The Dark Knight Detective is by and large considered to be one of the most competent superheroes across all of the universes, meaning that given enough time and preparation, Batman could beat almost anyone. However, that isn't to say that Batman hasn't taken a few beatings over the years.
Some of those beatings come from the deadliest members of his rogues' gallery, and it's frankly surprising that a human being can come back from some of these beatdowns. So today we are going to examine a few of the worst beatings Batman ever took that we still can't believe he survived.
The unknown man behind the mask of Prometheus has a similar but twisted backstory to Batman, in that his parents were spree killers who were gunned down by a police officer. Prometheus used his inheritance to travel around the world and train his body to become the world's greatest super-criminal, as opposed to Batman's similar journey to become the world's greatest detective.
Prometheus' headgear was able to download the fighting styles of thirty of the world's greatest martial artists (including Batman) directly into his brain. What presumably followed was a technical takedown of Batman followed by a brutal beating from his opposite number that unfortunately happened off-panel, but left the Batman in bad shape.
Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee teamed up for a year of stories that would run in the Batman title called "Hush" which introduced a character of the same name. The storyline featured some of Batman's biggest villains and allies and even saw the Dark Knight go up against a Poison Ivy-controlled Superman.
However, the worst hits he took in the storyline came when Hush managed to cut one of Batman's ropes as he was swinging high above the city. This caused Batman to fall quickly to the street below, where he severely injured his head. If it wasn't for the quick intervention of Bruce Wayne's childhood friend/surgeon Tommy Elliot, it's likely Bruce never would have recovered.
The Rebirth era of the DC Universe was not without its own share of mysteries, with some still leftover from the previous New 52 reboot. One of those mysteries tied into the Doomsday Clock series that was set to merge the DC Universe with the world of the Watchmen. And it all started with Comedian's button, which was found in the Batcave.
While examining the button, it came in contact with the Psycho-Pirate's mask and opened a rift which called out to the Reverse-Flash, who arrived at the Batcave and spent almost an entire minute assaulting Batman at super-speeds. While Bats got a few good hits in during the fight, he only survived because Reverse-Flash stopped and left with the button before the Flash arrived.
One of the most iconic beatdowns happened during the Knightfall event, which saw Batman dealing with a non-stop assault of villains after they were released from Arkham Asylum. This vicious gauntlet wore down the Batman in a way fans had never seen before.
It was only when he was at his weakest that Bane showed up at Wayne Manor having deduced his secret identity. Bane would proceed to beat Bruce severely throughout the manor and down into the Batcave, where he would eventually break Batman's back over his knee, paralyzing the hero. It would take a long recovery, but eventually Bruce found himself back in the cowl.
We've seen a few battles between Batman and Deathstroke over the years, with each side taking victories, but one of their earlier matchups demonstrated how quickly and easy Slade Wilson could take down Batman when properly motivated.
Deathstroke quickly gained the upper hand when they encountered each other in Gotham City in Deathstroke#7, which Slade felt was due to being an enhanced human while Batman is merely at his peak abilities. Deathstroke beat Batman unconscious and almost worse, with Batman only surviving because Slade was able to stop himself from going to far.
The leadup to the Infinite Crisis event featured a few big events, including the death of Blue Beetle and the launch of the Brother Eye satellite and the OMAC project. The "Sacrifice" storyline that ran through the Superman line of comics followed Superman as he was being manipulated by an outside force, with mysterious blood on his hands.
That blood was revealed to be from Batman, who had been viciously beaten and left for dead by the mind-controlled Kryptonian. Former League ally and head of Checkmate Maxwell Lord was responsible for the corruption of Superman and the devastating beating of Batman, though Wonder Woman ended his threat when she snapped his neck to free Superman from his control.
4 COURT OF OWLS
One of the best things to come out of the New 52 reboot was undoubtedly the Court of Owls, who were revealed to be a secret society of the rich and murderous that grew within Gotham City since its beginning. When Batman discovered the rumors of the Court were true, he found himself caught in their sights and was quickly defeated by their main man, Talon.
While the fights between Batman and Talon were gruesome and those alone could fit on this list, it was the beating combined with the Court's attempts at breaking the Bat psychologically by trapping him in a maze without food or water for a week that really amazed us, though he was broken and altered by his time with the Court.
Those alterations would be revealed at the end of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's run on Batman, during the "Endgame" storyline. The Joker was back and deadlier than ever, having been enhanced by Dionesium, a healing elixir that Joker used to give himself regenerative abilities.
The final showdown between Batman and the Joker is one of the most violent confrontations fans had ever seen between the two life-long enemies, and without the healing effects of the Dionesium, both Joker and Batman would have died in the cave where there broken bodies fell after their battle.
2 FINAL CRISIS
Following the events of Batman R.I.P. that ended with the presumed death of Batman, he appeared in the pages of Final Crisis having miraculously escaped at the last minute to help the rest of the League with the latest attempt by Darkseid to turn Earth into a new Apokolips.
Unfortunately, Batman was left alone to face off against Darkseid, who hit Batman with his most powerful weapon - the Omega Effect. While most would be instantly obliterated by the powerful eye blasts, Batman was instead sent back through time, because comics. Bruce would jump through a few time periods before eventually returning to the present day.
There are a few writers who like to put Batman through the physical ringer more than others, which we've seen a few times from Frank Miller, most notably in The Dark Knight Returns. However, one of the worst beatings Frank Miller ever gave Batman came in a crossover with Image Comics - Spawn/Batman.
Miller teamed with Spawn creator Todd McFarlane to bring the two dark heroes together for the first time, though it was specifically stated as occurring in Miller's TDKR continuity. While the two characters are fairly evenly matched in skills, the magically powered Spawn beats Batman within an inch of his life before he is forced to magically heal him in order to deal with the real bad guy of the crossover.