The Batcave is one of the most important places in the world to Batman. It’s his crime lab where he analyzes clues, his garage where he keeps the Batmobile and Bat-Cycle, his hangar where he keeps the Batplane and Batcopter, his closet where he keeps his costumes, and his museum where he keeps trophies of his victories.
Given how important the Batcave is to him, you know that security is priority number one. It starts with the fact that it’s a cave buried deep underground whose location is a secret. Then you have the secret entrances, along with a security system run by one of the most powerful computers in the world. Given all that, you’d think breaking into the Batcave would be harder than getting into Fort Knox, but it’s not. CBR leads you through the winding caverns to show 15 supervillains ballsy enough to break into the Batcave.
15. WOLF BRANDO
You wouldn’t be alone if you didn’t recognize Wolf Brando as one of the great arch-enemies in Batman’s Rogues Gallery, because he’s not. Wolf Brando appeared in one issue, 1948’s “Batman” #48 by Bill Finger and Jim Mooney, and died in the same issue. His name and the story would be almost forgotten if Brando wasn’t the first criminal to ever break into the Batcave, a historic achievement that he didn’t have long to celebrate.
In the story, Brando was a small-time crook who broke into Wayne Manor and literally stumbled into the secret entrance that led him to the Batcave. Having found out Bruce Wayne’s secret identity, he threatened to tell the world if he wasn’t allowed to escape by trying to drive the Batmobile out of the cave, but Batman and Robin didn’t fall for it. They managed to stop him by fighting with him with the trophies in the Trophy Room. When some bats attacked him, Brando tripped and fell into the river and drowned, ending his short career.
14. TOMMY CARMA
In 1987’s “Batman” #403 (Max Allan Collins and Denys Cowan), another criminal who broke the Batcave’s security was Tommy Carma, an ex-cop who looked up to and had previously dressed up as Batman to kill criminals he felt got away on technicalities. Carma had convinced himself he actually was Batman, and in issue #403 broke out of Arkham Asylum under the delusion he was escaping from Joker and Two-Face.
On the run, Carma stumbled into Wayne Manor and the Batcave, which he thought was his own headquarters. This time, he put on a real Batsuit, climbed into the Batmobile and headed out on patrol. Batman had to switch to the Bat-Cycle to track Carma down to a nightclub where the fake Dark Knight got into a shootout. Fortunately, Carma put on the suit but didn’t have Batman’s training, and Batman easily took him down. That was the last time we saw Carma, but he made an impression.
13. COURT OF OWLS
In 2012, the “Night of Owls” story arc brought Batman up against one of his most dangerous and resourceful enemies; the Court of Owls. An ancient and secret organization, the Court of Owls had controlled Gotham behind the scenes for centuries until they decided to expose themselves and take down powerful people in the city, including Bruce Wayne. In “Batman” #8 (Scott Snyder, Greg Capulllo), the Court of Owls sent its deadly and immortal Talon assassins into Wayne Manor, where they quickly found their way into the Batcave.
Fortunately, Batman was ready for them with a special armored suit that he used to fight the Talons in his cave, but the Talons had the advantage of being able to regenerate and even come back to life. To stop them, Batman had to lower the temperature in the cave to subzero so the Talons would fall into hibernation. It was a tough fight, and once it was over, the real fight had only just begun.
12. THE OUTSIDER
In 2013’s “Justice League” #19 (Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis), Jason Todd and Batman’s butler Alfred Pennyworth were mourning the death of Bruce’s son Damien Wayne when a new villain literally walked right in on them. The mysterious stranger in black easily tasered Jason Todd, took Alfred down, and headed for the secret vault where Batman kept his contingency plans to stop the Justice League. The stranger passed all the security to take the suitcase with a kryptonite ring inside.
Who was this mysterious stranger who later called himself the Outsider? None other than Alfred Pennyworth from an alternate dimension! On Earth-3, Alfred was the butler for the demented Thomas Wayne Jr., better known as Owlman. The Outsider was able to get into the cave because he had the same fingerprint, voice-print and knowledge of the cave as the real Alfred. The Outsider was able to start a chain of events that crippled the Justice League.
Catwoman has a love-hate relationship with Batman, although it leans more towards love than hate. Her willingness to switch between the sides of crime and justice based on her own agenda means she’s often worked against and alongside Batman for years. That’s why it may not be too surprising that she’s been inside the Batcave before, but how often is the real twist.
