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Batman

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/batman_002_0.jpg

Alter ego: Bruce Wayne

Species: Human

First appearance: Detective Comics #27 (March 1939)

"Ladies. Gentlemen. You have eaten well. You've eaten Gotham's wealth. Its spirit. Your feast is nearly over. From this moment on — none of you are safe."
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Bruce Wayne was a carefree child born into the humongously wealthy and prominent Wayne family, but one night, after seeing a movie (usually something to do with Zorro - if you know the background of Zorro, you'll know why that's important), he and his loving parents took a shortcut through a dark alleyway, inevitably leading to a mugger (named Joe Chill in most versions) shooting both of them dead.

The distraught Bruce was raised in current continuity by the family butler, Alfred Pennyworth, as well as the family doctor, Leslie Thompkins. (pre-Crisis, Bruce was raised by his uncle Philip Wayne, with Alfred only joining the Wayne household in Bruce's adulthood). The memory, however, would never fade, and Bruce, realizing what a Crapsack World Gotham was, decided to do something about it.

As soon as he was of age to inherit the family fortune, Bruce engaged on a world-wide journey, rigorously studying mathematics, science, martial arts, you name it. Many years later, he returned to Gotham, ready to fight crime as a vigilante, but on his first night out, realized that he lacked one element: fear.

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When a bat that suddenly crashed into his living room reminded him of an incident in his youth, when he stumbled into a cave full of bats, he decided to adopt a bat motif as a means to terrify criminals and become the legendary figure Batman. This has worked to some degree, as most common criminals are scared shitless of him, and organized crime began to lose its hold on the city, but nearly as soon as Batman made his debut, a new breed of criminals began to pop up... ones dressed in garish costumes and bearing colorful masks... which unfortunately causes many people to wonder if Batman is directly responsible for the criminals he faces.

As years went on, Bruce has joined many superteams in the fight against crime, most notably the Justice League of America and the Outsiders. Unfortunately, due to the growing cynicism in the DC Universe, Batman began to distrust others more and more, which was ultimately addressed in Infinite Crisis, where the Brother Eye satellite he created was responsible for the creation and control of the metahuman-hunting cyborgs, the O.M.A.C.s. Following his Heel Realization, Bruce took off for a year in order to rebuild Batman. He was the target of the villainous organization, the Black Glove, who wished to break him utterly and kill him. Barely escaping, he was tortured by the New God Darkseid to be used as a template for new soldiers. After an attempt to kill Darkseid, Bruce Wayne was ultimately 'killed' by the Omega Sanction which sent his soul into an endless loop of lives, each one worse than the last. As expected of as popular a character as he, he came back, and he decided to make the Batman idea an international organization called Batman, Inc, while leaving the title of Gotham's Batman to his first Robin Dick Grayson. After the New 52 reboot, Bruce is back to being Gotham's Batman.

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Note that while Bruce Wayne is the most famous and most shown Batman, he is by no means the only one. Various other characters have taken up the mantle. But make no mistake: he is THE Batman. If anyone ever just refers to "Batman", they're referring to Bruce. Terry, Azrael, and Dick typically need an addendum to the name if you're talking about them.


