Mention Batman to anyone and the same thing comes to mind: a fantastic hero who uses his cunning mind, gadgets and a scary suit to fight crime. Thanks to movies and television, even those who don’t know the comics know who Bruce Wayne is. The early stories established him as a rich man using his wealth to fund his war on crime and using the image of a “millionaire playboy” to throw off suspicion. As time has gone on, things have shifted a bit. In the 1940s, a million dollars meant a lot, but today, Bruce has shifted from being a millionaire to being a billionaire. The boy who inherited a family company has built himself an empire. The writers have to keep up with the changing economy, and since he boasts about being ahead of the curve on technology, the comics and the media has to back that up with what he spends his money on.
We all know the basics: Bruce Wayne has spent money on his suits, equipment, weapons, gadgets, and his headquarters. However, there are things that are far more surprising than that. Did you know he has his own space shuttle? That he funds various super-teams and their homes? That he even created his own rogue satellite? It’s not just the dedication or drive that makes him Batman, it’s his money. There's even one storyline which has him losing his wealth and he has to learn how to budget himself (talk about first world problems). Here 20 amazingly excessive things Bruce Wayne has spent his fortune on.
20 A Flying Batcave
The 1950s Batman comics are a joy to read for how nutty they were. Batman had sci-fi adventures, some stories appeared and were never mentioned again. A key case is in Detective Comics #317 as Batman and Robin track down a gang and utilize a flying Batcave. Yes, you read that right. This wasn’t just a ship but a unique flying helicopter stocked with a super-lab, complete with art and trophies inside. Another perk he had was that it could spit out an artificial cloud to hide himself until he went on the attack. Taxes in the 1950s must have been a lot lower for Bruce to have the money to spend on this, especially as he only used it once and it was never seen again. Just goes to show how fun some of the older comics can be.
19 The Daily Planet
Though they have been rivals on occasion, Bruce and Clark consider each other best friends. Bruce Wayne is always there to help Clark Kent if needed and such was the case was in the early 2000s. Lex Luthor pulled off a hostile takeover of the Daily Planet, closing it down and throwing away the famous roof globe. He decided to turn it into his own media empire. Bruce Wayne didn’t stand for this, so he secretly bought up the shares to allow the Planet to be reopened. At first, he kept in the shadows but when he revealed it, he said it was just because it was “fun to own a newspaper.” While Clark was a bit annoyed at Bruce doing this (thinking it was an overly rich favour), he did appreciate the help. Bruce has continued this “funding” since, proving it’s not just Gotham he keeps an eye on.
18 Brother Eye
Batman doesn’t make many mistakes but this was a doozy. Often paranoid about his fellow heroes, Batman decided a measure needed to be taken. So he created his own super-satellite system, nicknamed Brother Eye. This secret satellite was designed to be cloaked from radar and was meant to watch every metahuman on the planet. The sheer cost was something likely spectacular, but keeping it secret meant paying out even more money. This ended up backfiring as Brother Eye ended up achieving self-awareness and took its programming to the extreme. In its desire to “protect” humanity, it turned people into robotic monsters designed to kill meta-humans and Batman had to wipe out his own creation. The rest of the heroes weren’t happy about this, so it ended up being one loss of cash Bruce was glad to be rid of.
17 The Outsiders
The idea of a loner like Batman forming his own super team might seem odd. When his good friend and Wayne Enterprises executive Lucius Fox was kidnapped in a revolution-plagued country, Batman naturally wanted to rescue him. He called up the JLA but Superman told him that they were under orders to stay out of it. So Batman quit and went on his own. Along the way, he managed to hook up with a band of young heroes and, recognizing their potential, formed them into a team called the Outsiders. He gave them funding and let them stay in Bruce Wayne’s townhouse (using the cover of Wayne “funding” him) while he helped them be heroes. So in-between his usual crime-fighting, he also had this team flying around the world on jobs. He even paid for Halo's college tuition. Eventually, they broke away to be on their own but he kept up the funding for them.
16 His Secret City
Gotham is Batman’s town but few realize how true that really is. It’s not enough for him to merely keep an eye on the city, he has to be part of it in many ways. He basically has every camera in town accessed into the Batcave, and has used Wayne Enterprises funding to place extra secret cameras around the city. With his money, he has also set up secret bases over the entire city in case he needs to access weapons or to heal himself. Gotham is an entire network that Batman controls; including his secret network of tunnel transportations in order to return to his mansion without being spotted.
15 The Playboy Life
A key reason few connect Batman to Bruce Wayne is how brilliantly he plays up his outer image. He has chosen to keep his image of Bruce as a traditional fop, more concerned with women and cars than he is with saving the world. A common tactic is him throwing a big party in a remote land just to cover a Batman mission. That also includes dating supermodels seeming to enjoy living the life of a rich guy. When the manager of a hotel complains about Bruce’s dates swimming in the pool after hours, Bruce just buys the hotel. He defends himself by saying he was just playing his part as Bruce, but one has to wonder how many times Alfred has had to clean up a party because his boss needs to keep up appearances.