In “Detective Comics” #526 (Gerry Conway, Don Newton), Batman teamed up with Catwoman to fight his enemies who had teamed up with the Joker to stop him and Killer Croc. In that story, Catwoman broke into the Batcave, and Batman let her stay. That happened a few more times until the New 52 reset, when 2014’s “Forever Evil” #4 (Geoff Johns, David Finch) showed Batman taking Catwoman to the cave himself. He blindfolded her to try to protect its location, but she’s pretty good at tracking, so she might be back.
One of the longest paths to the Batcave came in “Batman: The Widening Gyre” by Kevin Smith and Walt Flanagan in 2009. In the miniseries, Batman found a new ally in the form of Baphomet, a new superhero. Baphomet helped the Dark Knight fight Poison Ivy, Deadshot, and Etrigan the Demon. He followed Baphomet home, where the superhero freely revealed his secret identity and family. After witnessing Baphomet take down the Joker, Batman felt comfortable working alongside the hero.
In “Widening Gyre” #6, with his ex-lover Silver St. Cloud by his side, Batman told them his true identity and took Baphomet to the Batcave. That’s when Baphomet promptly slashed St. Cloud’s throat while revealing himself as Onomatopoeia, one of Batman’s newest enemies. Onomatopoeia was a serial killer who preyed on non-super-powered heroes like Batman, and only spoke in sound effects. We never got to find out what happened next, because the miniseries was never finished, but Onomatopoeia made it into the cave, so that’s a plus.
Two-Face is one of Batman’s oldest and most ruthless villains, a former district attorney who first appeared in 1954’s “Batman” #81 (Bob Kane, Bill Finger). After being scarred by acid on one side of his face, Two-Face snapped and became a master criminal. One of his most devious plans came during the story arc after Bruce Wayne had apparently died, and Dick Grayson took over as Batman.
In 2009’s “Batman” #691 (Judd Winick, Mark Bagley), Two-Face was in the midst of a war between his enemies Black Mask and the Penguin, and was determined to find out who was playing Batman. He had gotten his hands on a batarang and went on a search for a teleporter who could take him to the source of Batman’s weapon. The teleporter took him right into the heart of the Batcave, where he fought Grayson, demanding to know where the “real” Batman was. Two-Face ended up finding out the hard way.
8. DAVID CAIN
David Cain is one of the world’s greatest assassins, first appearing in “Batman” #567 (1999), created by Kelley Puckett and Damion Scott. He set out to train the ultimate assassin by conceiving and raising a daughter Cassandra Cain, who he never taught to read, write or speak. Instead, her native tongue was body language, giving her the almost supernatural ability to predict her enemy’s movements. Cassandra rebelled, though, and became the newest Batgirl under Batman’s care.
In 2002’s “Batman” #605 (Ed Brubaker, Scott McDaniel), the Bat-Family discovered Cain had been hired to kill a prisoner in Blackgate. While they raced to the hotel where Cain was staying, Barbara Gordon stayed behind in the Batcave, only to discover Cain had gotten inside. Cain figured out that Bruce Wayne and Batman were the same person and set the whole thing up as a test for him. Batman was able to beat Cain, who confessed to his murders.
It only makes sense that a bat should be able to figure out the location of the Batcave, and that’s exactly what happened in 1970’s “Detective Comics” #402 (written by Frank Robbins, penciled by Neal Adams) when Batman went up against the Man-Bat. Whereas Batman is a man dressed as a bat, Man-Bat is a man who turns into a real half-man, half-bat hybrid. In real life, Man-Bat is Kirk Langstrom, a scientist whose experiments turned him into the nocturnal creature that wreaked havoc while he was trying to find a cure.
When Batman chased Man-Bat near some cliffs, the monster fled into a cavern that led right to the Batcave. Batman fought and knocked out the creature to gave Langstrom the anti-dote, which turned him back into a human. Fortunately, the drug left Langstrom with no memory of Batman’s secret hiding place.
Going with the animal theme gets us to Catman, a former wealthy socialite who decided to become a master criminal to oppose Batman. Inspired by Catwoman, Thomas Blake used cat-themed weapons and tools to steal and maintain his fortune. He sometimes teamed up with Catwoman against Batman, but mostly stayed on his own. His only real power was a magical costume that he believed gave him nine lives to go with his skill at hand-to-hand and weapons combat.
In 1984’s “Detective Comics” #538 by Doug Moench and Gene Colan, Catman returned to Gotham City, but with a different man under the ears: Collins, a former cellmate of Catman. Collins stole Catman’s suit to recover some stolen money. When the cave he buried the money in collapsed, Collins made his way into the Batcave nearby. Batman didn’t take kindly to the home invasion, easily beating Collins and taking back the money. The Catman suit didn’t really help, after all.