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  • '90s Anti-Hero: Ever wonder why Azrael (AKA Batman II/AzBats) was brought in? It was due to Bats demonstrating way too much of this trope in the eighties (The Killing Joke is a prime example). Indeed, the overwhelming popularity and critical acclaim of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns was one of the major influences on the rise of the '90s Anti-Hero in the first place (As well as The Dark Age of Comic Books in general).
  • Abusive Parents: It must be stressed that this depends on the writer, but Batman is just as capable of deliberately manipulating the kids he acts as a father figure to (for an example, see pretty much everytime he used Steph and Tim to manipulate each other) as he is at being a well-intentioned father figure who sometimes makes mistakes due to his own emotional issues.
    • There's also that one time he beat Dick Grayson, who was still getting over Damian's death, and had recently been unmasked, killed, and brought back to life, into the ground until he agreed to go undercover at Spyral. Later on, this is only made worse by Dick's fear to return home without Batman's permission after he loses contact with him, and his claim when he returns that he had to do it because he's the oldest and so he shouldered it so the other Robins wouldn't have to.
  • Action Dad: He has five kids: three adopted sons, a biological son, and (recently) an adopted daughter. Also one of the most feared combatants in the DC Universe.
  • Action Hero: Batman is involved in plenty of action. He is a top martial artist who is trained. Batman is able to take on numerous people at a time.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Batman has learned to be more open and caring to his children (especially Nightwing) so often that this trope might as well be called A Batman Family Aesop. Of course, that will happen with seventy-odd years of having been published. One of the things that really pisses off Batman fans (who have dubbed the phenomenon "Batdickery"), is that since the mid-'90s, Batman's character has been stuck in a cycle that goes 1) Batman acts like a paranoid asshole. 2) Horrible things happen. 3) Batman realizes he shouldn't act like such a paranoid asshole. 4) Return to step 1.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Gender-flipped. Bats likes his women tough, dangerous and morally ambiguous. Hence his clear preference for villainesses such as Talia Al Ghul (whom he got over) and Catwoman (whom he likes much more than he would ever admit). He actually used this to figure out that someone was actually a villainess. In fact, this tendency was enough to convince him in "Batman RIP" that the woman he was becoming attracted to was The Mole out to betray him to the bad guys - she was a bit too nice for him...
  • Amazon Chaser: In some incarnations, when he's not taking interest in Talia or Selina, he has shown at least some attraction and respect for Wonder Woman.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: After Selina got badly hurt by Hush who was trying to get to him through her, Bruce visits her at the hospital, unmasked, and eventually confesses that she's the only woman to have ever held a place in his heart.
  • Anti-Hero: Generally a Knight in Sour Armour or a Pragmatic Hero. In his earliest days, he was an Unscrupulous Hero and actually willfully killed criminals, a stark contrast to his Thou Shalt Not Kill attitude in modern times. However, Batman's status as an anti-hero ultimately depends on who's writing or portraying him; many have leaned towards a more traditional idea of heroism. For example, while Frank Miller's fits this trope like a glove, it's really hard to describe Adam West's Batman as an anti-hero. Values Dissonance plays a big role in this. Back then, using a gun to fight criminals was considered standard in comic books, and no one saw it as "immoral" or "anti-heroic" in the slightest. In fact, Batman was portrayed as more of an Ideal Hero than he does nowadays, in most cases.
  • The Anti-Nihilist: Of a sort. Bruce Wayne loses his parents at a young age to a completely random tragedy, essentially destroying his established notions about the order of the world and his place in it. Becoming Batman is his way of giving his life a new meaning and imposing his own sense of order on a chaotic world. You would also think that someone with his low opinion of villains would never trust that they could change, but time and time again he is shown more than willing to give them a chance when he believes the desire to be genuine.
  • Badass Baritone: Most versions of him have this and it is very easy for readers to imagine him speaking in a very deep voice, partly due to Kevin Conroy's extensive voiceover work.
  • Badass Cape: He wore his cape this way long before it was popular. Still does!
    • That, and Batman's cape lets him glide in some versions.
    • Batman's cape is so awesome that it actually has the ability to change size. When he's investigating for clues inside, the cape comes down to his knees, but when posing on a rooftop dramatically, it grows longer than his whole body. Now that's badass!
  • Badass and Child Duo: Batman and all of the other Robins and Batgirls.
    • Currently, Bruce/Batman with Damian/Robin (who happens to be his biological son).
  • Badass Normal: The Trope Codifier for superheroes. Those who do not realize this usually end up learning it all too well.
    • He fills this role when he's required to be in an ensemble. Despite having no inherent superpowers, he's earned a spot in the inner circle of the Justice League of America, fighting alongside the likes of Superman courtesy of a steel-trap intellect combined with a bit of a mean streak that means he can consider plans other members can't, and consider them well. Batman has the proven ability to develop the means to disable each of his fellow Leaguers — proven when those plans were stolen by villains and used to great effect. Batman's skill has been stretched to ridiculous proportions, and many comic readers firmly believe that Batman is invincible. And some writers agree.
      • To put it another way, whenever a Justice League villain mockingly says of Batman, "He doesn't even have any powers!" get some popcorn.
      • An Elseworld Spectre has described him as "the zenith of human fortitude and ambition", while an in canon Superman described him more simply as "the most dangerous man on the planet".
      • Honestly, Batman's Badass Normal status is cemented by the fact that several high-profile beings (including the above mentioned Spectre and Superman) have such high regard for a "mere mortal". Harbringer once referred to him as "the Scourge of all Evil."
      • Batman is such a badass normal, current Batman writer Grant Morrison has stated that he actually does have superpowers. What is his superpower? Being Batman.
      • It got to the point where when Neil Gaiman wrote Batman's funeral in Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? it's stated that Batman's reward for his life isn't to die, but to be reborn again as Batman in another universe. He's so badass death doesn't stop him, and the laws of creation can't stop him in his quest to fight crime.
  • 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.
    • Also, with Superman. Examined in the World's Finest maxiseries; the first time they meet with the explicit purpose of working together, they're at a function as Bruce and Clark when the guest of honor, a world-famous plastic surgeon is kidnapped. They split up and both go after the kidnapper, which so spooks the hostage that he runs out into the street and gets himself killed. When they compare notes they both observe that this happened because they didn't work together. The rest of the series is about their annual meetings to honor their failure and learn to work together until they're working as a well-oiled machine. Some of their guilt is mitigated when they learn at the end of the maxiseries that said hostage was actually the surgeon's body double who had kidnapped and replaced the real man after giving him amnesia in an attempt to steal his fortune. The real reason he was so spooked was because he was afraid that Batman and Superman would expose his scheme.
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: Trope Namer. Batman does this in one of the early issues of Justice League International (granted, it was due to the New Genesis-created training satellite's programming directive to not actually harm its opponents, thus causing it to create an artificial atmosphere when Bats's space helmet gets broken, but all the same). One issue of Justice League of America showed Batman training himself, not to be able to breathe in space, but to at least survive the vacuum of space for a couple of seconds. The Martian Manhunter helps while wondering if he should.
  • Batman Grabs a Gun: Another Trope Namer. If Batman ever gets serious enough to not only grab a gun, but fight with the intent to kill, there is no force in the universe that can stop him. Darkseid found this out the hard way in Final Crisis.
  • Batman Gambit: Trope Namer. As the World's Greatest Detective, Batman frequently predicts his Rogues' behaviors to his own advantage.
  • 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.
    • He is the mask to the point that, when holding the Lasso of Truth and saying his name, he says he is Batman.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Catwoman, mostly. And, even though he hates to admit it, he thoroughly enjoys it. So does she.
    • Sometimes happens between Batman and Talia Al Ghul, his on-and-off again love interest and mother of his son, Damian. They are genuinely attracted to each other, but constantly oppose each other on principle as a Thou Shalt Not Kill vigilante and the daughter of the head of the world's largest terrorist organization. How much this translates into their relationship at any given time is a matter of Depending on the Writer.
  • Betrayal Insurance: The idea that Batman has a stockpile of kryptonite in case Superman ever goes rogue is extremely common. The idea that he also has plans to take down any other Justice League member he might have to is almost as common.
  • Big Damn Heroes: If he's the focus of the comic, expect him to swoop in out of nowhere when everyone else is in trouble to save the day.
  • Big Good: To the Bat Family, and Gotham as a whole.
  • Birds of a Feather: A parental version with Cassandra. The two of them share a Guilt Complex, which means they often understand each other better than other people do.
