The suit is a fire-retardant and chemical-resistant costume with triple-weave Kevlar positioned primary around the Bat-Symbol. It has been colored either gray or black in several incarnations. On the chest is the suit's foremost feature, the striking symbol of a bat. This has been within a yellow shield or just on its own, as a black bat symbol. The Symbol serves as a well-protected target for his enemies.
Bruce Wayne understood that he needed a protective suit when he first stepped onto the mean streets of Gotham City in a disguise on a reconnaissance mission, and while he wanted to avoid combat, he was both beaten and shot at.
The cowl is made of a light, tight-fitting fabric (not unlike common ski masks) which is part of a larger piece that fits over the neck and part of the shoulders. Inside are small grids which unleash an electric shock that will incapacitate an enemy should someone attempt to remove it. Located inside the eye slits are lenses containing a miniature head-up display featuring facial recognition, as well as night vision, capabilities. A compact gas mask can also be fitted on the lower part of the mask to prevent inhalation of dangerous gases.
The cape has had several incarnations, though there are only two that have persevered through multiple upgrades and changes. The first is essentially a light weight silk, similar to those used in parachutes. The second is an experimental military fabric nicknamed memory cloth, which gains a rigid, stable shape when an electric current passes through it. It allows Batman to glide over large distances. The top of the cape is fitted with a neck brace, which resists shock. If needed, the cape can be rolled into its original shape in a backpack when not in use to prevent Batman from being caught by an enemy in combat or amongst rubble. The colors have predominantly been black and blue, though there has been an experimental purple version.
In some issues of the comic, the cape has been shown to shield batman from bullets and other projectiles.
The gloves of the Bat-Suit are just basic combat gloves with the knuckles reinforced with brass and Kevlar. The gauntlets are custom-made bracers that wrap around Batman's armored wrist; three sharp blades adorn the sides. These are retractable, so as to prevent accidental bloodshed in combat. They can also be used in a defensive manner, as Batman blocks enemy attacks with a cross arm stance, often using the blades to break knives, and, in extreme situations, swords.
Batman's boots are of military origin, made of leather and lined with Kevlar. In some versions they also feature three blades on the side, similar to his gauntlets. They are fastened by three leather straps. Sometimes the grapple is holstered on the left shin. Located in the sole of his boot is a device capable of sending an ultra-sonic signal that attracts bats from miles away. He uses the bats as a distraction should he need to make a quick escape.
The boots also have built-in under-water propellers in the heels, as seen in Batman #611.
There are two versions of the belt, one of military origin, the other of simple leather design. The belt is used to contain his equipment. The sizes of the pouches depend on the equipment stored within them, from small (a beeper; darts for his blowpipe) to large (his medical kit). It has been colored from dark yellow to dark brown, and pure black.
Batman's original Utility Belt was light and streamlined, but during the No Man's Land event he adopted bulkier version to store the additional weapons and supplies needed to survive in ruined city.
Batman has been known to carry following items in his Utility Belt at one time or other:
- Grappling hook
- Crime-scene recorder
- Digital micro camera
- Tear-gas releaser
- First-Aid kit
- Wireless remote control for the Batmobile
- Acetylene torch
- Detachable palm communicator
- Retractable jump-line
The suit also contains gadgets that are built-in, such as a finger Taser housed in the index finger, as shown in Detective Comics #871.
The First Bat-Suit
Long before Bruce Wayne became Batman, Thomas Wayne wore a prototypical Bat-Suit to a costume ball. The costume consisted of a domino mask and a cape cut in a manner suggesting wings. According to some stories, Thomas foiled a crime wearing the suit. Batman kept it in a glass case similar to the suits of his fallen partners. Dr. Hurt has since taken it and worn it as his own, as he claims to be Thomas Wayne. It was assumed lost when Dr. Hurt plunged into the Gotham Bay, but he has since resurfaced wearing it.
Batman has used many specialized suits over the years, meant for a wide range of situations and climates, as well as specific villains in his rogues gallery.
One of the most notable uses of a specialized suit was in the non-canon Batman: The Dark Knight Returns used to combat Superman.Other notable specialized suits include Hellbat Suit and Fenrir.
