|First appearance||Detective Comics #27 (May 1939)|
|Created by||Bob Kane|
|In story information|
|Element of stories featuring||Batman
The Batsuit (or Bat-Suit) is the costume of the fictional comic book character Batman, a superhero appearing in DC Comics. Though the suit has been drawn many different ways by different artists, and the stories themselves have described Batman as modifying the details of his costume from time to time, it is most often depicted as consisting of: matching blue (or black) scalloped cape, bat-like cowl, gloves with a series of scalloped, fin-like protuberances, boots, and outerwear briefs; a yellow utility belt; and, a skintight gray body suit (with a stylized, black bat insignia emblazoned on the chest -- either without, or within, a bright-yellow ellipse).
Batman wears this costume both to conceal his identity, and to frighten criminals. Most versions of the Batsuit incorporate some form of body armor, and often night-vision, gas filters, and other aids to combat effectiveness or protection. All versions of the costume incorporate a utility belt containing a variety of technological, mechanical, and crime-fighting gadgets.
- 1 Origin and development
- 2 Variants
- 3 Other media appearances
- 3.1 Animation
- 3.2 Live-action
- 4 References
Origin and development
While brooding in his study over how to be a more effective crime fighter, Bruce Wayne saw a bat come through his window (in the earliest Detective Comics portrayal simply flying in an open window, in Post-Crisis continuity such as Batman: Year One, dramatically crashing through the glass). Seeing that "criminals are a superstitious, cowardly lot," Bruce adopts the persona of a bat in order to conceal his identity and strike fear into his adversaries. Subsequent origin tales have had Bruce terrified by bats as a child, and observing a bat costume worn by his father at a costume ball.
Batman's cape, cowl, gloves, briefs, and boots are usually either of two colors: Black (Usually with gray or blue highlights) or blue entirely. The blue highlights on the black, which was how he was designed in his 1939 debut appearance, are there in order to show detail and give the illusion of three-dimensionality. Over time, the initial blue highlight spread out over the previously black cape and cowl to become the dominant color. Thus artists' renditions depict the costume as black and gray or blue and gray. During the 1990s following Bruce Wayne's return to costume after the events of the KnightsEnd storyline (and influenced by the costume in the successful 1989 live-action film), he utilized an all black costume that incorporated some armor advancements, created by Jean-Paul Valley. The bat symbol on the chest has also alternated from a simple black bat, to a bat design on a yellow ellipse (to lend a logo-like appearance more akin to Superman's "s"-in-shield logo). The yellow ellipse was introduced in 1964 as part of the "New Look" Batman stories. In Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, the yellow ellipse design was explained as being a heavily under-armored, intentional target, to draw enemy fire away from his unarmored head and body.. A subsequent issue of Shadow of the Bat re-established the concept. Other elements, such as the utility belt and the length of the cowl's ears, have been changed by various artistic teams.
The basic foundation of the Batsuit is a tight-fitting bodysuit, similar to many superheroes. In early depictions, contrasting briefs are worn over a unitard or union suit, similar to the garb of early 20th century circus performers. Batman #1 revealed that there is a ballistic vest sewn into the costume. In modern depictions, the briefs are integrated into the main costume, so that section of the costume constitutes only a seam and color change from the rest of the suit. The bodysuit has varied in color and style as depicted by different artists: grey tights with dark blue briefs, light blue tights etc.
The Post-Crisis version of the bodysuit is not constructed from simple fabric, but from fictional advanced materials that gives it resistance to tearing. In addition, the suit also contains various defense and protection mechanisms layered into the suit's fabric. The basic version of the Batsuit is insulated against electricity and is mildly fire resistant. Batman utilizes many different body armor designs, some of which are constructed into his Batsuits, and others which are separate. In its most basic version, the suit is bulletproof around the upper torso and back. Other versions are entirely bulletproof to small arms fire, and have advanced flexible armor plating. In Batman: Arkham Asylum Batman wears a basic batsuit throughout the game but can unlock a new "Armored" batsuit after completing the main story-line. The armored suit is much bulkier and features heavy plate armor on the torso and limbs and segmented armor on the joints and neck.