  • Blood Knight: Loathe as he is to admit it, there's a big part of Bruce Wayne that really, really enjoys the violence that comes with being Batman. It's also strongly implied that he uses this enjoyment of fighting as an anger release outlet so that he doesn't snap and kill someone.
  • Bomb-Throwing Anarchists: In Superman: Red Son. Also, he's been described as an "idealist anarchist" by Frank Miller. So did one of the actors who played him.
  • Broken Ace: While Batman stands head and shoulders above the greater majority of heroes in the DCU, it's fairly obvious that in doing so he's not the most well-adjusted or emotionally mature individual, has great difficulty forming close relationships, and frequently experiences friction with people whom he is close to. This is also occasionally acknowledged by Bruce himself; in one instance, Nightwing laments over the belief that he can never match up to Bruce, who assures him that despite living a very similar life in the same line of work Dick hadn't allowed it to mess him up as much, having a much more positive personality and maintaining a good relationship with every fellow hero he knows, and as such was already better than him.
  • Building Swing: Goes hand in hand with his Grappling-Hook Gun.
  • Bulletproof Vest: Batman's costume has evolved into a suit of advanced lightweight armor with the Chest Insignia intended to draw fire to his thick chest piece.
  • Byronic Hero: He is incredibly charismatic, handsome, rich, and extremely competent. He also routinely acts outside of the law, creates weapons designed to incapacitate or kill his best friends should they go rogue, and is a Manchild who can't get over the trauma of his parents' death. He can also be rude and demanding of his own family and is completely fixated on his crusade, being willing to die for it despite the impact it would have on his loved ones.
  • Cain and Abel: If Lincoln March really is Thomas Wayne Jr, then Bruce is the Abel.
  • Captain Ersatz: On his first appearance, he was The Shadow in a bat costume. There's also quite a bit of Zorro in his DNA, which has been acknowledged in most recent versions by establishing that it was a Zorro movie he and his parents went to see on the fatal night.
  • Characterization Marches On: To be expected with over 70 years of comics. It may be particularly jarring for some readers though, upon seeing some of his earlier incarnations. Like the 60's version with Camp, but even further back, in his first published adventures, Batman killed people, and had no problems whatsoever using a gun. While it is understandable, given both the time period, as well as that this was just the first incarnation of the character, it's still a far cry from the Batman known by most people today.
    • He also displayed a fondness for puns and cracked jokes during fights, not unlike what Spider-man would do later. IE, "Have a seat", while smacking villains with a chair, or, while beating the Joker "You may be the JOKER, but I am the KING OF CLUBS!" or "You played your last hand!".
    • And, on more than one occasion, he referred to himself as "Poppa", in the third person, as in "Quiet, or Poppa spank!" or "Right into Poppas arms!".
    • At the end of Catwoman's first story, he deliberately lets her escape, and jokes with Robin that it was purely because he thought she was hot. This even though she was implied to cold-bloodedly kill a security guard in the story.
  • Charity Ball: Bruce Wayne, being a wealthy playboy, attends a lot of these.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Like you wouldn't believe. He seems to have miraculously avoided being shot in any way that could hurt him, recovered from having his back snapped in half with no ill effects (albeit with the help of a friend with healing powers), and constantly goes toe to toe with superhuman foes and triumphs, just because he's trained that hard. His various pupils, including all the Robins, show similar abilities.
    • Batman has moved away from this; he wins battles less because of training and more because of tactics. One could say that Batsy's power is Awesomeness by Analysis to an amazing degree; he makes sure he can analyze any weakness as quickly as possible. You never see him fight an amazingly powerful superhuman straight on. More often than not, he avoids gunfire by staying in the shadows where Mooks can't see, wearing the best bulletproof suit millionaire playboy money can buy, and/or disabling enemies before they have a chance to shoot.
      • Grant Morrison is largely responsible for switching Batman's primary ability from Charles Atlas Superpower to Crazy-Prepared. His Batman is still impossibly capable. Having tea with a monk, he reflexively swapped cups, assuming his was poisoned (it was). In the time it took the monk to blink.
    • In The Batman Adventures #6, it was a plot point that Bruce Wayne is capable of an unassisted ten-foot vertical jump. The world record is four.
    • In crossovers? He can fight Captain America one on one...and Cap does not win.
  • Chest Insignia: Either it's just a Bat logo, or the Bat logo in a yellow circle. Depends on who's drawing it. This was lampshaded in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, where Batman admits that the famous bright yellow background is, obviously, a great big target. He then goes on to explain that he did it because he "can't armor my head".
    • Some of the Silver Age stories have the bat-emblem used as a diamond-edged cutting tool.
    • In some material it is explained that it is a big obvious target on purpose and the armour is the STRONGEST on the symbol itself.
  • The Chessmaster: One of the most intelligent superheroes and an utterly brilliant tactician. If you don't have a superpower then improve your smarts instead.
  • Chick Magnet: Bruce Wayne personifies this trope. Over the years he's had at least 23 girlfriends and kissed at least 60 different women. His most prominent exes include Julie Madison, Vicki Vale, Selina Kyle (Catwoman), Talia Al Ghul, and Pamela Isley (Poison Ivy),
  • Chosen Conception Partner: Talia Al-Ghul is very keen on having children with Bruce. She was partially successful with Damian, although that didn't turn out as she wanted.
  • Clear My Name: Occupational hazard of having dubious PR, plot of the major storyline Bruce Wayne: Murderer? and Bruce Wayne: Fugitive. Notable because the Batfamily members were the ones doing the clearing up, while Batman considered that "Bruce Wayne" had just become a burden to be abandoned, even saying that "Bruce Wayne doesn't exist".
    • In a bizarre reversal, Batman races against time to clear the Joker's name in The Joker: Devil's Advocate, as his insanity defense finally fails and he's sentenced to death, but for a murder he didn't actually commit.
  • 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 Pragmatist: He is the DC's poster boy for this trope.
    Huntress: Did I just see you cheating?
    Batman: Winning.
  • The Comically Serious: Especially in storylines featuring the JLA. Anything can be made funnier by adding Batman as the straight guy. A rare exception is found in the The Killing Joke, when The Joker tells him a joke that makes them both laugh. More typically: In "Hush", when Nightwing and Batman are in the Batmobile discussing Catwoman (well, Nightwing is discussing her... Batman is glaring off into the distance ignoring him):
    Nightwing: If you don't want to talk with someone, why do you even have a passenger seat in the Batmobile?
    Batman: Balance.
    Nightwing: ...was that a joke? [pause] Of course not.
    Hush
  • Confirmed Bachelor: Poses as The Casanova in his Bruce Wayne persona. Privately, his reasons are closer to a combination of Married to the Job and It's Not You, It's My Enemies.
  • Cool Car, Cool Plane, Cool Boat, and Cool Garage:
    • The Batmobile in its various incarnations, has come to define this trope to the point where any character's cool car may be dubbed the (Character's Name)-mobile (real-world example: the famous "Popemobile").
    • The Batplane, and sometimes Batcopter.
      • Batman's small one-man copter, The Whirly-Bat has its own legion of fans.
    • Various incarnations of the Batboat. Especially the ones that turn into a Batsub.
      • In the Captain Leatherwing Elseworld, Pirate Batman has the Flying Fox.
    • The Batcave.
      • Taking it even further: in the Hush story arc, the Batcave has revolving racks featuring every Batmobile ever seen.
      • And this one, kinda.
      • Bizarrely, the Batcave came with it's own resident genius, Harold, that nobody remembered until Hush got ahold of him.
  • Covered with Scars: Since the 1970s, his body is often shown to be covered in scars from his multiple fights.
  • The Cowl: He was practically built this trope, or at least the way it is seen now, but is not the Ur-Example, and is not exactly the Trope Maker. The description describes the quintessential Batman Cold Open, emerging from the shadows and inducing fear in all the criminals his eyes meet. Most examples of the trope nowadays are at least partially influenced by the Dark Knight.
  • Crazy-Prepared: A good thing for the most part.
    • He apparently spends most of his time devising contingency plans to use in the event that he has to fight a given individual, to the point that it's widely said that Batman can beat anyone or anything "if he's prepared". For example, he carries a chunk of Kryptonite on his utility belt at all times, "just in case". He also prepares himself to an almost unhealthy extent, regularly injecting himself with antitoxins in the off chance a poison wielding villain might attack him, and training most of his day. There are some thing you just can't ever see coming, like zombie Abraham Lincoln armed with an assault rifle.
    • Batman has attempted to be prepared in case of the inevitable superhero Face–Heel Turn, most notably in two infamous incidents. In the "Tower of Babel" arc of the Justice League comic, it was mainly confined to the League. The second was shortly after Identity Crisis where Batman decided to secretly tab every superhero/metahuman on Earth he could, so he built the Brother Eye program to monitor them. Both blew up in his face horribly (Ra's found and used the files and Brother Eye was hijacked by Max Lord and, later, Alexander Luthor).
