Batman is unquestionably one of the most popular and well-renown characters in all of fiction. Using only his wits, willpower, and superhuman drive in order to war on crime and bring safety to Gotham City, Bruce Wayne transformed himself into one of the world’s most formidable mortals. A master of technology, martial arts, and nearly anything you can imagine, the Caped Crusader combines his skills and fighting prowess to successfully battle everyone from the entire Justice League, White Martians, and even defeat Superman on his own. There are few superpowered individuals who would actively seek to fight Batman; his feats are legendary.
Over the years, creators have caught on to the love Batman receives from fans and have in turn created alternate versions of the superhero. Batman’s been a god, a vampire, and even a wizard, but the core of his character generally remains intact. Batman is held in such esteem, that no matter what universe he’s from, his friends are always trying to turn to him, believing they can count on the Dark Knight no matter what. Today at CBR we’re going to be looking at 15 alternate Batmen and seeing who’s stronger and weaker than the Dark Knight we all know and love.
15 STRONGER: GREEN LANTERN BATMAN
If there’s but a couple things Batman is known for, it’s his intelligence and willpower. Arming him with a Green Lantern ring, a weapon fueled by willpower and the wielder’s creativity, would be a match made in heaven…or space. A couple stories have featured Bruce Wayne being equipped with “the most powerful weapon in the universe.” One in particular is Batman: In Darkest Knight. One night while in the Batcave, Bruce was praying to his dead father guidance. Sure enough Abin Sur, conveniently lands outside Wayne Manor and gives Bruce his Lantern ring with this dying breath.
Batman slides on the ring and becomes the most overpowered Green Lantern ever. He completes missions assigned by the Guardians of the Universe, keeps the Joker from being born, and impresses the Green Lantern Corps so much that they demand he teach them how to be better. Green Lantern Batman says no.
14 WEAKER: GOTHAM BY GASLIGHT BATMAN
Brian Augustyn and Mike Mignola's Gotham By Gaslight is considered one the first Elseworlds story. It features a turn of the century Bruce Wayne, who dons the mantle of the be-goggled Batman when Inspector Gordon shows him a wide array of strange murders. When it is discovered that Jack the Ripper has come to Gotham City, Bruce Wayne is framed for the murders, and Batman must clear his own name by solving the killings.
In a world where technology wasn’t super advanced, the Gotham By Gaslight Batman had to be especially crafty in his innovations and the way he went about fighting crime. That said, though this Batman proved himself several times over, he didn’t have the fighting skills that the later Bruce Wayne would. His inferiority was demonstrated in the miniseries Countdown Arena where he fell victim to one of his alternate selves.
13 STRONGER: VAMPIRE BATMAN
What’s scarier than a man who dresses like a giant bat? Why, a man who has become a giant bat with a thirst for human blood! In the Batman and Dracula Trilogy, that’s exactly what happens when Bruce Wayne battles the Lord of Vampires and becomes a real creature of the night.
In the first part of the trilogy, Batman discovers Dracula is murdering Gotham’s homeless population. Though he tries to stop him, Batman ends up getting bitten and is transformed into a vampire. With his newfound vampiric strength, he quickly murders Dracula by impaling the aged vampire on a tree; Batman becomes the new vampire leader. By the trilogy’s third part, Batman is killing his enemies and drinking their blood. Realizing what he’s become, Batman kills himself by exposing himself to sunlight. This Batman was many times more ruthless and deadly then the original could ever hope to be.
12 WEAKER: PROHIBITION ERA BATMAN
You know what sounds pretty awesome? Batman in Prohibition Era America! Like several Elseworlds tales, the Batman in Batman: Scar of the Bat, is not Bruce Wayne, but rather the real-life federal agent Eliot Ness. The story takes place in America at the peak of Prohibition while Al Capone is tearing Chicago apart. Eliot Ness is instructed to bring down the elusive mob boss. Originally one to play by the rules, Ness snaps and decides to take matters into his on hands. He does this by becoming the Batman.
During the day, Ness maintains his good-cop persona, but things change at night. Taking inspiration from Zorro, he constructs a second identity as the prototypical Batman. This Dark Knight doesn’t have Bruce Wayne’s fighting skills or gear, but he does come armed with a retro leather jacket, a Tommy gun, and a bat to beat criminals with.