As different artists have taken over the responsibility of drawing the character, the details of the suit have changed considerably. The original incarnation of the cape was a wing-like structure inspired by drawings by Leonardo da Vinci. This eventually evolved into a more cape-like design of varying length. Some artists draw the cape with protrusions on the shoulders, likely representing the "thumb" part of a bat's wing, though this is not a consistent addition. The cape is occasionally depicted as bulletproof. The cape varies according to the current writer, sometimes being depicted as bulletproof and fire resistant, and other times being nothing more than simple fabric that tears easily and sustains constant damage and is continuously replaced. For example, in the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Robin's Reckoning", Batman fell through a floor heavily compromised by machine-gun fire and landed badly, hurting his leg. He ripped up his cape and used some pieces of broken wood to make an impromptu ankle splint. In the video games Batman: Arkham Asylum and its sequel Batman: Arkham City the batsuit is damaged many times over the course of the game, the cape being torn and ripped severely, although it appears to provide protection against gunfire in the first of the two games, preventing attackers from shooting Batman in the back when walking, gliding, or swinging between various vantage points throughout the game. This feature of Batman's cape, however, is not present in Batman: Arkham City.
The cape may also incorporate Nomex fire-resistant/retardant material (as demonstrated in the film Batman Forever and the Knightfall novelization by Denny O'Neil) and a Kevlar weave to slow the impact of bullets. In The Dark Knight Strikes Again, the ends of the cape contained razor-sharp blades which Batman used to slice through several corrupt government officials.
In the 2005 film Batman Begins, the cape was also used as a sort of wingsuit; when an electric current was applied to the cape, the shape-memory fibers (much like Shape memory polymer) aligned into a semi-rigid form resembling a bat's wings, allowing Batman to glide over the streets and rooftops of Gotham. A hang-glider version of this concept was presented in Batman Returns, in which a harness folds out of the cape to make it a rigid wing-like structure, then folds back when the wearer rolls forward on the ground after landing. In the show Justice League Batman ejected from the Batplane with his cape acting as a parachute using a harness. After Dick Grayson took over the identity of Batman, he and Damian Wayne, the new Robin and Bruce Wayne's biological son, developed a "para-cape" for their costumes which gives them an ability to glide. However, at the beginning, Grayson finds that the new cape has too much weight. The Batman Arkham series also gave Batman the same gliding ability as in Batman Begins.
In the 2010 comic book mini-series Batman Beyond, Dick Grayson explains that there is also a tactical reason for adding a cape to the costume: misdirection. It "hides the body, makes it difficult to know where to strike" when Batman moves, with the result that villains attacking him at long range cannot determine whether they are shooting at Batman's body or just the cape. However, a flashback reveals that after armor-piercing rounds from the Joker's gun penetrated the cape, it saved Bruce but Dick, who was behind him, was critically wounded. It explains why Bruce eliminates the cape on the Batman Beyond incarnation of the Batsuit, as he'd rather be the one who got shot instead of others.
Mainly the cowl conceals Batman's features and contributes to his imposing appearance. There may be something added to the cowl that alters how people see Batman when looking at him directly. Batman's cowl has sometimes served other purposes. Occasionally, the cowl is depicted as having defense mechanisms such as electric shock or stun gas in order to prevent unauthorized removal (as shown in The Dark Knight, Batman: Hush, Superman/Batman and Justice League of America #24). In Batman Begins, Bruce Wayne mail orders the materials to build the cowl through a maze of untraceable shell companies. To avoid suspicion, Wayne orders very large quantities of 10,000, each part sent to different location, and under different aliases. However, because some meta-human criminals have the power to see through solid objects, Batman also lines the cowl with lead to protect his identity. That property is absent in The New Batman/Superman Adventures crossover "World's Finest", where Superman saw through Batman's cowl with ease, it is unknown whether modifications were made later. The cowl also contains shifting lenses that identifies suspect's identities, as well as their weak points (through medical records), while simultaneously avoiding the possibility of eye identification (presumably why he has solid white eyes in his animated appearances). The cowl has special visions, like infrared vision (heat sensors), night vision, and ultraviolet vision. The cowl's visor is also a digital camera for obtaining evidences. Also, in The Dark Knight, Batman uses a sonar concept (via Cellphone) introduced by Lucius Fox. This technology is utilized by using echolocation to triangulate objects via cell phones. Recently (in Detective Comics #838), it's been revealed that Batman also has an echolocation system in the cowl. In Batman: The Animated Series, Batman wears a special motorcycle helmet when riding his Batcycle that is molded with bat ears to accommodate his cowl's ears. In Batman: Arkham Asylum, Batman extensively uses a sophisticated "detective mode" vision enhancement built into the cowl that allows him to see enemies in darkness, including through walls, see their condition and state of alertness, and detect and identify hidden objects and analyze evidence. It also gives him the white eyes while it is activated.
