Batman is unique among superheroes in that he fights supervillains of all skill levels from purse snatchers to gods like Darkseid and comes out the winner, even though he usually has no superpowers of his own. His success comes down to his brilliant mind, highly trained body, unwavering determination and vast resources as a billionaire. Yet there have been times when Batman was more than just a guy in a bat costume. On a few occasions, Batman has been incredibly powerful. We’ll be talking about 15 of those moments.
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If you’re thinking we’re just going to be covering the times when Batman got a new car or a new gadget, you’re wrong. In some stories, Batman’s power came from a suit or other technology that he’s created. In other cases, there was an entirely different reality where circumstances changed to give him his power. There have been others who’ve gone by the name Batman who had their own powers, and in a few cases, Batman has been changed against his will into a new form. A few times, he even became a god. Join us as we count down 15 times when Batman went from his regular (but still awesome) self to supremely overpowered.
Okay, say what you want but we have to put standard Batman as the weakest. While the regular Batman is more than a match for most other supervillains and even superheroes, he’s nothing compared to some of the versions of Batman we’ll be talking about.
Still, Batman on his own is terrifying. He’s got a body honed by rigorous exercise and trained by the world’s greatest martial artists. He has a detective’s mind and can solve the world’s greatest mysteries in the blink of an eye. He has the almost unlimited resources of one of the world’s biggest corporations at his disposal. He has a reputation that makes most criminals wet themselves at the sight of him because he’s defeated some of the most powerful criminals on Earth. Still, he’s small change, comparatively speaking.
14. DARK KNIGHT RETURNS BATMAN
In 1986, DC Comics released The Dark Knight Returns, a graphic novel that changed Batman forever. Not only was Batman older at the age of 55, but he was far darker and more brutal than Batman had been portrayed in decades. He refused to use a gun but used his fists, batarangs and feet to beat criminals to within an inch of their lives. Not only that but Frank Miller’s Dark Knight used an array of weapons like a Batmobile that was more tank than a sports car.
He took on a powerful gang leader, and his old enemies Two-Face and the Joker. He even figured out a way to beat Superman, and that’s at an age when most men are looking towards retirement. It’s one thing for a man in his prime to do that, but an elderly Batman still kicking butt seemed more powerful.
13. BATMAN BEYOND
Next, we’re going further into the future with the 1999 TV series, Batman Beyond. In that show, Bruce Wayne retired and turned over the cape (metaphorically speaking) and cowl to teenage Terry McGinnis. As Batman, McGinnis fights new villains like Inque and old villains like Mister Freeze.
To do that, he wears a high-tech suit that lets him do amazing things. He can fly thanks to rockets in his shoes, and carry out surveillance by sticking magnetically to ceilings, disappear and listen to conversations with enhanced hearing. He also has offensive capabilities like the ability to fire batarangs, enhanced speed and strength, and can fire smoke and gas pellets. It’s not that the regular Batman doesn’t have these tools, but not so many built into his suit and available with such lightweight properties.
12. KINGDOM COME BATMAN
In 1996, Mark Waid and Alex Ross created the miniseries Kingdom Come, set in an alternate future where a battle between superheroes and supervillains threatens the world. In this world, Batman has become a much different and more powerful figure. The Batman in Kingdom Come had to graft an exoskeleton onto his body to combat years of physical abuse from crime-fighting, but the exoskeleton made him physically stronger and let him fly, allowing him to protect himself after his identity was exposed.
Batman built and maintained an army of Batman robots called Bat-Knights to become the underground ruler of Gotham City. When Lex Luthor created the Mankind Liberation Front to oppose the Justice League’s tyrannical rule, Lex manufactured more Bat-Knights to fight the rogue heroes. With his robots and exoskeleton, Batman was a force to be reckoned with.
