batman inks resize

The Batman

Bruce Wayne

Residence: Gotham City
Occupation: Independently Wealthy, later Police Commissioner

First Appearance (Golden Age):Detective Comics #27 (May 1939)
First Appearance (Silver Age):
Brave and the Bold #84 (Wartime)(July 1969), Justice League of America #82 (modern) (August 1971)  )


Character History

Bruce Wayne was born in 1915 (America vs. the Justice Society #1) to Dr. Thomas Wayne and his wife Martha, two wealthy Gotham City socialites. Young Bruce was raised in an environment of wealth and privilege and enjoyed a happy childhood until the age of seven. One evening in 1922, Bruce and his parents were walking home after seeing a Rudolph Valentino movie. When they crossed what would later be known as Crime Alley, they were accosted by a mugger named Joe Chill. Chill demanded Mrs. Wayne's jewelry and any cash they may have on hand. When the elder Wayne resisted, Chill shot him. In the excitement, Martha Wayne suffered a heart attack and died shortly thereafter. Stunned by the deaths of his parents, Bruce Wayne stared intently at the criminal, memorizing every detail of his face. Unnerved, Chill beat a hasty retreat before the authorities arrived (Detective Comics #33, Batman #47, Secret Origins vol. 2 #6).

The deaths of his parents traumatized young Bruce and marked a turning point in his life. He later swore to pursue all criminals to avenge the deaths of his parents and devoted himself to attaining physical and intellectual excellence. He underwent rigorous physical training and educated himself in criminal science and police techniques. By the late 1930s, Bruce Wayne was an affluent Gotham City businessman and socialite. One night in his study, Wayne reflected on his oath to avenge the deaths of his parents and how his oath would best be fulfilled. He decided he needed to leave the traditional avenues of justice and become a symbol of something that would inspire fear and awe in the criminal populace. As if an omen, a bat flew into the window of the study and inspired Wayne. He decided that he would adopt the guise of a bat and developed the identity that made him the scourge of Gotham's underworld: The Batman.

Batman 1

Disguised as an elderly designer, Wayne hired Gotham's finest tailors to craft a costume in the form of a bat: a flowing dark cape and cowl, and a body suit with a black bat emblazoned on the chest. In his first case, Batman broke up the Chemical Syndicate and won the admiration of Commissioner James W. Gordon. (Secret Origins vol. 2 #6, Detective Comics #27). Ultimately, he would develop a tight relationship with the Gotham Police Force that would shield him from the turmoil that shook the established community of mystery-men during the McCarthy years (Adventure Comics #466).

In the spring of 1940, Batman was investigating the activities of Boss Zucco and his corruption in a small neighboring town. While there, he attended a performance of the Haly Circus, one of the few hold-outs against Zucco and his minions. During the act, a group of family trapeze artists, the Flying Graysons, were gunned down before the eyes of the terrified crowd. Their son, Richard, survived, witnessing his parents' brutal murder. The boy's vengeful wrath inspired Wayne, reminding him of his own rage at the deaths of his parents. Batman, with the help of the boy, gathered enough evidence to send Zucco and his cohorts to prison. Wayne took the young Grayson on as his partner and shared his secret life with him. The boy also took on a costumed identity and created the guise of Robin, the Boy Wonder (Detective Comics #38).

That summer, Batman encountered the man who would become the most dangerous criminal of his long career. The Joker had been a common criminal involved in an attempt to steal enough money to retire at an early age. He had adopted the identity of the Red Hood and, during his final case in that identity, robbed the Monarch Card Company. As he fled the scene, he was forced to swim through a vat of dyes and chemicals used in the manufacture of the cards. When he emerged, he found that the compounds had permanently altered his face and hair, dyeing them the colors of the joker in a deck of cards. The chemicals had possibly affected his mind as well, for the result of this experience left the Joker quite insane (Detective Comics #168). The Joker's true identity has never been revealed.

Batman 2

Batman's first tangle with the Joker occurred when the Clown Prince of Crime committed a spree of murders by announcing the demise of the intended over the radio but not being present with the event occurred. A chemist in his former occupation, the Joker had invented a venom which killed quickly, had a time-delayed action, and caused a contraction of the facial muscles after death, resulting in a morbid grin. After a series of these murders, the Joker was ultimately captured by Batman and Robin (Batman #1). Criminally insane, the Joker eluded the death penalty but became Batman's most unrelenting adversary.

Another important adversary was Selina Kyle, a jewel thief. Originally a battered wife, Kyle turned to crime to avenge herself on her abusive husband (Brave and the Bold #197). Eventually her criminal forays, first as the Cat and later as Catwoman brought her into conflict with Batman (Batman #1). Batman and Catwoman clashed repeatedly over the years, all the while nurturing an unspoken attraction that would ultimately become much more. She eventually reformed in 1954.

Batman routinely encountered a veritable menagerie of criminals. The Penguin (Detective Comics #58) was a brazen felon who based his thefts on birds and umbrellas. The Scarecrow (World's Finest #3) was secretly phobia psychologist Jonathan Crane, who used his specialty to commit crimes based on fear. Gotham City District Attorney Harvey Kent turned to crime as Two-Face after a gangster scarred half of Kent's face with acid (Detective Comics #68). Ultimately Kent's face was restored with plastic surgery, and he foreswore a life of crime (Detective Comics #80, Superman Family #211).

