"I am vengeance. I am the night. I... am... BATMAN!"
The Dark Knight
. The Caped Crusader
. The World's Greatest Detective
. The Most Dangerous Man on Earth
. The iconic Cowl
. The Badass Normal Superhero
. The Goddamn Batman
Created by Bob Kane and an uncredited Bill Finger
, Batman is also one of the greatest Trope Makers
and Trope Codifiers
in not just comics, but all
visual media; one of the oldest superheroes still in print — having debuted in Detective Comics
#27 (May 1939) — Batman is one of the three best known Superheroes
ever (alongside Superman
), and one of the most popular comic book characters in history. The Batman mythos has expanded into virtually every medium in the decades since the character's debut, and there's a good argument to be made for Batman being the most critically
successful superhero in history. When veterans such as Superman have taken beatings in the zeitgeist for perceived problems
, Batman's legacy and relevancy have never truly faded in the public eye, and his popularity across multiple sections of the mainstream remains as strong — if not stronger — than it was back in the 1940s. He's pretty much the only superhero to date who could pull out a lightsaber with no explanation at all and get away with it
and he's arguably the world's most popular superhero
At the age of eight, Bruce Wayne witnessed the murder of his parents
at the hands of a mugger. Swearing vengeance
against all criminals, Bruce used his parents' vast fortune to travel the world and hone his fighting abilities and detective skills. When he felt he was ready, Bruce returned to his beloved Gotham City, intent on removing the criminal element that had overrun the city
in his absence. Donning a costume with a bat motif to strike fear into criminals and armed with his keen intellect and arsenal of crime-fighting gadgetry
, Bruce protects the streets of Gotham as "The Batman" at night while pretending to be a clueless playboy billionaire
Over time, Batman's swung between
a bright, shiny Cape
and a dark, nightmarish Shadow Archetype
and the iconic Cowl
; in modern times, it's usually the latter. A number of comic-book writers love the contrast between Superman and Batman — a symbol of hope for the innocent versus a symbol of fear for wrongdoers — and often play it up when the two are paired together.
This series has a (very long) Character Sheet
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- 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.
- Superman/Batman - Mentioned above, this is a team-up series with Superman that is the Spiritual Successor to "World's Finest". But unlike "World's Finest", Superman/Batman features major story lines for both characters, most notably Superman with its first arc featuring the two bringing down President Lex Luthor (which was later spun off into the direct-to-DVD movie Superman/Batman: Public Enemies) and its second arc re-introducing the Pre-Crisis Supergirl to The DCU.
- Batman and Robin - Grant Morrison, who wrote Batman's ongoing comic from 2006-2009, was given his own book in which to tell the further adventures of the new Batman (Dick Grayson) and Bruce Wayne's son Damian Wayne, the new Robin. The series focuses on the fall-out from Morrison's popular run on the main Batman book as well as Damian's attempt to adjust to being a hero. As of 2011, this Book contains the adventures of the Bruce Wayne Batman and his son Damian. Written by Peter J. Tomasi.
- Streets of Gotham - A series written by Paul Dini that features the new Batman and Robin in the eyes of other characters. Also features a back-up feature starring Kate Spencer, the current Manhunter.
- Gotham City Sirens - A series, also written by Paul Dini, dealing with the girls of Gotham, notably Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, and Catwoman as they attempt to live "normal" lives.
- The Batman Adventures - The tie-in comic of Batman: The Animated Series.
- Batman Impostors - The tie-in comic of Gotham City Impostors.
- "Batgirl 2011" - A series about Barbara Gordon after she regains the use of her legs after the events of "The Killing Joke". Takes place in the NEW 52.
- Red Hood and the Outlaws
- Batwoman - The solo series of Katherine "Kate" Kane, who originally debuted in 52.
- 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.
- Grant Morrisons Batman: A group of Story Arcs all written during Grant Morrison's run on Batman. All titles are connected by a large overarching storyline, and Morrison himself says that he intends for this group of titles to be part of a series.
- Batman and Son: Batman discovers that his one-time sexual encounter with Talia Al Ghul left her pregnant. And now, several years later, she's dropping off her son on Batman's doorsteps so that he can teach the kid how to be a great man, as she prepares to take over the world with her army of Manbat Ninjas. Introduces Damian Wayne to the Batman universe.
