Even if you live under a rock, you know who Batman is. The Caped Crusader has been through many adventures, fighting the likes of The Joker, The Riddler, The Penguin, Bane, and Scarecrow. But he can’t fight crime all by himself. Sure, he has his faithful sidekick Robin, but having a kid sometimes isn’t enough (if you want an example why a kid for a sidekick isn’t a good idea, take a look at Jason Todd).
Sometimes, Batman will team up with other heroes. Some of his most notable team-ups include Superman, Wonder Woman, and the Justice League as a whole. Sure, they work great as a team, but it doesn’t mean they’re friends. There are plenty of instances where Batman basically gives his “pals” the middle finger. Sometimes, they forgive him, and sometimes, they punch him. And don’t worry; he’s given all of the Robins plenty of grief.
Even the greatest Batman fan can admit these are the 15 times Batman was a real jerk to his friends.
15. He Slept With (And Knocked-Up) Batgirl
Fans of the Batman series (and even just casual comic book readers) know that Batman sometimes takes a sidekick such as Dick Grayson’s Robin, his son Damian Wayne, and even the daughter of his friend James Gordon. Barbara Gordon becomes Batgirl and fights crime alongside Batman and the Boy Wonder.
In the comic Batman Beyond 2.0, we learn the personal relationships between the Bat-Family. Dick Grayson started dating Barbara for a while, but that didn’t stop her from having an affair with good old Bruce Wayne. If that wasn’t bad enough, Barbra ends up pregnant. Batman ends up telling Dick, who rightfully knocks him flat, and Barbara has a miscarriage after fighting a thug. Not only is this a jerk thing that Batman did to his protege, but he also screwed over James Gordon by impregnating his daughter. Talk about awkward.
14. He Locked Up Dick Grayson And Forced Him To Eat Rats
Dick Grayson, well known for his role as the first Robin and Nightwing, has a few similarities to Bruce Wayne. They both came from a well-known family, and both witnessed their parents’ brutal deaths. Obviously, Bruce sees potential in young Dick and pretty much adopts him and makes him into his sidekick.
In the first issue of All-Star Batman and Robin, we see that Frank Miller‘s incarnation of the “goddamned” Batman is less heartwarming and more face-cringing. Not only does he take Dick right after his parents’ deaths; he also insults him and scares him repeatedly. Not only that — he locks up Dick and goes off to do his job. Dick is then forced to eat rats. That is, until Alfred steps in and gives him a burger. Batman obviously doesn’t like this and threatens his poor butler. Unlike most versions of Batman, we cannot help but feel as though he’s no better than some of his enemies.
13. Slapping Robin And Sending Him Back To The Orphanage
The spark that set up young Bruce Wayne’s path to becoming the Batman would be that of his parents’ death. The majority of stories say that small-time criminal Joe Chill is responsible for killing Thomas and Martha Wayne, but in World’s Finest #153, this isn’t so. Unknowingly to Batman, it was actually young Lex Luthor who pulled the metaphorical trigger.
But, of course, Bruce Wayne deduces that Superboy (young Superman) was responsible! He tells the boy wonder about this, and even his young protege thinks this a dumb idea. Batman’s response? Other than slapping Robin in the face — making one of the most popular memes of all time — he brainwashes his young sidekick and sends him back to the orphanage. Obviously, Batman turns out to be wrong and pays the price, but it’s justly deserved for treating Robin as if he were a refundable item.
12. He Nearly Kills Robin
One of Batman’s most basic characteristics is that he has a code against killing (although there’s plenty of evidence saying that he’s not totally against it). Another is that he prefers working alone unless he needs the help or if he’s with one of the Robins. Take Dick Grayson, for example. An orphan like himself, Bruce Wayne takes him under his wing as the first Robin.
In Detective Comics #381, the Caped Crusader discovers a plot to kill the Boy Wonder. So how does he manage to convince the goons that the deed is done? By making Robin sleep with the fishes! He dumps him in Gotham Bay in order to catch the goons off-guard. Granted, Robin escapes to help fight the villains, but we now understand why he soon went off and became Nightwing. Batman obviously isn’t good parent material.
