Bruce Wayne, aka Batman, the Dark Knight, is one of the greatest superheroes of all time. With nothing but his wits, dedication, and drive to fight crime and bring security to Gotham City, Bruce Wayne transformed himself into one of the world’s most formidable mortals. Utilizing a masterful blend of technology, martial arts, and raw intelligence, Batman has successfully taken on everyone from Superman and Doomsday, to White Martians and even the entire Justice League. For a guy without powers, Batman is pretty powerful.
Held in high regards by both his friends and colleagues, Batman’s allies turn to him whenever they’re in trouble. Though he prowls the streets of Gotham, all in the name of releasing pent up aggression on unsuspecting criminals, Batman is held in truly high esteem. Like Superman, Batman is a nearly incorruptible hero, but he will do anything it takes, minus killing, to make sure justice is enacted. The Dark Knight’s pursuit of justice, although noble, has also put him into questionable situations. Not everything Batman does is straightforward and pragmatic. Occasionally, he’ll commit weird, creepy, and downright frightening acts. Today at CBR we’re looking at 15 creepy things about Batman that his friends, family, and readers seem to constantly ignore.
15 HE USED TO KILL CRIMINALS
Among other things, Batman is known for not killing criminals. No matter who it is, Batman adamantly believes in rising up the horror of murder, else risk the chance of becoming a villain himself. In the early days of Batman’s adventures, as seen in early Detective Comics, the Dark Knight had a very different outlook on dealing with crime. Though he arrested villains, he was also a strong believer in straight up murdering whoever needed to be murdered.
Granted, some of these times were accidental, but Batman never showed any remorse when he accidentally impaled someone on a sword or accidentally broke their neck. With all the modern stories featuring Batman versus thugs, nobody dies, so it’s unlikely to think Batman was just “accidentally” killing people. Even so, what with all the modern day flashbacks to his early years, writers haven’t acknowledged Batman’s spree of killing criminals.
14 HE GOT ADDICTED TO VENOM
Batman is no stranger to drugs. He’d probably try to explain it away, saying he only gets exposed to so many drugs because it’s all part of some elaborate training regimen. We, however, know the truth: he’s a crazed creep who lives in a cave!
Bane, one of the few villains to annihilate Batman, also uses the drug known as Venom to give him great strength. Maybe you see where this is headed. In the series Batman: Venom, writer Denny O'Neil demonstrated exactly what happens when Batman takes Venom to become stronger. First he gets addicted, and then Batman goes a whole utility belt’s worth of crazy. The results are rather horrifying and Batman becomes so deranged and insane that he has to lock himself up for a month, away from those he cares about, in order to beat his addiction. That’s why you don’t take drugs, Batman!
13 HE LIVES IN A CAVE
Bruce Wayne, aka Batman, is one of the richest men in the world. He has fancy cars, dines dames, runs one of the biggest companies on the planet, and he lives in Wayne Manor, a gorgeous mansion. Or at least he would live in his mansion periodically if he wasn’t’ so obsessed with spending all his time in a dark, bat-infested cave. Despite the protests of his butler Alfred, Bruce refuses to live like a normal person.
He’s committed himself practically entirely to his identity as Batman. Why that translates into forcing oneself to live in a horrible environment filled with flying rats is a mystery. If any other person decided to live in a cave, their family would likely stage an intervention and get them a nice, inescapable white coat for Christmas.
12 HE'S CONSTANTLY HALLUCINATING ABOUT HIS DEAD PARENTS
When Bruce Wayne was a child, both his parents were brutally murdered right in front of his eyes. He’d spend the rest of his natural-born life training to not only become the World’s Greatest Detective, but to punch dudes. That alone probably isn’t the sign of good mental stability, but what’s definitely not a good sign is Bruce hallucinating his dead parents.
Having seemingly never received proper help for the trauma he endured, Bruce keeps the scars of his worst memory front and center within him at all time. It is the force that perpetually drives him That said, his dead parents seem to appear to him whenever he’s in extreme duress. Enduring an extreme case of PTSD, nobody addresses it or asks Bruce to seek help. They merely accept that he’s Batman and Batman knows best.
