Since 1939, the Batman has stalked the streets of Gotham, taking down small time crooks and costumed freaks alike. Any fan of Batman comics knows that there are certain constants throughout the history of the Dark Knight: Bruce Wayne will ultimately always don the cape and cowl, his sidekick Robin will stand by his side, and he’ll always come out on top, no matter the odds. Those three things are basically rules at this point. Even when DC has made some kind of shake up to the status quo, readers always know that eventually things will go back to how they once were. There have been some crazy changes to the status quo, though.
While many haven’t lasted past a particular story or have been erased from continuity, some have stuck and added to the Bat mythos in a big way. CBR has assembled a list of the biggest changes to Batman comics, from all the way in the beginning to the Rebirth era. You’ll find new Batman, villains turned heroes, the return of missing members of the Bat family, and even a newly introduced mystery involving the Joker. Follow along as we revisit key moments in Batman’s history and how they changed the status quo (without you noticing).
15. JAMES GORDON BECOMES BATMAN
This is perhaps the biggest change to the status quo in recent years. After Batman is seemingly killed in a fight with the Joker during Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s “Endgame” arc, Gotham needs a new Caped Crusader to protect the city. Geri Powers, leader of the Powers family, has the bright idea to put Jim Gordon in a new Batsuit and make him the first GDPD-sanctioned Batman. But Jim doesn’t just have a very fashionable cape-less Batsuit, he also has a mech suit and a gun that shoots Batarangs. It’s outrageous.
“Superheavy” told the story of Gordon’s Batman, from fighting mutated thugs to facing off against a giant kaiju monster on the rooftops of the city. Gordon’s Batman was one of the coolest changes to the mythos and it’s kind of a shame that it all ended so quickly. But then again, Bruce Wayne will always be THE Batman.
14. DICK GRAYSON BECOMES BATMAN
After Bruce was seemingly killed by Darkseid at the end of Grant Morrison’s Final Crisis, a big battle for the cowl ensued between Batman’s allies and enemies. Who had the right to become the next Batman? It was none other than Dick Grayson, the first Robin. While this wasn’t the first time Grayson had taken over as Batman — this also happened in the “Prodigal” crossover story by Chuck Dixon, Alan Grant, and Doug Moench — it was definitely the Boy Wonder’s longest run as the Caped Crusader.
Morrison’s Batman and Robin series offered a fresh take on the dynamic duo. Grayson was a more lighthearted, acrobatic Batman, while Damian Wayne, Bruce’s son, was by far a darker incarnation of Robin, thus flipping their classic dynamic. Together, they faced off against all manner of villains, including some of the most depraved ever put on the page. Professor Pyg, in particular, comes to mind.
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