11. AMAZO VIRUS BATMAN
In 2014, Geoff Johns, Doug Mahnke and Ivan Reis created Justice League #35 where the Amazo virus was first introduced. Luthor created a synthetic plague called the Amazo virus to suppress metahuman abilities, but it was released and began spreading. On normal people, it would give them power, but those who already had powers, the virus would take away their powers and brainwash them.
Batman was exposed to the virus and in Justice League #38 (Geoff Johns, Jason Fabok), developed into a metahuman. Blinded, Batman developed the power to use sound waves to see using echolocation. He could also project sound in a blast capable of knocking down his enemies. It’s one of the few times Batman developed real superpowers, and he was able to fight the Justice League with them.
10. INSIDER BATMAN
In 2010, Batman was hit by Darkseid’s Omega Sanction, sending him back in time but leaving everyone thinking he was dead. When Bruce Wayne made his way back to the present, he decided to check on the Bat-Family to see what they’d been up to. In Bruce Wayne: The Road Home: Batman and Robin #1 (Fabian Nicieza, Cliff Richards), Wayne decided to test them with a new suit and became the Insider.
The suit used advanced technology to copy the powers of some of the Justice League members. With heat vision mode, Wayne could shoot laser beams, speed force mode let him move like the Flash, a will-powered force beam allowed him to copy Green Lantern, and an electric wire could tie people up and detect lies like Wonder Woman. The suit’s only limit was how quickly it ran out of power, but made Batman a powerhouse.
9. BATMAN ’66
If you never saw the Batman TV show that first aired in 1966, you might be surprised how high that version ranks on this list. If you did see the show, you’re not surprised at all. That’s because Batman in the 1960s was cool, calm and always in control. Played by Adam West, he was also one of the most powerful versions of Batman, ever.
What made him so powerful? The 1966 Batman had everything, literally. There was no situation he hadn’t foreseen and equipped himself to handle. When he fought Mister Freeze, he wore his Bat-thermal underwear. When someone tried to shoot him, he unfolded his Bat-bulletproof shield. Even when he fought a shark, he had Bat-shark repellent. ’66 Batman was the ultimate Boy Scout, always prepared.
8. VAMPIRE BATMAN
In 1991, a series of Elseworlds stories started with Batman & Dracula: Red Rain (Doug Moench, Kelley Jones). When Dracula came to Gotham City, one of the vampires infected Batman to give him the power to fight the undead army. With his enhanced strength, speed and the power of flight, Batman was more than a match for the vampires and Dracula but won at the cost of his own humanity.
While fighting the remaining vampire army led by the Joker, Batman went too far and killed his archenemy. After being staked by Alfred and Commissioner Gordon, Batman returned when Alfred removed the stake but he was driven insane by bloodlust. With his vampire powers at their peak, Batman could have consumed the entire human race if it wasn’t for an alliance of his friends to stop him.
7. DC ONE MILLION BATMAN
In 1998, a crossover event called DC One Million introduced superheroes from the distant future. The Batman of the 853rd century was introduced in JLA #23 (Grant Morrison, Howard Porter). In that time period, the man who would become Batman lived on the prison planet Pluto, which was taken over by the supervillain Xauron. Xauron slaughtered thousands of guards, leaving a child who took on the identity of Batman to stop injustice everywhere.
The DC One Million Batman wore an advanced suit that was armored and fireproof with night vision, camouflage and flight capability. DC One Million Batman’s body was trained in martial arts from across the Galaxy while his mind was even more advanced with telepathic powers and the ability to make calculations that even overwhelmed Superman. He was ten times more powerful than the modern Batman in every way.
6. GREEN LANTERN BATMAN
There have been a few times when Batman has worn a power ring, but in 1994’s Batman: In Darkest Knight (Mike W. Barr, Jerry Bingham), it went much farther than usual. We saw an alternate reality where Bruce Wayne wore a Green Lantern ring. Instead of a bat crashing through his window, a Green Lantern crash-landed on the Wayne family grounds and gave Wayne his ring.