    • In an issue of Gotham Adventures, a criminal "artist" named Kim escapes from Arkham and begins leaving clues at crime scenes in a manner reminiscent of the Riddler. Riddler is furious that someone is stealing his gimmick and tracks Kim down himself. As they fight, Riddler asks what all the "clues" were supposed to mean. Kim reveals that they were actually references to an art film by a foreign director, and he was merely making an artistic statement. Riddler rants about how that is completely pointless, as nobody will ever understand such a reference, and the point of leaving clues is to give your opponent a fighting chance. Whereupon Batman shows up and reveals that he understood the clues just fine. When asked why he would watch random films and memorize the biographical information of their directors, Batman replied "In case I had to."
    • In one issue of JLA, the Martian Manhunter has shifted into a Japanese woman using the name Hino Rei. Batman recognises J'onn instantly, and mentions that "the name is a giveaway". Yes, Batman knows enough about Sailor Moon to spot the name of Sailor Mars. Amusingly, this is because the author got pranked; he asked a friend for a Japanese woman's name that would translate out to 'Poet of Mars', thus establishing Batman's linguistics genius; instead his friend deliberately gave him the secret ID of Sailor Mars, and so the author inadvertently established Batman's otaku cred.
    • Batman's crazy preparation is shown to an extreme in the Batman: RIP storyline, in which we find that in case of psychological attack, he has created a backup personality known as "The Batman of Zur-En-Arrh". Said personality might actually be crazy, making this a literal example. This is not, however, not the first time he's done something like this. In a Gotham Knights story, Bruce uses a contingency plan that involves hypnotizing himself to essentially strip the Batman part of his identity and leave only the Bruce Wayne part, in case someone found out and he needed to take extra measures to convince them (and others) otherwise.
    • Rather infamously in JLA 59 Batman engineered the defeat of Polaris to end with the JLA victorious, Superman's healing accelerated by the hole in the ozone layer and himself standing on a teleportation disk he had hidden in the arctic for just such an occasion. Appropriately he ends the comic with the words "always plan ahead".
    • In an issue of Superman/Batman, it is revealed that Batman carries around a lead-lined mirror just in case Superman ever turns evil and Batman can't avoid his heat vision. Because, you know, that situation comes up so often. (although, considering the rate at which it happens in Superman/Batman, it may actually come up quite a lot...)
    • During the Hush arc of Batman, it is revealed that if he is ever knocked unconscious, his helmet will release tear gas on anyone brave enough to reach for his mask, as well as his suit tasering anyone stupid enough to touch him.
    • Lampshaded by Jaime Reyes, the Blue Beetle, in one of his teamups with Batman. An enemy has just ambushed them by essentially spawning an arctic blizzard ramped Up to Eleven above them, causing them to get buried in a few meters of snow. After Beetle breaks out and stops the blizzard by scaring off their attacker...
      Blue Beetle: Batman! Hold on! I'll find you and get you out! Can you break out the Bat-Snowblower or something?
      (minor explosion)
      (Batman digs his way out of the hole caused by the explosion)
      Blue Beetle: (in awe) Please don't tell me you actually have a Bat-Snowblower...
      Batman: Heating flare capable of melting through ice in a hurry. You'd be surprised what you pack after going up against Mr. Freeze enough times.
    • Further demonstrated in an issue of Superman/Batman where the world is under the control of Gorilla Grodd except for Batman. Batman's arm is robotic and Superman is gone in space because the atmosphere has Kryptonite in it. By the end of some long convoluted that proves enough how Crazy-Prepared Batman is, it turns out that it was just a simulation of that potential scenario just in case and Batman reveals to Alfred that he does these all the time.
    • There was an Elseworlds comic called JSA: The Liberty Files which had an alternate reality version of Batman, Hour Man, and Mid-Nite on a train in their civilian identities. They were simply eating dinner when they were suddenly attacked by a villain. Batman, as Bruce Wayne, opens his jacket and throws two grenades. One of the heroes remarks, "You brought grenades to dinner?" to which Bruce replied, "I needed them, didn't I?".
    • In The Dark Knight Strikes Again, Batman is well prepared for Superman coming to pay him a visit. He has The Flash place small charges all over Supes, then the Atom shrinks down and messes with Supe's inner ear, brings part of the Batcave roof down on him, after which Green Arrow shoots him with a Kryptonite arrow, all before Batman then hands his ass to him with Green K gloves. Superman tells the Bat he only came to talk, to which Batman replies, 'We're done talking. Get out of my cave.'
    • In one issue of Gotham Adventures, Harley Quinn writes a trashy romance novel that controls the mind of whoever reads it. Tim and Barbara were controlled while Bruce wasn't. Why? He wore leather gloves while reading it.
    • Batman Does Not Like Guns, but he still takes his proteges to the firing range. When asked why, Batman explained that it's useful to know as much about guns as possible even if he doesn't use them.
    • In one Brave and the Bold comic, Batman reveals that he keeps a one-way one-shot handheld teleporter preset to the vicinity of a black hole in his utility belt. Just in case.
    • In Batman: Arkham Asylum, Batman reveals he has a second Batcave built under the Asylum. When asked why by an incredulous Oracle, he replies "It's me, remember?."
  • Crazy Sane: It's been suggested on occasion that being Batman helps keep Bruce stable; in the JLA arc "Divided We Fall", Bruce and Batman are split into two different people, and Bruce, denied the outlet for his anger Batman allows him, discovers he's slipping dangerously towards becoming Ax-Crazy.
  • Creepy Good: Some interpretations of Batman's membership in the Justice League are portrayed this way. Everyone has their seat at the table, and Batman's off in a corner being quiet (if you notice him at all). This crosses pretty well with his status as Crazy-Prepared. The rest of the League is creeped out that this guys has files on how to kill/maim/disable the rest of them. That, and being creepy is Batman's schtick.
    • In some shorts, this overlaps with Determinator in how he takes up cold cases of unidentified murder victims, even if the only thing he can do is give their families closure.
  • Crimefighting with Cash: The Ur-Example.
    • In an issue of Justice League Of America he managed to get mercenary villain-team-member Mirror Master over to his side simply by offering him a raise over what Lex Luthor was paying.
    • Bruce is also a subversion as it is shown numerous times that he also uses his cash to give to charity a lot, and when he's not crimefighting, training, or bonding with other crimefighters, he's doing charity work through his Wayne Foundation, which has Lucius Fox handling the details. It is amazing to note that he built up a reputation for being somewhat of a reclusive lazy playboy despite the fact that he is arguably the worst workaholic on the planet. Then again, this is wholly intentional on Bruce's part.
    • This trope has also been deconstructed with Batman in stories where he has lost his wealth or access to it. The loss does impact him and limit his effectiveness though he is resourceful enough to make do with just his wits and skills. Though without his wealth, he would never have been able to acquire said knowledge and skills in the first place.
  • Darker and Edgier: Following the Silver Age, Batman became (and still is) one of the grittiest heroes you could 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.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: He is often one of the best barometers of what the writer wants you to think is morally acceptable in all of comicdom, despite his black clothing, bat-motif, and fear-based methods.
  • Dating Catwoman: With the obvious, but also with Jezebel Jet, Lady Shiva (well, maybe that was more UST), Talia Al Ghul and a few others. He's well aware of his penchant for this trope and it's actually an important plot point in R.I.P.
    • The Earth-2 versions of the characters actually married and had a kid, the original Huntress. Why bother stealing when you're married to a multimillionaire? The main versions became a couple too, and Bruce even revealed his identity to her and she moved into the mansion with him. The relationship didn't last, but they both developed a respect for each other and Batman mostly looks the other way when Catwoman does her thing.
    • However, things got a bit more interesting with the two. Continuing to dance around one another constantly to the point of a nearly functional relationship, then to a distant one due to fear of repercussions from their knowledge of one another's identity, the couple have certainly reheated things a bit since Bruce's return to the present... long story. Regardless, she has even accompanied him on his international travels to establish Batman Inc. Maybe not a perfect relationship, but hey.
      • Unfortunately for those who may have enjoyed it, all that Character Development in their relationship has been set back to square one with the 2011 DC Universe reboot, in which Catwoman has no idea who Batman is behind the mask (although she suspects he knows who she is). Doesn't stop her from having costumed sex with him though.
      • In Gotham City Sirens, it was mentioned that Catwoman and Talia are probably the only two women Batman has truly loved. It's not surprising that both of them are villainesses.
    • Very explicit in one standalone strip called "Date Night", Batman catches Catwoman in the middle of a robbery and chases her through various romantic locations including a flower stall and a fancy restaurant, all the while Catwoman is talking and flirting with him as if they were actually on a date. When he finally catches her, they briefly fight and she leaves him tied up and dangling upside down from a fire escape, kisses him goodnight and runs away.
    • In Batman the Dark Knight after the 2011 reboot, Bruce is attracted to Jaina Hudson, but becomes suspicious of her after new villainess White Rabbit issues the same "Catch me if you can" flirtatious challenge Jaina made in their first meeting. His suspicions are debunked when the White Rabbit shows up on the radar while he is on a date with Jaina. It turns out he was right after all, since Jaina has the power to split herself into two people — her normal self and the White Rabbit.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Sometimes. For example, from his DCAU iteration:
