The focal point of Batman comics is rarely just the dark detective, often relying on those around him to guide his stories. These people have come to collectively be called the Bat Family. Beginning with members like Alfred Pennyworth and Dick Grayson and going on to include villains like Clayface and, in some stories, even the Joker, the Bat Family has made their presence known in DC Comics.
The Bat Family have been involved in some way in every major storyline for decades, proving their place as fan favorites. While there isn’t a single story that collects every single member of the Bat Family, as its roster has continued to expand across Batman’s 80 years of publishing, there have been plenty of comics that include the Bat Family as the central characters.
10 City Of Bane
Receiving mixed reactions on release, the City of Bane storyline that occurred in Batman Issues 75-85 featured the biggest shake-up to the Bat Family ever: it killed off Alfred Pennyworth. While Batman is in Paris healing from a battle, Alfred is kidnapped by Bane and Thomas Wayne while the duo rules over Gotham, having banned all heroes.
After Damian Wayne is caught entering the city, Bane snaps Alfred’s neck in front of him, causing years-long trauma to the Boy Wonder that he is still facing in his own series. The event also features a nice moment between all the Bat Boys at Batburger, which has cemented a place in Bat Family lovers’ hearts.
Both Dark Nights: Metal and Dark Nights: Death Metal are, at their cores, Batman stories that include the rest of the DC Universe. The plots of both crossovers hinge on a multiverse of Batmen coming and terrorizing the mainline universe under the direction of The Batman Who Laughs.
Since the entire universe is involved in Metal and Death Metal in some way, fans get to see Bat Family members interact in huge moments. This includes inspirational moments like when a Black Lantern Ring-wielding Batman resurrects the Bat Family in a final battle and personal story beats like the marriage of Dick and Barbara.
8 Battle For The Cowl
When Batman seemingly dies during Batman R.I.P., his absence is felt throughout Gotham, leading several family members to take on the mantle for themselves. Among the cowl wearers are a new Azrael, Jason Todd, and even Tim Drake, as they all make a play at stopping crime in their own ways.
When Jason Todd takes things too far and kills a gaggle of people, including cops and criminals, Nightwing is forced to don the cowl and take his rightful place as the heir to the Batman. This event spins directly into Dick Grayson’s time as Batman, with Damian Wayne as his Robin in the much-praised series Batman & Robin.
Bringing together all five of the mainline Robins into one short series, Robins was the first winner of DC’s Round Robin contest, a tournament that saw 16 comic ideas voted on by fans to see which series would be made. Robins won the 2021 tournament and received a 6-issue miniseries.
The series followed the former Robins as they teamed up to discuss their time as Robin and take on a new threat known as The First Robin. As the series progresses, each Robin has to face their choices in life and see where they could have ended up without the Boy Wonder’s tights.
6 Batman: Gotham Knights
Following the massive No Man’s Land event where Gotham is labeled as no longer a part of the United States, Batman: Gotham Knights featured stories where Batman interacts with various members of the Bat Family. Most of the stories are self-contained and feature just a few members of the Bat Family back when the roster wasn’t a mile long.
Instead of focusing on major stories that connect across the DC Universe, as is commonplace now, the series focused on just Gotham with a rare appearance from Justice League members. With even future members of the Bat Family like Tim Fox being featured in stories, Batman: Gotham Knights is an easy-to-follow series for fans wanting an introduction to the Family.
5 Li’l Gotham
Having been introduced as a 2-page story in Batman Annual #27 created by Derek Fridolfs and Dustin Nguyen, Li’l Gotham is a cartoony, non-canon world where all members of the Bat Family co-exist. In its 24-issue series, Li’l Gotham includes multiple stories per issue, each focusing on a themed story like Thanksgiving and Mother’s Day.
As a cartoonish series that doesn’t rely on canon, Li’l Gotham has free rein to have its characters all participate in a Wacky Racers-like story and have dinner together that gets interrupted in classic cartoon styles. Far and away from the traditional brooding Batman story, Li’l Gotham adds a lot of heart to the Bat Family.
4 Batman: Urban Legends
An anthology series set mostly in Gotham, Batman: Urban Legends focuses on the various members of the Bat Family, including extended members like Zatanna and Grifter, as they deal with a self-contained story. Notably, these tales often don’t cross over, nor do they need Batman’s involvement, unlike most Bat Family titles.
Several great moments have come from the anthology, including Tim Drake’s coming out and a happy confrontation between Bruce and his time-displaced parents. The popularity of certain stories in the anthology also spun out into their own series, like Batgirls.
3 Wayne Family Adventures
Ditching traditional comic format in favor of a Webtoon collaboration, Wayne Family Adventures was DC’s first foray into this style of digital comics. Focusing on the Bat Family in a fan-forward way, Wayne Family Adventures looks beyond the mask at the personal lives of the Bat Family.
Each issue, called an “episode” in this format, focuses on a different aspect of the heroes, launching with Duke Thomas moving into Wayne Manor. The series is fun and outside of continuity but gets to the heart of the characters fans have fallen in love with over the last 80 years.
2 Batman & Robin Eternal
A direct sequel to Batman Eternal, Batman & Robin Eternal was a limited series with a split focus between the past and current adventures of the former Robins and several staple characters of the Bat Family like Cassandra Cain and Harper Row’s Bluebird. Coinciding with the 75th anniversary of Robin, the series was a love letter for fans of the Boy Wonder.
After Batman disappears and is replaced by the new Batman, James Gordon, in a mech suit, the former Robins have to team up against Mother, a villain that Batman couldn’t stop in the past. As Batman & Robin Eternal progresses, the story builds lasting relationships that are still canon in the Bat Family today.
1 Detective Comics Rebirth
One of the few well-received comic series to spin out of Rebirth, Detective Comics 934-981 and Detective Comics 1000 all focused on the Bat Family working together as a unit. Seeing the return of the Gotham Knights moniker, characters like Orphan are brought back into the family while Clayface is brought in for the first time.
During these events, the Bat Family has its own schism, separating Batwoman, Azrael, and Batwing, from the family for a time. Detective Comics 1000 story, “Batman’s Greatest Case,” created by Tom King, Tony S. Daniel, Joelle Jones, Tomeu Morey, and Clayton Cowles, is the closest the franchise has ever gotten to having all the Bat Family in a single panel as the family gets together for a Family picture.
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