Since I wrote this almost 3 years ago. The Hellbat has made 2 more appearances. One in Superman 5-6, Superman 12 and Detective Comics 998. I have updated the blog with this new information.
In case you are wondering what the writers had to say about the power level. Patrick Gleason, the artist who drew these scans, had this to say on Twitter:
This is the second installment of my posts, the original one did an analysis on the Justice Buster (link). Now, I will to go through the Hellbat. I've put many hours into creating and updating this, so I hope you like it. :)
It's important we understand capabilities and limitations correctly. Even though it has
one showing, it's brought up frequently on the battle forums. Like many things Batman, it has a polarizing effect. This has lead to mismatches. I want to make sure all the legitimate positives are pointed out, while the legitimate negatives are not overlooked.
I'm simply going to go through scans and point out important parts, through it's capabilities and limitations. I will also address the some of the misconceptions about the suit.
Now let's get started.
This is stated quite clearly by Bruce:
There you have it! It was designed to go against 'large-scale threats in extreme battle scenarios'. This is a general purpose powerhouse suit to protect Bruce in extreme battle scenarios (for example the League fighting Doomsday). Unlike other armors in the past, most had a specific purpose (i.e. the Justice Buster was to handle the Justice League), this armor has a very general purpose.
It was built by Bruce intended to go to Apokolips. In fact, the entire League tried to stop him from taking the armor and going there. This also explains why the rest of the League wasn't present.
Update: In DC 998, we learn Bruce still uses the suit, but it's his 'nuclear option'.
It's also important to understand Batman's goals when he traveled to Apokolips:
- Get his son and the Chaos Shard
- Charge the Chaos Shard using Uxas's Omega Beams
- Get the hell out and revive his son.
With that in mind, he needed to see Uxas before he left the planet:
From the previous scan we know it the plans were conceived and created by Batman, but the entire Justice League had a hand in building it:
Here are the contributions each team member made to it:
- Superman--Forges the armor in the sun. One interesting thing to note is he is using a hammer and not his fists. I will point out why this important later.
- Green Lantern--Not sure. (Note: a commenter did give his theory. Definitely worth reading.)
- Flash--Possibly testing it to withstand the Speed Force. Possibly charging (?) it in the speed force.
- Cyborg--Appears to be infusing it with some tech.
- Aquaman--Appears to be testing it to withstand the depths of the ocean. Possibly even adding some Atlantean tech.
- Wonder Woman--Looks like she has taken it to Hephaestus for further reinforcement and enhancement. In the background you see what appears to be Hephaestus.
Update DC 998: Bruce stated each member charged it own with their limited, but distinct powers.
Even Lex had his hand in tweaking and upgrading the suit:
This is very important to point out and is often missed by many people. While Batman did draw up the plans--it was the entire League and Lex Luthor that had their hand in constructing and upgrading it. Everyone on the Justice League contributed their resources and expertise to make this thing.
Darkseid Respect and Misconceptions
An interesting thing I have seen, people will use the Hellbat as low showing for Darkseid. I always found this kind of odd. The Hellbat only has one showing, so we don't have a regular limit to reference it to.
Another thing used to show Uxas's so-called 'lack of durability' is when Powergirl punched him. Here is the scan:
What's interesting about Earth-2 Power Girl (Kara Zor-El), while she doesn't have many feats and has never shown an upper limit, is probably on par with Superman in the strength department. As stated by her, which Superman agrees with.
Darkseid Fight Analyzed
Out of the whole story, this gets the most controversy. Some of this will be my interpretation (kind of hard to do an analysis without some), but will give you some things to consider. I will first give some points to consider before the fight. After that I will go through every blow (there are 4 for Bruce and 3 for Uxas).
Also, I will analyze it from the perspective of two out of the three other fights Darkseid has been during the New 52. The fight with Anti-Monitor won't be included because Uxas's power levels were much higher during this fight. Also, I won't be looking at Pre or Post Crisis fights, since this fight happened in the New 52.
He doesn't realize the wings can turn into Bats. Obviously he has never encountered the suit before.
As per @black_arrow information in the comments.
Here is a scan of Darkseid sleeping in a 'healing chamber' at the beginning of the story.
This is why Kalibak was left in charge. This is not explained anymore in the story.
Uxas mentions to Batman having 'slept in the shadows of pain'. Referring to his fight with the JL.
What we do know:
- He's been in there for a little while. Kalibak has been able to do things after being put in charge.
- About 2-3 days passed after this panel and Batman's encounter with Darkseid. I will post a scan later, but 62 hours passed from the time the rest of the Batman family left to when they returned.
- We don't know if he woke up on his own or a servant woke him up.
- All visible injuries from his Earth-2 and JL fights are no longer present (his eyes were poked out among other things).
- Update: As pointed out above Patrick Gleason never mentions anything about Darkseid being weakened when asked how powerful the Hellbat was.
Take this for what you will.
This is important. During his JL and Earth-2 fights, most punches that affected him were NOT done from a stand still. Instead characters used flight to build momentum. As seen below:
If you look at the last punch, Kara is doing a flying uppercut combined with Red Tornado to help sweep Uxas off his feet.