In addition, one of the cowl's ears carries a high-gain antenna for an internal comm-link on the left side of the cowl, allowing Batman to stay in contact with his allies. The comm-link can also scan police radios and other communication frequencies. It also carries an inertial navigation unit to keep him in balance when facing foes such as the Scarecrow or Count Vertigo. The cowl's Kevlar panels provide a level of protection for his head against firearms. The front of the skull and the sides of the temples also have small armor inserts to increase the effectiveness of skull strikes and protect from concussive blows. Repeated encounters with the Mad Hatter also forced Batman to shield his cowl against the villain's mind control. Its basic design has remained unchanged; however, it has been frequently updated to advance Batman's crusade. In Batman: The Brave and the Bold, the cowl's ears can change lengths for various uses. However artist Karl Kerchl has drawn Batman's costume vault showing that he has a wide selection of cowls with ears of different lengths.
Despite that Dick Grayson's cowl supposedly has the same features as Bruce Wayne's, Grayson often finds it interferes with his peripheral vision when wearing it. This could be because Grayson, having used a simple domino mask to conceal his identity for most of his crimefighting career, is simply unused to the cowl.
In Batman: Cacophony, during Batman's hunt with the masked serial killer Onomatopoeia, the Dark Knight reinforced one of his cowls with a secondary armor beneath its kevlar headpiece with bloodpack lining in anticipation of being shot in the skull, to create an opportunity to fake his own death to get himself closer to the villain. This was based on assassin Deadshot's helmet designs.
Batman is often depicted as wearing dark-colored leather gloves. In the earliest Batman stories of Detective Comics, the costume featured a few curiosities before it evolved in to its more or less standard style. The first gloves were purple in color, ordinary looking, and lacked any sort of scalloped fins or other stylings, and only came to the wrists. The second Batman adventure depicted the character wearing no gloves at all. A few issues later the gloves became longer, and by 1940 the familiar fins were added (in early stories, these pieces originally resembled miniature, scalloped bat wings, but eventually became three simple triangular fins). In some later incarnations, the scallops are attached to a separated bracer worn below the glove around the wrist, In The Batman Batman's gloves have claws. In Batman Begins these bracers are part of the costume of the ninja set Wayne trained with, painted black - this set are hard enough to slice Ra's al Ghul's sword into many pieces. Traditionally, the scallops serve a defensive purpose and are used to defend against bladed weapons, such as swords or knives. In Batman: Arkham City, the fins are used to repeatedly block several sword strikes from Ra's Al Ghul, as well as being used to defend against swords of Assassins and common thugs. In The Dark Knight, Batman is given enhanced gloves with which the fins can be launched by pressing a button and fired to become like throwing stars. Towards the end of the movie, Batman launches them at The Joker effectively incapacitating him. He also has electrical shockers in the fingertips of his gloves, which are used to control the structure of his cape. Additionally, Batman hides a few pieces of his arsenal in his gloves, such as a lock pick. Also as stated in the Batman hand book, the knuckles of the glove contain a small amount of lead shot to increase the force of his blows, however this has yet to be seen in the comic book series. Similar knuckle reinforcement can be seen in the video game Batman: Arkham Asylum, where Batman actually sprays his knuckles with an explosive gel to drastically increase the force of a punch; the explosion effectively destroys his glove, and nearly breaks his arm.
