There is nothing Batman can’t do. He doesn’t have superpowers, but you’d never know it based on all the amazing things he has done over the years. After spending time honing his body and mind as a martial arts master, detective, and scientist, it should be no surprise that Bruce Wayne can do things that normal human beings could never hope to accomplish. It would seem that every new creative team, and each new storyline, depicts Batman doing something even more outlandish than he’s ever done before.
From Grant Morrison’s “Batman RIP” to Scott Snyder’s “Batman: Endgame” to Tom King’s current run and beyond, the character always seems to come out on top in the face of impossible odds. Now, at the beginning of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Dark Nights: Metal crossover, Batman is surely due to do something even more amazing than he has ever done before. Whatever that story has in store for both readers and Bruce Wayne, there is no doubt we will see him do the impossible once again. In preparation for what we might see in this year’s blockbuster event series, here are 15 times that Batman managed to do the impossible.
15. SWAM THROUGH AN ACTIVE VOLCANO
Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo introduce Batman in Dark Days: The Forge by making him do the impossible – travel through an active volcano. Batman emerges through the side of an active volcano, equipped with a battlesuit that can stand the high temperatures of molten lava. His goal is to save a scientist stranded in his observatory.
As they journey through the lava flow, the suit begins to break down, and it looks like only a matter of time before they are incinerated. Somehow, the armor is able to hold up and they escape into the open ocean just in time. Aquaman saves the scientist while Batman gets himself to safety, able to swim to the surface on his own after everything he just went through.
14. FLIPPED SOLOMON GRUNDY (ONE-HANDED)
In Tom King’s Batman #2, Bruce Wayne attempts to change the way he works with others by trusting new heroes, Gotham and Gotham Girl. They all team up to take on Solomon Grundy, which turns violent when the inexperienced heroes get knocked around. Grundy bats Gotham (who basically has Superman’s powers) away, sending him crashing through a monument (that may be the Statue of Liberty).
Things are looking bad until Batman gets involved. The monster runs toward him, Batman stands his ground, and he actually manages to flip Grundy over his body and into the pavement with one hand. It’s a move that makes Batman look like he has superpowers, but it makes a little more sense if you consider that he used his martial arts skills to use Grundy’s momentum against him. Either way, it looked pretty darn impossible.
13. SURVIVED A CAVE-IN
Batman escapes his own demise in Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s “Batman: Endgame,” which documents the final confrontation between Batman and the Joker. During their brutal battle, both become beaten and bloody until the Batcave’s ceiling collapses on top of them, leaving Batman and Joker for dead. It is believed by many to be the end of Bruce Wayne.
He somehow manages to survive, though he seems to have lost his memories of his time as Batman. Bruce eventually uses a machine to download his old memories back into his brain, but it only works when brain death is induced. Batman is then able to reboot his brain and reclaim his rightful place in a way that is not only crazy, but sounds extremely impossible.
12. ROSE FROM THE GRAVE
Sometimes the impossible is to be expected, like In “Batman RIP,” where Grant Morrison and Tony Daniel have the Black Glove criminal organization tear down Batman both physically and mentally. Thanks to a mental trigger, Batman is transformed into the hyper violent Batman of Zur-En-Arrh. Dr. Hurt’s plan is to mentally destroy Batman by placing him in a straightjacket and burying him in a shallow grave.
The Joker, knowing his old adversary all too well, knows that this will never work, and the Batman will escape and hunt them all down like he always does. Of course, that’s exactly what happens when the Dark Knight manages to dig himself out of his own grave. Now mentally stable, he goes on to hunt down Hurt and confront him in one final battle.
11. MAKES AN IMPOSSIBLE SHOT
In 1997’s Detective Comics #710, Chuck Dixon and Graham Nolan set Batman up in a situation where he is forced to use a gun. As much as he detests the use of firearms, he’s still an expert marksman, because of course he would be.
The assassin Deathstroke comes to Gotham City in order to kill Gunhawk, a crazed villain with some heavy firepower. Batman fights him to prevent the killing, but he leaves innocent people in harm’s way. With only seconds to decide before the boat is out of range, Batman uses a sniper rifle to disarm Gunhawk and save a bunch of lives. Even Deathstroke comments that the target had gone too far out to sea and it was going to be an impossible shot. Not for Batman, though.
10. DEFEATED THE SENSEI
During the crossover story “The Resurrection of Ra’s al Ghul,” Sensei is revealed to be the father of Ra’s. After defeating his son with ease, he squares of with Batman. The Sensei, despite his age, is a martial arts master and tells the Dark Knight he only needs one minute to destroy him. Sensei breaks Batman’s arm, blinds him, and stabs him, making victory seem nearly impossible.
Never tell Batman the odds, though, because he manages to stay on his feet and last longer than a minute. He lunges at Sensei, who is now too weak to fight back, and they both tumble into the Fountain of Essence. Because of his impure spirit, Sensei is destroyed by the magical waters, while Batman is healed and even slightly de-aged.
9. SWIFTLY RECOVERED FROM A BROKEN BACK
During the events of “Batman: Knightfall,” Batman is actually able to make a broken back look like no big deal. A fight between Batman and Bane ends with Bane breaking Batman’s back over his knee. In reality, this should have been the end of Bruce Wayne’s crime fighting career. He was left paralyzed, and even if he was able to recover, the extensive injuries to his body should have made the continuation of his career as a vigilante next to impossible.
He enlists the help of Dr. Shondra Kinsolving, who uses her latent abilities to heal Bruce’s back. Despite his ability to walk again, his agility and fighting skills have eroded, forcing him to undergo intensive training to become Batman again. Back to normal, he finally has what it takes to unseat Azrael as the replacement Batman and eventually take down Bane… all in what some might say is a “superhuman” amount of time.