11 STRONGER: WIZARD BATMAN
Bruce Wayne has always had a healthy distrust of magic. While he understands it in theory, practice is another matter entirely; it’s too unpredictable to his liking. A Batman who might fully embrace magic on the other hand, would wield tremendous power. In the Superman/Batman arc "Sorcerer Kings" he does just that. The story features a group of witches and warlocks who have sacrificed the sun to achieve their goals. Though Earth survives and their plan fails, the new sun vaporized all electronics on the planet, sending civilization back to medieval times.
In lieu of technology, magical powers and potions run the earth. Of course, Batman becomes one of his world’s most powerful wizards. This Batman doesn’t get drunk on power, keeping his wits about him using his intelligence and cunning in combination with his magic. Unlike our Batman, Wizard Batman has a fire-breathing dragon, named Batwing.
10 WEAKER: CIVIL WAR ERA BATMAN
It seems like both Superman and Batman have spent time in the Civil War, helping out the Union and fighting the good fight. While Superman did his part in the Elseworlds story Superman: A Nation Divided, Batman teamed up with Abraham Lincoln in order to protect the government’s stash of gold in Batman: The Blue, The Grey, and The Bat…. Inexplicably, Lincoln knows Batman’s identity, but is more than happy to have the assistance of the Dark Knight.
This Civil War-era Batman get involved in saloon brawls, has a Native American Robin named Red Bird, a horse named Apocalypse, teams up with Mark Twain, and has an army of freed slaves called the “Dark Knights.” All in all, Wild West Batman is formidable, but he ends up being the bad guy, and that alone takes him down a notch.
9 STRONGER: DAMIAN WAYNE BATMAN
There are multiple future versions of Batman, due to Bruce Wayne either dying or being too old to don the cowl. Every iteration has brought their own pizzazz to what it means to be Batman. Yet out of all of them, one of the strongest, vicious, and downright scariest is inarguably Damian Wayne as the future Batman. The son of Bruce Wayne, the concept of Damian as Batman in the future was featured in Batman #666.
This alternate timeline is not a happy place; rather the world has gotten only darker, with Damian struggling to keep himself and Gotham City afloat. Unlike his father, Damian is willing to do literally whatever it takes, even if that means murder, all in the name of protecting Gotham. He even went so far as selling his soul to Satan, which in turn gave him a healing factor and other supernatural abilities.
8 WEAKER: BAT-BABY
The world of comics is a crazy place. Take for example that time Batman was turned into an infant. If we’re being honest with ourselves, there’s not much scarier than having a toddler-sized Batman trying to punch you. Batman is dutiful in his war on crime, and nothing, including getting transformed into a baby, will give Batman pause. Thanks to a mad scientist, who blasts Batman with a funky sci-fi gun, the Dark Knight is de-aged. Luckily (and weirdly), Bat-Baby retains his adult intellect, strength, and agility, so he continues being a creature of the night…albeit pint-sized.
Perhaps the most ridiculous things of all was Robin’s chill demeanor about everything. It’s as though Batman getting turned into a toddler is a regular occurrence. Either that, or maybe Robin was too afraid to mock Batman, for even as a baby, he’s still a fearsome a creature.
7 STRONGER: FLASHPOINT BATMAN
When Barry Allen, the Flash, accidentally created the alternate universe known as Flashpoint, it resulted in far more changes than he could have predicted. Though his intention was to save his mother from getting killed by the Reverse-Flash, the whole world is thrown for a loop as time splinters. In this Flashpoint universe, it is not Bruce Wayne who survives the attack on him and his parents in Crime Alley, but his father Thomas Wayne.
Unlike his son, Thomas is a less forgiving vigilante. He had zero qualms with killing and was a significantly more brutal fighter. Despite being older than Bruce when he became Batman, Thomas‘s physical strength seemed to greatly surpass that of his son’s. His devil may care attitude when fighting served him well; he didn’t feel the need to hold back and could use martial arts techniques to their maximum effect.
6 WEAKER: SOVIET UNION BATMAN
Superman: Red Son, featured the Last Son of Krypton as a certifiable killing machine. A patriot and servant for the Soviet Union, Superman crushed anyone who opposed the regime. The Red Son Batman was born under the oppressive rule of Josef Stalin, and sought to bring down the Russian authorities to avenge his parents’ deaths. He’d stage raids against the Soviets, but Batman’s endgame was to take down Superman. Knowing Red Son Superman’s biggest weakness was emotional in nature, Batman kidnapped Wonder Woman. He then attacked Superman with synthetic red sunlight and let his fists do the talking.
