One of the reasons fans love Batman is that he’s a regular person who has made himself into something amazing. He doesn’t have super-strength or speed, and he isn’t even bulletproof, but what he does have is a tactical genius, a highly trained body and an ironclad will.
Iron Man is known for his powered armor, and especially for the way he develops different versions of his armor for different situations, but he’s not the only one who equips himself with special suits. Batman has created a wide variety of different duds for fighting enemies, especially for ones stronger than he is. Since he doesn’t have superpowers, he needs all the help he can get. CBR is here to run down 15 of the most powerful batsuits we’ve seen in the comics and beyond.
15. BATMAN BEYOND SUIT
Beginning in 1999 as an animated TV show, “Batman Beyond” was a cyberpunk take on the Batman mythos created by Bruce Timm, Paul Dini and Alan Burnett. Set in the distant alternate future of 2039 where an elderly Bruce Wayne had retired, the mantle of Batman was taken up by teenager Terry McGinnis. With guidance from Wayne, McGinnis fought new enemies such as the shape-shifting Inque, the master of sound Shriek and older versions of Mister Freeze and the Joker.
Even though McGinnis’ batsuit was created by Wayne in 2019, it was still considered cutting-edge in 2039. Instead of relying on a plane, the Batman Beyond batsuit had its own wings and limited flight capabilities, as well as weapons such as retractable claws, projectile batarangs and grappling guns. It also worked as an exoskeleton to enhance the wearer’s strength and speed. One major feature was the suit’s cloaking ability, allowing Batman to become invisible to the naked eye. Even more amazing, the suit was still flexible as regular cloth.
On the 2004 animated TV series “The Batman,” the episode “Traction” introduced a new version of one of Batman’s most famous foes. Written by Adam Beechen and directed by Sam Liu, the episode started with mob bosses hiring a mysterious mercenary known only as Bane. The episode played as sort of a light version of the 1993 storyline“Knightfall,” where Bane beat Batman and left him for dead in an alley. To defeat Bane, Batman built the Bat-Bot armor to fight for him.
The Bat-Bot was an exoskeleton that made Batman much larger, making him as big as Bane. It also had powerful servo motors that gave him superhuman strength. The Bat-Bot also had a jetpack so he could fly in short bursts or slow down a fall from a building, but all that power still didn’t keep Bane from smashing the Bat-Bot and peeling it open like a tin can. Fortunately, Batman managed to grab a power cable and give Bane the shock of his life.
13. SUIT OF SORROWS
The armor known as the Suit of Sorrows first made its debut in “Detective Comics” #838 in 2008, written by Paul Dini and penciled by Ryan Benjamin. Presented to Batman as a gift from Talia al Ghul, the daughter of the ancient villain Ra’s al Ghul, the Suit of Sorrows was first forged in 1190 during the Crusades. The Suit drove the knight who first wore it insane, leading him to slaughter hundreds of people, but that didn’t deter the Bat.
The Suit of Sorrows was forged from the blades and breastplates of fallen soldiers from the Order of Purity, a splinter sect of the Order of St. Dumas. Batman found the Suit made him stronger and faster, but also made him more violent. Batman decided to stop using the armor, but couldn’t bring himself to destroy it, leaving it in the Batcave. The Suit ended up being stolen and used by the Order of Purity’s new Azrael.
12. DARK KNIGHT RETURNS EXOSUIT
In 1986, Frank Miller’s graphic novel “The Dark Knight Returns” introduced a darker and grittier Batman, one who had grown old and retired, but came out of retirement to fight new and old threats. One of those threats involved Superman, who had become a powerful weapon under the control of a corrupt US government. When the government decided that Batman needed to be stopped, it sent Superman to take him down, but Batman was prepared.
Batman had created an exoskeleton specifically designed to fight Superman, one with heavily armored skin hard enough to take blows from the Man of Steel, and equipped with strong motors that let Batman punch harder. The suit also allowed him to deliver a powerful electric shock to Superman’s skull, and spray acid to distract him. The exosuit is one of Batman’s most famous, and also made an appearance in 2016’s “Batman v Superman” movie in the climactic battle.
11. PREDATOR SUIT
In 1991, Batman faced the alien Predator in “Batman Versus Predator,” written by Dave Gibbons and drawn by Andy Kubert. In book one, Batman was investigating the grisly murder of a boxer who had his spine and skull removed. At first, Batman was just concerned with stopping a war between two mob bosses, but discovered the ruthless alien warrior Predator was hunting in Gotham City. In order to defeat the Predator, Batman created an exoskeleton to give him an edge.
