Batman's utility belt

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Utility Belt
One of Batman's utility belts and some of its contents
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Detective Comics #29 (July 1939)
Created by Gardner Fox
In story information
Type Costume, Equipment
Element of stories featuring Batman

Batman's utility belt is one of the most characteristic portions of Batman's costume. Similar belts are used by the various Robins, Batgirls, and other members of the Bat-family.

History[edit]

Batman historian Les Daniels credits Gardner Fox, (the first writer other than Bill Finger to write the adventures of Batman in Detective Comics), with introducing the utility belt concept in Detective Comics #29 (July 1939).[1] In its first appearance, Batman's utility belt "contain[ed] choking gas capsules."[2] Two issues after the utility belt debuted, Fox also wrote the first appearance of a bat-themed weapon, when the batarang debuted in the story "Batman vs. the Vampire" in Detective Comics #31 (Sep 1939).[3]

Up until 1989, most artists drew the utility belt as a simple yellow belt with a buckle and capsules/cylinders around it. In 1986, Frank Miller drew Batman's utility belt with military-style pouches in the Batman: The Dark Knight Returns limited series. This rendition was used again in Batman: Year One and used by almost every artist in the Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight comics series. In 2000, the pouches became a standard feature in the depiction of the utility belt.

One feature added to the utility belt in Tim Burton's live-action films, Batman and Batman Returns, was a small motor which would move items from the back of the belt around to the front allowing Batman easier access to his weaponry and tools.[4]

Description[edit]

Although seemingly unremarkable in appearance, the utility belt is one of Batman's most important tools in fighting crime. Consisting primarily of a strap and buckle, the utility belt houses ten pouches or cylindrical cartridges that are attached to the outside of the belt. The buckle itself typically contains a miniature camera and a tape recorder. A secondary compartment behind the length of the belt houses Batman's supply of batarangs.

Each of the ten pouches or cylinders contains various tools integral to Batman's war on crime, with the cylinders being interchangeable with each other. Through the years, Batman has modified the contents of his belt to accommodate various crime-fighting scenarios.

Most versions of the belt contain security features to prevent anyone other than Batman from opening it. The belt is shown to be able to electrocute any villain who even touches it. It can also release stun gas to prevent tampering. The belt's compartments are locked and only Batman knows how to open them.

Contents[edit]