Bruce's punches will be shown in the fight section. With the exception of one punch he didn't build momentum at all.
This has been shown earlier.
Now that we know what Bruce is coming into I am going to do a play by play analysis. Make sure to read the caption.
Other Strength and Durability Feats
As we saw in the panels above, it is meant to survive extreme battle situations.
Superman Used A Hammer To Construct It
As mentioned before, Superman was forging it in the Sun with a hammer and not his fists. It could be the armor is so durable that even Superman can't mold it with his hands. He has to use a special hammer to do so.
Now for when he actually puts this into action.
He blazes through Apokolips like a 'knife through warm butter', as Tomasi puts it.
Flies Through An Apokoliptian Ship Destroying It and Is Unharmed
(Poor Kalibak. he just never lives up to his father's expectations...lol)
There are not too many feats to show speed and reflexes.
Reacts To Darkseid's Omega Beams After They're Fired
I wanted to show all 3 scans for some context. Yes, the Omega Beams were attracted to the shard like a magnet--as noted in the 3rd scan. However, the second scan is most important. Here we have Bruce's hand behind him, clutching the Shard as the beams are coming out of his eyes. Then lifting the Shard above his head as they're coming towards him.
This is important because the beams move at an extremely high velocity. As shown below:
So, you may be wondering, "Bruce has peak human reflexes. How is this possible?" It's important to note this wouldn't be the first time a power suit has augmented a person's reflexes. I would assume the telepathic link in the suit. Or it could have been the Flash's contributions. Or maybe the suit has some degree of automation. We don't know.
What is known is this feat did happen someway, somehow.
Features of the Suit
(Honestly, I can't find anything to indicate how much distance he covered on Apokolips. This fact would be important to figure out the travel speed. If anyone knows the answer, I would appreciate it if you could leave it in the comments.)
Has Symbiotic Wings
It seems only limited to his imagination. This is also the most used feature during the story.
He can form wings to fly, as shown in above. Besides that, he can do more.
One of the most impressive feats is when he uses to attack a group of soldiers.
But that's not the impressive part, lol. This disturbed their equilibrium and made them unable to fight. That shows the level of control he has over this. Explained below:
Spams an AOE attack of Batarangs at an army of enemies.
Engulfs and later wraps up Glorious Godfrey:
Creates a shield to fight Kalibak:
Finally, the infamous Bats in face trick on Darkseid:]
It's just not the back that acts like a symbiote. The whole suit is at least a partial symbiote. Shown here he's peeling back the arms and mask.
Wonder how he's able to control the symbiotic wings? The suit's functions can be controlled by his thoughts.
As shown in other scan, some features do require voice activation.
Has Photonic Cloaking
Supposed to make him invisible.
(Update: After further reading this feature doesn't seem to work that well.
You have two instances when you can see the shadow. (Read the caption)
This is not very impressive. Could it have been a design flaw? Possibly! Bruce even says there are probably kinks in the armor that need to be worked out.
At least it provides some stealth. But not nearly as impressive as his stealth suit.
Shoots A Beam From The Bat-Symbol In The Chest
This hits Darkseid so hard it knocks him on his back. Scan provided earlier.
Update: Can Shoot Energy Blasts From The Hands
In Superman (2016) 12, Lois uses one of the Hellbat's gloves to blast Kid Frankenstein to pieces. This also shows it's capable of some things without the entire suit.
Can Shoot Another Type Of Energy To Fight Demons
Has a 'Devastator' Attack Which Is A Powerful Energy Punch
This came from Wonder Woman. Notice the chip on the circuit.
It allows him to execute devastating Iron Fist like punches.
We know it has an AI assistant to control various functions of the suit and to monitor the outside environment. He can also eject parts of the suit. I didn't put much emphasis on these features because they are things that are expected from a power armor.
These are the features we know about in the suit. There could be more, considering what went into the suit's construction.
Usually, when the writers give Batman a high end toy they put in a catch to explain why he doesn't use it all the time.
The Suit Drains His Life When Wearing It and Can Even Kill Him.
Here's what it does to him towards the end.
Update: This was from @black_arrow:
Red Hood, Red Robin, Batgirl and Cyborg left approximately 62 hours ago. Bruce was gone for a longer period of time.
It appears he could wear the suit longer than he did under normal conditions. Alien bacteria from the Chaos Shard infected the suit and accelerated the life drain. It's possible that he took off his suit to rest from time to time--but that's just theory. It also appears the life drain is proportional to how he uses the suit.
UPDATE (DC 998): The suit accelerates life drain when the demon compromises it. Scans provided when I cover that battle.
Took The Entire Justice League Including Lex Luthor To Build It
Not a limitation, but wanted to point this out again.
Usually on the forums, the other League members either don't get the credit they deserve or their contributions are down played. Contrary to popular belief, each League member contributed their own resources and intellect to build this thing. People who get tired of 'Bat-God' might be happy to hear this. Some people think Bruce was the master architect and the other member were just construction drones. This is untrue and unfortunate. Lex Luthor and possibly others even made improvements and were aware of things that Bruce isn't even aware of.
