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Batman: Every Time Wayne Manor Has Been Destroyed

batman wayne manor exploding

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for this week's episode of Gotham, "ACE Chemicals," which aired Thursday on Fox.

This past week's episode of Gotham saw Jeremiah continue his descent into evil and becoming the Joker, with the villain explosively destroying Wayne Manor. Its obliteration gives Bruce Wayne the opportunity to completely rebuild his mansion while secretly laying the foundation for the Batcave underneath on his burgeoning path towards becoming the Dark Knight.

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The destruction of Wayne Manor, while not occurring often, has become something of a sign of Bruce Wayne entering a bold, new phase in his eternal war on crime; the familiar trappings of his old home suddenly stripped away and forcing him to start from square one. Below is a list of all the major times Wayne Manor has been destroyed from the comic books to various adaptations of the Batman mythos over the years.

The Dark Knight Returns

The first major instance of Wayne Manor's destruction occurred in the fourth and final issue of Frank Miller's seminal alternate universe Batman story, The Dark Knight Returns. First published in June 1986, the landmark comic book storyline ended with Bruce Wayne's identity as Batman revealed to the general public as he apparently died while fighting Superman in the streets of Gotham City. To eliminate all evidence, Bruce had Alfred Pennyworth destroy Wayne Manor, only for his longtime ally and butler to die of a heart attack while observing its annihilation.

Also depicted in the 2013 animated adaptation, the ending to the miniseries revealed that Bruce had secretly survived his battle with Superman and used the opportunity and destruction of Wayne Manor to fake his death. With a new Robin, Carrie Kelly, and a legion of vigilante gangs inspired by the Batman, Bruce leads his new allies into unexplored depths of the Batcave to set up a new base of operations in their ongoing war against crime.

Batman & Dracula: Red Rain

Bamtan Red Rain

The next instance of a destroyed Wayne Manor comes from another Elseworlds story, this time in Doug Moench and Kelley Jones' Batman & Dracula: Red Rain. The first installment of the creative team's vampiric Batman trilogy, the 1991 storyline saw Dracula and his undead army quietly invading Gotham City. While gaining a needed boost in strength and abilities after suffering a vampire bite, Batman lures Dracula and his army deep into the Batcave, only to have Alfred destroy Wayne Manor and much of its subterranean network in order to flood it with sunlight and wipe out the vampires.

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The destroyed Manor and Batcave would be revisited in the trilogy's third installment, Batman: Crimson Mist. The 1998 follow-up had Alfred and Commissioner Gordon detonate explosives to flood even more of the Batcave with sunlight. While the out-of-control vampiric Bruce Wayne is indeed vanquished by the sun's rays, the ensuing collapse also crushes Gordon under the rubble.

Kingdom Come

Another alternate future of the DC Universe saw Wayne Manor in ruins in Mark Waid and Alex Ross' acclaimed miniseries Kingdom Come. The 1996 comic had Two-Face and Bane discover Bruce Wayne's identity as Batman and completely lay waste to the mansion. Decades later, Superman emerges from a self-imposed exile and visits his old partner, surprised by the devastation to the Wayne home.

Undeterred, an elderly, physically broken Bruce Wayne continues to wage his crimefighting crusade from the flooded Batcave by controlling a legion of Bat-branded robots from the Batcomputer; the destruction of Wayne Manor had finally led Bruce to drop his civilian life altogether.

Batman: Cataclysm

While Wayne Manor has certainly been damaged, infiltrated and abandoned several times over the decades-long history of Batman, the most extensive damage it has faced in comics continuity is in the 1998 Batman crossover event Batman: Cataclysm. The storyline had a 7.6 earthquake strike Gotham City, with the epicenter less than a mile from the Manor with the mansion, and Batcave effectively destroyed.

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With large portions of the Batcave actually exposed, the Bat Family had to quickly relocate the equipment and vehicles stored within before emergency services arrived. Once order had been restored to Gotham, Wayne Manor and the Batcave were both rebuilt in their modern incarnations in the comics.

Batman Begins

The first adaptation to feature the destruction of Wayne Manor came in 2005's Batman Begins. To repay Bruce Wayne for burning down his Bhutanese headquarters and stop the fledgling hero from interfering in his plans to cover Gotham City with Scarecrow's fear toxin, Ra's Al Ghul incapacitates Bruce and has the League of Shadows set the mansion on fire. After being rescued by Alfred and retreating to the Batcave, Bruce laments that his family legacy is in flames, only for his butler to remind him that "the Wayne legacy is more than bricks and mortar."

After thwarting Ra's and Scarecrow's plot, Bruce and Alfred return to the smoldering ruins of the Manor vowing to rebuild it almost exactly how it was... save for some improvements to the southeast corner where the Batcave is located. Still under construction during The Dark Knight, the restored Manor and renovated Batcave is seen during the events of The Dark Knight Rises.

Batman: Arkham Knight

The first video game to depict the explosive end of Wayne Manor was 2015's Batman: Arkham Knight, the final installment in developer Rocksteady Studios' Arkham trilogy. After having his identity as Batman is exposed to the world by Scarecrow, reporters gather just outside the mansion's grounds for some sort of comment from Bruce Wayne or Alfred.

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After Batman and the Arkham Knight stop Scarecrow once and for all, Bruce enters Wayne Manor with Alfred and initiates the "Knightfall Protocol" with the mansion exploding upon their entry, seemingly killing them both. With Bruce Wayne and the Batman presumed dead, a new masked vigilante resembling the Dark Knight is seen patrolling the streets of Gotham City sometime later.

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice

The DC Extended Universe version of Wayne Manor is first seen in 2016's Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Abandoned for years before the start of the film, it is explained that a large fire rendered much of the mansion largely uninhabitable with Bruce and Alfred relocating to a lakeside home dubbed the "glasshouse." Despite this, Bruce occasionally visits his ancestral home, mainly to pay his respects to his parents' graves.

With his faith in justice restored by the end of 2017's Justice League, Bruce, Alfred and Wonder Woman enter the mansion after stopping Steppenwolf's invasion and vow to completely renovate the building as a new headquarters for the team.

Airing Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox, Gotham stars Ben McKenzie as James Gordon, Donal Logue as Harvey Bullock, David Mazouz as Bruce Wayne, Robin Lord Taylor as Penguin, Camren Bicondova as Selina Kyle, Erin Richards as Barbara Kean and Sean Pertwee as Alfred Pennyworth.

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