In Batman: Year One, it is depicted that Batman hid a few pieces of his arsenal in his leather boots, such as a blow gun (its length made it impossible to fit in Batman's belt compartment) with fast-acting anesthetic darts and an ultrasonic device built into his left heel. The basic design of the boots are modeled on Tactical boots, but they are made from lightweight rubbers and are much more flexible to allow for full extension when kicking. The bottom is a flexible split sole design and is textured for a variety of surfaces. The boots also have steel toes, making them much more effective when on the offensive. Although Batman is already an accomplished Olympic level swimmer, during the Batman: Hush storyline, it is revealed that he installed underwater propellers in the heels. In Batman Begins, a boot heel is revealed to contain an ultrasonic signaling device capable of calling live bats to it as a form of protection and cover for Batman during a getaway. This device was originally introduced in the Batman: Year One series. In Batman & Robin, the boots have ice skates built into them.
The Bat-suit has been repeatedly updated in order to reflect advances in technology. Originally the costume contained no protective armor. However, the real world advent of various forms of personal protective materials like Kevlar and the realization that being shot while wearing such protection should still be avoided, has led to the costume being re-imagined with varying forms of bulletproof protection which employs the aforementioned use of the suit's chest symbol as a bull's-eye to lure shots at the armor's strongest point. Despite the armor, Batman almost always evades gunfire and is very rarely actually shot. In the 1989 film "Batman", the chest-plate is designed to look like a ripped upper body and one of the Joker's men shoots Batman nearly point-blank in the chest. The suit's body armor saved his life yet the force was still enough to briefly render him unconscious. Although the suit often included a neck-brace and other preventative bracing, after recovering from his spinal cord injury (the result of Bane's attack), Batman reinforced the armor with a material to dampen shocks and impact, along with a spinal brace, to protect him from such abuse. The Bat-suit also has a magnetic signature harness, allowing Batman to attract his body to a gargantuan metal object (like a plane).
During The Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul, Batman acquired an ancient suit of armor from Talia al Ghul, The Suit of Sorrows. According to its legends, it can impart strength and speed of its wearer but also would completely corrupt anyone whose heart and soul is not pure. At first, the Dark Knight was dubious of the legend, but eventually experienced an aggressive behavior while wearing the armor during patrols. Batman later learns from a member of The Order Of The Pure, a splinter faction of The Order Of St. Dumas, that the armor once belonged to a knight named Geoffrey de Cantonna, who massacred hundreds of people in an alpine valley in 1190. The Suit of Sorrows becomes one of the trophy displays within the Batcave, to remind the Dark Knight that he must be ever vigilant not only in his crusade against crime, but also himself. The new Azrael takes up wearing the suit eventually.
In all eight one-shots of Bruce Wayne: The Road Home, which sets after the events of Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne, show that Batman has developed an exosuit mimicking Amazo's capability of copying metahuman powers, includes Superman's heat vision, superspeed which is labelled with SF as in The Flash's speedforce, Martian Manhunter's invisibility, emitting a Green Lantern's ring's energy, a lasso mirroring Wonder Woman's Lasso of Truth, and superstrength. There is a design flaw on this suit: it uses too much power to keep it functioning. Thus, Batman must only use it for a limited amount of time. Lucius Fox also supplies Bruce Wayne and his son Damian a pair of experimental jetsuit prototypes. They can provide artificially enhanced strength and endurance as well as short-range flight capability. The prototypes are considered too risky and expensive for operational military use, allowing the Waynes to utilize them for the family's Batman Inc. project.