- The Black Glove: Batman's weekend vacation with a cadre of international superheroes he inspired takes a turn for the worst when the mysterious "Black Glove" destroys their transportation off an island, so that they can be killed off one by one.
- The Three Ghosts of Batman: Bruce faces off against three psychotic Batman impersonators (a marksman, a steroid-fueled behemoth, and a raving Satanic killer) with ties to a cadre of corrupt police officers and a mysterious military experiment that Bruce himself took part in years ago. A prelude to Batman: R.I.P that introduces Dr. Simon Hurt, the leader of the Black Glove organization. Notable for giving us a glimpse of a possible future where Damian has become the new Batman.
- Batman R.I.P. - The Black Glove makes its assault against Batman, and attempts to destroy his personality with long dormant mental triggers which were placed in Batman's mind years ago. Upon the activation of a mental safeguard in the case of such a scenario, the personality of "the Batman of 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".
- The Return of Bruce Wayne: The title says it all. Until it happens, we're treated to Bruce Wayne's displaced adventures in time, where he suits up in period-specific Bat-costumes and fights pirates and cavemen and stuff, due to continually being shunted around the timestream. Oh, and Superman says his return will bring about the end of the world...
- Batman, Inc.: After the events of the above storyline, Bruce Wayne decides to take the Batman operation international and train potential Batmen worldwide, leaving Dick and Damian to continue their roles as Batman and Robin in Gotham City.
- Night of the Owls: Batman as of the New 52. Bruce is Batman again, though Damian is still Robin, and Dick still operates as Nightwing. A shadowy organization known as The Court of Owls, basically Gotham City's Illuminati, are trying to take back Gotham City, using pseudo-immortal assassins as their footsoldiers.
- Death Of The Family: After a year-long absence, The Joker returns to Gotham with a torn-off face and gunning for Batman's allies.
- Gothtopia: All of Gotham except Batman believes Gotham to be a Sugar Bowl Utopia, though as the facade falls apart, the Scarecrow enacts a further scheme for control of the populace.
- 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.
- Batman Endgame: A story featuring The Joker's return after Death Of The Family.
One-Shots & Limited Series
- Batman: The Dark Knight Returns - An old Batman takes up the cowl again to fight mutants. And along with Watchmen, it helped start the Dark Age of comics.
- The Killing Joke - With the help of Alan Moore, The Joker gets reinvented into the insane sociopath we all know and love. This book is a major influence over all adaptations of the Joker following it. Notable for featuring Batgirl being crippled, paving the way for her reinvention as "Oracle", super-hacker extraordinaire.
- 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.
- Catwoman: When in Rome: A Tie-In Graphic Novel and midquel to Dark Victory focusing on Catwoman.
- Batman: Thrillkiller - An Elseworlds limited series taking place in The Sixties, in an alternate timeline where Bruce Wayne became a police officer after his parents' murder and Barbara Gordon inherited Wayne Manor after a penniless Bruce sold it. By 1960, Babs Gordon fights crime as Batgirl alongside her partner Dick Grayson (aka Robin, the Man Wonder) while Commissioner Wayne of the GCPD tries to put them both behind bars. Oh... and The Joker's a woman.
- The Dark Knight Strikes Again - A sequel to The Dark Knight Returns, once again written by Frank Miller. Unlike The Dark Knight Returns, it features a cast of dozens, as Batman gathers an army of his former friends to free America from Lex Luthor and Brainiac, who have taken over the U.S. thanks to a sentient hologram president.
- The Man Who Laughs - A one-shot issue written by Ed Brubaker and another intended sequel of Year One, detailing the Batman's first encounter with the Joker. (Mainly an attempt to re-write the original Joker story with the modern characterization of the Joker).
- All-Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder - The Goddamn Batman (A.K.A. Crazy Steve) abducts the Goddamn Dick Grayson (age twelve) and goes on some crazy stuff in the Goddamn Gotham City.
- Gotham Underground - A limited series that focuses on the effects of the Countdown to Final Crisis on Batman's Rogues Gallery, not to mention the recent death of Black Mask. While the rest of the Bat-family struggle to prevent a gang war from breaking out, Batman - undercover as a henchman - winds up in prison. By the end of the series, Penguin finds himself Batman's informant - whether he likes it or not.
- Joker - Another one-shot, written by Brian Azzarello, detailing the Joker's release from Arkham and his subsequent rise (and fall). The Bat himself makes only a short but effective appearance. Quite a few similarities between the Joker depicted within and Heath Ledger's portrayal in The Dark Knight, but this is coincidental, this being written a good bit before the film was released.
