Many fans look at Batman as the ultimate superhero. He is, after all, able to stand among the gods of the world, without any superpowers of his own. His incredible skills in hand-to-hand combat, science, detective work, and strategic planning make him possibly the most effective vigilante in the game. His enormous bank account allows him to afford the latest technology that gives him an edge over the criminal population, and even the Gotham City Police Department. As much as he tries to do good, there are some who believe he is nothing more than a menace to society.
There are also some who think he might be the worst member of the Justice League of all time. Let’s be clear, there have been some incredibly bad members of the team over the years, including the likes of Vibe, Geo-Force, and Blue Jay, but for Batman to be even worse than them, he would have to be more than simply ineffective. In fact, Batman is such a bad member of the team that as much as he contributes, he also actively makes things worse, has proven to be a liability, and simply causes problems when there shouldn’t be any. Here are 20 reasons why Batman is the worst Justice Leaguer ever.
20 HE PLOTS AGAINST THEM
One of Batman’s most famous offenses against his teammates in the Justice League was the fact that he devised a plan to take out each of them if they ever went rogue. The problem wasn’t so much that he made this plan, it was more that he didn’t tell them about it. Things get really bad when Ra’s al Ghul steals those plans in “Tower of Babel” and uses them to take out the Justice League.
As much as the team didn’t trust him after that, they did eventually forgive him. Then what did he do? He went and did the same thing again by creating a battle suit engineered to take on each of his team members in the “Endgame” story arc. It all worked out in the end, but it just doesn’t seem like Batman can be trusted.
19 HE MAKES THEM LOOK BAD BY ASSOCIATION
Superman is viewed as a hero in Metropolis, someone who can be relied on to save the day, and as a friend to the public. Wonder Woman has been a gracious ambassador between Themyscira and Man’s World. The Flash is a reliable hero in Central City. What about Batman? He’s basically a wanted vigilante criminal working in secret within Gotham City.
Having him on the team, no matter how noble his intentions, is just not good optics for a group of superheroes who want to keep a public image. It’s bad enough that they have a satellite orbiting the Earth that they can use to spy on everyone, the Justice League is now associated with someone who has been deemed dangerous by local governments. It’s just not a good look.
18 HE CAN’T HANDLE HIS OWN VILLAINS
The Justice League relies on all of its members to watch over the world and handle any threats that pop up on their watch. How can the team trust Batman, though, when Gotham City is always seemingly in the middle of some new crisis? He catches the bad guy and puts them away, but then they escape, and the cycle begins all over again. It seems that no matter what he does, he never gets anywhere.
How can the Justice League rely on Batman to handle global issues when he can’t even solve the problems of one city. It’s not like everyone else on the team is perfect in this regard, but the Dark Knight has definitely been through worse than anyone else. You would also think with all his resources, he would find a way to keep criminals locked up for good.
17 HE KICKS PEOPLE OFF THE TEAM
Batman has been in a place of power for so long that he doesn’t even stop to consider the human beings he is making decisions about. When the Justice League reformed after Infinite Crisis, Geo-Force became something of a tertiary member of the team for a time. Though he never really fit in, it was a huge step up for him at the time.
Geo-Force goes undercover for them at one point, but things go wrong and he is found out and tortured for information. Following his rescue, before he has time to even recover, it is revealed that Batman has essentially “traded” him to his new team of Outsiders, without even asking Brion first. He is rightfully outraged at first before eventually coming to terms with his lot in life. That’s not a great way to handle your teammates.
16 HE STRETCHES HIMSELF TOO THIN
Batman is everywhere these days. He’s fighting crime in Batman and Detective Comics, but he’s also in the Justice League, guest starring in several other superhero books, and leading a small army of Robins. He is certainly someone who can deal with multiple issues seemingly all at once, but at a certain point, every normal human has their breaking point.
Thanks to all his amazing modes of transportation, Batman can get to places faster than most people, but does the Justice League really want that? No other Leaguer has more things to do than Batman, not even the Flash. It’s hard to trust a teammate when they are constantly running off to the next big thing. It shouldn’t come as a surprise if they question his ability to function this way on a long-term basis.
15 HE HAS PROVEN TO BE A BAD MENTOR
The Justice League is made of the best and brightest superheroes in the DCU, but they also mentor the next generation on occasion. When you get right down to it, Batman doesn’t have the best track record in that space. Everyone knows he trains his Robins, but one of them quit on him and two of them actually died in the line of duty. He also sent Spoiler over the edge and ultimately to her (temporary) demise.
He’s also not too great when it comes to the Justice League itself. Back in the days when the team was located in Detroit, he vowed to train the youngsters to be better superheroes before promptly abandoning them. Even when he tries to be better in Justice League of America, his team doesn’t really trust his intentions when he isn’t around.