Thomas Elliott was one of Batman’s oldest and closest friends who hid a dark secret. While he was known as a world famous neurosurgeon, Elliott was actually a sociopath who (as the mystery villain known only as Hush) triggered a conspiracy to manipulate Batman’s Rogues Gallery into attacking him. When that failed, Hush continued to try to get his revenge against the superhero.
In 2009’s “Detective Comics” #850 (Paul Dini, Dustin Nguyen), Hush returned in the “Heart of Hush” storyline, where he cut out Catwoman’s heart to draw Batman to him. Hush knew Batman’s secret, and had surgically altered himself to look exactly like Wayne. Hush’s plan was to take Wayne’s place to ruin his reputation, and tried to trick Alfred into taking him to the secret cave. Failing to get Alfred’s help, Hush still found his way into the Batcave, where he fought the real Batman and tried to escape in the Whirly-Bat, which crashed. It wasn’t the end of Hush, but it was one of the closest victories he had.
4. DR. HURT
In the storyline “Batman R.I.P.,” a secret society known as the Black Glove decided to destroy Batman for fun. Led by the mysterious Dr. Simon Hurt, they tricked Bruce Wayne into dating a model named Jezebel Jet who found out his secret identity and used her to trigger a total mental breakdown.
In 2008’s “Batman” #678 (Grant Morrison and Tony Daniel), Bruce Wayne woke up in an alley and wandered the streets as an amnesiac, pumped full of drugs, working as a bodyguard for a homeless drug dealer named Honor Jackson. While he tried to figure out who and what he was, Dr. Hurt and the Black Glove had already set up shop in the Batcave. With post-hypnotic suggestion and drugs, Batman began dressing in colored rags as Zur-En-Arrh, and ended up buried alive. Then things really got strange. Finding the Batcave was just the tip of the iceberg for the Black Glove, which almost ruined Batman for good.
3. RA’S AL GHUL
Ra’s al Ghul is an ancient enemy of Batman with hundreds of years of training his mind and body to become the warrior he is. With his discovery of the Lazarus Pits that allow anyone submerged in them to be healed and reborn, Ra’s al Ghul has dedicated himself to trying to bring the world into balance, which usually means killing millions of people.
In 1971’s “Batman” #232 (Neal Adams, Denny O’Neil, Dick Giordano), Ra’s Al Ghul is the rare supervillain who never had to work his way up to finding Batman’s Batcave. In his very first appearance, Ra’s Al Ghul was waiting for Batman in the Batcave, having already figured out that the Dark Knight had to be wealthy and bought his equipment from certain suppliers. Ra’s al Ghul has never revealed Bruce Wayne’s secret out of respect for the detective, even as he used the knowledge to wreak havoc.
When it comes to beating Batman, there’s only one villain who stands above all others. That’s Bane, the super-powered strongman and criminal genius who first appeared in the 1993 “Knightfall” story arc. Over the course of a long-running crossover series, Bane released all the criminals in Arkham Asylum and armed them to drive Batman to the brink of mental and emotional exhaustion. Just as it seemed like Batman had won and could return home, he found Bane standing in Wayne Manor.
In “Batman #497” (Doug Moench and Jim Aparo), Batman discovered Bane had figured out his secret identity and came to break him. Still weak from his earlier fights, Wayne was no match for Bane, especially when the criminal pumped himself up with his super-steroid Venom. Their fight raged all through the mansion, smashing into the Batcave itself. That’s where Bane finally broke Batman’s back and left him paralyzed.
1. THE JOKER
Without question, the Joker is Batman’s greatest and longest-lasting enemy in the comics. His manic smile and psychotic humor have made him a thorn in Batman’s side since the Golden Age. Batman has fought him countless times, only for the Clown Prince of Crime to slip through his fingers and fight another day.
In 2015, the Joker made his final move in the “Endgame” story arc, where he infected the entire city with his Joker venom and even turned the Justice League against Batman. In “Batman” #39 (Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo), while Batman tried to find a way to stop the Joker’s virus, the Joker swam up into the Batcave. He attacked Alfred, chopping off the butler’s hand, and stole the trophies from the Trophy Room to create a macabre parade. That’s right, the Joker found his way into the cave and didn’t blow it up, just stole a bunch of trophies. There’s a madness to his method.
Who was the greatest villain to break into the Batcave? What would YOU do if you broke in? Let us know in the comments!
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