- Batman Beyond - Based off the Batman Beyond animated series continuity. It started out as a six-part miniseries, but became an ongoing series in 2011.
- Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? - A two-part Batman story written by Neil Gaiman, in the same vein of Superman's "Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow", this is an epilogue to the Bruce Wayne Batman (in all of his incarnations). It was to be the 'last' story after his death in Batman R.I.P. and Final Crisis and act as a summing-up of the character.
- Batman: Digital Justice - An Alternate Reality story set exty years from now, featuring the grandson of Commissioner Gordon taking up the mantle of Batman to fight cyber-crime in Gotham City. Written/illustrated by Pepe Moreno and created entirely on computer (a new idea in 1990).
- Batman: Detective No. 27 - An "elseworld" where Bruce Wayne never becomes Batman, instead becoming Detective No. 27. 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 Odyssey - A supremely bizarre miniseries (2010-2011) drawn and written by Neal Adams, featuring Batman's journey to the underworld.
- Batman Vampire - A fairly well-regarded trilogy of Elseworlds that feature the Dark Knight being turned into a vampire.
- 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: Knightfall (1994) by Denny O Neil. As it's name implies, it's a novelization of Knightfall, but also Knightquest and KnightsEnd. It also included some details about Batman's backstory which is written to mirror the continuity of the comics at the time.
- Batman: Knightfall & Beyond (1994) by Alan Grant. Also an adaptation of Knightfall, but intended for a younger audience.
- 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: A series on Fox featuring the early years of Detective James Gordon and Batman's Rogues Gallery before Bruce Wayne became Batman.
- 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 Wiki notes, 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, both in crossover stories and solo ones to give the regular star playing Superman, Bud Collyer, some time off. 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 The Musical. No, really. It never made it onstage, but you can still read about What Might Have Been here and listen to the demo recordings.
- Batman Live: a big-budget arena show that premiered in the UK July '11 and toured Europe and North America. It focuses on the relationship between Batman and Robin, and is a fusion between theatre, circus, and hand-drawn animation.
- Holy Musical B@man!: a musical parody by Team StarKid, performed during March 2012 and made available online on April 13th.
- The Batman/Superman Hour
- The New Adventures of Batman: The Animated Adaptation of the 1960s TV series, featuring the same actors.
- Batman: The Animated Series: An animated tie-in with the 1989 Batman film. It turned out to be Adaptation Distillation and launched the DCAU with a crossover into Superman: The Animated Series. Still held in very high regard.
- Batman Beyond: A Time Skip continuation of the above, 40 years in the future, Bruce Wayne acting as The Mentor to Terry McGinnis, who takes up the mantle of Batman (or maybe "the Bat-mantle"?)
- Justice League and Justice League Unlimited: Linked the two above series and Superman: The Animated Series, solidifying the DCAU, with Batman as a major character and Batman II making two cameos. The JLU episode "Epilogue" served as a Fully Absorbed Finale for Beyond.
- The Batman: A non-DCAU series aimed at a younger audience, starring Batman in his first few years as a crime-fighter.
- Batman: The Brave and the Bold: A lighter series, having nothing to do with the DCAU. Tone greatly resembles that of the '60s Batman show and/or the Silver Age comic, but with a more Post Modern, self-aware vibe to it.
- Batman: Gotham Knight: An Animated Anthology film set in The Dark Knight Saga, between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.
- Superman/Batman: Public Enemies
- Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths
- Batman: Under the Red Hood: A dark animated film about Jason Todd, the second Robin's return.
- Superman/Batman: Apocalypse
- 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.
- Batman: Year One: An Animated Adaptation of the comic storyline.
- Justice League: Doom: A loose adaptation of the JLA arc, "Tower of Babel".
- Batman: The Dark Knight Returns: A Movie Multipack Animated Adaptation of the comic of the same name.
- Beware the Batman: A CGI animated series in which Batman teams up with Katana and a younger, tougher Alfred to face off against Anarky and a slew of other lesser-known villains.
- Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox
- Justice League: War
- Son of Batman: An Animated Adaptation of "Batman and Son".
- Batman: Assault on Arkham: An animated movie set in the Batman: Arkham Series.
