This week's BATMAN #41 marks the first full issue with an all-new and all-different Batman. With the conclusion to the Endgame story arc in issue #39, we saw a pretty definitive ending to the battle between Batman and Joker. Then we saw the image of an armored Batman. Many asked what that meant. Why would Batman wear a suit of armor?
Change can be good but sometimes it's just hard to accept. We all know who Batman is. The idea of him, or someone else, running around in a robo-suit just seems...odd. Then again, now that we have more information from the Free Comic Book Day issue, this could be a really intriguing story arc.
And we are assuming it's an arc and not the new status quo for Batman for the rest of his history. For those that are concerned, worried, or even outraged over a change in Batman, this is hardly the first time it's happened. We have seen many others in the role for various reasons. Let's think about how well they did.
Jean-Paul Valley, as Azrael, became an ally to Batman. After Batman's encounter with Bane, where he was left paralyzed, Jean-Paul stepped in as the Dark Knight (in 1993). He eventually went towards a more armored look as he started getting into the thick of fighting Batman's rogues.
Jean-Paul was able to hold his own in the dark nights of Gotham City. Little by little, he started to change more than just the suit. He started becoming more and more violent. He even refused to acknowledge Robin (Tim Drake) as his sidekick.
Eventually Batman recovered from his injuries (long story). He confronted Jean-Paul and reclaimed his role as Batman.
Bruce Wayne might have been back as Batman, but he wasn't quite ready to fully return to the role. In BATMAN #512, Bruce made a wiser decision, he asked Dick Grayson, the original Robin, to step in for him. Dick wasn't sure about this decision. While he did wonder why Bruce hadn't asked him in the first place, he simply felt he couldn't replace Bruce as Batman.
Even Commissioner Gordon figured it out right away.
Dick ended up going back to his Nightwing identity. He even moved on to Bludhaven to further build his own identity out of Batman's shadow.
Later when Batman "died," there was a big question as to who would or should take the mantle. Eventually Dick become Batman once again despite his reluctance.
Dick did come into his own and accepted the role. He might have become Batman but he did also maintain his own identity. Along with Damian Wayne as Robin, the two became a formidable Dynamic Duo. Bruce did make his way back from the dead (he was really trapped back in time and worked his way up the timeline and some stuff). Bruce did return to being Batman and Dick remained Batman as well.
Or at least he did up until the New 52 happened and Dick was back as Nightwing.
Poor troubled Jason Todd. As the second Robin, he wasn't able to catch a break. Even if you don't agree with his methods when became the Red Hood, you almost can't blame him. He came to see Batman as a father figure. When Joker killed him, Batman didn't really do too much about it. Jason was a little unbalanced from the experience of dying and returning to life. Eventually when Batman was thought to be dead, Jason felt he was entitled to the role. Jason took his Red Hood methods and gave Gotham, briefly, a more violent and deadly Batman.
The rest of the Bat-Family didn't necessarily agree with him.
While Jason was causing trouble during the Battle for the Cowl arc, Tim also decided to also step up and become Batman. He decided Jason had to be stopped since he was going too far. He went on a search and tracked down Jason.
They ended up fighting each other. It was pretty ugly and brutal. Tim was a great fighter but, as Jason put it, had been brainwashed by Bruce into fighting with certain ideals. Tim wouldn't take things too far. Although, as the fight continued, Tim did find himself with a crowbar in his hand and was using it against Jason. It looked like Tim had the upper hand but Jason simply laughed due to a razor sharp Batarang that had stabbed Tim.
Batman in the future?
In 2007's BATMAN #666, we got to see a dark future.
Who better to take on the role of Batman than his actual son? Damian Wayne took on the role as Gotham was, again, in a pretty bad place.
As cool as the idea of Damian as Batman in the future is, it's a pretty bleak place. We would have to hope this is something that doesn't actually happen.
In 1999, we got a pretty amazing animated series showing Batman far off in his future. He managed to survive to an older age. Unfortunately it got to the point, even with a high tech suit, his body just couldn't handle being Batman any longer.
Bruce retired as Batman and became a bit of a recluse. One day Terry McGinnis came into his life. Terry became the futuristic Batman of Neo-Gotham.
With the outcome from FUTURES END and in the current BATMAN BEYOND, Terry is no longer this version of Batman. If you still don't know who this new Batman is, even though the first issue is already on sale, we won't spoil it in this article. But you can read about it in .
Other Weird Moments
There's some other moments that almost don't count but we thought we'd mention them for the fun of it.
Hugo has a pretty wacky backstory. He didn't actually officially become Batman. As a psychiatrist, he was brought to Gotham to help the police with figuring out who the vigilante was and how to stop him. He seemed to have his own...issues.
You can watch our 3-Minute Expert video to see this moment plus the rest of his story .
Over the years, even Superman has dressed up as Batman for different reasons. Most usually occurred in the Silver Age comics when Bruce and Batman needed to be seen in the same place.
Above you can see the episode from the third season of Superman: The Animated Series. If you want to see the entire episode and have an Amazon Prime account, you can check it out .
Has there been other Batmen? Probably. You can tell us your favorites if we missed any.
What about this new armored Batman? Again, we won't spoil it here, even though the word is out and was shown in the DIVERGENCE Free Comic Book Day issue. BATMAN #41 will mark the beginning of an interesting story. With the couple "weird" exceptions, the person replacing Batman has always been put in place with Bruce's blessings in a way. Batman in an armor isn't necessarily the route he would normally go. But these are special times. With how Endgame ended, the decision was made for Batman.