in the Golden Age), The Penguin (was created as a parody of Bruce's image as a fop), and Two-Face (dual nature). Batman himself has served as a Shadow Archetype for Superman.
The Joker's first appearance has civilians dismissing his threats over radio as a hoax, much like the 1938 The War of the Worlds broadcast, mentioning it in all but name.
The 1960's Batman series was generally held in disfavor by Batman's comic book creators, but prolific Batman writer Chuck Dixon was a fan of the show, and snuck in some tributes here and there. Most notably in a two-parter featuring pirate-themed villain Cap'n Fear, which was structured much like a two-parter for the show, and began "in the shadow of the Westward Bridge."
The original Earth-2 Grayson grew up, became a politician, and stayed Robin even after his Batman died. He himself died in the Crisis on Infinite Earths.
The Earth-1 Grayson was a founding member of the Teen Titans, was urged to retire by Wayne after nearly getting killed by the Joker, changed his supranym to Nightwing, and mended his fences with Wayne. He later took over the role of Batman when Wayne was apparently dead, and continued in the role for a while when he returned. Returned to being Nightwing in the New 52.
Robin IV: Stephanie Brown. The daughter of the Cluemaster (a minor Batman villain), she originally went by the Spoiler, and was Tim Drake's girlfriend. She was Robin very briefly (during a period when Drake and Wayne were arguing), before Batman faked her death. Later became the third (or fourth, or fifth, depending on how you count) Batgirl. In the World of the New 52, she is once again the Spoiler and it is not known how much of her backstory remains.
Robin V: Damian Wayne. Batman's son, born and raised in secret by Talia al Ghul. Became Robin while Wayne was presumed dead. Mildly psychopathic, considering he was raised by assassins, but he received Bruce's blessing to continue as Robin. He was killed by his own clone.
Helena Wayne: In DC Comics' New 52 line, Helena was the Robin of Earth 2, which she and Supergirl fled following the deaths of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. She adopted the duel guise of Helena Bertinelli/Huntress, while Supergirl became Karen Starr/Power Girl.
Sidekick Graduations Stick: Grayson is one of the more triumphant examples, though Todd, Drake, and Brown have all moved on as well.
Small Steps Hero: Bruce could stop being Batman and use his fortune to clean up Gotham permanently, but that would mean ignoring the common crime that happen every night. The fact that he has the power to not only stop crime and save the world regularly is one of the things he admires about Superman.
Smug Snake: The Riddler. But significantly less so since his reformation in Detective Comics #822. Still smug, but a highly successful detective as well.
Socially-Awkward Hero: It varies by the writer, but Bruce Wayne is often depicted as not really understanding how to behave like a normal Rich Idiot with No Day Job, and finds hosting a Wayne Foundation party more stressful than taking on the Joker.
Step into the Blinding Fight: Often invoked by Batman with his use of shadows and smoke pellets to scare criminals. It disorients his enemies and make them easier to pick off one by one. In The Dark Knight Rises Bane was a member of the League Of Shadows and knows of their tricks of using darkness to distract enemies in battle, so when Batman tries to use these same tactics on Bane, he mocks him for it and goes into a Badass Boast about how he is made of Shadows.
Strapped to a Bomb: The story "And The Executioner Wore Stiletto Heels" has the villain going above and beyond by covering the victim in glue and sticking the bomb to their chest (and sticking the victim to the ceiling, too). By the time Batman finds them, there's not nearly enough time to do something about the bomb...
Stupid Crooks: "Rocket Scientist" in Detective Comics #704. The story details the career of one of Gotham City's most incompetent crooks. His actions included once disguising himself by painting his face red (following an earlier mishap due to his choice of masks) only to collapse because the paint was toxic.
Stephanie Brown's mother was named "Agnes" when she originally appeared in Detective Comics, but her name was later changed to "Crystal." According to Scott Beatty (who was the first to rename her), he had asked DC editors about the name of the mother but no one could remember, leading to an accidental name change that stuck.
The Post-Crisis Huntress had a case of her middle name changing. In her first origin and early appearances, her full name was "Helena Janice Bertinelli". In her revised origin and later profiles, her name became "Helena Rosa Bertinelli".
Huntress' parents were named Guido and Carmela in her original 1989 origin, but their names were later changed to Franco and Maria by the time of Greg Rucka's retelling in the Cry For Blood miniseries.
Harvey Dent's wife is generally known as Gilda, but was renamed "Grace" in a 1989 Secret Origins story and the name carried over to her animated counterpart in Batman: The Animated Series. All later comic appearances switched her name back to Gilda.
Harvey himself was originally introduced as "Harvey Kent". They changed his name so there'd be no confusion with that other fellow.
While Poison Ivy's civilian name was initially established as Pamela Isley, Gerry Conway inexplicably gave her the name of "Lillian Rose" when he wrote her origin in World's Finest #252. Post-Crisis, Neil Gaiman would re-establish the Pamela Isley name (along with overhauling her origin).
The upcoming series GOTHAM has gained some controversy for admitting that they changed her name from Pamela Isley to Ivy Pepper.