- Justice League: Throne of Atlantis
Various parts of the franchise have provided the name for:
Tropes among all versions:
- Continuity Nod: Crossing over with Mythology Gag, when Batwoman resurfaces in 2006, her suit borrows very heavily from the one made famous in Batman Beyond, especially in regards to the Bat Symbol she uses.
- Cool Car: Practically the Trope Codifier. From WAY back in the day, few modes of transportation have been considered awesome as universally as the Batmobile.
- Cool Garage
- Cool Plane: The Batwing. Same deal as the Batmobile, cool since before it became a thing.
- Cop Killer: Wrath, an Evil Counterpart of Bats, specializes in killing law enforcement officials.
- Corrupt Politician: Aversions are easier to find.
- The Cowl: Trope Codifier.
- Crazy-Prepared: Batman plus the Bat-family has his own category on the page.
- Creepy Souvenir: Villain Mr. Zsasz marks a notch in his skin every time he murders someone. He has scars all over his body.
- Crimefighting with Cash
- Criminal 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.
- Criminal Mind Games: The Riddler's MO.
- Cut Himself Shaving
- Dark Is Not Evil: And ironically, most of his rogues (particularly the Joker) are very colorful.
- Darker and Edgier: After many years of campiness, in the 70s and 80s Batman started getting dark and gritty again and his villains became much more brutal and sadistic (or returned to form in the case of The Joker). Batman is currently one of the grittiest heroes you'll find with an emphasis on fear and a brutal fighting style, most of what he does stemming from what he views as his failures and an insanely violent Rogues Gallery. Despite this, his strong moral integrity remains one of the most consistent in comics.
- Dating Catwoman: Trope Codifier. On-again and off-again with Selina Kyle, both before and after he learned her true identity. Some say the only woman he has ever loved.
- Deadpan Snarker: Alfred, especially when Frank Miller's writing him.
- Death by Origin Story: Thomas and Martha Wayne, The Flying Graysons.
- Death Trap
- Depending on the Writer: The Dark Knight Returns presented Batman as a dangerously-obsessed, deeply-disturbed, paranoid control freak who is possibly a mentally ill Sociopathic Hero as opposed to the stalwart Caped Crusader of the Golden and Silver Ages and the Adam West series. This interpretation is touched on Depending on the Writer and sometimes, it is the basis for whole story arcs.
- One example is his creation of the Brother Mk I satellite, which was created by Batman to keep an eye on all of the meta-humans, hero and villain alike.
- Another story, "Tower of Babel", centers on Ra's Al Ghul obtaining a file containing Batman's contingency plans to cripple each and every member of the Justice League "just in case" and using them to his own ends. The existence of the files and the secrecy under which they are kept infuriates The League and lead to his expulsion.
- This is hinted at in The Dark Knight.
- Another issue of interpretation is whether he became a man the night his parents died, or if he never truly grew up.
- 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.
- Deus ex Machina: Batman often solves situations by just happening to have a gadget on hand. Back when he killed people, Batman once confronted a Doctor Doom (No, not that one) who threw a grenade at him. Batman then shields his and Robin's body with...this. It's not even a frickin' gadget!
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: He tends to do this more often during crossover events.
- Distaff Counterpart: At least three still breathing (two girls and a woman).
- Doesn't Like Guns: Even more than he despises killing.
- Double Consciousness
- Dramatic Necklace Removal: His parents' death scene frequently has this.
- The Dreaded: Both Batman and The Joker are able to put the fear of god even into those FAR more powerful than they will ever be.
- And if not fear, (in the rare circumstances) at the very least respect, as given by Darkseid, who is basically the DC equivalent of the Devil
- 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.
- Eagle-Eye Detection: One of the many skills employed by the Bat-family.
- 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".
- In the Joker's first appearance, he was a far cry from the loony sociopath he's known as now—he was a straight faced crook with a gimmick, and Batman was the one cracking the puns while fighting him! Notably, he was supposed to be killed off for good in his second appearance, but he ended up becoming so popular, he immediately became a series mainstay, which soon established another trope in the process.
- 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.
- Elaborate Underground Base
- Elemental Shapeshifter: Clayface is a walking mountain of mud, and can use his powers for shapeshifting or brute strength. He's one of the few recurring villains Batman admits to being no physical match for.
- Emerging from the Shadows: Whether it's Batman, or other characters.