Batman 3

In late 1940, Batman was contacted by the federal government to become part of a covert strike force against Nazi operations in Great Britain. During this case, he and fellow mystery-men Flash and Green Lantern were captured. They were rescued by an even larger force of mystery-men, and after defeating Hitler's attempted assassination of President Roosevelt, the team formed the Justice Society of America (DC Special #29). Although a charter member, Batman's participation in JSA cases was minimal; he served only in a reserve capacity (All-Star Comics vol. 1 #3, 7). Batman also joined the All-Star Squadron, a loosely-organized group of mystery-men formed after the bombing of Pearl Harbor (All-Star Squadron #3).

Throughout World War II, Batman remained primarily on the home front, defending his beloved Gotham City. Since he had no magic-based powers, he was unaffected by the "Sphere of Influence" erected by Axis forces to shield Axis-held territory from American mystery-men (All-Star Squadron #4). This allowed Batman to venture occasionally into war-torn Europe to assist in cases with American Forces there. During these occasions he had the opportunity to work with famous Allied agents like Sergeant Frank Rock (Brave and the Bold #84, 162), the Unknown Soldier (Brave and the Bold #146), and the Blackhawks (Brave and the Bold #167).

Batman 6

After World War II, Batman participated in the a critical case of the Justice Society involving a man named Calvin Stymes. Stymes had used the river of Koehaha, Colorado's legendary Stream of Ruthlessness, to induce several prominent businessmen to become criminals and discredit themselves to his benefit (All-Star Comics vol. 1 #36). Batman joined the JSA in this case and assisted in capturing Stymes, but the effects of Koehaha would return to haunt the JSA long after the Dark Knight's death (Infinity Inc. #3-10). Afterward, Batman rarely became involved in JSA casework and was not an active member when the JSA disbanded in 1951.

Unlike most of the JSA, Batman was able to remain active after the HUAC hearings, thanks to his special relationship with the Gotham Police. In the late 1950s, he battled the Scarecrow once more. To capture him, he joined forces with the Catwoman in return for a promise of early parole for her. During the course of this case, the two finally acknowledged their feelings for one another (Brave and the Bold #197). When Selina Kyle was released from prison, Bruce Wayne was waiting. They wed (Superman Family #211) and Selina gave birth to a daughter, Helena, in 1957. Over time, Batman became less active, making few public appearances. When James Gordon retired, Wayne assumed the post of Gotham City Police Commissioner.

Batman 7

In the late 1970s, a former henchman of the Catwoman's, Silky Cernak, appeared and claimed to have proof that Catwoman had committed a murder in the 1950s. He would provide this information to the police unless she helped him commit one last crime. Selina acquiesced and Batman came of retirement to stop her. During the course of events that followed, the former criminal shot and killed Selina Wayne. Subsequent to this, her daughter Helena became the Huntress and avenged her mother by capturing Cernak (DC Super-Stars #17).

Upon the death of his wife, Bruce Wayne hung up his cowl. He learned shortly thereafter that he was dying of cancer and had less than a year to live. At this time, Wayne had begun to piece together a decades-old crime committed by Per Degaton, a persistent enemy of the Justice Society. He used his suspicions to construct an elaborate code designed to direct the attention of the nation and the JSA on Degaton's activities and his murder of Professor Zee, a mentor from whom he had stolen time travel technology. This code, the "Batman Diaries," were later used to catch Degaton in the act of a 40-year-old murder (America vs. the Justice Society #1-4).

Batman 8

In 1978, Wayne came under the influence of the Psycho-Pirate. Wayne's mind was turned to hatred of the JSA, a condition aggravated by the Pirate's simultaneous manipulation of members of the JSA. Ultimately the Pirate was defeated and, after a battle among the JSA members themselves, Wayne was freed from the Psycho-Pirate's control (All-Star Comics vol. 1 #66-69). Bruce Wayne's final act as Batman came when Gotham City was threatened by an ex-convict named Bill Jensen, who had been granted super-powers by the sorcerer Frederic Vaux. Wayne attempted to arrest Jensen, and when he failed, took a Batman costume from the Gotham Museum and confronted Jensen as Batman. The two grappled and, in a final burst of power, Jensen destroyed both himself and Batman (Adventure Comics #461-462). Wayne was laid to rest beside his wife Selina on the grounds of Wayne Manor, and, after the defeat of Frederic Vaux, Doctor Fate erased from human memory the knowledge that Batman and Bruce Wayne were the same (Adventure Comics #463).

The Batman's legacy was carried forward by his daughter Helena Wayne and his heir Dick Grayson as the Huntress and Robin. The mantle of Batman has yet to be assumed by anyone else on Earth-2.

Batman 5

Power and Abilities

Batman's skills came from his intense training throughout his life. He possessed a high (but still human) level of strength, agility, and speed. He augmented his skills with a arsenal of specialized tools and weaponry made available by his wealth and scientific acumen. Prominent among these were his specialized automobile, the Batmobile; and his utility belt, which contained specialized chemical pellets, grappling hooks with retractable lines, and the Batarang (a specialized boomerang of his own design).

Weakness and Limitations

The Batman, deprived of his armaments, is an ordinary mortal and could be slain as such.

Jokers resize
Golden Age Appearances of  The Batman
 Post-Golden Age Appearances of the Batman of Earth-Two
Rogues Gallery