14 His “Contingency Plans”
On the one hand, it makes sense. Batman is the one guy in the Justice League without powers, a man surrounded by beings who are practically gods. As a rather paranoid man by nature, he’s naturally concerned about how these powers can be misused. Given the number of times members of the JLA have been mind controlled, you can’t say he’s wrong. Thus, Batman goes about secretly making plans on how to take down every member of the League if he has to, no matter the cost. He’s spent millions on his plans, like developing a vibrating bullet that can catch the Flash, toxins to render Aquaman without water, a gas that can light the air on fire around Martian Manhunter, a variety of measures against Green Lantern, and more. Unfortunately, this backfired when Ra’s al Ghul stole the plans and used them himself.
13 The Air Support
Usually, the Batmobile is Batman’s common vehicle. However, he also takes to the air a lot and thus requires a form of air transportation. Often, it’s a variety of planes which have to have cost him a pretty penny. The standard cost of a U.S. Air Force jet is in the range of $35-50 million. Now take in mind Batman would want one with faster speed, higher armor and a variety of unique weapons (not to mention specifically designing them to make them look like a bat). He had more than one to start with, all in different size, with different functions. Needless to say, it adds up. He even used a full-sized airship and donated a small fleet of them to the city to help the Gotham cops out. And yes, he does have a space shuttle just in case he needs to make an emergency trip to the JLA Watchtower. It makes sense a “bat” would want to fly high and Batman manages to make it work.
12 Batman Inc
Bruce figured out that people would be able to connect the dots to his identity due to the amount of money he spent. It made sense, Batman had amazing things that only a billionaire could own. So, Bruce Wayne came up with a plan. He told the press that he had been secretly “financing” Batman’s crusade throughout the years. Bruce then declared he was spreading the message with what he called “Batman Inc.” Basically, he offered to supply various crime fighters across the planet with the funding needed to fight enemies. He had offices set up around the globe with resources to assist them, including medical help and equipment. It was a good way to get his message out there but it was still a huge strain on resources. If it costs a fortune to finance one vigilante, imagine how much it is to supply a few dozen more around the world. This showed us just how much cash Bruce has to burn.
11 The Suits
From the start, Bruce Wayne knew that bat motif was going to be essential for his war on crime. At first, the suits were just cloth but before long, he was integrating elements for protection. An entire division of Wayne Enterprises is secretly devoted to coming up with ways for Batman to make his suit as close to armor as one can, while also remaining sleek enough to wear. The cape isn’t just decoration, it’s also armoured and the edges can be weighted for combat as well. The mask is built for ultimate protection; the helmet has slews of mini-scanners for a crime scene. It's basically a super-suit. Then there are varieties of suits for ultra-cold missions or taking on specific enemies (such as needing to protect from Poison Ivy’s toxins), and even going into space. A JLA mission would need a better suit than just tracking a drug gang, but Batman makes sure he always has something for any occasion.
10 The Legendary Cave
Just think of the upkeep on this place. It’s been established the original caverns were under Wayne Manor since it was built, even used by the Underground Railroad. Thus, the younger Bruce had a station from the start for his secret base. Still, it makes you wonder just how much he’s spent widening it out, building in the super-computers, garage, lab and more. The Lego Batman Movie played with it by having it basically the size of the Pentagon and over the top with its space. But even the regular comic version shows a huge area that requires a lot of cash just to power up on a regular basis. His funding had to go into it more than once, considering it's been destroyed a few times by natural disasters, and the occasional villain attack. Only someone with billions in the bank could provide himself with a lair like this.
9 Weapons Collection
Batman refuses to use guns but practically anything else is fair game. His gadgets include the obvious, the Batarangs. They can commit some serious harm; besides just having razor sharp edges, some are equipped with gas and explosives. He has his grapple guns to fire lines he can use to swing across rooftops and attack enemies. Those spikes on his arms aren’t decoration, they can be fired and used as weapons too. He even fired the ears on his helmet at one point. Batman has also trained himself in the use of nearly every weapon imaginable and trains with them constantly to be on the safe side. That means he has packed a plethora of weaponry that would put a martial arts studio to shame. Still, you have to wonder how many times Bruce Wayne passes off his weapon buying as an “antique collection".
8 Buying Up Lazarus Pits
Among the Dark Knight’s deadliest enemies is Ra’s al Ghul. This twisted eco-terrorist is obsessed with “purifying” the world and returning Earth to a more natural state. If he has to get rid of a few billion people in the process, so be it. Ra’s has been alive for centuries due to the Lazarus Pits, which are secret pools of energy across the world that can heal wounds and extend the user's lifespan (while also driving the user insane). Batman decided to hit back in a unique way. Secretly organizing a pack of scholars and researchers with some scientists, he funded a group dedicated to finding where these Pits are so he can fill them up and render them unusable.