- Everybody Smokes: Golden Age Bruce Wayne is almost never seen without his Distinguished Gentleman's Pipe, and even the occasional cigarette.
- Evil Counterpart: Quite a few.
- 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.
- Deathstroke is occasionally implied to be this, given immense training and discipline, and is one of the few low-powered supervillains who's single-handedly defeated the Justice League in combat, in much the same way Batman is often implied to be capable.
- 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.
- Epic Hail: The Bat Signal: the most Badass searchlight in existence.
- Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: The Joker is either this trope or Actually Pretty Funny Depending on the Writer, such as in The Killing Joke.
- Evolutionary Ret Con: Batman started as the spandex clad caped crusader. Starting with The Nineties, artists and writers have experimented with making his costume more plausible and sensible given the beatings that Batman takes in the course of his adventures. This evolution ultimately resulted in realizing Batman's outfit as a heavily armored, high tech suit that employs military issue polymers created by Wayne-Tech. Even the cape is now actually functional and allows limited gliding.
- Excuse Me Coming Through: He is carrying a live bomb after all, you would've run screaming too, admit it.
- Expy: Batman himself started out as this to Zorro and pulp heroes as The Shadow and Sherlock Holmes. Fortunately, he evolved into his own unique character.
- 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!" (He gets better a little later, though.)
- Family-Unfriendly Death:
- 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.
- The Fettered
- Fiction 500
- Finger in the Mail: The maniacal doctor Hush from turns this around by sending Batman the entirety of Catwoman... minus her heart. She gets better.
- Fourth Wall Observer: The Joker occasionally, but especially in non-canon story lines and Emperor Joker.
- For Want of a Nail: There's apparently an Elseworlds story that explores what'd happen if Joe Chill didn't kill Batman's parents. Apparently Bruce wouldn't have become Batman, Gotham would've become less of a CrapsackWorld, and he and Jack Napier would've become Heterosexual Life-Partners.
- Freeze Ray: Take a guess.
- 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.
- Frozen Face: Joker
- Genius Bruiser: Bane, but Bats applies too.
- The Gimmick: Saying "Batman's Rogues Gallery has plenty of examples of The Gimmick" is bit like saying "Water is wet".
- Glamour: Poison Ivy is pheromonally irresistible.
- Go-Karting with Bowser: The Killing Joke, Batman and Joker.
- Go-to Alias: Alfred tends to use "Thaddeus Crane" (his middle names) whenever he has to go undercover.
- Grappling-Hook Pistol: Favorite method of transportation when the Batwing or Batmobile aren't practical.
- Green Thumb:
- 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.
- Grenade Tag: Practically perfected the trope.
- Guile Hero
- Happily Married: The dearly departed Waynes.
- Heads or Tails: A staple feature of Two-Face.
- Heads Tails Edge: Recurring constantly around Two-Face.
- Heel-Face Revolving Door: Cassandra Cain, Catwoman, Jean-Paul Valley (to an extent) and Bane.
- High-Altitude Interrogation: One of Batman's favorite methods for questioning mooks.
- Hero Harasses Helpers
- Holding Out for a Hero: Some versions of the story explore the idea of Gotham being too dependent on Batman.
- 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.
- Hollywood Healing: Someone who's been through the physical injuries Batman has suffered should really show more signs of it.
- 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.
- The Hyena: Joker is practically the Trope Maker in comics.
- 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.
- An Ice Suit: Mr. Freeze.
- 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. A notable exception in printed media is when Alex Ross portrays him, much because of the artist's realistic style.
- It Gets Easier: Why Batman doesn't kill.
- Joker Immunity: Trope Namer. He has escaped certain-death situations unscathed, with the only possible explanation being: He's Batman.
- Joker Jury
- Just Like Robin Hood: Catwoman, occasionally, especially in recent years.
- Just Whistle: The Bat-Signal serves this purpose.
- Killed Off for Real: Martha and Thomas Wayne, or Batman's PARENTS. The ones that ARE DEEEAAAAAAAD!!! (Most of the time.)
- Knight in Sour Armor: In some of the darker depictions of Gotham City.
- 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.
- Laughably Evil: Can anyone not say Joker? And, well, Harley Quinn as well (which, in some cases, manages to even overshadow Mr. J, her Puddin').
- Laughing Mad
- Lecherous Licking: Catwoman frequently does this to Batman.