14 HE MAKES THEM A TARGET
Any good superhero will compile enemies over the course of their career, but Batman has the uncanny ability to make his friends a target as a result. During the events of “Endgame,” the Joker uses the Justice League to go after Batman. They all become Jokerized and go on the offensive against the Dark Knight, forcing him to beat them all up.
In “Hush,” Superman is mind controlled by Poison Ivy, so Batman pulls out his Kryptonite ring and beats him up a bit. She also later uses the League to take down Batman and Catwoman during Tom King’s run on Batman. The Flashes all get their tails handed to them in quick order. Maybe one day Batman’s enemies won’t bring the other Leaguers in just to take down one man.
13 HIS METHODS GET THEM INTO TROUBLE
Batman has such a bad reputation that it gets him into trouble when people use his identity to commit crimes. In Christopher Priest’s run on Justice League, an impostor dresses up as him and takes out a politician in broad daylight. Because of how Batman is perceived to the public, it is believed to be the real Batman, and he makes the team look bad as a result.
This isn’t even the first time an imposter has made Batman look bad, either. During Batman: Battle for the Cowl, several different people attempted to seize the identity of Batman. Jason Todd became a violent vigilante, and people really didn’t see him as any different from the real deal. It seems his reputation has to be constantly monitored, otherwise the public will turn against him.
12 HE FIGHTS WITH THEM REGULARLY
As someone who is hard to get along with, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Batman often ends up fighting with his own teammates. In the days of Justice League International, Guy Gardner challenged the Dark Knight and ended up getting knocked out with one punch. He may have deserved it, but is that really the best way to deal with a teammate when he is needed in battle soon after?
Batman has also gotten into arguments with both Green Arrow and Hal Jordan for various reasons. Conflict usually arises over whether or not the rest of the team can trust him over his tendency to make his own decisions without feeling the need to consider the rest of the team. A better teammate would find a way to settle his differences without turning to violence.
11 HE HAS NO SUPERPOWERS
The Justice League is a team made up of the most gifted superheroes on Earth, yet they count Batman among their members. As gifted as he is in hand-to-hand combat and strategy, there’s no way Batman can hang around with the big boys when it comes down to superpowers. Between Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, the Flash, and Aquaman, everyone can take care of themselves in a fight.
Meanwhile, as much as Batman has gadgets and impeccable training to help him, he doesn’t have super strength and he can’t fly. This means that someone will always have to swoop in and save him in an instance where he is left vulnerable. He might have certain leadership qualities, but he becomes a liability in the most dangerous battles.
10 HE CAUSES MORE HARM THAN GOOD
Batman always seems to be one step ahead of everyone else in terms of planning for the unplannable. Unfortunately, he seems to cause more harm than good when it comes to some of his more elaborate planning. When Batman created Brother Eye, he envisioned the satellite would help him become a more effective crimefighter. Instead, it nearly took over the planet.
In the storyline “War Games,” it is revealed that Batman has many doomsday plans that he can enact in case of an emergency. One of these is a plan that puts all of Gotham’s gangs under his own criminal alias, but in the wrong hands, it could erupt in total chaos. Desperate to impress Batman, Spoiler unleashed one of these war games, setting off a massive gang war without understanding that it would only work if Batman was involved.
9 HE NEVER GETS ONBOARD WITH THE TEAM
Think about how you would react in this situation. One of your enemies discovers your secret headquarters, gains entry, and brutally attacks one of your friends’ loved ones. After you catch the criminal, what do you do with him? That’s exactly the predicament the Justice League found themselves in during the Identity Crisis storyline. You can’t kill him, but you can erase his memory to avoid it happening again.
The entire Justice League seemed to be onboard with this plan; however, Batman decided he wanted to protect the rights of a criminal like Doctor Light. Considering they are all technically vigilantes, and not law enforcement, detaining him would already be stepping on his rights. Batman was so appalled by the League’s actions that he actively fought against them, forcing them to wipe his mind too. It was a huge ordeal that could have been avoided.
8 HE’S A TERRIBLE FRIEND
Being a part of a team is also about getting along and working with the people around you. In many cases, teammates become friends, which is exactly what happened with Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. It’s just too bad that Batman is terrible at being a friend to them and the rest of the League.
Batman has zero regard for his friends’ loved ones, as evidenced by the fact that he threw Lois Lane off a building during “Hush” in order to stop Superman from beating him up. What if his plan didn’t work? In Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia, he boldly opposes Diana despite her being bound to protect a victim who committed a crime. This is what Batman takes a stance against? He was also a huge jerk during Infinite Crisis, so why would the Justice League even want to work with him?
