The Caped Crusader is such an iconic superhero that he has become a household name. So it’s really no surprise to find that there are brilliantly thought-out stories and masterfully orchestrated moments that have fans, and readers alike, gripped on Gotham’s Dark Knight. With his own complicated self, his ‘Bat-family’ that is just so close to his heart and a roster of terrifyingly devious villains whom all seem to have close personal ties with Big Ol’ Batsy, the Batman line of stories has something that gets everyone hooked on him.
If it is any indicator of how popular he is, one just has to look at the amount of big screen films, animations, animated movies, animated series, toys and collectibles DC churns out JUST out of this one character. Not to mention his supporting cast of superheroes like Robin, Nightwing, Batgirl and Alfred as well, who find global fame just by being a part of the Batman mythos. Then there’s that arsenal of villains too good to ignore with the likes of the legendary Joker, Bane, Scarecrow and Catwoman, just to name a few.
Batman’s status as one the most recognizable comic faces owes to the fact that all of these things seemingly meld together to form what can only be described as masterpieces. The writers and artists don’t shy away from tackling outrageous stories and plot twists and this in turn has provided the Batman heritage with an array of crazy amazing moments that are just way too good to forget. Here are 15 insane moments that prove that Batman, and his hodgepodge of surrounding characters, are around for good!
15. Batman Becomes An Addict
Yes. You read that right! Crashing through at number 15 on our list is the shocking revelation of Bruce Wayne/Batman’s struggle with drugs. In the story arc Batman: Venom, legendary Batman writer Dennis O’Neil, explores the premise of Bruce Wayne using performance-enhancing drugs to further Batman’s physical capabilities. At the start of the 5-part series, Batman is unable to rescue a kidnapped, young girl, who had been tied to a chair, from drowning in a collapsed cavern. Before he can clear the debris that separated him from the child, she drowns. This failure reminds Bruce of his helplessness as a child witnessing his parents’ deaths leading him to try a drug by the name of Venom (The drug Bane the villain uses in later Batman stories). This particular tale is so chilling because it shows that while Batman is a seemingly incorruptible superhero, he’s also very much human. It also shows him slowly lose his mind, Batman’s GREATEST weapon. Reduced to laughing eerily while in costume, much akin to his arch nemesis The Joker, this is one story that will forever etch itself into our minds as brilliant, yet horrific!
14. Death Of Barbara Gordon/Batgirl
Kids who grew up in the 90s will remember Batman: The Animated Series, extremely fondly for its brilliant portrayal of Batman AND his sadistic ensemble of villains. The show, which aired first in 1992, told some amazing stories that were thematically mature, making it enjoyable for all audiences. In this particular episode titled ‘Over The Edge’ from 1998, Barbara Gordon, aka Batgirl, chases The Scarecrow to the top of a skyscraper where The Scarecrow tricks Batgirl into tackling a dummy (a real scarecrow, so to speak) as he hides and waits. As soon as she is off balance at the edge of the building, he steps out with a wooden bar and crashes her across the face with it, sending her plummeting to her death 40+ floors below. To add insult to injury, Tim Drake’s Robin finally reaches the top of the very building to watch on helplessly while Barbara’s body crashed into a cop car, on the street below, that was being driven by detective Harvey Bullock and his partner JIM FREAKIN’ GORDON! The utter shock of the moment was summed up by the look on Jim’s face when he unmasked Batgirl and found his daughter behind the mask. Thankfully, the episode turned out to be a fear-toxin induced dream but this moment shook us to our very core.
13. Batman And The Joker Tour Europe Together
In this particularly “tasty” (you’ll get this joke later) story, Batman falls ill to a foreign virus called Colossus. The virus quickly weakens Batman’s body, affecting his strength, speed, stamina reducing him to fits of coughing at times. Seemingly built specifically for his body, the culprit leaves a clue to a cure on the Bat-computer which Batman traces to Europe where he finds and beats up The Joker. He demands info from The Joker but finds that even The Joker has been infected by a different strand of Colossus that requires a different antidote. The epic story follows the two most infamous arch rivals teaming up across Europe in an effort to find a cure. In one mind-numbing scene, The Joker actually saves Batman as he fell off a roof.
The Joker! Saved Batman!
