The Batcave has come a long way since its inception in the early 1940’s as Batman’s monastic underground study and parking garage. Originally debuting in Detective Comics#83 (1944), the Bat Cave (then two words) was described as “a subterranean shelter for the Batmobile and the Batplane, a criminological laboratory, and other crime fighting tools of the Batman”. Since then, the cave has transformed into a high-tech haven, housing countless vehicles, weapons, gadgets and spandex-suits – even its own Lazarus Pit.
It’s an impressive structure that rivals Superman’s Fortress of Solitude, and for what it lacks in the way of natural light, it makes up for in number of bats per-square-foot. While the structural layout may change with each on-screen iteration and illustrator’s rendition, one thing that remains the same is its continued ability to surprise fans with many undiscovered mysteries and secret passageways. Heck, it even has its own origin story (see Grant Morrison’s Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne storyline), not to mention a collection of enough supervillain memorabilia to put the Legion of Doom’s trophy room to shame.
With an armory of infinite resources at his disposal, Batman is a hero well stocked with the tops crime-fighting tools of the trade. By land, sea, air or even outer space, this bat-crazy billionaire’s toy room has got it all. CBR has compiled a list counting down the top 20 weapons in Batman’s Batcave, in order to find out which prototypes are worth the trip to Wayne Industries’ Applied Sciences division, and which ones ought never to have been taken out of the bat-box they came in.
Beady-eyed, black furred and prone to sucking your blood, these tiny flying rodents are a shrieking nuisance at the worst of times, and a necessary distraction at the best. While they also pose a health hazard if exposed to their waste (thank you bat-dung, hello super virus), Batman doesn’t seem to mind keeping them around. In fact, he is often able to leverage their presence in times of need.
In fact, their maximum effectiveness was on full display in Christopher Nolan’s 2005 ground-breaking origin story Batman Begins, when Christian Bale’s Caped Crusader needed help diverting the attention of the GCPD during his attempt to rescues Rachel Dawes (shout out to Katie Holmes) from Arkham Asylum. Talk about a Bat-man’s best friend.
19 SHARK-REPELLANT BAT-SPRAY
In a world where Batman has truly thought of everything, Batman: The Movie (1966) featured the most out-of-left-field Bat-weapon, Shark-Repellant Bat-Spray. Making its first (and only) appearance in the movie adaptation of the fan favourite series, Batman used this nifty anti-finned fish aerosol to remove a great white shark from his leg during a mid-air rescue mission gone wrong.
While it may be a weapon for a very specific, singular use, it is no doubt one Batman is glad to have on hand in the event of an attack from King Shark, Jaws, or any rogue members of Aquaman’s posse.
18 THREE-DIMENSIONAL BAT-RESTORER
Another one-off weapon featured in the Adam West Batman series is the little known three-dimensional bat-restorer – a device that is perhaps even less diversifiable than the aforementioned shark-repellant. Making its appearance in “The Entrancing Dr. Cassandra” (Season 3, Episode 25, 1968), the bat-restorer was used on Batman, Robin and Batgirl after an especially flattening battle with the eponymous Dr. Cassandra Spellcraft and her husband, Cabala.
Having being turned into living two-dimensional cardboard cut-outs by Cassandra’s Alvino Ray-Gun, the trio are restored back to their three-dimensional forms thanks to some quick thinking on Alfred’s part, and a little help from this nifty bat-weapon.
17 SUPER MOLECULAR DUST SEPARATOR
After hijacking a ship from Gotham’s Harbour in 1966’s Batman: The Movie, The Penguin reveals to his villainous compatriots he has managed to get his flippers on a super dehydrator with the capability to turn people into dust by removing the water from their body’s cells. The device proves successful in dehydrating several of Oswald’s henchmen, leaving Batman and Robin the near impossible task of reassembling the corporeal forms of the recently vaporized. Thanks to the Super Molecular Dust Separator, their efforts prove successful.
As an aside, the dehydrator is clearly a plot device that David S. Goyer clearly borrowed for his Batman Begins script (i.e. the microwave emitter that unleashes Ra’s Al Ghul vaporous nightmare chemical upon the citizen of Gotham).
16 THE BATARANG
What’s strong as steel, light as a feather, has wings but cannot fly on its own? Jay Garrick’s speedster helmet? Wrong! Why, Batarangs of course! With a seemingly infinite supply of the little guys, Batman’s rendition of the throwing star has become one of the most trusted weapons in his bat-arsenal.
While he’d be forgiven for leaving the Batcave without his Bat Master Card, these pocket-sized aerodynamic objects are one tool of the trade he cannot fight crime without. Forged in all shapes and sizes, the Batarang can be as low-tech as a folding chair, or as high tech as a military grade explosive device, a tracking beacon, or supercomputer.