- Legacy Character
- Less Embarrassing Term: Spoiler's costume is not purple, it's eggplant. "Purple would've looked stupid."
- Lighter and Softer: Yes, the Batman television series and Brave and the Bold cartoon, but John Byrne's crossover with Captain America set the 40's shows that Batman can be The Cape and still be hard as nails and Awesome by Analysis, such as Batman showing Bucky that the Batmobile's design is intended for city use, such as being able to switch off the headlights and still be able to navigate easily.
- 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).
- Living Doll Collector: The Mad Hatter's shtick.
- Load-Bearing Hero
- 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.
- Master of All: Within works centered around him, especially those without superpowers (such as the movies), Batman tends to be this. He's the World's Greatest Detective, skilled in every scientific field, a Master of Disguise, a capable leader, one of the top martial artists in the world, has a ton of high-tech gadgets thanks to being high in the Fiction 500, has trained his body to Charles Atlas Superpower level, and often displays random skills such as being a capable actor just in case he might have need of that skill. In works where he teams up with superpowered or magical characters, not so much.
- Master of Disguise
- Master Poisoner: Poison Ivy, the Joker, the Scarecrow
- Masquerading As The Unseen: In Silver Age comics, Bruce would sometimes have Superman or even Alfrednote wear the cowl if he had to be in two places at once.
- 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.
- Mini Dress Of Power: Catwoman's outfit sometimes is this.
- Misery Builds Character: Batman envelopes the very heart of this trope.
- Monster Clown: The Joker. Accept no substitutes.
- Monster Fangirl: Harley Quinn to the Joker.
- 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.
- No Sense of Humor: Batman is sometimes depicted as this, Depending on the Writer.
- The Notable Numeral: The Dynamic Duo and Terrible Trio
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Brucie's outward persona is like this, to make him seem harmless and Not-Batman-At-All.
- Offhand Backhand: Considered to be one of his trademark moves.
- Officer O'Hara: At first a generic cop who would just say "Saints Preserve Us!" anytime something dramatic happened, later reinvented by Jeph Loeb with heavy influences by The Untouchables.
- 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 Normal Crazy-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.
- The Paragon: Depending on the continuity.
- Parental Abandonment: HIS PARENTS ARE DEEAAAAAAAD!
- 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".
- Popularity Power
- Power Copying: Batman tends to keep items from his defeated villains handy, such as a vial of Scarecrow's fear gas, and one of Mr. Freeze's guns.
- Power Trio: Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman have been called the "holy trinity" of the Justice League. They even starred in a comic called Trinity for a short time together.
- The Proud Elite: He is handsome, and, while charming, tries to be aloof enough that he makes people think he's a bit arrogant. However, when he catches criminals as Batman, he'll get them jobs at Wayne Enterprises. Even the Ventriloquist got a second chance once on an episode of New Batman Adventures.
- Psycho for Hire
- Psychological Horror: The insanity of the Bat-villains can drive them to do horrific things.
- Real Life Superpowers: The Trope Codifier for comics. To the point that people often question (in both real life and fiction) if he actually has real superpowers.
- Reckless Sidekick: Jason Todd, Damian Wayne.
- Reckless Pacifist: Batman, on and off. Excluding incarnations that actually did kill people (or just refused to save them), The Bat has been known to get really, really rough with with his enemies despite his Thou Shalt Not Kill policy.
- 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, which came from Darknight Detective.
- Reinventing the Telephone: The Batsignal
- Relationship Reboot: After Infinite Crisis, Batman returns to Gotham City and decides to give the former corrupt cop Harvey Bullock another chance.
- Reluctant Warrior: Hates violence, but is prepared to use it to stop crime. Subverted by every interpretation since the dawn of the Dark Age, so Batman's mileage may definitely vary.
- Resurrection Sickness: What Ra's Al Ghul experiences after using the Lazarus Pit.
- Revealing Skill: In the backstory of the third Robin (Tim Drake), this is how he learned the secret identities of Batman and Robin (Dick Grayson): by watching news coverage of the Dynamic Duo's escapades, during which Robin performed a complicated gymnastics move (a quadruple somersault) — which it had been established could be performed only by orphaned circus artist Dick Grayson.
- The Reveal Prompts Romance: Batman has unmasked himself as Bruce Wayne to various women in various continuities. Neither the reveal nor the romance has stuck, yet.