11 HE LIVES WITH UNDERAGE BOYS
Maybe you’ve heard this one, but it’s generally not a good idea to be a grown man and spend all your time with underage boys. Bruce Wayne clearly never heard such an idea before, because the majority of his companions, outside of his super-powered god friends in the Justice League and his butler, are typically underage children. Is that weird? It kind of sounds weird, especially since he’ll literally take one of them off the street, like with Jason Todd, and try to adopt them.
Batman’s intentions are definitely benevolent, but it’s got to look suspicious to the casual outsider. On the one hand you have a man of exorbitant wealth who constantly seem to be adopting young boys, only to have them go inexplicably missing one by one with no compelling reason given to the public.
10 HE ONCE BECAME A VAMPIRE
Because the bat-themed motif isn’t on the nose enough for some, Batman incidentally wound up getting turned into a vampire. In the Batman and Dracula Trilogy, because who else is better suited to battle the Lord of Vampires, Bruce Wayne finally became a creature of the night in its truest meaning.
In the first part of the trilogy, Batman learns Dracula is attacking Gotham’s homeless population. Just as quickly, Batman ends up getting bitten and transformed into a vampire. He uses his newfound vampire strength to defeat Dracula’s horde and then impales Dracula on a tree; Batman becomes the new vampire leader. By the third part of the trilogy, Batman is out murdering and drinking the blood of all of his old enemies. Realizing what he’s become, Batman kills himself by exposing himself to sunlight. It begs the question though where were his friends and teammates during all this?
9 HIS NSA-STYLE SUPERCOMPUTER
Batman watches you; he watches all of us! At least he does in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight where Batman uses a massive NSA-style supercomputer to survey the entirety of Gotham and its inhabitants. Though the Joker and Two-Face, along the conflicting ideologies between Batman and his villains, are threatening, nothing is quite as scary as Batman watching his city at all times.
When he reveals to Lucius Fox that he’s got a secret sonar supercomputer capable of spying on the entire city through people’s cell phones, Lucius immediately states that once they find the Joker, he’ll resign. He believes no one should have access to such power. Batman apparently agreed because the computer self-destructed after the Joker was beaten. Though once again, it shows there is literally nothing Batman won’t do to satisfy the perpetual rage he feels towards the Joker.
8 HE MURDERED THE KGBEAST
Batman is one of the greatest fighters in the world. Rarely does he come across an opponent he cannot defeat. Heck, he’s even taken on Superman before, so if Batman has decided to resort to murdering you, then you should probably take it as a backhanded compliment. Anyway, that’s the tactic Batman enlisted when he fought the incredibly tough villain KGBeast. After several issues of not being able to defeat the assassin, Batman decides he’s had enough. In Batman #420, the Dark Knight realizes he probably won’t be able to defeat KGBeast in a one-on-one fight, so he locks lock the baddie in an inescapable room to wither away and die.
Batman is clearly committing murder. He leaves no possibility for KGBeast to escape and the police don’t bat an eye when they ask Batman about the villain’s whereabouts and his silence says all they need to know.
7 HE MADE ROBIN EAT RATS
Batman and Robin are generally considered the quintessential team. They are, after all referred to as the Dynamic Duo. The relationship between Batman and Robin is the stuff of legend; they’re a great pair! Except for that time Batman made young Dick Grayson eat rats in order to survive. In the highly controversial All-Star Batman & Robin, Batman first abducts Dick after his parents are murdered and then chooses an insane methodology to train his new sidekick.
Batman puts Dick through additional trauma by isolating him in the Batcave so he can learn to fend for himself. Batman then makes Dick eat rats to survival. Why? Because Batman did it when he was training to become the Dark Knight. When Alfred gives Dick proper food, Batman flips out and tells him Dick needs to learn the hard way. It’s never mentioned again.
6 THE BATMAN OF ZUR-EN-ARRH
If it hasn’t become obvious, Batman is not a mentally sound individual. Batman masks his brand of crazy by appearing composed, methodical, and well-prepared. In the real world, it’d be impossible to pull of Batman’s ability to fight crime, so kudos for the Dark Knight.
Regardless, Batman’s mental stability has been turned against him. During an encounter with Dr. Simon Hurt, Batman was placed in an isolation experiment and is implanted with the post-hypnotic trigger Zur-En-Arrh. Later, the Black Glove uses the Zur-En-Arrh trigger against Batman, which resulted in Bruce Wayne wandering like an amnesiac hobo through the alleys of Gotham City. Bruce still uncovers his thirst for vengeance, dons a super weird costume, calls himself the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh, and teams up with Bat-Mite, a product of the Silver Age and an imp from the 5th dimension.
