10 Mistakes That Still Haunt The Batman Comics

Split image of Batman Vol 3 #82, The Dark Knight Returns, and Batman & Robin Vol 1 #16 by DC Comics

Batman is a massive figure in pop culture. Calling him the most popular superhero isn’t far off the mark; even if MCU characters are more popular, Batman has been on top a lot longer. Batman’s comics remain among the most important in the industry. More than once during his existence, Batman stories changed the entire superhero comic medium.

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Batman comics are DC’s bestsellers and his books boast the greatest talent in the company. As great as many of these books are, that doesn’t mean mistakes haven’t been made with Batman. Some of these mistakes are infamous and steered things in the wrong direction.



10 Losing His Wealth

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Batman is an extremely rich superhero. His wealth has always been a hallmark of his existence and they make his entire character work. Batman’s entire mission is based around having more wealth and resources than his enemies, allowing him to always figure out a way to win. Then The Joker War happened.

Thanks to the Joker doing some very illegal banking with Bruce Wayne and the Wayne Foundation’s wealth, Lucius Fox could no longer move money and resources to Bruce. Batman had to work with what he had, and couldn’t depend on the power of his corporate holdings. This might sound like a good thing, but Batman losing his wealth meant he wasn’t as versatile as before.

9 Batman’s Anti-Justice League Plans

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Batman standing over the defeated members of the Justice League in DC Comics

Taking place in JLA: Tower Of Babel, introducing Batman’s plans to kill the Justice League in case they went rogue has ruined Batman in a lot of ways. It’s not the fact that he made the plans. It’s not even that he never told the team about them. The problem was that they worked.

Making Batman, the ultimate human hero, able to come up with plans and mechanisms that can beat the most powerful superhuman heroes on Earth is too much. Making Batman so unbeatable takes away a lot of the danger of his adventures. If Batman can figure out a way to beat the Flash, for example, it’s pretty hard to believe the Joker somehow beats the Dark Knight in battle so much.

8 The Shooting Of Barbara Gordon

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Barbara Gordon shot by the Joker in DC Comics.

Barbara Gordon’s paralysis, caused by a shooting in Batman: The Killing Joke, by writer Alan Moore and artist Brian Bolland, is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it gave readers Oracle, the most high profile paralyzed character in DC. On the other hand, Gordon’s paralysis was an example of fridging, killing or injuring a female character as a plot point.

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It’s made all the worse by the callous way it was handled. There were other ways to paralyze Barbara Gordon that didn’t involve her getting shot. Barbara’s place in the story is merely to be brutalized so the plot could go on, a big loss to make the comic memorable.

7 The Death Of Stephanie Brown

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Death of Stephanie Brown as Robin

Robin is a fan favorite character, with multiple people having worn the red, yellow, and green. Many of these characters have become legendary, but one of them got terrible treatment. Stephanie Brown was Tim Drake’s ex-girlfriend and fought crime as the Spoiler. The daughter of Cluemaster, Batman gave her a chance to be Robin, but it ended terribly.

In order to make an impact as Robin, Stephanie used Batman’s gang war plans to have the criminals of Gotham destroy each other. This blew up in her face and she fell victim to Black Mask, dying not long after she became Robin. While her death was undone down the road, it was yet another example of fridging in Batman comics.

6 Not Allowing Batman To Marry Catwoman

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Batman and Catwoman share a kiss in Batman (2017)

Batman and Catwoman’s relationship has been building for years, basically since Catwoman’s first appearance. The femme fatale’s crush on Batman has been used in many ways, but recent years have seen the two of them get closer than ever. Batman and Catwoman’s relationship was a huge part of writer Tom King’s run and everyone expected them to finally tie the knot.

However, DC didn’t pull the trigger, content to keep their on-again, off-again relationship the way it is now. The enemy of interesting comics is often the status quo. Not letting Batman and Catwoman marry is an example of that. A married Batman means new stories that readers haven’t experienced, and losing that chance is terrible.