    Batman: [to Wonder Woman, regarding their (potential) relationship] One: dating within the team always leads to disaster. Two: you're a princess from a society of immortal warriors; I'm a rich kid with issues... lots of issues.
    • Whenever Batman (in any incarnation) isn't either moping around in Wangst or being The Comically Serious, he's generally the one with a deadpan line. Or, as Jaime Reyes (Blue Beetle III) put it, "Batman's actually kind of funny, in a dry, scary way." Typically, Batman needs Superman as a foil if he's going to be funny.
  • Death Glare: Quite famous for using these, despite being a Technical Pacifist.
    • A good example was during the "Contagion" arc. Other members of the Bat-family are trying to disperse an angry mob, to no effect. Cue Batman appearing, pointing a finger, giving a Death Glare to the entire mob, and stating: "Disperse. NOW." It worked.
  • Depending on the Writer: Having a seventy-year history will result in massive amounts of this. This is perhaps best represented in the Batman alignment chart
  • Does Not Like Spam: Spider-Man and Batman: Disordered Minds shows Bruce was having a hatred of finger sandwiches that dates back to childhood, as he tried to flush several down a toilet that Alfred spent three days unclogging.
  • Doesn't Like Guns: Post Golden Age. Missiles, lasers, and other things, particularly weapons systems mounted on his vehicles, seem to be fair game, as long as they don't resemble pistols. He'll also pick up a gun under extremely dire circumstances, such as shooting Darkseid in order to save the universe. The reasons vary from writer to writer. Originally, the idea that Batman hates guns was linked to his parents' murder when he was a child. There are practical and legal reasons, too—self-awareness that he's a vigilante and the knowledge that in being so he has no business killing, while guns make it much too easy to kill and much too hard to be nonlethal. In his original Detective Comic appearances, he frequently used firearms and lethal force against villains. The creators only removed his use of firearms when they worried that it would make him resemble the Shadow too closely. Today, most depictions have Batman bending enough to arm his vehicles, for disabling vehicles and removing obstacles. It's amazing how strict some Batman adaptations are about this, even when you'd think they'd ditch it. In Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
    • Batman hospitalizes countless mooks, snaps the Joker's spine (paralyzing but not killing him), and has machine guns on his car. When he uses the guns, he internal monologues to the reader, "Rubber Bullets. Honest."
    • After Dick became a Bludhaven police officer, Bruce made it clear that he didn't like him wearing his service revolver around the cave.
    • Final Crisis takes this to a symbolical level as Batman makes an "once in a lifetime" exception and shoots "poisons" Darkseid with an anti-New God gun only to be "killed" by the villain's eye beams a mere second after pulling the trigger.
    • In another Batman story by Grant Morrison, Joe Chill in Hell, a young Batman confronts his parents' killer, Joe Chill, and torments the man, depriving him of sleep, sneaking up on him in disguise, and generally just scaring the crap out of him for a month, all building up to the point where Batman drives Chill to commit suicide.
    • In a particularly amusing inversion, in an early Detective Comics appearance Bats comments that he hates taking human life - immediately before machine-gunning a car full of baddies from his biplane. This blog has a good rundown on instances where he used a gun. In fact, in The Golden Age of Comic Books, he didn't even have the "dislikes guns" angle, and had a handgun that he wasn't afraid to use.
    • While Batman's aversion to guns has generally grown over time, there are some situations in the older comics where Batman refuses to use a gun. In Detective 453 (the same series in which Batman fires a machine gun into a car full of bad guys), Batman is told to shoot a single bullet into the ground to prove he isn't really Batman, or be shot to death by a room full of criminals. He doesn't do it. This is probably due more to the inconsistency of older comics and a lazy writer, but it's probably the most extreme example of this rule.
    • Batman's distaste for guns gets lampshaded in Grant Morrison's JLA/WildCATS crossover, in which the League hooks up with the premiere heroes of Jim Lee's WildStorm line. At one point when both teams go up against Epoch the Time Lord, Batman asks the raygun-toting Grifter just how good he is. When Grifter brags that in his universe Batman would have been his kid sidekick, Batman then adds, "Then you won't mind doing this without the guns." Grifter pauses for a Beat, then quips, "Aw, why not? I'll try anything once!" The beginning of the crossover features an encounter with Epoch and Wally West while he was still Kid Flash, who sizes up his new foe's huge high-tech rifle by commenting, "One of the first things I've learned in the superhero game. 'Gun' equals 'bad guy'."
  • The Dreaded: One of the most feared heroes in the entire DC Universe. Even those who don't fear Superman, have fear of Batman. To the point that a Sinestro Corps ring tried to recruit him. For those of you who don't know, the Sinestro Corps is the opposite of the Green Lantern Corps, and their yellow rings are powered by inspiring fear. Corps members are chosen on a planet-to-planet basis, meaning Batman is THE SCARIEST THING ON EARTH.
  • Driven to Suicide: DC Rebirth, in the appropiately named "I am Suicide" story arc, reveals that young Bruce attempted to slit his wrists after his parents died. When that didn’t pan out, he dedicated himself to fight crime, using his suicide attempt to justify the end of Bruce Wayne and from that moment forward, Batman would be all there was to him.
  • Elseworlds: Batman has had quite a few Elseworld stories about him, but the one that was most memorable (and actually influenced the mainstream Batman and the comics medium in general) was Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. That aside, he may be the single most popular subject of Elseworlds tales.
  • Emerging from the Shadows: As trademark part of his Stealth Hi/Bye, he's often depicted stepping dramatically out of the shadows to show that he can very much be anywhere.
  • Escape Artist: Go find a collection of Batman comics and count the number of times he's successfully escaped a trap. We'll wait.
  • Expy: He started out as this to Zorro and pulp heroes as The Shadow and Sherlock Holmes. Fortunately, he evolved into his own unique character.
  • Fate Worse than Death: In Final Crisis, Darkseid blasted Batman with the Omega Sanction and puts Bruce in a loop of horrible lives.
  • The Fettered: He'll use any means necessary to take crime down, but he will never drift from his moral code willingly. Many of his enemies call him out for it.
  • Fiction 500: The example of this in DC Comics. He single-handedly financed the Justice League Watchtower, the most advanced space station on the planet and routinely spends millions on his fleet of Batmobiles, maintenance of the Batcomputer, and keeping up his arsenal of personalized equipment. To put this in perspective, he spends enough on Batarangs alone to hide the cost of a Batmobile being shipped across the country to California. His family members are also unafraid to dip into Bruce's pockets for their own escapades, but for the most part he rarely seems to mind.
  • Flanderization: Bruce Wayne was originally depicted as merely Comfortably Well-Off. Now, he's one of the two richest men in The DCU. Batman himself has become increasingly ultra-competent and infallible in the past few decades. The flanderization of Batman was necessary to keep him interesting in the context of the Justice League. He's one of the few characters without a true super power, so the question of why they keep him around (aside from maybe his money) needs answering. Having him be the greatest strategist in existence gives him a purpose and a reason for being one of the guys in charge.
    • He's also portrayed as the "brooding loner" of the Justice League. This is despite the fact that the "Bat-family" has more members than Superman's friends and allies, three of the five Robins have led the Teen Titans, one of those three also led Young Justice, the other is considered the most trustworthy man in the hero community, and Oracle acts as the Mission Control. He is a close friend of a lot of superheroes as well, and he managed to be something of a father to Cassandra Cain.
    • The trauma over losing his parents was not as pronounced in the early years as it is now. Originally, Bruce was motivated by the death of his parents to use his wealth as a means to fight organized crime and crooks, similar to the Shadow or Zorro. These days, Batman is borderline obsessed with the death of his parents, and writers generally treat it as the moment he basically went insane with grief.
  • Freudian Excuse: He battles crime because his parents were murdered by a criminal. In Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Alfred recalls a moment in Bruce's childhood where he was read a story that involved a criminal, and he wouldn't sleep until he was reassured that the criminal was swiftly punished.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Between his personality (brooding, being anti-social and rude), and his paranoia and resulting protocols, he's been depicted as this within the ranks of the Justice League with most only tolerating him because he's one of the greatest heroes and his wealth.
  • Friend to All Children: Kids don't fear Batman. Batman hurts the bad guys, not kids. Every child knows this. Batman makes DAMN sure to never betray children's faith in him. In fact, if a criminal is about to hurt a child and the child says that Batman's gonna kick his butt... well, the criminal's tempting fate if he proceeds, cause Batman WILL show up and destroy him. They're so comfortable with Batman that they feel safer around him than with actual police officers. Kids respect Batman, too; in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Batman tells a kid to watch his language and the kid replies "Yes, sir".
  • 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.