Batman’s Predator exoskeleton was specially designed to fight the Predator. The suit used sonar to compensate for the Predator’s invisibility technology, gave him additional strength to fight the hunter hand-to-hand, and armor to keep the Predator from cutting him open with its razor sharp blades. In the end, Batman managed to defeat the Predator so badly that the alien committed suicide, proving Batman is the Galaxy’s greatest warrior (as if we didn’t already know).
10. THRASHER SUIT
In 2012, Batman discovered the existence of a secret and deadly organization, the Court of Owls. “Night of the Owls” was a story arc where the Court of Owls sent its Talon assassins to attack the Bat-Family and strengthen their control over Gotham City. In “Batman” #8, written by Scott Snyder and penciled by Greg Capullo, they struck at the heart of the Family, Bruce Wayne. They entered Wayne Manor and found their way into the Batcave itself, but Batman was ready… because he’s Batman.
One of the main weapons of the Talons are their regenerative abilities that allow them to survive fatal injuries and even bring them back to life. To fight them, Batman lowered the temperature of the cave to freezing, but needed precious minutes until it dropped. That’s why Batman armed himself in a special Thrasher exoskeleton that could survive the subzero temperatures, but also gave him the strength and armor to battle the Talons without holding back.
9. TRINITY ARMOR
Written and drawn by Matt Wagner, “Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman: Trinity” was a three-issue series about the first meeting between DC’s greatest heroes. In the story, Ra’s al Ghul, Bizarro and Wonder Woman’s enemy Artemis worked together to bring chaos to the world, and the three heroes were forced to unite to fight the triple threat. Usually, Superman is the one who faces Bizarro, but in the third issue, Batman went toe-to-toe with the mixed-up villain and he was armed to do it.
Like all of his exoskeletons, the Trinity armor gave Batman enhanced strength and speed, and also protected him from the full impact of Bizarro’s fists. It didn’t protect him completely, though, since Bizarro was able to smash the chest in until Batman couldn’t breathe, and Wonder Woman had to rip it off. The armor also had gadgets like a titanium electrified net he could throw over Bizarro, a flurry of miniature grenades and solar lasers mounted on the gloves to add punch to his fists. It wasn’t enough to beat Bizarro, but it did distract him until Superman arrived on the scene.
8. PROJECT BATMAN ARMOR
In the conclusion of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s 2014’s storyline, “Batman” #40 seemed to end with the death of the Dark Knight at the hands of the Joker. With Batman allegedly dead, Gotham City was left without its protector. In order to fill the void, the Gotham corporation, Powers International, brought Commissioner Jim Gordon in to become the new Batman. Without the years of training and skill of the original Batman, Gordon was fitted with a suit of armor to bring him up to Batman’s level.
The armor, which was tied to Project Batman, gave Gordon the usual assortment of super-strength, durability and speed, but also had a few tricks up its sleeve. For one thing, the armor was sanctioned by the Gotham City Police Department, so he stayed in contact with a GCPD blimp at all times and worked with local governments. He could fire batarangs and even an EMP pulse, and had magnetic boots to give him a powerful grip. Gordon was never more of a warrior than in that suit.
7. DC ONE MILLION BATSUIT
“JLA” #23 (written by Grant Morrison and penciled by Howard Porter) was the introduction of the Batman in the “DC One Million” event, which was set in a far future version of the DC Universe. The DC One Million Batman was born in the 853rd Century, where the criminal Xauron had taken control of the prison planet Pluto and slaughtered thousands while the children watched. As one of those children, Batman had taken on the then-ancient identity to prevent injustice from happening again.
The Batsuit of the DC One Million Batman was a huge technological leap forward. Though it didn’t look that different from the original costume, it had collapsible armor, a fireproof cape and a stronger skeleton to keep him safe. It also had night vision and camouflage for stealth, built in wings for flight and could project holograms. DC One Million Batman also had his Bat-computer built into the suit with 10 times the power of the modern version. It made the regular batsuit look like a set of long underwear.
6. BATWING ARMOR
David Zavimbe was a former child soldier who became the African version of Batman in his self-titled issue, “Batwing” #1 in 2011. Written by Judd Winick and penciled by Ben Oliver, “Batwing” introduced the title character as part of Batman Incorporated, an initiative to turn the ideal of Batman into a global crime-fighting network. To help with his war on crime, Batwing had a new suit of armor jam-packed with gadgets for the crusade.
The Batwing suit began with the usual enhancement trio of speed, strength and durability, as well as the ability to fly with a jetpack. A second Batwing came along when Lucas Fox took over the role of Batwing, and the suit got an upgrade to cover his entire body, hiding his appearance. The Batwing suit was became more sophisticated with limited medical treatment while in the field. For instance, the suit could detect broken bones and stiffen the area to form a cast until the wearer can get medical help. The suit can’t fly, but it can glide pretty well with a retractable cape, and project holograms and blend into its surroundings.