5 All-Star Batman And Robin

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All-Star Batman and Robin was a flop. There’s no other way to describe writer Frank Miller and artist Jim Lee’s story. Everyone was excited to get these two creators together for a Batman project, expecting something groundbreaking. What they got was a terrible story with amazing art. It often felt like Frank Miller was making fun of his own writing style, with plenty of baffling moments that took his usual hard-boiled style and dialed it to eleven.

While All-Star Batman and Robin can be a hilarious read, it’s funny in the worst ways. What makes it worse is that people read the scripts for this ten issue story and no one said anything. DC’s editors read the scripts and thought this was a comic that fans would happily buy. Even with All-Star Superman‘s success, ASBAR was able to destroy the All-Star line.

4 Azrael As Batman

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Azrael soars above Gotham City is his new Batman armored suit - DC Comics Knightfall

Azrael as Batman was a disaster. In the early ’90s, DC had huge success killing Superman and replacing him with four different characters, so the Batman office decided to get in on that action. Knightfall and the breaking of Batman in Batman #500 (by Doug Moench, Jim Aparo, Terry Austin, Adrienne Roy, and Ken Bruzenak) sold well, and the Caped Crusader was replaced was by Azrael.

However, making Azrael Batman soon exploded in everyone’s faces. Part of why DC made Azrael Batman was to highlight that the ultra-violence of ’90s comics couldn’t match the classics. However, this worked too well, and fans stopped reading the Batman books during Azrael’s tenure as the Caped Crusader. It’s a decision that’s gone down in infamy.

3 Cutting Tom King’s Run Short

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Writer Tom King was given the reins of Batman during the DC Rebirth publishing initiative. He was supposed to be on the book for a hundred issues, telling a long form story about the Dark Knight. King’s run dug into the psychology of who Batman was and how that affected his mission and life as Bruce Wayne. It was a bold direction for the character.

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However, many Batman fans didn’t want a flawed, human Batman. They wanted Batgod. King’s run had some excellent Batgod moments, but the accentuation of Batman’s humanity and his relationship to Catwoman turned them off. Instead of sticking with King, DC had him leave Batman at issue #85 (alongside Mikel Janín, Hugo Petrus, Jordie Bellaire, and Clayton Cowles). King received a sequel, the 12-issue Batman and Catwoman, but it was a non-canon Black Label book.

2 Losing Dick Grayson As Batman

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Batman and Robin stand beside each other in DC Comics' Batman Reborn

Dick Grayson took over as Batman after Final Crisis. Masterminded by writer Grant Morrison, Grayson was a very different kind of Caped Crusader and responsible for training Damian Wayne as Robin. His adventures as Batman proved Batman could be something different from the gruff, violent urban avenger.

Bruce Wayne returned, but at first he and Grayson co-existed as Batmen. Grayson had Gotham and Wayne traveled the world with Catwoman. Then the New 52 happened. Suddenly, Bruce Wayne was the only Batman and Dick was Nightwing again. Having two very different Batmen would have been great and fans missed out.

1 Creators Learned The Wrong Lessons From The Dark Knight Returns And Batman: Year One

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>A split image of The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year One from DC Comics

DC’s best Batman stories of the modern age owe a debt of gratitude to the ’80s work of Frank Miller. Miller gave readers The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year One, the latter with artist David Mazzucchelli. These two works completely changed the way fans looked at Batman.

TDKR is spoken of in the same breath as Watchmen, and Year One gave Batman a new more noir inspired origin and tone. However, creators embraced the bad parts of these two works — the fascism, the brutality, the overly dark tone — and made them a hallmark of Batman comics. Batman comics became endemic of an industry embracing darkness and violence, pigeonholing the Caped Crusader’s stories.

NEXT: 10 Best Batman & Nightwing Team-Ups In DC Comics


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