Superhero Sobriquets: The Dark Knight, the Caped Crusader, the World's Greatest Detective, the Dark Knight Detective. Robin is the Boy Wonder and Joker is the Clown Prince of Crime, the Thin White Duke of Death, and the Harlequin of Hate.
Terrible Trio: There's a group of fairly obscure villains called the Terrible Trio (who, as far as can be told, weren't in mind when naming this trope). Made up of the Shark, the Fox, and the Vulture, the Terrible Trio is of extremely variable threat, and they don't show up very often because they're pretty mundane as Batman rogues go.
Though in each animated series they appear in, they gradually become more Bad Ass. In Batman: The Animated Series they were billionaires who committed crimes because they literally did EVERYTHING exciting, who (Mainly Fox) completely crossed the Moral Event Horizon. In The Batman they were teenage social outcasts considered "freaks" by the majority of their college campus. In which they stole the Man-Bat formula and transformed themselves into anthropomorphic animals (Though they tweaked it to keep their own sentience unlike Man-Bat) and plotted to "Turn everyone in their college into animal people like them, so everyone would be the same" in Batman: The Brave and the Bold they were warriors who stole ancient animal totems to turn into giant powerful beastmen. In every animated appearance, Fox is always the leader and usually always the final battle for Batman.
Terror Hero: Batman seeks to put enormous fear into anyone he goes up against. Given that he's one of the most dreaded heroes in comics, even among superpowered villains despite having no superpowers himself, he is very good at it.
Thememobile: The Batmobile, the Batwing, the Batcycle, etc etc...
Most depictions for the past two decades have made it clear Mr. Wayne has... issues... lots of issues.
Bruce Wayne himself: "Any guy who dresses up as a bat... clearly has issues."
Double Subverted. There are numerous psychologists in Gotham City - just none you'd actually want helping you. Scarecrow and Hugo Strange would rather drive you mad for laughs, whereas Harley Quinn and Jeremiah Arkham couldn't even keep themselves sane. Then there's the crack staff of Arkham Asylum, who will probably be curing their first patient any day now.
How many levels of subversion did they reach when Arkham did successfully cure Cluemaster... of his obsessive need to leave clues. Now he's just a criminal genuis who doesn't give our heroes any way to anticipate his next crime.
Robin: "Gee, thanks, Arkham!"
How about the fact that in multiple continuities, including the titular video games, Arkham was founded not to cure the mentally ill but to exterminate them.
Though averted in Batman: The Animated Series, multiple episodes have shown that certain villains such as Penguin and Harley Quinn were cured, though Penguin went back to villainy when his heart was broken and Harley Quinn was starting to snap back in less than a hour after release, simply over a misunderstanding towards a shirt she paid for, which just went downhill further and further. Then there was the Ventriloquist in The Batman who was completely rehabilitated, only for Hugo Strange to pull him back in For the Evulz.
Joe Chill the mugger, who is seldom seen again after serving his narrative purpose of introducing us to and traumatizing Bruce Wayne. In some versions, notably Frank Miller's, he doesn't even have a name.
Joe Chill did appear again in a 1948 followup to the origin story, where it's revealed he eventually became a small-time gangster. Unfortunately for him, Batman soon found him out, leading to a classic confrontation. Chill also appeared post-Crisis in several stories. Post-Zero Hour he was specifically stated NOT to be the Wayne killer, bringing Batman's desire for vengeance back to the way Miller envisioned it.
Batman had to ally with Joe Chill when facing a legacy of The Reaper, a crazed slasher vigilante. At several points, Batman has the choice of whether to save Joe's life and each time, he does.
Joker sees Batman like this.
Tontine: The very first Batman story, The Case of the Chemical Syndicate, used this as a plot point.
A security guard in Arkham Asylum: Madness ran head first in to this trope when he decided to put the Name "Milton Napier" on a plaque to screw with The Joker. It ended badly. For the guard that is.
Speaking of The Joker, any Gotham City mook that decides to work for him is Too Dumb to Live. What do those mooks have to look forward to? If they're lucky: almost certainly getting their asses kicked by Batman. But not only does the Joker routinely kill his own Mooksfor failing him, he'll do it in order to try and kill Batman, because they have outlived their usefulness, because they might have said something that he didn't like, or because he wasbored. How dumb to you have to be to work for a guy who will kill you for shits and giggles? The rest of Batman's rogue's gallery aren't much better, but the Joker takes the cake.
There are a couple explanations. Some of the Joker's mooks are almost as crazy as him and are drawn to his madness. The Joker's randomness also means that he'll shower his mooks with money as often as he kills them for kicks, so working for the Joker is basically Russian Roulette.
Let's face it: Thomas Wayne. Instead of waiting for Alfred to show up and chauffeur them back to the mansion, he decided to take a shortcut through Crime Alley. All dressed up. At night. In the rain. It's just a pity his foolishness got both himself and his wife killed, and his son traumatized along with him.
It wasn't called Crime Alley back then. It's canon that it used to be a nice neighborhood called Park Row. The Wayne murders signaled the decadence of the neighborhood. But then again, they walked into some random, trash-strewn alley, through a side door of the theater,because that's how rich people routinely exit such establishments.