7 HE DOESN’T TRUST HIS TEAMMATES
Batman has gained a reputation for being secretive and even a little paranoid at times, but in this case it is totally warranted. He’s also kind of a jerk, which has turned him into one of the worst teammates you can imagine. You would think with the amount of Gotham heroes he has collected over the years, he would know how to play well with others, and yet...
One of the reasons Dick Grayson finally broke away from Batman was because his mentor didn’t fully trust him to make his own decisions. When Tim Drake developed the Gotham Knights team of Gotham heroes, he did it to change the world. It turns out that Batman did it to bring Batwoman closer to his operations and hopefully manipulate her. This is the kind of resume that should make Batman’s membership into the League questionable.
6 HE VERY NEARLY ENDED THE WORLD
During the events of Dark Nights: Metal, Batman began investigating the secrets of the universe, but he deliberately chose to keep the rest of the Justice League in the dark. Believing he had everything under control, he realized too late that he had walked right into a trap that unleashed an ancient evil and nearly destroyed the entire Multiverse.
Batman came out of it all looking pretty golden, having eventually played a part in saving all of creation from Barbatos and the Dark Multiverse. He even put together a plan to expand the Justice League and improve their operations, but it’s quickly ignored that he’s the person who caused all the trouble in the first place. It’s almost like he’s one of those heroes who causes problems just to solve them and look good.
5 HE’S ABANDONED THE TEAM BEFORE
As good of a leader as he’s shown himself to be, Batman isn’t exactly loyal when it comes to the teams that he’s on. During the original run of Justice League of America, Batman quit the team over their methods and went on to form his own team called the Outsiders. Not only did he abandon his teammates, he started up a competitor that he could effectively control better.
Even when he hasn’t gone off to start his own team, he’s also just flat-out abandoned his teammates at key moments. He eventually gave up on Justice League International, and he’s been torn away from the Outsiders and his Justice League of America team before. Both times he was indisposed, but the man who thinks of everything couldn’t think to leave a plan behind in case he went missing.
4 PERSONAL GRUDGES GET IN THE WAY
Sometimes Batman is so petty that he can’t even be an effective superhero because he needs to prove a point to someone. That’s exactly what happened when he took Stephanie Brown on as his next Robin. He abused her and used her in order to manipulate Tim Drake, and as a result she went rogue and got herself killed by Black Mask.
During the events of Green Lantern: Rebirth, Batman maintained a grudge against Hal Jordan for his past crimes as the villain Parallax. Despite the new evidence that suggested Hal had been possessed by a fear entity and was not responsible for his previous actions, Batman refused to listen to the truth. It wasn’t until John Stewart confronted him and Hal himself punched him in the face that he got over himself.
3 HE’S AN UNHINGED MANIAC
While the other members of the Justice League are world leaders and positive influences on society, Batman is really just a deranged lunatic. In the comic book All-Star Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder, the Dark Knights leaps from buildings laughing maniacally. He also sees nothing wrong with subjecting a child to harsh conditions, painting himself yellow, and allowing his sidekick to nearly kill Hal Jordan.
In the film Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Bruce Wayne is so upset about the fallout from Man of Steel that he goes on a senseless mission of revenge. He decides that no matter Superman’s intentions, he is reckless and dangerous, and therefore must be murdered. The entire movie revolves around this simple idea, and despite him being indirectly responsible for Superman’s death, he goes on to lead the Justice League like it’s no big deal.
2 HE DOESN’T HELP HIS FRIENDS
Considering he’s such a bad mentor, it makes sense that he would also be just as useless to his peers. In Countdown to Infinite Crisis, Blue Beetle Ted Kord comes to him for help in regards to Checkmate and an ongoing mystery surrounding Maxwell Lord. Instead of listening to the veteran superhero, Batman dismisses him and ignores his cries for help. In the end, Kord loses his life.
A few people were in the same situation as Batman, but at least they made an attempt to help Kord. Batman just kind of brushed him off and couldn’t even be bothered to turn around and talk to him face-to-face. Does the Justice League really want someone so clearly uncaring hanging around in their roster? Maybe one day Batman will learn to openly care about those around him.
1 HE IS AN INEFFECTIVE LEADER
Thanks to his advanced mind, vast amounts of money, and impressive array of advanced technology, Batman is usually seen as the leader of the Justice League. However, despite his many talents, it is clear that he is not a very effective one. In fact, he usually leads the teams he is in charge of into the ground. The Justice League even had to depose him at one point.
Despite his intentions with his Justice League of America team, the group of young heroes does not trust their mentor. He is unable to keep them together as a team when he is not around, and if not for Vixen, the group might have broken up. As great an idea as the Gotham Knights might have been, Batman also allowed Tim Drake’s vision to become something of a fascist regime that faced public backlash and put innocents in danger.