The Insider suit
During the story arc, Bruce Wayne: The Road Home, Bruce assumes the identity of the Insider to observe the bat-family before he makes his return known. Bruce able to use different capabilities through the many "modes" the suit offers. Many of the abilities are based off the powers of his strongest allies such as Superman's heat vision or the Flash's speed force. The modes of the suit drain it's power and often require time to recharge each individual mode after its been used.
Designated modes (As seen the suit's HUD):
- HV (Heat Vision)/ Cyclops - Emits beams from eyes or forehead. The beam is capable of slicing a car in two (requiring a 4 hour regeneration time). At 00.08%, the beam is only powerful enough to give no more damage than a sunburn and fray bat-cape material and has a 30s recharge time.
- SF (Speed Force) Acceleration- Allows temporary acceleration to superhuman speeds. This mode has a 12 hour regeneration time.
- WP (Will Power)/ Concussion - Fires red jagged explosive blasts from his fist or green spiraling concussive blasts from his fist (has a 24 hour regeneration time); While not specifically stated in The Road Home, it is speculated that WP stands for will power since it seems to be fashioned after the Green Lantern's ring;
- CM (Camo Mode)- Camo, the ability to turn invisible, but substances getting on the invisible suit will still be visible. Sustainable for substantial time and able to hit people without losing the cloak.
- SM - Activated after turning off the lights and to run pass Batman(Dick Grayson) and Damian... unclear what application is. Perhaps stealth mode, strength mode, or speed mode.
- VL (Veritas Lasso) - This is most likely the lasso the Insider can use to tell if someone is lying or to deliver an electrical shock.
- FM (Flight Mode)- This is most likely the flight mode that was engaged to get to the Aames Hotel.
- Teleporter - Though access link to the Justice League's teleporter, the suit is able to create a perimeter arc of at least three meters and teleport multiple individuals
- Spectral Filter - Able to resist Looker's mental psionic influence by eliminating external radiation.
- Either via superhearing or by hacking, Bruce can listen into Stephanie's earbud device.
- Infrared vision when looking at Dick and Damien fight.
- Shielding, implied, Geo Force is whaling away yet Bruce is still alive, conscious, and the only real consequence is that his suit's power reserves are critically low.
- Energy absorption and redirection, he takes a blast from Geo Force, uses it to charge his suit and unleash an attack.
The Batman of Earth-22 wears a suit of armor that helps his body, which has been broken after years of fighting. In the climatic final scene, he fights Wonder Woman and his suit allows him to fight her in the skies.
In The Dark Knight Returns, the Batman of Earth-31 dons a heavier Bat-suit to do battle with Superman at the end. The regular Bat-Suit of this era appears different before this as well.
During the Justice story, Batman wears a suit of armor created using the Metal Men to protect from Brainiac's mind controlling worms towards the end of the story. The armor is designed after the Batmobile in the 1966 television show starring Adam West, complete with red highlights.
In the Flashpoint story line a variant of Bruce's Bat-Suit was used by Thomas Wayne.
In an alternate reality where Bruce Wayne dies his son, Damian Wayne, took on mantle as well as his own version of the Bat-Suit.
The Earth-30 version of Batman wares what looks to be an adapted jumpsuit and an ushanka.
The New 52 Bat-Suit
The Batsuit's cowl now has facial and eye recognition, lie detection, 3D function, scanning and magnification abilities, and is directly linked to the Batcave's computer system. The cowl is also resistant against acid and other chemicals.
The utility belt has changed slightly, giving Batman a more compact belt to provide more agility in combat.
The suit is much more high tech, gloves and boots changed, Cape and Cowl didn't change. The center of the suit has a large black bat instead of the more traditional yellow oval and black bat. The suit is made of several layers of Kevlar and micro-ballistic meshing. It provides signification protection against flames, slashing weapons, explosions, and even features some protection against radiation and other dangerous chemicals.
The suit has newer built-gadgets,such as miniature explosive projectiles, grapple lines, smoke projection, and various projectiles that fire out of the gloves.
Movies and Television
Not surprisingly, the Bat-Suit has appeared in each Batman film, with distinctive differences depending on the director.
The first Batman film, as well as the TV series, of the 1960's featured a grey and blue cloth suit mirroring the comics of the time.