5 HE PURPOSEFULLY TOOK A DOSE OF JOKER TOXIN
Batman has endured some extreme training over the course of his life, some of which involved exposing his body to nearly every toxin, to make him immune to poisons. The Joker, Batman’s greatest foe, has done something similar and is pretty much immune to most drugs and poisons too. The Joker also created his infamous Joker Toxin, which quickly kills people, leaving them with a ghastly smile. Batman, in his infinite wisdom, thought it’d be best to test the Joker Toxin on himself.
In Batman: The Man Who Laughs, Bruce Wayne is willing to go to any and all lengths to defeat the Joker, no matter how crazy it might be. To that end, he purposefully injects himself with the Joker's deadly Joker Toxin so he can test a possible antidote. Incidentally, he wasn't sure the antidote would work, but goes to show the extremes Batman will go to.
4 HE COVERED UP A CRIMINAL'S DEATH
Matches Malone first appeared in Denny O'Neil’s Batman #242 as a minor mob boss who got killed by his own bullet with a ricochet; he also happened to look exactly like Bruce Wayne with a mustache. Batman found this handy, and used the identity even after this detail was forgotten.
In 2001 his origin was retold. This time, he was an arsonist who seemingly committed suicide after his brother’s death. After Batman discovered his badly burned body, he realized only he knew Malone was dead. And so Batman covered up the death, burying Matches and taking his identity for his own. Matches would return years alter, having faked his death. It worked out for Batman though, because crooks that thought he sold them out to Batman murdered Matches.
3 HE BECAME A ZOMBIE CRIME-FIGHTER
Though Batman might be considered unbeatable nowadays, the Dark Knight has actually fallen prey to many villains and even died a couple times. In Bob Haney and Jim Aparo's "The Corpse That Wouldn't Die" from Brave and the Bold #115, Batman was killed by a booby-trapped rain-spout rigged up by some average criminals. Since it was electricity that killed him, Batman only “mostly” died, but we digress. The Atom gets wind of the situation and solves Batman's "final" case by shrinking down and hopping around on his brain, hoping to stimulate Batman’s crime-fighting instincts.
Turns out, having a tiny superhero jump around in your skull is enough to help one punch out criminals and save kidnapped little girls. The Atom was also able to jumpstart everything again and have Batman’s body back in working order. This is an incident everyone should be talking about at Bat-themed dinner parties!
2 TRANSFORMED INTO BAT-BABY
The world of comics is a crazy and bizarre place. If you don’t watch your step, you’ll find yourself getting transformed into a fully sentient baby. It’s not even that turning into a baby is scary, though it is, it’s just there’s probably nothing more frightening than getting attacked by toddler-sized Batman. Nothing, including getting transformed into a baby, will give Batman pause and make him less dedicated to his war on crime. Thanks to a mad scientist, who blasts Batman with a groovy sci-fi gun, the Dark Knight is de-aged into a younger form. Luckily (and weirdly), Bat-Baby retains his adult intellect, strength, and agility, so he continues being a creature of the night… albeit pin-sized.
Even more ridiculous, Robin seems pretty chill about the whole thing, like getting turned into a toddler is a regular occurrence in their life. Perhaps Batman, even as a baby, is still too fearsome a creature to even dare ridiculing.
1 LOST CUSTODY OF ROBIN TO A VAMPIRE
During the ‘80s Doug Moench and Gene Colan came up with the character Nocturna. Natalia was an astronomer who got zapped by a weird science ray. It drained her skin of pigmentation and left her super-sensitive to light; she then called herself Nocturna and became a criminal. She then generated a weird love quadrangle with Vicki Vale and Alfred's daughter, Julia Pennyworth.
Nocturna's zany strategy involved waiting for Bruce to adopt a new ward, which he did with Jason Todd, and then adopt him first so Bruce would have to marry her if he really wanted a son. It sounds crazy, but it almost worked. Jason actually said in court he'd prefer to be adopted by Natalia. Though later Jason revealed it had all been part of a horrible attempt to go undercover, we’re still not buying it.