15 GRAPPLING GUN
A step up from the Batarang, the Grappling Gun is basically what allows Batman to get around the city when he isn’t driving around in the Batmobile. While Batman opted for a more simplistic grappling hook version of the weapon in his earlier days (which provided the added bonus of being able to tie up bad guys after wrangling them in groups of two or more), he has since ditched the manual version in favor of its gas-powered cooler cousin. What makes the Grappling Gun unique is its ability to help sell the illusion of flight for the Caped Crusader, thus giving him the advantage of appearing otherworldly to the criminals and the corrupt of Gotham City.
14 UTILITY BELT
Made for more than just holding up Batman’s pants, the utility belt may not be the strongest weapon in Batman’s arsenal, but it is one of his most ingenious. Depending on the nature of his mission, Batman can line his utility belt’s pockets with everything it needs (Shark-Repellant included). Love interests, archenemies and even sidekicks come and go, but the utility belt is one mainstay that’s been with The World’s Greatest Detective since Day 1.
Similar to taking away a cowboy’s firearms, Batman has been rendered momentarily defenseless whenever a baddie has managed to get their hands on his precious belt, which is why it didn’t score as high on the list as other bat-weapons. Still, it’s a tool that’s enough to make MacGyver jealous.
13 THE BAT-GLIDER
Originally conceived as an engine-less method of transportation, this rather simple but effective bat-daptation of the common hang-glider has been updated in recent years to include a motor and military-grade rocket boosters. The device is operated using handheld-controls, and feature large bat-like wings that are sown into Batman’s costume; themselves a riff on Kane and Finger’s original batcape designs.
Like the grappling gun, the Bat-Glider is one of Batman’s primary modes of transportation, with the additional bonus of heightening his appearance of a true creature of the night when flying through the night sky. It ranks low(ish) on the list for its inconveniently large, obstructive wingspan (which must make gliding between buildings quite the challenge).
12 THE BATSUIT (STANDARD VERSION)
Bulletproof Kevlar. Built-in cowl night vision, radar, sonar and GPS, with a giant bat symbol branded onto the chest plate. Oh, and let’s not forget the cape. This, folks, is the Batsuit. While the materials used to construct the suit have changed over the years, the basic design and structure had remained as striking and iconic as ever.
It is nearly impossible to list every feature of the “standard” version (i.e. the one Bruce wears most nights), because it seems to gain nifty new tricks with every passing year. And even with the wrestling trunks worn on the outside, the suit still manages to strike fear into the hearts of criminals everywhere.
This version of the suit is basically Batman’s spandex on steroids. Like the standard Batsuit, the exo-suit has been represented in many forms over the years, and is worn usually for the purposes of engaging either multiple foes at once, or those born on the planet Krypton.
Different versions of the exo-suit have also been designed for different purposes; some to combat Bruce’s declining health during the later years of his life (see Batman Beyond “Disappearing Ink”, Season 1, Episode 12), combating foes like Mr. Freeze or Bane, or simply to keep him alive long enough to expose Superman to Kryptonite (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice).
10 THE BATCYCLE
The Batcycle (or “Batpod” as it became known in Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy) is usually one of two things; a motorcycle, or a detachable two-wheeled vehicle that emerges from the chassis of the Batmobile when Batman’s caught in a jam. The Batcycle first appeared in the pages of Detective Comics #233 (July 1956), and quickly became a mainstay in Batman’s roster of crime-fighting vehicles. Equipped with many of the same weapons as the Batmobile, the Batcycle is ideal when navigating those narrow streets and alleyways (which criminals have a tendency to favour) of Gotham City. It may be armed with twin cannons and bulletproof tires, but even Batman knows better than to ride it without his Bat-Helmet.
9 THE BAT-COPTER
Not to be confused with the Whirly-Bat (a single occupant heli-vehicle) or the Flying Batcave (which is exactly what it sounds like), the Batcopter is a weapon that probably made more sense when it debuted in the pages of Detective Comics #171 (1951) than it does today.
Also exactly what it sounds like, the Bat-Copter was most famously depicted in Batman: The Movie, and wouldn’t be seen on the big screen until Christopher Nolan debuted a modified / hybrid version which he called “The Bat." The Bat-Copter features rockets for mid-air combat (watch out, Kite-Man) bulletproof glass windows and – in some cases – bat wings (because why not).
8 THE BATMOBILE
This weapon on wheels has undergone about the same number of facelifts, red-designs and paint jobs as the Batsuit, but still manages to remain an instantly recognizable piece of bat-iconography. Other heroes have tried and failed to fight crime with their own self-branded vehicle (remember when they gave Spider-Man a car?), but only Batman can truly pull off naming a car after himself and get away with it.