    G-L 
  • Genius Bruiser: He's one of the most intelligent heroes in all of comics and has a figure that can pass for Superman in a dim light, is one of the world's greatest martial artists and stealth fighters, and only seems lacking in a world filled with superpowered heroes and villains... all of whom he can figure out how to defeat.
  • Good Is Not Nice: He can be callous, rude, vicious, and fully employs nearly every trope in the Terror Hero handbook while crusading to defend the weak and innocent.
  • Good Is Not Soft: Sure, Batman won't kill anybody, but he's not afraid to hospitalize criminals who cross his path.
  • Grandfather Clause: Probably one of the only characters to not get laughed at for placing "Bat" in front of his equipment. Though in more recent years he has done this a lot less. He refers to the Batmobile and Batcave as "The car" and "The cave", and it's his sidekicks who employ the funny names. He does still call his favored weapons "Batarangs", though.
  • Grappling-Hook Gun: Batman also inspired Nighthawk from the Squadron Supreme in its many incarnations. Particularly in the "Supreme" series, in his own mini he uses it to blast through his analogue of the Joker, Whiteface, to create an anchor as he jumps after a baby he threw off. Then proceeds to kill him (Whiteface, not the baby!) by ripping out his guts with it. In Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Batman opts for a grappling-hook rifle. Of course, that was made before Batman's grappling gun was standard fare.
  • Guile Hero: He's one of the sharpest heroes in DC universe of them all. If you lack superpowers, then make them up with wits and smarts. There's a reason why he's called the "World's Greatest Detective". Especially in group settings where his companions and adversaries have superpowers that render his gadgets and martial arts prowess less relevant. His habit of spinning victory from available resources have spawned the popular belief that he can take down any opponent with nothing more than "ample time to prepare."
  • Guy Liner: Every film incarnation since Michael Keaton invokes the Irisless Eye Mask Of Mystery by donning dark eyeshadow, which extends the black mask.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: He gets hit hard with this in the New 52 as Batman and as Bruce Wayne. Some people in Gotham actually riot because they think he killed the Joker — yes, the Joker is more sympathetic in the public eye. Bruce's attempts at urban renewal are also not being well received. Some people in Gotham do not see it for the act of goodwill it is and see it as a rich bastard tearing down historical buildings (read: run-down buildings in a high crime area they didn't care about before) to make a new skyscraper. Most versions of Batman actively cultivate this trope, because it lends credit to him being far more ruthless than he truly is, therefore scarier to most criminals.
  • Heroic Build: Subverted. Earlier in his career, he was lithe and agile. Nowadays he is very muscular and built like a weightlifter.
  • Hero-Worshipper: Downplayed because Batman has a "jerkassery act" to keep up, doesn't like to admit that he even needs help, and his frankly terrible social skills or handling anything personal, but Bruce genuinely looks up to Clark like so many of the other heroes. While Batman and Superman tend to clash they both have the utmost respect for each other. Tellingly, aside from Diana, Clark is the only one Bruce sees as an equal with his relationship with Gordon being more professional, seeing Alfred as above him as a father figure, his partners as like his children and other heroes as juniors he need to mentor. Selina askes Bruce before they get married, why he's so nervous talking to clark.
    Batman: He has the power to tear the world apart. And he could. With a pinkie. It's not his world. We're not his people. We should be ants to him. Imagine that. Always being on the outside. The pain that would always come from being on the outside. And yet, he took that pain and became the symbol of hope. I'm just a rich kid from the city. I knew my partents, I knew who I was, who I had to be. I didn't have any choice but to become who I am. He had every choice...and became who he is. Every kid is inspired by him. He's a better man than I am. Interestingly, this conversation is Juxtaposed with an almost identical one from Superman referring to batman in the same way.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Batman's greatest fear is that he will become this, if he hasn't already. In fact, this is the way many other heroes see him, and they are not entirely wrong (depending on who's writing him).
    • It's also why Batman so strictly adheres to Thou Shalt Not Kill: having that as a line that he never crosses is a barrier to slipping over the edge and becoming as much of a monster as the psychos he fights. Out of all his enemies, the Joker manages to be the one who makes him come very, very close to breaking his one rule...and that's because the Joker goes out of his way to make him break it.
      • Batman has had to be restrained more than once from killing the Joker in a few stories, like the Hush storyline when he thought the clown had murdered a childhood friend of his. In Under the Hood, Batman freely admits to the Red Hood that he actually fantasizes about killing the Joker every day, but won't do so because he believes if he starts killing, he won't be able to stop.
  • Heroic Spirit: Most of the time, nothing will keep him down. It's notable that part of Bane's plan to actually defeat Batman involved running him completely ragged by basically hurling his entire Rogues Gallery at him all at once, while he was sick. And even so, Batman still basically tore apart everyone Bane tossed at him, refused to stop when he was ambushed at his civilian home by Bane's Quirky Miniboss Squad, and still put up a hell of a fight against Bane himself.
  • Heroic Willpower: His will is so strong, it's practically his only superpower. He's even been able to operate a Green Lantern Ring on occasion.
  • He’s Back: After his adventures to get back to the present, Batman is back in the saddle and ready to give Dr. Hurt the beat-down of his life.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Superman. While how much they initially got along varies, they are always each other's best friend in the present.
  • High-Altitude Interrogation: One of Batman's favorite methods for questioning mooks.
  • Honest Corporate Executive: His Bruce persona is generally portrayed this way.
  • Honor Before Reason: He takes this trope to extremes. Most notably is his refusal to kill even The Joker, despite knowing that he's a purely evil, irredeemable, sadistic monster who cannot be reformed and who will simply go on killing innocent people just for kicks. When Joker then goes on to kill Jason Todd, the second Robin, Batman comes damn close to breaking his rule, but didn't in the end. Unfortunately, this would come to bite Batman later: when Superboy-Prime's Cosmic Retcon resurrected Jason, the fact that Batman never avenged his death led him to assume the mantle of Red Hood, an Anti-Villain who opposes Batman's no-kill ideology, thus pitting the two of them against each other. Batman takes this to another extreme when his alter ego becomes a juror at the trial of someone captured by him. When asked if there's any reason he shouldn't be a juror, Bruce Wayne tells the judge that he's Batman. He later tells Tim that he had to tell because he was under oath.
  • Hope Bringer: Even in the darkest and most cynical stories and adaptations, Batman is always portrayed as a symbol of hope to the people of Gotham.
  • Horrifying Hero: "I'm telling ya, man!! A GIANT BAT!!"
  • Hunk: Practically every modern version of Batman ever is built like a tank, acting as a sure-sign of his Charles Atlas Superpowers.
  • Hurting Hero: He may be a Terror Hero, but his entire crusade is built upon his inability to get over the trauma he experienced after his parent's death as well as his numerous other failures while wearing the cowl, particularly the death of Jason Todd and later Damian. But both got better.
  • Identity Impersonator: He's probably done it as much as Superman!
  • In Harm's Way: He almost never retires, when he does its usually because he's too infirm to continue fighting crime, and even then he guarantees he has a replacement, and participates in crime fighting from the back lines. In fact, more than one story has all-but-stated that "The Batman" can never retire. Played with, in that the reason for Batman's drive is less that Victory Is Boring, and more that his end goal lies somewhere between the eradication of evil and the resurrection of his dead parents and reclaiming his childhood (without that harming anyone else), which needless to say he's never accomplished.
    • This is later lampshaded and expanded upon by Clark when he and Bruce are sitting together in Wayne Manor. Clark tells Bruce that Bruce loves and needs the justification to be Batman Implying that Bruce has to respond in someway to the tragedy that shaped his life when his parents died.
      Clark: Bruce, I love being Superman but I hate that I need to be Superman. You hate being Batman but you love that you need to be Batman.
  • Insufferable Genius: He's almost uniformly depicted as brilliant, but often shown as taciturn, short on social graces and prone to blunt speaking, if not downright rude. Even—sometimes especially—to his allies. Particularly when he's in the cowl.
  • It's Not You, It's My Enemies: Has been forced to give up many a love interest because of this.
  • I Work Alone: Suuuure you do.note  In more recent comics, Batman has become obsessed with solving numerous problems himself, which works against him increasingly often as time goes on.
  • Jack-of-All-Trades: Among the members of the Bat-Family, Bruce is this in terms of overall ability (at least when writers aren't going full-on 'Bat-God' mode). He isn't the natural acrobat or leader Dick Grayson is, he isn't as well-armed or brutal as Jason Todd, he doesn't have the level of computer and intel-gathering skills Oracle has, and lacks Cassandra Cain's incredible martial arts ability, and admitted to himself that Tim Drake would eventually surpass him as the World's Greatest Detective. But the fact that he is still very good and experienced in all such fields allow him to more then pull his own weight whatever the circumstance. Fairly reasonable, considering the implications that would result in him actually being the best at everything. Nevertheless, he still outdoes them as a strategist and tactician and he still is "The World's Greatest Detective".
  • Jerkass: In some portrayals, though this is best summed up in four words - I'm the Goddamn Batman!
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He is most consistently as pushing away others to protect them.
  • Knight In Sour Armor: 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.
  • Lantern Jaw of Justice: Almost always depicted with a powerful, square jaw.
  • Latex Perfection: He's ripped off masks to reveal his entire costume underneath, ears and all.
  • Lethal Chef: He even screws up tuna sandwiches.