Elements[5][6][7][8][9] of the utility belt at times include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Batarangs:[10] Perhaps the most famous equipment used by Batman. These take the place of firearms, which Batman does not use, as firearms killed his parents. Batarangs are customizable throwing weapons, similar to shurikens, and are collapsible[11] so that a large number of them can fit inside of Batman's utility belt. There are several special varieties of the batarang, aside from the regular type. Explosive batarangs explode once they hit their target.[12] Electric batarangs deliver powerful electric shocks to whatever they come in contact with. These batarangs can electrocute enemies or overload electronic devices.[13] Remote-controlled batarangs let Batman fully steer the batarang via a remote control. These are used when a straight line of sight isn't possible. These batarangs have cameras in them so that Batman can see where they are going.[14] 
  • Grapple gun:[15][16][17][18][19][20] Lovingly dubbed the batclaw by Batman, the grapple gun shoots out a claw shaped projectile on a retractable high-tensile cord, which grabs onto a surface. Then, this cord pulls Batman to his target. He recently received a boost upgrade, launching him high into the air above the target point if he desires (so Batman can glide from there). The grapple gun can also pull down walls,[21] grab enemies and pull them closer, or pull guns straight out of their hands.[22] It is not kept in the belt itself. Rather, it magnetically attaches to it.
  • Cryptographic sequencer:[23] With this computer-like device, Batman can hack into computer systems, communications frequencies, etc.
  • Bolas:[24] Thrown around the feet of Batman's enemies to tie them with a composite-nylon cord. Often causes an escaping opponent to trip. With the push of a button in Batman's glove it can deliver an electric shock.
  • Tracers:[25] Used to track enemies Batman cannot follow closely. They also function as miniature listening devices to listen in on conversations from afar. Sometimes fired from a modified pistol.
  • Smoke pellets:[26] Large amounts of smoke can be deployed by throwing or breaking open these small hardened-gelatin spheroid capsules. Often used to quickly provide cover for Batman's stealthly exits and entries. Due to Batman's high-tech cowl lenses, he can see perfectly through the smoke.[27]
  • Gas pellets:[28] Similar to smoke pellets, gas pellets are used for incapacitating opponents. Lachrymatory, anesthesia, nerve, and regurgitant agents are deployed by breaking open the capsules. Due to Batman's nose-piece gas filter, he can be around the gas unharmed.[29]
  • Line launcher:[30]  A device that shoots out a steel line in both directions making a zip line, or a tightrope to walk on. Notably seen in Batman, Batman Returns, Batman: Arkham Asylum, and Batman: Arkham City.
  • Tranquilizer gun:[31][32] This collapsible gun fires darts that are tipped with fast-acting anaesthesia, paralytic agents, or other chemicals/drugs.
  • Glue globules:[33] Small round globules of concentrated adhesive glue. They are used to encase enemies in a sticky substance. The globules can be thrown or fired with a small gun. Notably seen in Superman/Batman: Public Enemies and in the webseries Gotham Girls.[34]
  • Lock pick: This gadget is used to escape handcuffs and access locked rooms. It is rarely kept in the utility belt. Rather, it is kept in one of Batman's gloves.
  • Rebreather:[35] This cylindrical device allows Batman to breathe underwater or in low oxygen environments. It is very small and compact so it fits easily into the utility belt. The standard rebreather gives 2.5 hours of oxygen.[36]
  • Laser:[37][38] A strong miniaturized laser used as a cutting tool.
  • Pellet grenades:[12] These small explosives are often used to knock down walls. They are several times more powerful than standard military grenades.
  • Concussion mines:[39] These are powerful timed explosives, ideal for destroying vehicles or blasting out reinforced concrete walls.
  • Explosive gel:[40] A foamlike substance which can be remotely detonated for an explosion. It is contained in a spray device which also acts as a detonator.
  • Thermite grenades: An incendiary used to burn[41] through obstacles. The fires produced by these grenades are fuelled by thermite, and thus are impossible to extinguish and burn at over three times the temperature of molten magma. In Batman: Year One, the thermite charge ignited accidentally and destroyed the utility belt.
  • Napalm:[42] This incendiary gel is kept in delicate packets. Once thrown or broken open, the packets release the napalm gel, which sticks to whatever it comes on contact with and instantly ignites. Seen in the film Batman Returns.[43]
  • Taser:[44] Used by Batman to stun his enemies with an electrical shock to temporarily paralyze them.
  • Remote electric charge:[45] This small collapsible gun fires powerful bolts of high current electricity. It is used to electrocute enemies at long range or overload electronic devices. Seen in the video game Batman: Arkham City.
  • Stun pellets:[46][47] Emit bright light and loud sound to completely blind and deafen enemies. The effect wears off in a few minutes, however. Batman is unaffected by these due to his cowl's lenses and sound dampening systems.[48]
  • EMP gun:[45] Used to disable any electrical/electronic equipment. As it is too large to fit in the utility belt, it is collapsible and clips to the back of the belt that is normally covered by Batman's cape.
  • Disruptor:[49] Batman's disruptor can remotely disable guns and projectile weapons, and can remotely deactivate grenades and other explosives.
  • Remote claw:[50] Confiscated from Deathstroke, this gadget is used to join two objects and pull them together. It works by firing a projectile out which hooks onto an object. The projectile then launches a rope-attached claw, which attaches to a second object. Once both are connected, they are pulled together. Batman can use this to knock enemies together, slam heavy objects into foes, or string objects up. Seen in the video game Batman: Arkham Origins.
  • Ultrasonic bat beacon:[51] This device emits sonic waves that attract thousands of bats to Batman's location. The bats swarm around him, creating a diversion, as well as sometimes attacking assailants. Due to his device's ability to summon bats, this reinforces the idea that Batman is a supernatural entity. It is usually kept in the heel of a boot rather than the utility belt. Notably seen in Batman: Year One and Batman Begins.
  • Sonic devastator: This small device, when activated, releases high energy sonic waves that can shatter glass and completely incapacitate enemies, making them writhe in agony. It has a range of a few hundred feet. Batman is unaffected by this weapon, due to his cowl's sound dampening systems.[52] Seen in Batman: The Animated Series and Injustice: Gods Among Us.[53] This device is rarely kept in the utility belt. Rather, it is kept in one of the gloves.
  • Freeze grenades:[54] Based on technology created by Mr. Freeze, these grenades encase anything in their blast radius in a block of ice. They are useful for freezing enemies to incapacitate them, as well as freezing water to create ice platforms to walk on. Seen in the video game Batman: Arkham City.
  • Kryptonite:[55] Batman always has a backup plan just in case things go awry. A perfect example of this is that he keeps a chunk of kryptonite in his belt at all times in a lead lined compartment in order to take down one of his closest friends, Superman, if necessary. Batman calls his kryptonite: "insurance".

References[edit]

  1. ^ Daniels, Les. Batman: The Complete History. Chronicle Books, 1999. ISBN 0-8118-4232-0, pg. 29
  2. ^ Mike's Amazing World of DC Comics: "The Batman Meets Doctor Death" in Detective Comics #29. Retrieved July 31, 2008.
  3. ^ Mike's Amazing World of DC Comics: "Batman vs. the Vampire" in Detective Comics #31. Retrieved July 31, 2008.
  4. ^ Don Shay (1990), Cinefex: 24, "So I put the idea to Tim that we have the belt revolve. He liked that concept and told us to go ahead with it. ... Evans and his crew constructed a revolving utility belt that was chain-driven by a small electric motor in the rear." 
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  32. ^ Judgement on Gotham (1991)
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  34. ^ "Gotham Girls - Harley Gets Stuck". Retrieved 2013-06-27. 
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External links[edit]