Built to intimidate supervillains and protect its passengers from any harm, the Batmobile (a.ka. The Tumbler, in the case of the Nolan-verse), sports bulletproof and armour plating, machine gun turrets, grenades in the hub caps, tear gas dispensers and even ejection seats. And you thought your dad’s Cadillac was impressive.
7 THE BAT-TANK
Perhaps the only street vehicle tougher than the Batmobile, is the Bat-Tank. Introduced in Frank Miller’s pivotal Batman story The Dark Knight Returns, the Bat-Tank was conceived as an all-out military assault weapon on wheels. Though still technically referred to as the Batmobile in the comics, Miller’s Bat-Tank scores slightly higher than the classic version because of its virtual indestructibility and sheer firepower.
What doesn’t work with this weapon, however, is the fact that its sheer gargantuan size makes it all but impossible to maneuver in Gotham or any city for that matter. One can only imagine having to park the damn thing.
6 THE NIGHTCRAWLER
This weapon on four legs made its debut in Zack Snyder’s 2017 critical and commercial disappointment, Justice League. While the film was considered by many to be a flop, the Nightcrawler was an impressive and original technological feat that many fans would have liked to see get an encore.
What makes The Nightcrawler better than the Bat-Tank is the fact that it is basically a tank that can scale walls and get into spaces that the former simply cannot. With twin Gatling guns on either side of the cockpit, the Nightcrawler is one weapon that no Gotham baddie or extra-terrestrial foe would dare go up against.
5 THE BATWING
It’s a bird…. It’s a plane… It’s… The Batwing! Also known as The Batplane, this sky-borne weapon made its comic book debut in the pages of Detective Comics #39. Since then, the vehicle has been featured in nearly every animated and live-action Batflick, and is a fan favourite for its sleek, aerodynamic design, which often gives it the appearance of the bat symbol that adorns Bruce Wayne’s chest plate.
Known technically as a “multipurpose combat aircraft”, the Batwing can easily top over 1500 mph, and possess enough firepower to take out a small army. Watch out, Joker, because the Batwing also has a nifty knack for stealing poison gas-filled giant parade balloons (see 1989’s Batman).
4 THE FLYING FOX
The name might not be particularly bat-centric, but this large aerial transportation vehicle definitely gets the job done. Its primary function is to transport members of the Justice League around the world, while also being able to carry an entire cave full of weapons (Batmobile included) with it.
Debuting in 2017’s Justice League, the Flying Fox is reminiscent in many ways of The Flying Batcave (mentioned previously), save for the fact that it’s swapped out the giant fish bowl design in favour of the more sensible option of black armored plating. The Flying Fox is so gargantuan that it doesn’t even fit in the Batcave, and has to be stored inside an aviation hangar owned and operated by Bruce Wayne.
3 THE BATCOMPUTER
Move over IBM Summit, there’s a new kid in town. Yes, the most powerful quantum supercomputer resides in Bruce’s Batcave, and is basically the most adept piece of technology this side of Superman’s Kryptonian memory crystal system. Featured in one form or another in every live action iteration of Batman since the Adam West 1966 film, the Batcomputer made its first appearance in the pages of Batman #189, and has been a cave mainstay ever since.
With its humble origins as a simple punch card system, the Batcomputer is one of the key facets to Batman’s ability to solve complex criminal investigations. Among countless other features, it also boasts the ability to tap into the entire GCPD database.
2 KRYPTONITE RING
Spurred by his desire to bring Superman to his knees, the Kryptonite ring was first fashioned by Lex Luthor, later losing the emerald weapon to Batman, who has kept it under lock and key in the cave ever since. The Kryptonite Ring is basically Batman’s contingency plan in the event that Superman should ever go rogue and attempt to achieve world domination, and has fortunately only ever had to use it a handful of times (see: Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee’s Hush).
It is for this reason that the Kryptonite Ring scores so high on the list, as if it is powerful enough to take down the most powerful being in the DC universe, it must be one heck of a weapon.
Making the top spot on this list is the one and only Alfred Pennyworth. By far Batman’s greatest asset in fighting the forces of evil, Alfred is also Bruce’s greatest confidant, surrogate father, and oldest friend. Having been portrayed as everything from a genteel manservant, jack-of-all-trades grease monkey, and retired combat veteran, Mr. Pennyworth is as iconic as The Dark Knight himself, though often goes unsung in the hero department.
With skills ranging from Bat-vehicle repairman, weapons designer, medical surgeon, computer programmer, chemical engineer and even amateur martial artist, he is the man Bruce hopes to be when it comes time to hang up the cape and cowl. It is for these reasons that Alfred earns the top spot as Batman’s most impressive crime-combating resource.