John Ackers was wandering the streets after using drugs that were laced. Unable to control himself, he fell near the car of drug lord Mister Costas, accidentally leaving some drool on his vehicle. Taking this as a sign of disrespect, he ordered the thugs to give him a beating. Near death, he was saved by Batman, who afterwards left him in the care of Dr. Leslie Thompkins. When he finally regains consciousness, he begins to have doubts of his drug using lifestyle. While coming down from previous drugs, Dr. Thompkins administers a drug to put him to sleep so that he may regain his strength. It is during this sedative induced dream that he has a second vision. In this, Batman is perceived to be an almost god like figure. He tells John Ackers that he will spare him, so long as he serves his purpose: To ride Gotham City of the evil that plagues it. He leaves the clinic a former addict turned clean.
He goes to the Gotham Bus Terminal, knowing that most vulnerable runaways are usually picked up by drug pushers at this location. One runaway, Billy, is almost beaten by two such pushers, but John Ackers manages to save him with a baseball bat. Together, they begin recruiting other runaways and kids who have nowhere else to go. He begins to train these runaways into vigilantes who use bats, and the Bat Men are formed. Their official uniform is a red beret, black shirt, and a baseball bat, all which have a bat symbol on them. Their first outing is to save a grocery store who was being hassled, and as appreciation the owner let him us a building he owned so that they can reside there. However, it doesn't take long before he comes into negative attention. Thompkins, who has yet to discover that Bruce Wayne is Batman, is clearly upset that John Ackers is glorifying Batman, someone she despises. James Gordon also pulls him into his office to warn him that his activities are considered illegal, and he might eventually run into legal trouble. He in turn tells Gordon that if he shuts him down, he'd have to shut Batman down as well, since they are, in his view, one in the same. Since Gordon doesn't specifically deny his statement, he begins to believe they really are one in the same.
His next mission is to track down his dealer Twitch, who not only sold him the laced dope but coincidentally also works for Mister Costas, the man who ordered John's near death beating. Twitch however had ben led to a building as bait for Batman, where as the building was to be blown up and an ambush was set across the street. Him and his Bat Men foil the ambush and he saves Batman's life. This is his first meeting with him since he was first saved from a beating, and Batman tells him that he and John both exist to do what the law can't always do. He interprets this as meaning that he is not only Batman's partner, but also supposed to kill Mister Costas as his "final test." The GCPD are also on the trail of Mister Costas, and are about to stage a raid to arrest him. Batman, fearing that John is likely to get involved, goes to warn him that he should let Costas go and let the GCPD handle it, since being caught at the scene would give Gordon the excuse to take John and the Bat Men into custody as well. John Ackers gets a tip from a female member of his group that Costas was brought into Thompkins clinic.
He attempts to take his life at the hospital. Batman arrives and stops him though. They argue, John claiming that Batman had ordered him to kill Costas, and Batman responding that murder is not a method he condones. A fight breaks out and he shoots Batman and kidnaps Costas from the hospital and takes him back to the building him and his Bat Men reside in. He kills beats Costas to death, but afterwards a final confrontation ensues between Batman and John. He loses, and then is taken to jail. Billy leaves the Bat Men, and the Bat Men dissolve as a group.