7 Kryptonite Weapons
They’re supposed to be friends but Batman doesn’t always fully trust Superman. It comes down to the fact that he just can’t trust someone with that much power not to turn on the world (or be turned). Thus, Batman makes sure he always has some kryptonite handy. Usually, it’s in a ring in his belt that he can slip on fast for a fight. Superman is fully aware of this and even let Bruce have some just in case. What Superman doesn’t know is that Batman has an entire vault in the Batcave packed with every type of kryptonite known. He also spends time creating various weapons from them like darts, powder and other items. Sometimes, this can come in handy. In a future-set story, when Earth is invaded by renegade Kryptonians, Batman seeds the clouds over Gotham to literally rain kryptonite, giving the humans a chance to fight back. Still, Superman has to be a tad nervous that his closest ally is so intent on making sure he can stop the Man of Steel if he has to.
The acclaimed Kingdom Come mini-series imagines a dark future where most heroes have retired, leaving a new generation of super-beings to run wild. After a disaster kills a million people, Superman comes back to try and inspire but finds himself a bit out of touch. In this future, Bruce Wayne’s identity was revealed, leading Wayne Manor to be smashed up by enemies. His body now held together by an exo-skeleton, the elder Bruce is maintaining a good control over Gotham via a small army of robotic sentries. These bat robots patrol the city, making sure no crime goes unpunished and are even more intimidating than the flesh and blood Batman was. To Superman, this is “practically a police state.” To Bruce, it’s money well spent to ensure Gotham finally has some order to it, and a way for Bruce to enjoy his “retirement.” He does don a special armor later in the tale for the big battle scene and comes out of the shadows to rebuild the world.
5 Creating Bat Army
In the classic “Batman Year One” storyline, Batman, still considered an outlaw is hunted by the cops. He takes refuge in an abandoned building and soon is able to take down the SWAT team one by one. He knows it’s tough and so touches a button on his boot. He thinks on how “It would take a fortune to do what I’m about to do. Good thing I have one.” As more cops close in, a black cloud suddenly flows down the streets. In fly thousands of wild bats, summoned by the special sonic signal Batman sent out. The cops and crowd are in chaos as the bats attack and bite and Batman is able to escape in the confusion. It was a great moment that was later recreated in Batman Begins to fine effect. Leave it to Bruce to use his money to control an army of bats.
4 Earthquake Proofing Gotham
Bruce Wayne likes to be prepared for anything. That includes Mother Nature. Gotham City has always been set on the East Coast, often near New York although fans still debate which state it belongs to. The fact remains that it’s in an area not known for tectonic plate issues. Yet whenever Wayne Enterprises put up a building, Bruce insisted it be made to withstand a 9.0 quake. People argued against it as a waste of money for something that could never happen but the boss forced it go through. As it happens, his paranoia was dead on as a major quake struck without warning and ravaged most of Gotham. Only the Wayne buildings were left unaffected. He used his funds to help rebuild the city and keep some order. So even if it seems to be a waste, Batman is sharp on his instincts and in this case, it helped save the lives of numerous Gotham citizens in the midst of disaster.
3 The Batmobile Wheel
A reason Batman looks to be so much more loaded is that artists tend to go a tad overboard showing off his stuff. Jim Lee is a key example. During an acclaimed storyline, the script called for Batman and Nightwing to simply go to a selection of Batmobiles. Lee decided to make it a big deal having a giant wheel holding practically every Batmobile design from the 1940s onward. Each car was packed with armor and gadgets, designed to withstand a variety of issues. He’s had them designed for every kind of weather and terrain, supporting Humvees to one-man cycle types. That he needs a giant turnstile to hold them all says a lot about how much money he put into his cars. Even putting aside the cars, the Ferris wheel holder is enough to send most of us into debt, but not Batman.
2 The Watchtower
It’s a tendency for the rich kid to pay for his friends. And that goes for super-friends as well. When the Justice League formed, Batman was a bit standoffish at first but decided it was time to go ahead and let them do their jobs. So he used his money to build the Watchtower, a floating space station where the JLA could meet, train and prepare for threats. The purpose was to defend against alien invaders with cutting edge tech for labs, vehicles, a pool and more. It requires a huge upkeep and constant maintenance, especially since it has a habit of being trashed a fair amount of times by invaders and villains. Batman is known for his deep pockets, but we wonder how many times he regrets financing the JLA's clubhouse every time there's a dent in it.
The Bat-Armor comes in a variety of sets. There’s small ones to handle Mr. Freeze’s blasts. There are larger ones with thicker armor to take on Superman or heavy hitters. And then there are armors designed solely for Batman to ride like some sort of mini-Voltron. Batman vs Superman has him donning a special armoured suit to battle Superman but the comics have him going wilder with full-size mecha-armors to face various threats. Just imagine how it must feel to go after what you think is a guy in a costume and suddenly this thing comes lunging out after you. The fact he takes the time to stylize each one with bat-ears and his own symbol just shows his unique drive off. He even takes the time to, say, make a special armor for Superman to withstand Kryptonite. That he just keeps them all “in case” is remarkable as Bruce could give Tony Stark a run for the money in armors.