- Reverse Cerebus Syndrome: When the stories first began, they followed the pulp magazine model. Things became Lighter and Softer shortly after Robin was introduced, and the Jack Schiff era relished in this trope. Julius Schwartz attempted Cerebus Syndrome when his term as editor started, but then the 1960's show debuted and the trope was forced to reverse itself for the comic to emulate the show. The syndrome has waved back and forth since then.
- Rhymes on a Dime: In Batman #525, Mr Freeze's mooks, Ice and Cube, do this. At least Ice does, speaking after Cube and rhyming with what he said. (This was before Batman: The Animated Series' backstory for Freeze became Ret Canon'd into the comics).
Cube: Rappers, Ice, we ain't.
Ice: My lines, Cube, are too quaint?
Cube: Knock it off, Ice.
- Rich Idiot with No Day Job: Batman deliberately cultivates this image as Bruce Wayne. See Obfuscating Stupidity.
- Riddle Me This: The standard MO of The Riddler.
- Rival Turned Evil: Hush, Deadshot. Subverted with Red Hood II, Catwoman
- Rogues Gallery: Quite possibly the most famous and recognizable Rogues Gallery in all of comics. Also easily one of the most violent.
- Rogues Gallery Showcase The Long Halloween, Hush.
- Rule of Cute: Funko Inc.'s collection of super-deformed, button-eyed DC heroes and villains, most of whom are Batman-related. Just look how cute that widdle Caped Crusader is! Also, LEGO Batman.
- Rule 34: Batman XXX: A Porn Parody.
- Sacrificed Basic Skill for Awesome Training: Cassandra Cain, but also Bruce Wayne in a few things.
- Save the Day, Turn Away: The ending of Batman: Year One.
- 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.
- Self-Made Orphan:
- 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.
- In a look at The Joker's childhood in The Brave and the Bold revival issue #31, as a child the Joker burned down his house with his bickering parents inside. This being the Joker, who knows how accurate the story is.
- According to The Long Halloween, Jonathan Crane (the future Scarecrow) killed his mom. On Mother's Day.
- 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.
- Servile Snarker: Alfred was a candidate for Trope Namer.
- 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.
- Shadow Discretion Shot: In the Detective Comics June 1942 issue #64, "The Joker Walks the Last Mile", there is a shadow of the Joker strapped to an electric chair in the death chamber as the warden pulls the switch and shocks him to death. Not a pretty sight on page 4. Don't worry, though, he gets better.
- Shoe Shine, Mister?: In one early comic, Robin goes undercover as a shoeshine boy, and when the villain of the week stops to get a shine, Robin secretly applies a tracking device to his shoe.
- 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."
- In the one-shot Vengeance of Bane, the titular villain ambushes four mooks that resemble the four actors within The Three Stooges. This wasn't the only appearance of the Stooges in comics.
- Shrine to the Fallen: Batman keeps Jason's costume on display in the Batcave.
- Sidekick: The assorted Robins may deserve their own page!
- Robin I: Dick Grayson. Circus Brat, saw his parents killed in front of him, taken in as Wayne's ward.
- 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 II: Jason Todd.
- Robin III: Tim Drake. Mother killed by the Obeah Man very early in his career, father killed by Captain Boomerang much later. Later became Red Robin II. In the world of the New 52, it's possible he was never just "Robin", but accounts differ.
- 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.
- Signature Laugh: Several, represented different ways in different media:
- The Penguin's "wah wah" squawking laugh.
- Riddler's high pitched giggle.
- Joker's maniacal cackle (particularly Mark Hamill's interpretation).
- The Scarecrow's infamous "HRROOO HRRAAA", which nobody knows how to pronounce.
- Signature Team Transport: Batman has plenty of Bat-vehicles, but the Batmobile is the most iconic.
- Silver Fox: Depending on the art style, Commissioner Gordon can be one of these.
- Skull for a Head: Black Mask
- 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.
- Spirited Competitor
- Stealth Hi/Bye
- 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.
- Story-Breaker Team-Up: Whenever the Bat-mite shows up.
- 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...
- Strike Me Down with All of Your Hatred: Joker is prone to this.
- Stupid Crooks: "Rocket Scientist" in Detective Comics #704. The story details the career of one of Gotham City's most incompetent crooks. His actions included once disguising himself by painting his face red (following an earlier mishap due to his choice of masks) only to collapse because the paint was toxic.
- Sudden Name Change:
- 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.
