Batman isn't Superman, Wolverine, or even Buffy. Being biologically human is at the character's core. So why does he keep bouncing back from the brink of death like a rubber ball?
He may not have Iron Man's armor, but his plot armor is strong. These are just a few of the times the Dark Knight has taken a hit that should either killed him or ended his career in superheroics. Bruce (and all the other Batmen) have been fighting crime in Gotham for over 70 years. No matter how many times he's maimed by maniacs and gods, he won't be dying anytime soon.
10 Overkilled by the Court of Owls
The Court of Owls saw an inexperienced Bruce Wayne chasing after an ancient cabal of rich Gothamites. The secret society wields crime and political power equally, sculpting much of Gotham's history. Integral to their work are the Talons, super assassins part Winter Soldier and part Wolverine.
Bruce's investigation leads to his capture. He's imprisoned in an underground labyrinth for a week, hallucinating from hunger, before he's ambushed by a Talon. In the ensuing fight, Bruce Wayne is stabbed (to death) and beaten (to death). Batman somehow finds the strength to fend off his attacker and escapes by setting off an explosive... that he also survives.
9 Dark Knight Returns: Heart Attack
Bruce Wayne is 55 in Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns, and it's an old 55. He looks powerful, but he does not look healthy. This graying Batman is put through the wringer, pushed to his limits first by the Mutant gang and then by Two-Face and the Joker. Finally, Older Bruce faces off with the most powerful force on Earth, Superman. The ensuing fight is brutal. Batman exploits every weakness from super-sensitive hearing to Kryptonite. It's only when Bruce is ready to land a killing blow that his heart gives out.
In a twist, it's a ruse. Bruce faked his death with a poison that put him in a coma, to be rescued by his allies. We want him to live so badly it's almost believable, but poisoning a weak heart and then being buried alive isn't a good way to survive anything.
8 Put in a Coma by Superman
2005's Sacrifice story saw Superman controlled by Maxwell Lord. Lord made Supes hallucinate Darkseid murdering Lois Lane. Superman's attack on imaginary Darkseid puts Batman in a coma.
The idea that there was anything left of Batman to be in a coma is absurd. Superman was in the middle of a psychotic episode, enraged past the point of caring. He was throwing blows intended to level mountains. Leaving a body to bury was letting Batman off too easy.
7 Dark Knight Returns: Mutant Leader Beatdown
Early in Dark Knight Returns Batman suffers defeat after he's goaded out of the tank-like Batmobile and into single combat with the leader of the Mutant gang. A hulking monster twice Batman's size, Bruce tries to match him punch for punch. He's punished, suffering multiple crowbar blows that should have killed a bear before Carrie Kelley, his new Robin, rescues him.
This may be the only item on this list that seems like something a superhero should survive. He's not brain-damaged and he still has his spine intact afterwards. His arm is broken, but it's somehow a very short-lived fracture, vanishing into a sea of plot. Could Batman's story have continued if he'd just had to heal for 2 months?
6 Batman Year 100- Bullet Holes For Days
Paul Pope's Batman Year 100 is underrated. It involves an Unidentified Future Batman. Pursued through Gotham by the corrupt and authoritarian Federal Police Corps, Batman starts this story with at least two bullet holes. The FPC are incredulous that anyone could walk away from a shot from one of their futurebullets, and dog him relentlessly with hoverbikes and, well, dogs.
Throughout his pursuit, Batman is bleeding. He keeps bleeding for at least a day. Not only should this make him easier to track and kill, but he only has between 9 and 12 pints of blood in his body. With his injuries untreated and oozing for at least 24 hours, he should've run out before his allies patched him up.
5 Final Crisis: Omega Beam Head Shot
Final Crisis was a terrific story that culminated in a showdown between Batman and an Earth-bound Darkseid. Armed only with a gun and Darkseid's own theotoxic (god killing) bullet, Batman outdrew the evil god and put him down... even though Batman hadn't used guns since the Golden Age. However, Darkseid had already fired his Omega Blast, which apparently incinerates Batman's Bat-Body.
The ensuing story about how the Omega Beam actually transported Bruce Wayne through time and transformed him into a JLA-destroying chrono-bomb is also great but makes little sense. Darkseid has never been an idiot. Rule number one in the supervillain handbook is "Don't let Batman live."
RELATED: All of Darkseid's Powers, Ranked
4 The Joker's Endgame
Endgame finds the Dark Knight facing an apparently indestructible Joker through a horrific gauntlet. When Batman finally tracks the laughing madman down it's in the Joker's underground chemical warehouse, containing the magic formula Joker's been using to revive himself. The ensuing fight is terrifying.
After Joker triggers explosives, bringing the cave down on their heads, he proceeds to carve a smiley face into Bats with three knives. Batman also gets third-degree burns to his face, a card-shaped throwing knife in his eye, and finally crushed underneath tons of rock. In the real world, a third-degree burn close to the brain is usually a fatal vector for infection on its own. Even after being pulverized Bruce Wayne doesn't end up with any visible scars.
3 Batman RIP: Burial of the Bat
Reminiscent of Knightfall, Batman: RIP is another story where Batman is physically and mentally pushed past his limits. His adversary, Doctor Hurt, almost surgically severes Batman's connections with reality via drugs and abuse. Reverting to an emergency backup personality, The Batman of Zur-En-Arrh, and donning a disturbing rainbow-hued costume, he seeks out the Hurt in Arkham Asylum. Unfortunately, the Zur-En-Arrh personality was a trap hypnotically planted inside of Bruce Wayne by Hurt. Already drugged and beaten, Batman was strapped into a straitjacket and buried alive.
The intention wasn't to kill Batman, but leave him a brain-damaged puppet. Batman is an unparalleled escapologist, but it's hard to understand why it didn't work. A jealous Joker distracted Hurt at a crucial moment, but the implication is that Hurt either didn't understand the drugs he was using well enough to incapacitate the Dark Knight.
2 Luthor's Cosmic Doorknob
In some ways Lex Luthor is a better foil for Batman than Superman. They're both brilliant, rich, arrogant businessmen. The differences between them lie more in their decisions than in their surfaces. The 2018 Justice League series involved lots of cosmic weirdness-- the Still Force, the Source Wall, and of course a microscopic Batman smuggled into the conflict. When Bats confronts Luthor it looks like an easy fight fight. Unfortunately, Luthor has a cosmically-imbued doorknob.
The Knob was stolen from the Source Wall that separates the standard universe from the god realms. When Luthor unleashes its power, it literally breaks every bone in Batman's perfectly conditioned body. Batman's tough but... the skull's a bone. So's the spine. He can take a beating, but nothing human survives that cosmic death ray.
1 Hush: Brain Damage
Hush is a convoluted-but-fun mystery that includes a collection of Batman's allies and enemies. A new villain is at the mystery's core, the enigmatic Hush. Near the story's opener Batman suffers a multi-story fall into a crowd of violent criminals. They of course give the nearly-dead Batman a vicious beating. A horrified Huntress rescues him, and immediately see that his skull is compromised. Even with a head made of pudding, Batman has enough sense to direct her to his friend, brain surgeon Thomas Elliot, who saves his life.
The bizarre twist is that Elliot, the titular Hush, also made Batman fall. Not only does Batman end up walking off brain surgery, but he's saved by an enemy whose plan was to barely not kill him and then fix him again. He's the most dangerous human in the DC Universe! Don't let him back up, bad guys!