The adventure finally ends in Rome where the pair defeat the villain behind the whole devious plot. The cure? Was with them all along. Or rather, in them. Turned out, Batman’s blood was Joker’s cure and vice versa with each having to drink the other’s blood to get well again. Chilling!
12. Batman Sits On The Mobius Chair
Big deal. So the man sat on a chair. Right?! So. Very. WRONG! The Mobius Chair, created by a super-being named Metron, has powers apparently summed up as “infinite knowledge”. The chair is able to travel through time and space and has the ability to answer any question. In the New 52 Justice League: Issue 42, The Darkseid War, Batman supplants Metron as the occupant of the chair and gains the powers the chair bestows. He invariably becomes the God of Knowledge. The world’s greatest detective as the God of Knowledge is indeed a fearsome notion. Batman went on to ask the chair some questions, which it answers right, and finally goes on to ask it the real identity of The Joker! The chair’s answer isn’t revealed to us right away but it shocks Batman so much that it’s visible on his face. Batman also uses the chair to up his crime fighting agenda by knowing how all crime would happen and catching the criminals before they commit the crimes he believes they intend on. He also revisits the visions of his parents’ murder and attempts revenge on old Joe Chill, finally scaring him witless and leaving him in his prison cell.
11. Batman Becomes A Green Lantern. And A Yellow Lantern. And A White Lantern!
Yes, folks. You read that title right! Gotham’s Dark Knight did indeed wear the green ring of willpower, yellow ring of fear and the white ring of life separately at different times.
He only wore the yellow ring for an extremely short period of time however. When the Sinestro corps first began, they were looking for recruits and turned to Bruce Wayne. Believing him to be a suitable candidate as he was someone that struck immense fear into his foe’s minds, he was presented a yellow power ring. But after the ring connected to Bruce, it found that Bruce Wayne had conflicting ideals of fear and willpower. Coupled with the fact that he was consciously trying to rid himself of the ring, the ring left him.
Similarly, the white power ring was also for a short period of time. A character called Deadman was looking for someone to wield the ring and picked Batman. But the ring took control of Batman and declared that Deadman had made the wrong choice and left him.
Now about that Green Lantern we mentioned. In Batman: In Darkest Night the writers explore what would have happened if Batman had a green power ring. In an Elseworld story, it follows Bruce’s beginnings as Batman shortly after getting the ring.
10. Thomas Wayne Is Batman
In 2013’s DC animation Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, The Flash creates a temporal ripple in time when he travels back to an alternate timeline in which things are extremely different from the way they should be. In this timeline, the Wayne murders happened completely different with Bruce Wayne being the victim and his parents surviving. The story goes that Martha Wayne loses her mind due to the trauma and turns to a life of crime as The Joker. Thomas Wayne, on the other hand, becomes Batman in a bid to fight crime. This iteration of Batman seems way more brutal, even going on to rely on the use of guns (something the Bruce Wayne version of Batman just refuses to do)!
Thomas Wayne helps The Flash regain his supposedly lost powers in the strange, alternate timeline and allies with him in bringing down Professor Zoom, who is behind this shift in reality.
At the end of the animation, The Flash visits Bruce Wayne’s Batman in normal reality and delivers a letter written to him by the alternate reality’s Thomas Wayne. The story as a whole is pretty mind-bending and confusing but to see Bruce get a handwritten letter from his father is just too priceless!
9. The Killing Joke
Alan Moore’s 1988 masterpiece Batman: The Killing Joke offers no shortage of shocking Batman moments but let’s just put ALL of it into this one entry. The story provides insight into The Joker’s pre-crime life through a series of flashbacks. Outlining how the man loses his job, it describes how he offers to lead two criminals through a chemical factory to rob the place next to it for a big payday in a bid to support his pregnant wife. But he gets news that his wife has been killed in an accident and the robbery goes completely wrong with the thugs getting killed in a shootout. The terrified and grief stricken man is then confronted by Batman and he falls into a vat of chemicals, after which he comes out as The Joker!