11. He Always Disappears Mid-Conversation With Gordon
Commissioner James Gordon is a friend of Bruce Wayne’s and an informant to Batman. He’s usually the one to signal him when there’s danger, and he’s always the one to give him the rundown of the crime. In more modern incarnations of Gordon, he’s become more and more of a badass, especially in the Gotham TV series.
Since Batman has mastered the art of stealth, it’s no surprise that he’s able to disappear without a trace. And it’s not unusual for him to run off while conversing with his allies. However, it seems that he does this more often with Gordon. In fact, in the Batman animated series, he’s disappeared on Gordon more than anyone else in the series, even causing Gordon to say he’ll “nail his feet to the ground.” Granted, Batman doesn’t have time for chit-chat during times of crisis, but he could at least wait until the conversation is more or less over before swooping to the rescue.
10. Disowning Damian After Dick Grayson’s Death
The Injustice series explores the idea of a world where Superman becomes a tyrant and takes over the world. It’s a decent story arc that came from comics and two video game adaptations. During the first Injustice game. we learn that the Regime Nightwing is actually Damian Wayne, who took the persona after Dick Grayson’s death.
When Batman fights Damian in the game, we see that Bruce has pretty much disowned his biological son, obviously for causing Dick’s death. But in reality, it was an accident. During a prison riot, Dick and Damian got into an argument, causing Damian to throw his staff at the elder Boy Wonder. During their training, Dick would always dodge this, but this time, he didn’t. The staff hit Dick in the back of the head and caused him to fall, breaking his neck in the process. Batman is distraught, pushing Damian away and falling into depression. Even later, Damian returns and tries to apologize, but Batman wouldn’t hear it. Even though Dick Grayson was around longer than Damian, it still wasn’t right to throw him to the curb for an accident — no matter what happened.
9. Painting Himself Yellow To Fight Green Lantern
The All-Star Batman series basically makes Batman as close to an a-hole as Batman can get. If you don’t believe that, look up when he and Black Canary set a bunch of criminals on fire, beat the crap out of them, then have sex next to their burning corpses. No, this isn’t made up. It seriously happened.
With that “pleasant image” in your mind, you won’t be surprised that Batman and Robin tangled with the Green Lantern. For those who aren’t familiar with Green Lantern lore, Green is the color of Will and Yellow is that of Fear. The Green Lanterns hate the Yellow Lanterns. Pretty simple, right? Well, Batman and Robin decide to make things more insulting by painting themselves completely yellow before they decide to kick the crap out of Green Lantern. That would be like someone dressing up like Thomas or Martha Wayne, then kicking Batman in the teeth. Obviously, that would be the very definition of being an a-hole, which Batman was in All-Star Batman and Robin #9.
8. Keeping A List On How To Defeat His Friends
Batman is known for his paranoia. For multiple incarnations, he’s known to be paranoid of Superman, thinking him a threat, which is why having him in a group like the Justice League is interesting because it has one of the most paranoid superheroes working with people who are stronger than him.
But, sadly, Batman didn’t learn team-building skills during his time in the Justice League. In the comic Justice League: Tower of Babel and the animated film Justice League: Doom, it’s revealed that he has secret contingency plans designed to take out members of the Justice League. Granted, these were for when one of the heroes would go rogue, but Batman did this behind their backs — further proof that he’s not a team player.
7. He Slept With Harvey Dent’s Girlfriend (Who Happens To Be Catwoman)
The Telltale Inc. company is known for creating stories that tug at the heartstrings and leave players on the edge of their seats. This is applied with their game Batman: The Telltale Series in which players take the role of Bruce Wayne as he first starts as the caped crusader. In this story, he’s friends with Harvey Dent, who later becomes Two-Face. However, for most of the game, he’s still Harvey, but signs of his mental breakdown occur.
During the course of the game, you find out that Selena Kyle, a.k.a. Catwoman, is currently in a “relationship” with Harvey. After helping her fight the group known as the Children of Arkham, Bruce and Selena head to the latter’s apartment where things… happen. The next morning, Selena and Bruce are both half-naked when Harvey comes knocking on her door. A fight ensues between him and Bruce, sending Harvey further down the path as Two-Face.