Any supervillain who has ever shown up in his city and thought, "What threat could a meremortal pose to me?"
Joker: "There's nothing mere about that mortal."
Also, anyone who has ever teamed up with The Joker and then decided to double cross him thinking, "He's just a clown with too much free time. What could he possibly do?"
At least people who team up with the Joker usually have their own Joker Immunity to prevent serious problems. Henchmen that work for the Joker though are just asking to be killed.
And those who believe this of The Joker are often proven fatally wrong.
In The Animated Series, The Riddler just seems more lighthearted. The Joker applies to this more.
The Tooth Hurts: In Detective Comics #832, Shark pulls out his own teeth with pliers to plant them as fake evidence of his supposed death by sharks. He mentions that it was very painful, but he's got lots of teeth (three rows!).
This is what motivates Mr. Freeze, wanting to cure his wife.
After an extenuating day being Batman, Jean-Paul Valley reflected that after being the Avatar of the Order of St. Dumas, who wanted to conquer Jerusalem back again to Christianity, and presently being the Temporary Substitute to Batman, who wants to stop crime in Gotham City, he finds the fanatical obsessive founder Dumas was the wiser: sure, Jerusalem was never conquered again, but it was a tangible goal that could be achieved... ending crime forever in Gotham is a madmans dream.
The Trickster: A role sometimes shared by Joker and Riddler, depending on the situation and motivation.
Troll Fic: Batman Hero Of Gotham. Characters die and randomly come back to life (In Chapter 3, the Joker dies and then comes back to life for no reason in around 12 sentences), The Penny Plunderer is called "one of the most powerful villains in Gotham", Batgirl walks off a backbreaker from Bane, and Crazy Quilt is called "the evilest villain ever" and actually kills Robin (thus leading to Alfred, of all people, taking up the mantle). Many other characters also appear, such as Wolverine (who even says that he appears in everything), a few of the other X-Men, Darkseid (spelled as Darkseed), Superman, General Zod, and Master Chief (spelled as Mastar Chief). Also, there's tons of bad grammar. Here's some quotes from the story:
"STOP KILLER CROC YOU NOT GET WAY WITH MONEY!" Batman yell.
Tsundere: Damian Wayne is one of the rare male examples, and is type A towards... everyone. Dick Grayson, Stephanie Brown, Alfred...
Two-Headed Coin: A characteristic attribute of Harvey Dent/Two-Face. Played straight as Dent and then subverted by Two-Face.
Underestimating Badassery: Done constantly by superpowered villains who have never faced him before. After they do fight him, they figure out why he's one of the most feared heroes of them all.
Underwear of Power: Batman is one of the older examples, though nowadays (Post-Knight Saga and then Post-Return) his Underwear on the outside is usually either absent, not shown, or the same color as the rest of him (and thus hard to see). Also, the Robins wore this until Tim Drake came along.
The Unsmile: This applies to Batman, but not Bruce Wayne. Which may imply a bit of insight regarding his psyche.
Useless Spleen: Tim Drake loses his spleen to a sword-strike in Red Robin #4.
Vitriolic Best Buds: Batman and Superman are sometimes depicted this way, as both Type 1 and Type 2 - while they respect each other and acknowledge there is a need for both of them, they would rather have as little to do with each other as possible.
Water Source Tampering: Deconstructed in one comic, where Bruce deduces the Villain of the Weekwon't put his hallucinogen into the water supply, because it's too easy to shut off. Instead, he plots to put it in the milk supply.
Bruce is motivated by the standards of his father and sometimes wonders if he's living up to him and if being Batman is an appropriate way to carry on the Wayne legacy. Since his father isn't there to acknowledge him, this creates moments of doubt and insecurity that Bruce usually has to overcome.
Silas Wayne, who, in his last moments of life, becomes proud of Bruce when he reveals himself as Batman, and happier that the rest of the family wasn't in the room to learn the secret identity, so he'll die proudly with the knowledge that a Wayne is Batman.
In several incarnations its stated that the bat cave was used by Bruce's ancestors as part of the underground railroad. This would seem to imply that it is somewhere in or close to the south.
Who Even Needs a Brain?: Rare dramatic example - new villainess "The Absence" has an enormous hole in her forehead and extending all the way through, with no visible brain, yet functions just fine, and may be smarter than before the hole happened. It appears to be a combination of a freak medical condition and Gotham City's water supply being seriously tainted.
Wolverine Publicity: This is beginning to become a bit of a problem for not just Bats but his wider crew. In the New 52 line-up of titles, not only does Bats and his "family" have more individual titles than the any other superhero (only the combined Justice League matches), but counting characters with major recurring roles in other titles, the Bat-family shows up in twenty of the 52 current titles put out by DC. By comparison, Superman and Green Lantern, and related characters, only show up in six or so books each, total. Most people suspect this is due to the constant financial success Batman's had, especially in the past two decades (as noted above), and especially in the past half-decade or so, between the Arkham games and TDK.
World's Best Warrior: The reason Batman is The Dreaded is because winning is never an impossibility for him. Even if he's outclassed or outfought, he always has the means to win.