In present age, The Joker escapes his detention in Arkham Asylum and puts a devious plan into motion. This involved him shooting Barbara Gordon in the spine, paralyzing her. After which he strips her naked and photographs her before abducting her father, Commissioner Jim Gordon. He takes Gordon to a fun fair and strips him naked too before getting circus freaks to take him on a fairground ride that depicts all the horrific images taken of his daughter. Batman tracks The Joker down and a battle ensues culminating in two tired combatants fighting a war of words. The Joker finally closes with a joke, MAKING BATMAN LAUGH! All this to prove that a single bad day can unhinge the best of people!
8. Batman Becomes Rainbow Batman
Now before you close this list and claim it a total spoof, hear us out. Batman had very good reasons for this particularly colorful incident. Written for Detective Comic Volume 1 #241, this was actually one of Batman’s most masterful plans. What happens is that Robin saves a young lady from being hit by a car in broad daylight while in plain clothes. In the process, he hurts his arm to a degree that he’s unable to use it for a little while. The story goes that after this, Batman starts wearing different brightly colored Bat-suits to be seen in public while fighting crime and doing detective work on a nasty case involving some crooks, a fake camera, an exhibition and 1 million dollars. It’s all very 1950s! Batman dons the infamous Rainbow suit in the final scene in which they apprehend the crooks and foil their devious plan. The clutch of it all, Batman was purposely being outrageous in his appearance to draw attention to him and away from Robin so that no one would notice that Robin had hurt his arm and make the connection to the young man that saved the girl in public, thus maintaining their secret identities! Pretty messed up, huh?!
7. The Joker Gets Married
One of the best told Joker stories (in our humble opinion) is found in the 1994 to 1995 Batman: Going Sane storyline. Here, The Joker manages to ‘seemingly’ kill Batman in a cabin in the woods rigged with explosives. After dumping Batman’s body in a nearby river, he goes back to Gotham where, without his “audience of one” to cater to, he has no reason to go on living a life of crime. The Joker retreats to sanity and even takes on the new moniker of Joseph Kerr. Funnily enough (see what I did there?!) Batman hadn’t died but had survived the blast. He’d been washed downstream and had been picked out of the water and tended to by a doctor. Meanwhile The Joker, or Joseph Kerr if you will, had met a young lady, fallen in love, AND GOT MARRIED! If you think you can’t find love, try again. If The Joker can, so can you. He leads a life of sanity with his new wife but keeps having recurring nightmares of his old self and Batman. After hearing that Batman is alive and back in Gotham, these visions increase but he fights them down. Long story short, he can’t suppress it and before long, he’s gone crazy again and is back to fighting the Caped Crusader!
6. Batman Has His Back Broken By Superman
In the Injustice storyline, Superman is the despotic, tyrant ruler of earth. Ruling with an iron fist, he abolishes conflict and removes free will from the equation by stepping in himself to solve issues. Along with him supporting his cause are Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Cyborg, The Flash, Shazam, Lex Luthor (though he’s sort of a double agent) and even the likes of Sinestro, to name a few. Opposing him, however, is none other than Batman, who can identify with Superman but believes taking free will away from mankind and ruling over them as a God is as criminal as criminal gets.
The two once best friends go toe to toe on the matter with Batman doing everything in his power to topple Superman’s regime of terror and Superman doing everything to locate Batman and either sway and recruit him or put him out of commission. The first season of the storyline culminates in a showdown between the two in the Bat-cave during which Superman overpowers Batman and breaks his back. It’s an insane storyline that explores the broken dynamics between two of the most iconic superheroes ever!
5. Tim Drake (The Third Robin) Becomes The Joker
This insane story takes place some time in the future where Bruce Wayne is an old man and young Terry McGinnis has taken up the mantle of Batman. Fans of the DC animated series Batman Beyond, will know what we mean! 2000’s DC animated film Batman Beyond: Return of The Joker tells the story of how The Joker kidnapped and tortured Tim Drake to the point of near insanity before Batman thwarted him. In the ensuing battle, The Joker is killed and after rehabilitation, Tim moves on with his life. 35 years after this incident, The Joker reappears in Gotham. Turns out, the original Joker had implanted a chip in Tim’s brain that contained The Joker’s consciousness and genetic material, allowing The Joker to be reborn through Tim’s body. Ultimately, Terry, the new Batman, is able to defeat The Joker and administer a serious shock to his neck, frying the microchip. This restores Tim’s consciousness and results in The Joker finally being defeated for good.