6. He Recruits Tim Drake’s Girlfriend As The New Robin
Batman goes through candidates for Robin like a kid goes through candy. Either one moves on, dies (in Jason Todd’s case dies, resurrects, and becomes a psycho), or hangs up the cape. The latter is what Tim Drake did after his father found out about his time as the Boy Wonder.
Stephanie Brown, Tim Drake’s then-girlfriend, was no stranger to crime fighting but became Robin after Tim left. The reason why Batman made this decision? Basically, to make Tim jealous. This action soon costs Stephanie her life when she tries to take on criminals on her own. She ends up tortured and beaten by Black Mask’s gang and dies in a hospital bed with Batman by her side.
5. Batman’s Treatment Of Dick Grayson In The Dark Knight Strikes Again
Frank Miller is known for more than his All-Star Batman and Robin series. He’s well known for his series The Dark Knight Returns/Strikes Again in which we see an aged Bruce Wayne fight crime in a more brutal fashion than anyone has seen. In The Dark Knight Strikes Again, Catgirl is attacked by someone claiming to be “The Joker” and is nearly killed before Batman can intervene.
We learn that “The Joker” is none other than Dick Grayson himself, having gone through mutations that gave him a healing factor and criminal tendencies. During this final encounter between former partners, we see that Batman has no sympathy for his protege at all, insulting him and planning his death right on the spot. Plus, the All-Star Batman and Robin series is a confirmed prequel to The Dark Knight series, showing that Batman’s horrendous treatment of Robin has spanned since their first meeting.
4. Lodging a Batarang in Spawn’s head
The crossover Spawn/Batman tells the story of the Caped Crusader teaming up with the anti-hero known as Spawn. The two obviously have their differences mainly because Spawn is an agent of Hell and Batman is a vigilante who is very much alive. Spawn also has no problem with killing while Batman — usually — shies away from it.
Toward the end of the comic, Batman and Spawn argue. Spawn obviously doesn’t want to continue the fight and asks him to “bury the hatchet.” Batman’s response? Burying a batarang in Spawn’s face. Other than being just rude, it also shows that Batman holds contempt for the agent of Hell. The scar caused by Batman was even considered part of Spawn’s story, showing up on his face in multiple issues.
3. His Constant Feud With Superman
The Caped Crusader versus the Man of Steel. It’s a dogfight that’s lasted throughout comic book history as Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent, sometimes friends and sometimes rivals, face off again and again. And it’s not just with one series. From the Golden Age Comics, to the grim and gruesome Frank Miller adaptations, and even video games and movies, the two are no strangers to this faceoff.
But it does get old, doesn’t it? And even after Batman and Superman face off, the wounds never really heal. There’s always a reason for Batman not to trust Superman or vice versa, and the grudge match starts all over again.
2. Revealing Superman’s Secret Identity
Superman’s secret identity of Daily Planet reporter Clark Kent is very simple: just a suit and a pair of glasses. Yet, almost everyone seems to be fooled by this childlike disguise. Heck, he sometimes wears his Superman suit under his clothes! If someone were to catch him at the wrong time, they would totally figure out who Clark Kent really was.
This, obviously, is something that Bruce Wayne takes advantage of. Seeing that he’s a super sleuth, Batman would obviously guess that Superman is Clark Kent. And during the Silver Age comics, readers can see multiple times that he’s not beneath revealing the Man of Steel’s secret. Superman does get back at Batman at times, though, so it’s not like justice hasn’t been served.
1. When He Blew Robin Up
The Batman Odyssey arc is considered to be one of the weirdest of story arcs for Batman. It has everything from nightmare-inducing art styles, to dinosaurs, to Batman shooting at innocent civilians, to the dynamic duo fighting the Egyptian Gods. Don’t feel bad if you have no idea why something like this was written — not many people do.
And of course, this version of Batman has as much of concern for Robin’s safety as the other incarnations mainly because this one sets off explosives that are on Robin’s belt. It’s revealed later on that the bombs were designed to fly away from Robin when they explode, but that doesn’t help the fact that Batman nearly blew up the Boy Wonder.