The two Tim Burton movies (Batman and Batman Returns) featured a black, plastic costume with molded abs to provided a more intimidating look. Though the look was extremely popular with audiences, the plastic cowl molded to the suit made it impossible for actor Michael Keaton to turn his head. The subsequent entries in the series (directed by Joel Schumacher) were controversial with both fans an audiences, as they featured a campier look, complete with nipples. Though Schumacher argued they were based off Greek statues, many felt they added a distinct homoerotic subtext to the movies. After Batman Forever, new suits were introduced in the reviled Batman & Robin, including arctic variants for the battle with Mr. Freeze. Among other things, the new Bat-Suits contained built-in ice skates for some reason.
The Bat-Suit was completely redesigned for Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins, though the black color scheme from the Tim Burton movies was retained. In the movie, Lucius Fox states that the Bat-Suit started life as a prototype suit of military body armor designed by Wayne Enterprises, which was rejected for not being cost effective. Bruce Wayne paints the suit black and adds in a cowl to complete the Bat-like look. In the sequel, The Dark Knight, the suit is slightly modified so that the cowl is replaced with a more practical helmet, finally allowing Batman to turn his head. It's also shown that the suit possesses the ability to launch the scallops on the gauntlets as projectile weapons. This suit was retained for The Dark Knight Rises.
In Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, a new Bat-Suit is introduced. This suit is much closer to the comics than any of the previous movie costumes, even retaining the iconic gray color scheme. Previews for the film also indicate that Batman will don an armored costume similar to the one worn in the finale of The Dark Knight Returns.
Throughout the DC Animated Universe (Which can be regarded as Earth-12), Batman wears a Bat-Suit mostly similar to the Bat-Suits worn in the comics. The first suit worn in Batman: The Animated Series has the yellow oval on it, while later designs remove this.
The episode "Robin's Reckoning" and "The Mechanic" as well as the film "Mask of the Phantasm" show an earlier Bat-suit inspired by from Year One.
A fireproof suit was also shown, with it's first appearance in Firefly's debut episode, "Torch Song".
Again, there aren't very many differences in the Bat-Suit worn in The Batman then in the normal comics. The spikes on the gauntlets are at the end of the fists than on the bracers, though. A variation on the arctic Batsuit was used against Mr. Freeze in the episode "The Big Chill". The suit was used again in "Fire and Ice", this time against both Firefly and Freeze. A hydro suit was used to fight Killer Croc in "Swamped", and an NBC suit (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) was used to confront Firefly after he became the radioactive Phosphorus.
Batman: The Brave and the Bold
The suit in this show is heavily based off the one Batman wore in the 60's comics and the live-action Adam West show. The Bat-Suit here possesses more gadgetry than any suit seen in the previous series, such as rocket thrusters and a life support system for deep space travel.
Beware the Batman
The suit in the show is similar to the one seen in the live-action movies, sporting an all-black color scheme with a more armored look.
The Bat-Suit used in the video game Arkham Asylum is similar to the suit currently used in the comics. However, the coloration of the cowl and cape boarders on a dark purple under certain lighting. A special armored suit can be unlocked after doing several challenges, and an upgrade consisting of coating the suit in Dialtent is available after fully upgrading the suit.
In the beginning of Arkham City, Bruce Wayne is captured by Hugo Strange. After Bruce escapes, he contacts Alfred to send the Bat-suit. As from the first game, the suit allows you to use detective mode to see usable object and your enemies. The Bat-suit used in the sequel to Arkham Asylum is, for the most part, exactly the same as it's predecessor's. However, for more variety, there is currently a DLC pack that allows the player to choose between several famous suits from the comic books as new skins in the game, including: Year One, Earth One, Batman the animated series, The Dark Knight Returns, 1970's Batman, Batman Beyond and the Sinestro Corps Batman.
Here Batman sports a Lego suit almost exactly like the one from the 1980's Batman movie. Besides this Bat-suit, several different specialized Bat-Suits are available under different conditions in the game. They include an orange fireproof suit, a suit that glides, similar to the suit from the Nolan films, a blue suit with a sonic gun that can break glass and a black demolition suit that can lay down explosives to blow up steel.