As Green Lantern, Wayne could bring his thoughts to life and used them to change history. He’s able to stop the Red Hood from becoming the Joker and fought crime on Earth so well that other heroes like Superman and Wonder Woman never became heroes on their own. While we never really saw him unleashing all his power, Batman as the Green Lantern was able to make his iron will into reality.
5. SPEEDING BULLETS BATMAN
Superman is the most powerful superhero in the DC universe, and Batman is the most dedicated. What happens when you put the two of them together? You get Superman: Speeding Bullets, a 1993 one-shot where Kal-El’s spaceship was found by the Waynes instead of the Kents. Raised as Bruce Wayne, his parents are shot and he became Batman with all the powers of Superman.
With his powers of super-strength, flight, heat vision and speed, the Speeding Bullets Batman was almost too powerful, especially since he had no problem with burning criminals to a crisp. He showed what would happen if Batman had powers, becoming a terror feared for his brutality more than his theatrics. It was only when he fell in love with Lois Lane who tamed his powers to become a more compassionate hero.
4. HELLBAT BATMAN
The Justice League knows that Batman is one of the few non-powered members, and in Batman and Robin #33 (Peter Tomasi, Patrick Gleason), it was revealed that they made a contingency plan to protect him. Designed by Cyborg, the Hellbat armor was forged by Superman in the heart of a sun and Wonder Woman in Olympus, given a shape-changing cape by Green Lantern, and tempered by the Flash and Aquaman under high heat and at the depths of the ocean.
With the Hellbat armor, Batman had enhanced speed, strength and durability, but the cape could change shapes to let him fly, make tentacles he could control and make him invisible. The only reason he didn’t use it more was that if he left it on too long, it would kill him.
3. WHITE LANTERN BATMAN
In the emotional spectrum throughout the universe, one of the most powerful is the White Lantern Corps. In Brightest Day #14 (Geoff Johns, Peter J. Tomasi, Joe Prado, Ivan Reis), Deadman was searching for someone to carry the White Lantern ring and gave it to Batman. Batman wore the ring briefly before it told him he wasn’t the rightful heir. In that brief moment, Batman became one of the most powerful beings in the universe.
That’s because the White Lantern is based on love and can draw on the powers of all the other Corps members. The White Lantern can create constructs like the Green Lantern Corps, store the power of other rings, bring the dead back to life and also connect to and observe rings of any other corps members. When Kyle Rayner wore the White power ring, he was described as being god-like.
2. MOBIUS CHAIR BATMAN
In 2015’s Darkseid War crossover, Darkseid fought the Justice League in an epic battle. At one point, they encountered Metron who was one of the New Gods created for Jack Kirby’s Fourth World, a being who craved knowledge of everything. He was aided by his Mobius Chair, but when Wonder Woman pulled Metron out of the chair, Batman sat down in it and become a New God himself, the god of all knowledge.
The chair made him omnipotent, able to answer any question and know everything in the universe. It also allowed him to teleport and travel through all of time and space. He used it to start trying to stop crimes by having the chair observe future timelines, seeing the potential criminals and stopping them before the crime. He also tried to stop his parents’ murder and terrorized their killer, Joe Chill.
1. ATMAHN THE NIGHT JUDGE
In 2008, the series Trinity brought together the three most powerful (and popular) members of the DC universe: Wonder Woman, Batman and Superman. The series began with the discovery that the three heroes were the keystones to the power of the multiverse and Morgaine Le Fey worked with other magic users to change their reality. In the new reality, the Trinity have been replaced by villains and Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman never existed. Instead, the trio was sent to an alternate world where they became gods.
In the new reality, Batman was Atmahn the Night Judge, worshipped by primitive beings. When he finally returned in Trinity #39 (Kurt Busiek, Mark Bagley), Batman and the other heroes could do anything they wanted. He was nothing less than a literal god, although he needed the help of Superman and Wonder Woman to carry out his will.
Which is the most powerful version of Batman? Is there a more powerful version we missed? Let us know in the comments!
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