The Chaos Shard Was Destroying It
This is where most of the damage to the suit happened. When he charged the shard with Omega Beams. Also, getting close to the shard earlier caused alien pathogens to get in and accelerate the life drain.
There is a positive spin to this. It can tank a fully charged Chaos Shard at least for a little while (remember the suit was critical already), which is no easy feat.
It Was Probably Destroyed Not a limitation, but important for the battle forum. I am saying this based on this scan.
A case could be made it survived:
1. Peter Tomasi (the writer) doesn't seem to think it was destroyed according to this Twitter post:
However, the artist Patrick Gleason seems to think differently, lol:
Bruce trashed it :)
2. I have made arguments in the past that this survived. Given the symbiotic and healing factor of the suit. (Note: If anyone wants to see my full argument. I can link to one of my posts.) My guess was Tomasi wanted an exit if he couldn't put the suit in another story.
(Update: It has been shown in later issues, so it did survive.)
Since this is used fairly often in the Battle forum, there have been a few misconceptions that have came up--both overrating and underrating the suit.
Bruce Made Darkseid Bleed
While there are many ways to depict a solid blow (which was done quite well, IMHO). It's important to make sure we are looking at the scans correctly. It comes from this scan:
While on first glance it looks like blood. I'm pretty sure it's energy coming from his eye.
Uxas Was Going Easy On Him
I have covered this in the fight analysis. If you call power stomping one's head and neck followed by going for the kill shot only after a few blows as playing, then don't know what to tell you.
There is one scan when Batman leaves and Darkseid doesn't chase after him.
It's a good idea to look at every scan and not just focus on one. Darkseid was pretty enraged earlier as shown in earlier scans, yet, he lets him go.
I think he would rather wait until the entire JL comes to his 'doorstep', so he can torture and kill them all. Of course we really don't know.
Uxas Was Recovering And Groggy
Possibly. I cover this in the fight analysis.
Bruce Didn't Do Any Damage
Explained in the fight analysis. He didn't do any permanent damage. We had a fight between Uxas and Bruce:
- There were only 4 punches thrown.
- Bruce's suit was almost fully drained at this point.
- Only one punch built up momentum.
About 2 years ago, it reappeared in Superman (2016) 5-6. Lois used it to fight the Eradicator. Although, I don't feel this fight contributes much to the Hellbat feats, it's worth mentioning. Especially, since it proves it survived.
At the time, Superman was fighting the Eradicator on Earth, then took Lois and Jon to the Batcave on the Moon. It was explained that Batman had this cave to experiment with items deemed too dangerous for Earth. The Eradicator finds them in the cave, fights Superman, then absorbs him. At this point, Lois runs to find something in the cave to combat the Eradicator. She finds the Hellbat. A fight breaks out between Lois and the Eradicator, then Superman is freed and finishes the fight.
Some important things to note:
- Lois is not an experienced fighter and likewise doesn't know how to operate the suit properly.
- The Eradicator at this point is not only charged with 1000s of Kryptonian souls, but also Superman and Krypto.
Here are the scans for the fight:
Instead of breaking down each punch, I'll give a brief synopsis of my thoughts.
When Lois is in close, she has the upper hand. The first attack was probably a surprise to the Eradicator. Eradicator then assumes nothing can stop him since he's powered by the Kryptonian dead and Superman.
He then proceeds to blast Lois with energy, which staggers her. Earlier we saw a blast from the Eradicator send Superman flying. I don't think she was hurt, yet, as she had no visible burns when she took the suit off later. I think she was scared at this point. Worth noting, she never uses the chest beam to counter, evidence she doesn't know how to properly operate the suit.
Then her son distracts Eradicator, to which she lands a solid punch, then throws him into a wall. He responds by blasting her with energy again grabbing her by the throat and throwing her. At this point, he assumes she's defeated and starts attacking Jon. Moments later, Superman emerges and finishes the fight while Lois flies out of the way.
So, there you have it. Somewhat impressive considering this was Lois Lane.
UPDATE: Detective Comics 998 Fight
Along with the other one, I will provide scans and give a synopsis.
An unnamed demon is killing Etrigan. Bruce blasts the demon with some type of energy. The demon gets into the suit and compromises it accelerating life drain. He initiates 'Devastator' mode, to which the suit says it could kill him. He then punches the demon with some Danny Rand style punches back into Hell.
The Hellbat appears to be fairly high tier, possibly even Kryptonian level, based on other fights I've seen involving Darkseid and how Gleason depicts fights.
One point I really wanted to emphasize in this post is, this wasn't a prep feat of Batman entirely.
One of the issues with the Hellbat and Justice Buster are lack of feats. Both have one showing and at some point it comes down to interpretation. I tried my best to simply read and point out. However, some parts do require analysis and interpretation. I have tried to mark those by using words like 'appears' or 'seems'.
Also, If you have any questions, comments, criticism, or praises. Or you want to add or correct something that is said feel free to leave it in the comments. I do read all comments.
Hopefully, you found this post informative of the capabilities and limitations of the Hellbat.