8. DEFEATED SUPERMAN
In the seminal Batman tale “Batman: Hush” by Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee, Superman comes under the influence of Poison Ivy. The mind controlled Man of Steel is ordered to kill Batman, who uses many of the weapons in his arsenal, including a Kryptonite ring, to keep Superman at bay.
Of course, it is observed that Superman is holding back in resistance to Poison Ivy’s mind control, but it is Batman’s planning that finally brings the conflict to an end. Knowing that Superman would never let anything happen to Lois Lane, he orders Catwoman to throw her from the building. This act forces Superman to break from Ivy’s control to save her. Batman was able to do the impossible: survive a battle against Superman himself.
7. BEAT THE JUSTICE LEAGUE
We already know that Batman can beat the Justice League if he’s given the necessary amount of time to prepare. But what happens when they attack him by surprise, allowing him no prep time, and requiring him to think on his feet? Sounds impossible, right? Batman knows differently.
In the opening of “Batman: Endgame,” the Joker poisons the members of the Justice League with a new toxin and sends them out to kill Batman. Reacting quickly, Bruce Wayne launches Fenrir, the high-tech suit he had developed to take on each member of the Justice League. He fights Wonder Woman, Flash, and Aquaman before Superman shows up. The Man of Steel proves to be too powerful for the suit, but Batman puts an end to the rampage when he spits gum laced with Kryptonite into his friend’s face and beats him with tiny red suns in his knuckles. Always be prepared, even if doing so is impossible.
6. FINALLY SHUTS UP GUY GARDNER
In their Justice League International title, Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis portrayed Guy Gardner as a misogynistic jerk who fights with anyone and everyone around him at all times. No one on the team likes him. Fed up with Batman’s style of leadership, Guy Gardner challenges him to a fist fight without the help of his Green Lantern ring and everyone is on the Dark Knight’s side.
The standoff is concluded fairly quickly once Batman manages to down Gardner with a single punch to the face. He falls to the floor unconscious, and his teammates leave him there, happy to finally see someone shut Gardner up. Everyone assumed it would be impossible to silence Guy Gardner, but Batman manages to do the impossible, even in an instance like this.
5. BEAT A GOD
Batman is captured by the New Gods of Apokolips in Grant Morrison’s Final Crisis in order to take him off the playing field. Darkseid knows that the Dark Knight is too dangerous to be left on his own, so they abduct him and keep him as their prisoner for much of the series.
When Bruce Wayne breaks free, he confronts Darkseid, who has been reborn in the body of detective Dan Turpin. He brandishes a gun, loaded with a Radion bullet that is poisonous to New Gods, and the two end up in a duel of life and death. Batman manages to get a clean shot off, hitting Darkseid and sealing his fate, but the villain’s Omega Effect laser blast quickly hits his the Dark Knight, sending him to his doom.
4. KICKED THE SPECTRE IN THE FACE
As the wrath of God, the Spectre is one of the most powerful beings in the DC Universe. This makes it incredibly surprising when Batman actually manages to hurt him in Tales of the Unexpected #4 by David Lapham. Angry about how the Spectre deals out his biblical brand of justice, Batman swoops in to attack and is shocked to find that his kick actually landed. Impossible!
Of course, the Spectre explains that he actually allowed Batman to “harm” him in order to diffuse the situation. We might have to deduct points for that, but it doesn’t mean that this event wasn’t one of the most outlandish things that Batman has ever done. No other human being would have been awarded this kind of respect from the Spectre.
3. SURVIVED THE VACUUM OF SPACE
In 2003’s JLA: Welcome to the Working Week, comedian Patton Oswalt and Patrick Gleason gave us a story about the everyday lives of the Justice League. A journalist finds his way onto the Justice League’s lunar watchtower and spends a week observing the team in secret. He reports on all that he sees in order to give people a look at the world’s greatest superheroes from behind closed doors.
He watches Wonder Woman training and Plastic Man hosting a party. He also sees Batman expose himself to the vacuum of space. Wait what? Yeah, Batman actually tethers himself to the Watchtower and opens the door into space. He tells the Martian Manhunter it’s to practice in case the hull of the watchtower is ever breached. Because Batman prepares for everything.
2. BROUGHT HIS SON BACK TO LIFE
When Damian Wayne met his end in the pages of Batman Incorporated, his father never gives up hope of bringing him back to life. The storyline picks up in Batman and Robin, where Ra’s al Ghul steals the body and attempts to bring him back to life through the use of a Lazarus Pit; however, it does not work. Batman follows Ra’s to the ends of the Earth in order to take back his son’s body.
The remains of Damian are then taken to Apokolips, and after Batman fights off Darkseid himself, he is able to use the powerful Chaos Shard to finally resurrect his son. After everything that has happened, a father’s determination to save his son could not be stopped. Damian then reclaimed his role as Robin.
1. SURFED AN AIRPLANE
If ever you wanted to see Batman do the impossible, look no further than Tom King and David Finch’s first issue on Batman. An airplane is due to crash land in the middle of Gotham City and the Caped Crusader jumps into action. With only a few minutes to spare, he launches himself out of the Batmobile at just the right time to land on the plane.
He attaches jet engines to the wings of the plane and rides on top of it in order to steer around several large buildings. The plan is to dump the airplane into the water, preventing massive casualties, but he is also mentally prepared to die. He says his goodbyes to Alfred and makes sure his estate will be in order. Just as they are about to hit the water, he’s saved by Gotham and Gotham Girl. A miracle!
Know another impossible Bat-moment? Let us know about it in the comments!
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