Batman is easily one of the greatest comic book heroes ever. Since his creation, he has been praised for making a difference in the world despite his lack of any superhuman abilities. Using his combat skills, vast intelligence, and great detective abilities, Bruce Wayne has turned Batman into a symbol of good going far beyond just the pages of a comic book. However, he is still just a man, and just as flawed as any other person can be.
Over his extensive publication history, Bruce Wayne has certainly hit some bumps during his time both in and out of the cowl. However good-intentioned some of his actions were, he still managed to pull off some pretty horrifying things. Looking at some of the more troublesome actions, here is our list of the 10 worst things Bruce Wayne has ever done.
10 Slept With Barbara Gordon
In the DC Animated Universe, it is implied that Bruce and Barbara were more than just fellow crime fighters. In the Batman Beyond TV show, the older characters occasionally offer a small bit of information that only supports the theory. However, in the Batman Beyond Universe comics, the romance between the two is confirmed. As Terry McGinnis is digging into the past, he comes to discover that, while Dick Grayson was out of Gotham City, Bruce and Barbara began a romantic relationship.
Of course, things didn’t last long between the two and Dick would eventually make a return. However, things lasted long enough for Barbara to become pregnant with Bruce’s child. This led to a big altercation between Bruce and Dick, further fracturing their already fragile relationship. While Barbara would eventually miscarry the baby, it doesn’t change the fact that Bruce knowingly chose to betray his oldest partner in such a manner.
9 Work With Lex Luthor
On several occasions, Waynetech has actually interacted or partnered with LuthorCorp in some way or another. While this has happened much more often in non-canon works, Bruce Wayne is still the one at the helm of some decisions. Granted, sometimes these actions are justified in that the partnerships allow him to keep an eye on Luthor’s projects.
Every so often though, Waynetech has become involved with some sketchy activity, putting Bruce in the crosshairs much like Luthor. Despite some good being able to come out of this situation, it isn’t exactly one of Bruce’s wisest decisions.
8 Lie to His Family
Batman is known for keeping his secrets. Over the years, these secrets have often gotten him into trouble, or led others away from him after discovering what he knew. However, no lie has likely had more of an effect on those closest to him other than the lie from Death of the Family. Back during his early days, Batman discovered a Joker card in the waters of the Batcave. Over many years, he never mentioned to anyone that it was possible that the Joker had found his way into the cave.
After the Joker enacted a very personal attack against each individual member of the Batfamily, Bruce’s secret came out, devastating his relationship with most members. The family was so fractured that Batgirl even removed the bat symbol from her costume. For other things that Bruce has done over the years, something as simple as lying has proven to be one of the worst ones.
7 Punched Jim Gordon
Recently, Batman author Tom King has put the Dark Knight through some of the biggest challenges he has yet to face. In his prolonged plan, Bane has successfully managed to manipulate Batman into punching Jim Gordon. Though Batman was blind with rage at the time, his actions resulted in him losing the support of the police.
As Bane had planned, Batman had successfully lost some incredibly close allies in Gotham, leaving the door open for Bane to make a move to take the city. While Batman was being manipulated at the time, his own actions still cost him greatly, making this moment one of the biggest mistakes in the Caped Crusader’s career.
6 Become an Addict
Even before Bane himself was introduced, the drug, Venom, was causing problems for the Dark Knight. After failing to save a young girl, Batman began taking Venom, a dramatically effective steroid, to enhance his own strength and performance. Eventually, he becomes more and more reliant on the drug, even letting bad guys go so he can obtain a larger supply.
Likewise, his behavior begins to change and he goes on to act in a manner he never had before. From being reckless, abusive, to reclusive, getting addicted to Venom is easily one of Batman’s lowest points. After locking himself in the Batcave for several days, Bruce finally beats his addiction and returns to being Batman. Yet, though few others got hurt as a result of his behavior, this moment remains one of the worst things he has ever done.
5 Punched the Robins
For how often Batman beats down criminals, it is also surprising how often he beats those closest to him. On many occasions, Batman has gotten physical with just about every Robin. While he typically dismisses it as discipline, he’s definitely come close to crossing the line.
For Dick Grayson especially, Batman seems to throw a solid punch whenever the two have a disagreement. While Jason Todd’s actions as Red Hood make it easier to understand why Bruce would hit him, he is still significantly younger and less experienced than Batman himself. Even Tim Drake, one of the most loyal of the Robins, has been struck by Batman. While those closest to Batman are certainly well trained and devoted to the same cause, his violent nature often gets misdirected to those who don’t deserve a beating.
Batman is also known for his incredibly strict moral code. No matter how bad the situation gets, readers can count on Batman to find a better way to do things, without taking the easy way out. Despite this, his sense of morality was certainly not always part of the character.
When he was first created, Batman was easily one of the more ruthless characters in comics. He regularly took out villains and even utilized guns. Thankfully, this is no longer the case for the character, as his moral compass definitely makes him much more compelling. Unfortunately though, this is still a key part of his history, and one of the worst moments for him as well.
For all of the Dark Knight’s illest doings, this one has to be one of the darkest. After deciding for himself that the villain KGBeast was too deadly to be left alive, Batman sealed him in a vault as it flooded with water. What makes this moment particularly disturbing was that Batman was completely in control of his own thoughts and actions.
There was no outside influence on him whatsoever in this case, meaning that he knowingly and willingly chose to kill KGBeast. A few issues later, it is eventually revealed that he called the police and they got there in time to rescue the villain. However, it doesn’t change the fact that this is still one of Bruce’s darkest actions.
2 Creating Brother Eye
With the help of Mr. Terrific, Bruce Wayne created Brother Eye, an artificial intelligence that was designed to help make crime fighting easier. However, in almost every interpretation of continuity out there, Brother Eye ends up going rogue, eventually taking over and enslaving the planet.
Thankfully, something has always happened to stop Brother Eye in some way or another. Yet, it doesn’t change the fact that Bruce Wayne himself still created one of the deadliest things in the DC Universe. Though his motives were good intentioned in this scenario, Brother Eye has still been shown to be one of the most devastating creations, arguably in all of comics.
1 Taken Down the Justice League
As mentioned previously, Bruce is known for keeping his secrets. Sometimes, the wrong person obtains access to those very secrets, and uses them to attack those closest to Bruce. Such was the case in JLA: Tower of Babel. After Talia Al’ Ghul manages to steal files that Bruce kept on the Justice League, Talia launched an attack that took out each individual member.
Though Bruce was included in that attack, the fact that he had thought of taking down the League caused a lot of issues between him and his teammates. Once again, Bruce had a fair argument in justifying his actions, but it doesn’t change the fact that he was effectively the one who nearly killed some of the most powerful people on the planet. For all the good he has done over the years, this is easily one of the worst and most extreme actions he has ever made.