- Superheroes Wear Capes
- Superheroes Wear Tights
- Survivor Guilt: His ENTIRE LIFE revolves around the guilt he felt at his parents' murder.
- Talking through Technique: With Cassandra Cain.
- Technical Pacifist
- 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...
- There Are No Therapists:
- Most depictions for the past two decades have made it clear Mr. Wayne has... issues... lots of issues.
Bruce Wayne himself: "Any guy who dresses up as a bat... clearly has issues."
- Thou Shalt Not Kill
- Token Motivational Nemesis:
- Joe Chill the mugger, who is seldom seen again after serving his narrative purpose of introducing us to and traumatizing Bruce Wayne. In some versions, notably Frank Miller's, he doesn't even have a name.
- Joe Chill did appear again in a 1948 followup to the origin story, where it's revealed he eventually became a small-time gangster. Unfortunately for him, Batman soon found him out, leading to a classic confrontation. Chill also appeared post-Crisis in several stories. Post-Zero Hour he was specifically stated NOT to be the Wayne killer, bringing Batman's desire for vengeance back to the way Miller envisioned it.
- Batman had to ally with Joe Chill when facing a legacy of The Reaper, a crazed slasher vigilante. At several points, Batman has the choice of whether to save Joe's life and each time, he does.
- Joker sees Batman like this.
- Tontine: The very first Batman story, The Case of the Chemical Syndicate, used this as a plot point.
- Too Dumb to Live:
- 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 Mooks for 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 was bored. 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 mere mortal 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.
- Too Funny to Be Evil: Usually the Riddler. Less often the Joker.
- And those who believe this of The Joker are often proven fatally wrong.
- 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!).
- Tragic Dream:
- This is what motivates Mr. Freeze, wanting to cure his wife.
- After an extenuating day being Batman, Jean-Paul Valley reflected that after being the Avatar of the Order of St. Dumas, who wanted to conquer Jerusalem back again to Christianity, and presently being the Temporary Substitute to Batman, who wants to stop crime in Gotham City, he finds the fanatical obsessive founder Dumas was the wiser: sure, Jerusalem was never conquered again, but it was a tangible goal that could be achieved... ending crime forever in Gotham is a madmans dream.
- The Trickster: A role sometimes shared by Joker and Riddler, depending on the situation and motivation.
- Trespassing to Talk: Batman frequently does this, and he usually uses a Stealth Hi/Bye to get away when he's done.
- 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.
"STOP ZOMMBIES!" Batman say, "YOU DIE!" Batman then use anti-zommbie spray on zommbies.
"YOU HERO IS FAIL YOU! YOU IS SURENDER ALL JUNK FOOD OR ALIENS IS DESTORY EARTH!" say Alien leader to human race.
- True Love Is Boring: One of the major reasons why Bruce will probably never settle down.
- Tsundere: Damian Wayne is one of the rare male examples, and is type A towards... 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.
- The Vamp: Poison Ivy, Nocturna, Catwoman at times (Depending on the Writer), and others.
- Villain of Another Story: This is the usual role of Henri Ducard. He knows Batman's secret identity, and even occasionally helps the hero for his own purposes, but it's also always clear that Ducard is an amoral Professional Killer involved in a variety of shady things in his native Europe. (unlike the films, Ducard is not an alias of Ra's al Ghul in the comics.)
- Villainous Harlequin: Harley Quinn (duh)
- 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 Week won't put his hallucinogen into the water supply, because it's too easy to shut off. Instead, he plots to put it in the milk supply.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy:
- 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.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist:
- Ra's Al Ghul.
- The Order of St. Dumas, who created Azrael, who was also one.
- When He Smiles: Whenever Batman (Not Bruce Wayne), starts smiling. It can range from very touching or crap-your-pants terrifying.
- Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: The Tim Burton movie is the Trope Namer.
- Where the Hell Is Gotham?: Apparently, New Jersey. Many people from the greater Trenton area dispute this, as Gotham is shown to be a grungy, filth-ridden, dated city, and nothing in New Jersey could be that nice.
- Who Even Needs a Brain?: Rare dramatic example - new villainess "The Absence" has an enormous hole in her forehead and extending all the way through, with no visible brain, yet functions just fine, and may be smarter than before the hole happened. It appears to be a combination of a freak medical condition and Gotham City's water supply being seriously tainted.
- 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.