5. STEALTH SUIT
When we talk about power, it’s not all about brute force. There’s also the ability to hide and become invisible, which is job number one for Batman, since he doesn’t have a ton of superpowers on his own. His vulnerability makes him especially paranoid (let’s call it “concerned”) about Superman, who has a ton of superpowers and very little that can stop him. In “Superman Unchained” #2 (2013), written by Scott Snyder with art by Jim Lee, Scott Williams and Dustin Nguyen, we saw his stealth suit designed as protection against the Man of Tomorrow.
When Superman visited the Batcave, he was surprised to discover he couldn’t see Batman anywhere. Batman revealed his new stealth suit, a full-body armor that could adapt to any system used to try to detect it, and adjust itself to hide from it, even Superman’s X-ray and various super-visions. The suit was armored, so it also came in handy in the seventh issue when Batman used it to fight Wraith. Plus, with its glowing lines, it just looked freaking cool.
4. THE INSIDER SUIT
In 2010, Batman’s life had become really complicated, having just been apparently killed during “Final Crisis” and forced to journey through time to return to the present. In the meantime, the role of Batman had been taken on by Dick Grayson, and Batman decided to put on a new identity to discretely see how things had been going without him. First appearing in “Bruce Wayne: The Road Home: Batman and Robin” #1 (2010, written by Fabian Nicieza, penciled by Cliff Richards), Wayne become the Insider and had an incredible new suit to match.
The Insider Suit was designed to mimic some of the powers of the Justice League with a heat vision mode like Superman, a Speed Force mode that would let Batman move at high speed like the Flash, a camouflage mode that could let him turn invisible like Martian Manhunter, an electrified wire that could act as a lie detector like Wonder Woman’s lasso and a force beam powered by willpower like Green Lantern. It also could fly and teleport, using the Justice League teleporter. It had everything, really, except Batman’s ears and the logo.
3. MAN-BAT BATMAN
In 2013, writer Grant Morrison and penciler Chris Berman introduced a deadly new Batman in “Batman Incorporated” #12. In the issue, Batman faced Talia al Ghul and an army of ninjas transformed into half-human half-bat monsters. She also had an inhuman clone monster with the power and will to destroy Batman. In order to fight them, Batman went to extreme measures in preparing for the battle by injecting himself with the Man-Bat serum, one of the most powerful and deadliest substances among his rogues gallery.
Diving into the fight, Batman also wore the Suit of Sorrows (which we mentioned earlier) that made him stronger and faster, modified by a jetpack for flight and extending metal arms. Not only were the arms strong, they could deliver a powerful electric shocks into the ground. The suit itself had a “negative refractive index,” which allowed him to turn invisible. It turned Batman into a monster, which he needed to fight monsters.
2. HELLBAT ARMOR
“Batman and Robin” #33, written by Peter Tomasi and pencilled by Patrick Gleason, introduced one of Batman’s most powerful suits of armor: the Hellbat. As one of the few members of the Justice League without superpowers, the other members worked together to design and build the Hellbat armor to protect him. Formed by Superman in the heart of a sun and forged by Wonder Woman in Olympus, assembled by Cyborg, given a shape-changing cape by Green Lantern and tempered by the Flash and Aquaman under extreme conditions, Hellbat seemed to be the ultimate weapon.
The Hellbat gave Batman speed, strength and durability, but had other tricks. For instance, the cape was capable of changing shapes to let him fly, and created shapes like tendrils under his control. The suit also had a photonic cloak to make him invisible. The biggest problem with the Hellbat suit was that it drained Batman’s metabolism so much that leaving it on too long would kill him. He only used it to try to get the body of his son back from Apokolips, and it was a price he was willing to pay.
1. JUSTICE BUSTER
There’s an old saying that just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean people aren’t out to get you. As we mentioned before, Batman doesn’t trust anybody, and sometimes he’s right. That was certainly the case in 2014’s “Batman: Endgame” #1 (written by Scott Snyder and pencilled by Greg Capullo), which brought one of Batman’s worst scenarios to life when the Joker infected the Justice League to turn them against the Dark Knight. Fortunately, Batman was prepared.
He turned to an exoskeleton designed to quickly take down the Justice League. It bound Wonder Woman with the mystical Bind of Veils to make her think she beat him, then knocked out the Flash at hyperspeed. For Aquaman, the suit sprayed a foam to dehydrate him. Cyborg was downed by an electromagnetic nerve tree and a “citrine neutralizer” was used for Green Lantern, but the best was saved for Superman. The gauntlets had microscopic red suns for added punch, a coating to deflect Superman’s heat and cold powers, and even gum laced with kryptonite as a last resort. Who could make a suit capable of taking down the most powerful humans on Earth? Batman, that’s who.
Which is your favorite Batman armor? Let us know in the comments!
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