    M-R 
  • Manchild: A rather subtle version, believe it or not. Never mind the fact that dressing up as a giant bat and swearing to exterminate crime seems like a rather childish thing to do, Bruce's emotional development was stunted the moment his parents died. Add to the fact that he seems to relate to young people (re: the Robins and Batgirls) better than he does adults and many stories also make note of the fact that while all criminals fear Batman, children do not. This was Lampshaded in a Marvel/DC crossover with The Punisher, where the Joker mused that Batman must have had a similar tragedy to that of Frank Castle, but Batman's tragedy must have happened when he was a child — dressing up in a costume and nifty gadgets are more a child's ideas than Castle's skull motifs and machine guns. In Flashpoint, this is made more apparent. The Batman of that universe exists from essentially the same tragedy, but with Bruce dying instead of his parents.
  • McNinja: One of the best examples in America. He even trained in Japan.
  • Misery Builds Character: Batman envelopes the very heart of this trope.
  • Morality Chain: Jim Gordon has pulled him back from the brink of Knight Templardom more than once, including shooting him to keep him from killing the Joker.
  • Morality Pet: Bruce admits that Dick Grayson is one for him.
  • Murder Makes You Crazy: More than one writer has cited this trope as a reason behind his Technical Pacifist stance. He fears he is so close to the ragged edge of sanity already that if he starts killing anyone, he will not be able to stop. In one alternate universe shown in Countdown to Final Crisis, he kills The Joker and then decides he might as well kill every other supervillain — and succeeds.
  • My Greatest Failure: Several, because he believes that every failure he encounters is his fault. The top five are (in chronological order): The "creation" of The Joker; Harvey Dent's transformation into Two-Face; Jason Todd's death; losing control of Gotham's gangs during War Games, which led to the torture of Stephanie Brown and her near-death; and allowing his suspicions of his fellow supers to overcome him and building Brother Eye, which then hi-jacked by Max Lord and led to the death of Ted Kord. And, more recently, Damian's death.
  • Nay-Theist: Depending on who is writing him, Batman is either this or an atheist. According to the Comic Book Religion database, he is a lapsed Catholic.
  • Never My Fault: Will almost never admit to being wrong in an argument. It's partly why so many people have difficulty establishing any kind of relationship with him.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Many of Batman's more extreme endeavors have backfired on him spectacularly. His contingency plans were discovered and weaponized against the League during the "Tower of Babel" arc. His distrust of the metahuman community led him to create Brother Eye, which in turn led to the onslaught of the OMACs and was a vital part of Maxwell Lord's and Alexander Luthor Jr.'s plans in "Infinite Crisis". By DC Rebirth, his obsession with studying the Dark Multiverse and the various special heavy metals (against the advice of basically every Justice League member) directly leads to Dark Nights: Metal.
  • No Badass to His Valet: Alfred is immune to Batman's fear-striking methods (as its occasionally put, being the one who changed his diapers will do that). In a black and white short story titled "Sunrise", an old woman finds him injured and is not amused when he attempts to brush it off.
    Woman: You don't look fine to me. What on earth happened?
    Batman: Look, lady—
    Woman: Don't "look, lady" me! You're acting like a five year old.
  • No Sense of Humor: Batman is sometimes depicted as this, Depending on the Writer. Though even when he does have a sense of humor, it tends to be of such a very dry variety that people In-Universe have difficulty parsing it.
  • Not So Above It All: It wouldn’t take long for him to have actual fun and enjoy himself while doing so.
  • Not So Different: Most of his iconic foes are escaped lunatics, but he is far from the picture of perfect mental health and knows it.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: His guise as Bruce Wayne demands it.
    • Depending on the Writer, Bruce Wayne is still a well-respected philanthropist and (occasionally) scientist. It's just he's also an international playboy.
  • Offhand Backhand: A master at this, which he later taught to his successor, Terry.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Chances are, if you're not looking at him, he's gone somewhere else and fast.
  • 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.
  • One True Love: There are only two women that Batman has ever truly loved, according to Gotham City Sirens: Catwoman and Talia al Ghul. With Batman's Anguished Declaration of Love (see above), it becomes clear that the love of his life is Catwoman — but since True Love Is Boring, a lasting and stable relationship just isn't possible.
  • Orphan's Ordeal: He watched his parents die as a kid...
  • Overprotective Dad: According to fandom, he's this.
    • Canon when Batgirl III was dating Superboy.
  • Papa Wolf: Don't hurt his sidekicks or his actual, biological son. He'll take it poorly.
  • Pacifism Backfire: This is one of his biggest problems. His Thou Shall Not Kill attitude and stubborn refusal to kill major criminals, especially the Joker, end up indirectly causing more casualties and/or injuries in the long run. Exactly how big said problem is depends on the writer, though.
  • The Paragon: Depending on the continuity, he's probably the one aspiring heroes look up to the most after Superman.
  • The Paranoiac:
    • Batman is frequently accused of being a paranoiac; how much this is true is a case of Depending on the Writer, but he certainly demonstrated many paranoid traits, including a grim attitude, Control Freak tendencies, and a habit of resorting to violence to solve his problems, with some stories going so far as to imply that being the Batman is simply an excuse for Bruce to take revenge for the murder of his parents by beating the crap out of criminals every night. He also has a grim and bleak view of the society he lives in- mostly because that society is Gotham City, and his explicit reason for choosing a Bat as his gimmick is to scare the hell out of his enemies. However, most stories portray him as fundamentally an idealist, who actually does trust his allies (just brutally aware that he lives in a world where Mind Control, Demonic Possession, and exposed secret identities are all very real dangers) and who is actually an extremely humble man who has decided to sacrifice his life to the cause of saving others from the evil that took his family away from him.
    • The staff at Arkham Asylum (which is a place where either Batman fits in seamlessly, or is the absolute worst place he should be, depending on the writer) seem to have some understanding of Batman's issues and follow either written or well-known-but-unwritten-rules about how to deal with him when he shows up. And he shows up pretty damn often, either because he needs to talk to one of the patients or because he's responding to an incident. Some of these rules seem to be: 1) Only one person should speak to him, either the most senior staff member present or whomever he came to see. 2) Do not attempt to start a conversation with him or try to engage in small talk. 3) Keep your distance. More than an arm's length is absolutely essential. Batman has very defined boundaries that he does not like anyone invading. 4) Stay in front of him. He keeps his back to a wall at all times. When walking, he does not allow anyone to walk behind him. 5) If he tells you to do something, no matter what it is, do it immediately. This is particularly true if he tells you to leave the area or leave him alone with someone. 6) Batman has extensive knowledge of medical procedures, psychiatric principles, and pharmacology. Things do not need to be expressed or explained in layman's terms. 7) If you are under duress from one of the patients, he'll know immediately. 8) Batman is regarded as staff, and personal and confidential information about the patients can be discussed with him.
  • Parental Abandonment: HIS PARENTS ARE DEEAAAAAAAD!!!
  • Parents as People: While he clearly loves his kids, he isn't always the best at showing it due to his crusade against crime, resulting in his aloof and sometimes militaristic relationship to Dick, Jason, Tim, Cassandra, and Damian. For reference, he couldn't make enough time in the day to be there for Damian's thirteenth birthday, leaving him alone with only Alfred as company. This is particularly pronounced with Damian, whose abrasiveness and arrogance can at least be partially attributed to his desire to be loved and considered special, which Bruce still has trouble showing him at times. Alfred chastises Bruce for this frequently, saying that Bruce needs to be the emotional pillar that the family needs him to be.
  • Parental Favouritism: He tries to hide it, but it's no secret that Dick Grayson is his favourite Robin. He's the only one Bruce treats like an equal, the one Bruce trusts the most, and the one he's proudest of. Heck, in Infinite Crisis, when the Golden Age Superman asks Bruce to help him recreate his own Earth, Bruce's one and only question? Is Dick a better person on that Earth? Even Brother Eye knows that Dick is Bruce's favorite and Bruce programmed Brother Eye!
  • Parental Substitute:
    • You may be sensing a theme here. Bruce is this to primarily all of the Robins and Batgirls. Bruce is a substitute father to all of the Robins and has adopted them all: Dick, Tim and Jason with the exception of Damian, because Damian is Bruce's biological son. He has also been a substitute parent/father to all of the Batgirls including Stephanie Brown, Helena Bertinelli and Cassandra Cain, whom he has adopted.
    • Also, Alfred and Leslie Thompkins are both parental substitutes for him. In his biggest moments of honesty, Bruce has explicitly said that Alfred and Leslie, more than anyone, are the ones who've kept him from going over the edge.
  • Pimped-Out Cape: In some continuities where his cape has some gadgets built in. Virtually all of the most recent iterations of the cape are bullet-resistant, fireproof, and double as makeshift hang gliders to silently descend on villains from above while generating the intimidating silhouette of a giant bat.
  • Power Copying: Batman tends to keep items from his defeated villains handy, such as a vial of Scarecrow's fear gas, and one of Mr. Freeze's guns.
  • The Power of Hate: In some of his incarnations, the hate for the villain that killed his parents drives him to be the Batman. (Other incarnations are more about justice, or protecting people.)
    • You could also say that he feels nothing but hate for the Joker. And after all the Joker put him through, you can't really blame him.
    • Batman hates hates HATES murder (and violent crime in general) and injustice of the world itself and is therefore driven to don the cowl to exterminate these things or end up showing the world he died trying.
  • Precision-Guided Boomerang: Batarangs have got to be related to Captain America's shield.
  • The Proud Elite: Bruce 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.
  • Really Gets Around: As Bruce Wayne, this is to be expected, but Vicky Vale is the most well known. But as Batman: Catwoman and Talia to name a few.
  • Reckless Pacifist: On and off. Excluding incarnations that actually did kill people (or just refused to save them), The Bat has been known to get really, really rough with with his enemies despite his Thou Shalt Not Kill policy.
  • Red Baron: The Batman has been known by the following nicknames: The Caped Crusader, the Masked Manhunther, the Darknight Detective which would evolve into his most distinctive title - the Dark Knight.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Rich Idiot with No Day Job: Bruce Wayne is the poster boy... or was, rather. It used to be common for Bruce to play at being a useless, self-centered fop, but nowadays Bruce is usually portrayed as a competent (if secretive) businessman who does as much good for Gotham as Batman.
  • Roof Hopping: One of his many specialties when he isn't using his Grappling-Hook Gun or glider cape.
  • Rogues Gallery: One of the most recognizable in all of comics.