What a thrill ride!
4. We Kill Jason Todd (The Second Robin)
Following the previous entry about Joker/Robin stories, here’s THAT infamous episode involving the death of young Jason Todd.
1988’s A Death In The Family presented readers with an opportunity to influence the way the story ultimately turned out. In it, The Joker captures and beats Jason Todd, the second Robin, to a bloody pulp with a crowbar. The story follows Todd, a street orphan that tried to steal the tires off of the Batmobile (props to you, kid), that Batman takes pity on and takes in. Batman eventually teaches him to fill Dick Grayson’s shoes as the next Robin and while as Robin, Todd begins a search for his mother whom he believed was dead. The Joker, catching wind of this, used this to capture him and strap him to a chair in an abandoned warehouse where he had wired some explosives. After beating him up bad, The Joker set off the explosives and left before Batman appeared to try and save Todd.
The remarkable thing about this is that The Joker isn’t to blame for Todd’s death. The publishers gave that responsibility to us fans via a vote. And by margin of 72 votes, WE. KILLED. ROBIN. Batman never quite got over this. And neither can we.
3. Gotham City Burns Down
The image shows Bruce Wayne with the Bat-suit ripped off of him, chained to a smashed in Bat-signal with the Bat-symbol CARVED deep into his chest while Gotham city burns to ashes behind him. And that is exactly what happened in Batman: Eternal!
Pretty insane! This year long story featured an extensive Bat-family with all of them turning out in costume to fight what is seemingly the ultimate threat to Gotham city. The plot twists and turns with it apparently not leading ANYWHERE and EVERYWHERE all at the same time. With the Bat-family occupied with their own little tie-ins to the ultimate plot, Batman investigates the main clues which frustrate him to no end. The story revolves around a plethora of villains that appear to be contributing to the main agenda but is too far apart for Batman, or any of the Bat-family, to place. The story comes to its climax as shown in the image above so you can imagine the crazy amazingness of it. The final showdown being just way too good to ignore.
2. The Joker Rips Off His Own Face And Kidnaps The Bat Family
Call it an ‘ultimate face-off’ between the iconic hero and his arch nemesis and that would be correct in every sense of the term. The Joker literally carved his own face off for this super creepy, high octane, no time to blink, mega event! After learning of Batman’s secret identity and those of all the Bat family including his butler Alfred Pennyworth, Nightwing Dick Grayson, Red Hood Jason Todd, Batgirl Barbara Gordon and Bruce’s own son Damian Wayne as Robin, The Joker decides that these ‘family’ ties are what keeps Batman from functioning at an optimum level. Believing that these supposed ‘accessories’ drag Bruce Wayne down, he kidnaps them and invites Batman to find them. When he does find them, they’re strapped around a dining table in a hollow cavern that leads to the Bat-cave that The Joker has doused in gasoline, ready to be lit on fire. Joker then has a demented Alfred serve the kidnapped members their own carved off faces on ice (all a hoax, but still beyond creepy)!
Batman manages to save everyone and chases The Joker to the edge of a large drop. To spite The Joker, Batman claims to know Joker’s secret identity and leans in to tell him and us, the readers, but as well all know, ”that would be ruining the fun” and The Joker intentionally jumps off the edge and out of sight. This story just makes for a thrilling, super creepy one and we don’t recommend you read it at night. EVER!
1. Batman And The Joker Die. TOGETHER!
You read that right. They’re dead now. Both of them. Together. They died in each other’s arms (so to speak). The Joker has been revealed. Batman’s greatest rival is not who we thought he was. All of this happening in 2014’s six issue story Batman: Endgame, is just way too much to handle. In the aftermath of our previous list entry, Batman goes toe to toe one last time against The Clown Prince of Crime! Believing that things have finally come to a close and Batman serves no purpose in his life, The Joker attempts to rid the world of Batman and Gotham city as a final hurrah to their relationship. In this story, it is shown through investigation into Gotham city’s centuries long history that The Joker has been around for all this while making him supposedly immortal. Batman discovers The Joker’s secret to immortality in a cave and the two square off in it while it collapses in on them burying them both (and The Joker’s means to regenerative immortality with them). This ends Batman and we WILL NEVER, EVER GET OVER THAT FACT!