This Batman is nearly as mighty as Batman proper, except this version doesn’t have many gizmos and gadgets. He does get close to finishing off Superman, but Wonder Woman breaks free and saves Superman. Knowing he’d be tortured and brainwashed by the Soviets, Batman detonates a bomb planted in his stomach.
5 STRONGER: DARK CLAW
Batman and the X-Man Wolverine are two of the most feared and beloved superheroes out there. Combining the two would result in a holy nightmare for criminal scum across the globe. That’s exactly what happened in DC Comics and Marvel’s crossover Amalgam comic line. Logan Wayne, the fusion of Wolverine and Batman, became the most popular character of the series. This amalgamation was named Dark Claw. Logan endures much of the heartbreak Bruce Wayne did, murdered family etc. except that this version ended up in the super-soldier program, Weapon X.
After adamantium was welded to his body, Logan became Dark Claw. He’d keep his playboy status as a careless, billionaire artist, but Dark Claw would tear his enemies apart mercilessly. He had all the tactical genius of Batman combined with Wolverine’s notorious healing factor. The result was a devastatingly powerful superhero.
4 WEAKER: CAVEMAN, WITCH HUNTER, & PIRATE BATMAN
Towards the end of Final Crisis, it appeared that Darkseid’s Omega Beams killed Batman. Instead, he was displaced through time and become a hero across millennia. In "The Return of Bruce Wayne", Batman fought prehistoric Neanderthals and later becomes Mortdecai in 17th Century America, a Puritan witch-hunter who teams up with Nathaniel Wayne. One hundred years after that, Bruce fights on the high seas against Blackbeard.
After that business, Bruce is catapulted to the Wild West and becomes a cowboy, where Jonah Hex shoots him. He’s immediately teleported to the 20th century, arriving in Gotham. Bruce Wayne is all of these Batmen, but all of these Batmen are not Batman at his finest. He doesn’t have his gear, his thoughts are mildly jumbled, limiting his craftiness, and it’s all he can do to stay ahead of the events happening to him.
3 STRONGER: BATMAN BEYOND
One of the most popular alternate Batmen in the history of comics, Terry McGinnis as the Dark Knight has sparked a massive following. Introduced a little while after the massively successful Batman: The Animated Series, producers Bruce Timm and Paul Dini came up with the idea of a teenage Batman. Essentially, Terry McGinnis is a high school student and criminals kill his father. This leads to Bruce Wayne and Terry meeting and the former taking the latter under his wing and instructing him on being a superhero.
While initially Terry wasn’t as skilled as Bruce, the Batman Beyond suit made up for any shortcomings. It gave him fantastic super human strength, an incredible arsenal, and a fancy onboard computer system. After a while, Terry became so skilled, he’d surpass all of Bruce’s expectations and truly embody what it meant to be Batman Beyond, the Dark Knight of the future.
2 WEAKER: REVEREND BATMAN
In Holy Terror, the elements of symbolism that make up the Dark Knight are expanded upon as the America in this story is depicted as a theocratic state; a warped Christianity has become the law of the land. Elsewhere in Gotham City, Thomas and Martha Wayne are killed.
Years later, Bruce Wayne is on the path to becoming a Priest, when his friend Lord Commissioner Gordon informs him his parents were assassinated by the government. Turns out, Thomas and Martha Wayne had been providing health services to oppressed people in Gotham. Now motivated by his parents’ charity, Reverend Bruce preaches scripture by day and is the demon Bat Priest by night. As the Bat Priest he hunts and kills the bureaucrats who killed his family. Though this Batman preaches religiosity, the real Batman is stronger morally. One of Batman’s greatest strengths is his refusal to kill.
1 STRONGER: SUPERMAN BATMAN
What if Superman was Batman? Well for starters that Batman would be a living god of vengeance; which is exactly what happens in In Superman: Speeding Bullets. Baby Kal-El crashes in Gotham City and is subsequently raised by the Wayne family. Since this is a Batman story, tragedy strikes and his foster parents are murdered.
After their death, Superman, who is named Bruce, rather than Clark, hunts down Joe Chill and turns him to ash with some heat vision. This marks a turning point for this Batman/Superman amalgam; in canon both heroes would rather die than kill another living being. Yet this new Superman/Batman uses his incredible power to kill all of Gotham’s villains in increasingly violent ways. Even Lex Luthor, who becomes the Joker, is unable to stop him. This Batman’s bloodlust is eventually satiated when Lois Lane convinces him to bury his anger and take a moral path.