    S-W 
  • Science Hero: Not quite as emphasized as the other flavors of hero he fills, but with his skill in scientific analysis and his seemingly unlimited gadgets, he more than qualifies.
  • Secret Identity Identity: Bruce spends so much of his time as Batman that it's often difficult to tell whether or not he identifies himself Bruce Wayne or Batman. More recent iterations of the character lean towards the latter, going so far as to declare his name to be Batman while grasping Wonder Woman's Lasso of Truth.
  • Series Mascot: Of DC Comics, alongside Superman.
  • Shadow Archetype: Of Superman. Most of his rogues are ones of himself.
  • Shared Family Quirks: A retroactive example, but in Rebirth's Justice League #22, he's working a holographic computer before shooing away a curious Jon Kent away with "tt" the way Damian would.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: It should be obvious. Seeing your parents shot can give you psychological scars but believing that dressing up as a bat and act all vengeance and justice will honor their memories sure is a given proof that you need help.
  • Shrine to the Fallen: Batman keeps Jason Todd's costume on display in the Batcave. Later, he does the same for Damian and then Tim Drake after both were "killed." Dying and getting better seems to be a habit of Robins
  • Signature Team Transport: Batman has plenty of Bat-vehicles, but the Batmobile is the most iconic.
  • Situational Sociability: Bruce Wayne generally presents himself as a Rich Idiot with No Day Job. In reality Bruce, or rather Batman, is stoic and serious. He cultivates the image to further blur any potential line between Bruce Wayne and Batman.
  • Small Steps Hero: He spends a vast, billion-dollar fortune to punch out one criminal at a time. Though he also invests an incredible amount of money into infrastructure, social service programs, and technological advancements through Wayne Industries' various subsidies and departments to try and remedy some of Gotham's rampant crime and corruption.
  • The Smart Guy: When he's with the Justice League. Not so much on his home turf, where everyone he hangs out with is also a genius.
    • Though Fridge Logic sets in when Superman is supposed to be super-intelligent. Martian Manhunter and Green Lantern have a lot more experience with aliens, Wonder Woman's been on Earth the longest, The Flash is a scientist and Aquaman has a comprehensive knowledge of everything water-related. Probably he's the only one who'll 1) look into actual criminology and 2) remember to think things through.
    • Superman is not currently super-intelligent in canon (he was during the Silver Age canon); Wonder Woman may have been on Earth the longest but was mostly on Paradise Island and until the present times has little experience with people other than Greek mythology and Amazons; and The Flash is a forensic scientist (not skilled in all forms of science like Batman). Batman knows a lot about many topics, including crimonology, and not only thinks through but in cynical situations is highly intelligent. Hence, he is still The Smart Guy to the Justice League.
  • Socially Awkward Hero: Social skills isn't one of his strong points. He doesn't seem to know how to behave like a Rich Idiot with No Day Job as Bruce Wayne.
  • Stealth Expert: Frequently sneaks up and vanishes on Superman, despite the latter's extremely refined Super Senses.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Possibly the Trope Codifier.
  • 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.
  • The Stoic: Added to his The Comically Serious, usually, though he does have bouts of anger or other emotions.
  • The Strategist: He has no peer as a combat strategist and plan-maker in The DCU. Quite simply, if Batman cooks up a plan, it's probably the BEST plan.
  • Stupid Good: Despite how many times it's been made blatantly clear to Bruce, he still has yet to figure out that his Thou Shall Not Kill policy just doesn't work. (See Pacifism Backfire above)
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: He's extremely icy towards almost everyone and while doing business, to the point that he's possibly the least approachable member of the Justice League. He shows more of his sweet side to those closer to him, like Superman, Wonder Woman, and Black Canary. He only completely shows he sweet side with his own family, but even then such moments are far and few in-between unless Alfred steps in to make Bruce act like a father for once.
  • Superhero Sobriquets: The Dark Knight, the Caped Crusader, the World's Greatest Detective, the Dark Knight Detective.
  • Superheroes Wear Capes: There's a reason why he's called "The Caped Crusader".
  • Superheroes Wear Tights: Nearly every iteration of Batman ever has worn tights or something resembling them.
  • Super Reflexes: Acquired through training.
  • Survivor Guilt: Bruce/Batman's ENTIRE LIFE revolves around the guilt he felt at his parents' murder.
  • The Team Normal: In superhero ensembles.
  • Technical Pacifist: He's more than happy to beat villains within an inch of their life, but it takes a lot to get him to cross the line and outright kill someone.
  • 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. There are criminals who have no fear of guys like Superman that are scared shitless of Batman.
  • That Man Is Dead: One popular depiction of Batman is that he no longer sees himself as Bruce Wayne, who, according to him, died along with his parents. In Wonder Woman Annual #1, when he and Superman grab the Lasso of Truth, he claims his true name is Batman. Another quote comes from a new 52 issue where he says, "I'm Batman with or without Bruce Wayne."
    • In recent years, Bruce is typically shown that batman and the millionaire playboy persona are not actually the real man. The real Bruce is when he's with the people he's closest too like his family (Alfred, the robins, batgirls, Leslie Thompkins etc.) or close friends (Diana, Clark, etc.) who know who he really is and Bruce is with them in a private casual setting like the manor or at a dinner. The real Bruce only comes out when he doesn't have to put on either facade in an environment he's comfortable with. (Like Clark, Jon, Damian and himself going out to cut down a Christmas tree privately and getting ready for a Christmas celebration)
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Nearly every version has this, an exception being the Burton movies. What Measure Is a Non-Human? is in full effect.
    • Other exceptions include anyone who is truly immortal, such as Solomon Grundy or Clayface. Lethal force is necessary against them, but they can come back from even the worst of blows. And when Batman does have to exchange blows with Darkseid, you can damn well bet that Batman is doing is absolute best to hurt the bastard.
    • In general don't ever kill an ally or close friend of his — if you do you'd better hope he keeps his no killing rule. Batman's done this twice with The Joker; first when the Joker killed Jason Todd, and second when Batman thought the Joker killed his childhood friend Thomas Elliot (since the Joker's the trope namer for Joker Immunity, he survived both attacks).
  • True Love Is Boring: One of the major reasons why Bruce will probably never settle down.
  • Two First Names: Bruce and Wayne are both perfectly viable first names.
  • Uncle Pennybags: At his friendliest, Bruce has had quite a few moments of this.
  • 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: Just like Superman. 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).
  • Unstoppable Rage: He might not show much emotion, but his attack on the Joker in Hush is one of the few times that he does. And it's not pretty to look at (the art itself was gorgeous, though).
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: A rare heroic example. Had his parents not been killed by a mugger in the alley, he would still be the same vigilante, minus the Good Is Not Nice personality.
  • 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.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Charles Atlas Superpower aside, he's a normal human in a universe full of Physical Gods (with one of them able to punch hard enough to break the universe and reform it). He's still one of the best superheroes in the DCU, and one of the big three of the Justice League.
  • Weapon of Choice: Batarangs are his signature weapons.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: He does say it. It's just that he only says it when you've been perfect.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: With Damian's death, his progressive Sanity Slippage and the fact that he Took a Level in Jerkass have led to this from each member of the family in "Batman and Robin" volume 2, starting with issue 19.
    • Batman experiments on Frankenstein's Monster in Victor Frankenstein's own castle to see what makes him tick so that he can learn a secret to resurrection. Tim is horrified, and Frankenstein also calls him out in a somewhat more calm fashion.
    • Batman brings Jason to the place where he first died in the hopes of jogging Jason's memory to remember how he was brought back to life. Needless to say, he's none too pleased with Bruce's idea.
    • Barbara gets so fed up that she decides that if he needs a Robin, she'll take up the role as a Replacement Goldfish, just to shut him up.
    • In DC Rebirth's Justice League, Lois Lane chews him out when she discovers that he was developing weapons designed to incapacitate or even kill the members of the Justice League and their associates should they go rogue. Then there's the fact that a future version of Aquaman had broken into the Batcave and stolen these weapons to take down the Justice League one-by-one. It's bad enough that some of these weapons are targeted at her husband, but the fact that they were also targeted at her own ten-year old son horrified her.
      Lois: You're keeping things— making things that can hurt, could kill Clark? Could kill Jon? Bruce, when whatever this is, is over, we're going to have a conversation. Right now, go and find my husband.
  • Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: From his family fortune. An analysis on the history of said wonderful toys can be found here.
  • World's Best Warrior: Doesn't matter who or what he's up against, Batman can win or will be instrumental in victory. No one is safe from Batman. No one.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Well, not first but if she's coming at him with the intent to fight or kill him, she's fair game.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: A good way to make him pissed off for real is to hurt or threaten children in front of him. That said, this works against him when the villain he's going after happens to be one.

Alter-Ego

    "Matches" Malone 

In theory, a small time arsonist, nicknamed partly for his habit of holding a match in his mouth like a cigarette or lollipop; in reality, Batman's go-to persona when infiltrating a criminal enterprise.


  • Back for the Dead: The real Matches returned to Gotham briefly, only to die shortly thereafter.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: After either Malone is dead or believed to be dead (depending on the story), Bruce takes over the identity to spy on criminals.
  • Faking the Dead: The real Matches faked his death shortly after arriving in Gotham, only to be surprised when he returned to Gotham years later to hear of "his" accomplishments.
  • Legacy Character: Matches Malone was apparently a real person; a New Jersey mobster who "died" (as far as Batman could tell) shortly after relocating to Gotham, after his brother died.
  • Only One Name: No first name has ever been given for "Matches" in the comics.

 
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