Utility belt and other equipment
Batman's utility belt is his most characteristic prop, much like Wonder Woman's Lasso of Truth, or Green Lantern's ring. The exact contents of this belt are not known because Batman usually changes it to suit his needs. His uncanny ability to carry unusually appropriate tools is legendary. Batman's enemies are especially interested in the utility belt as they believe it will give them an advantage over him, but the belt's compartments are locked and only Batman knows how to open them. There have been a few instances where the security is been bypassed: In the Justice League episode "Injustice for All", Lex Luthor managed to open the belt by subjecting it to intense electrical shocks and in an episode of The Batman "The Cat and the Bat" Catwoman stole Batman's utility belt and managed to open the capsules. The utility belt is depicted as having defense mechanisms such as electric shock, locks, marker paint, or stun gas in order to prevent tampering, but for some reason, it doesn't prevent the belt from being removed. This issue was fixed in Batman Beyond with the utility belt being permanently attached to the futuristic suit. The belt is almost always yellow in color, and the look of the belt is usually depicted as having either capsule-like cylinders or military style pouches to store his equipment in.
The array of devices Batman carries have become more complex over time. The simple coiled rope and batarang scaling equipment became a rocket-powered (or compressed-air-powered) grapple gun. The suit has also carried on different occasions a re-breather device, flash and gas grenades, explosives and a detonator, lockpicks, a signaling device for the Batmobile, electronic surveillance equipment (including video camera and monitor), a forensic kit for gathering crime scene evidence, a medical kit, a small toolkit, a homing device, a cache of money and, in early incarnations, a pistol in a holster. On any occasion where Batman anticipates encountering Superman, he has also carried (in a lead case) a Kryptonite ring given to him by the Man of Steel as a weapon of last resort (in some instances, Batman has acquired – or manufactured – the kryptonite himself, such as Frank Miller's The Dark Knight graphic novels). One exception to this is seen in Kingdom Come, since in that novel, Superman has become impervious to kryptonite. In The Dark Knight Rises, at least one of the "pouches" has been replaced with a device previously seen being used by Bruce Wayne to avoid paparazzi attention that shuts off nearby electrical appliances.
Batman keeps variant costumes for dealing with extraordinary situations; for example, he has been shown in a SCUBA variant of his costume, a fireproof version for fighting his enemy Firefly, a thermal insulated version for fighting Mister Freeze, as well as others. Many versions of the hero, including those shown in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Kingdom Come, Batman Beyond and Batman versus Predator, show him swapping his cloth costume for a suit of powered armor.
In the Knightfall story arc (1992–1994), the character Jean-Paul Valley redesigned the Batsuit during his tenure as Batman. Rather than appearing as a new costume, Jean-Paul developed it over time. Valley created an armored suit that contained more gadgets, including a shuriken launcher, flamethrower and other, more lethal weapons. This version of the suit did away with the traditional cape and cowl. It featured armored and bladed wings and was highly bulletproof, capable of sustaining direct machine gun barrages as well as enduring the explosions from grenades and high intensity fire. The suit also featured an underwater rebreather. A circular ammo feeder affixed to the back of the suit provided Valley with continuous bat-shaped shuriken. It was then made to be more high tech, with the eyes appearing more as goggles, different color scheme, and more armor. After being caught in an explosion during his fight with the former Batman at the time, Bruce Wayne, the main color scheme turns into orange-and-yellow. While the suit bears immense power, it also slows its user's speed and limits movement capacity. In the end, the suit became Valley's vulnerable point, as Bruce realized that his replacement had become too reliant upon the suit's gadgetry. In their final confrontation, Bruce, in his traditional bat costume, tricked Valley into discarding the armor by leading him into a narrow tunnel that forced Valley to remove most of the armor to follow Bruce. Upon seeing Bruce revealed in his Batsuit under blinding daylight after being forced to remove his helmet – the last part of the armour Valley had kept – Valley's fragile mind collapsed, and he acknowledged Bruce as the true Batman.
The gauntlets from this costume are now being used by Kate Spencer, the current Manhunter, who obtained them from an LAPD evidence room. They had been used by a small-time crook who unsuccessfully robbed the safe of a Gotham lawyer who keeps information on all his supervillain clients' loot.
While no different in terms of gadgets, the Batsuit that Batman wears, first in the Troika storyline, is noticeably darker than his default costume. The costume is also much sturdier than his regular costume, as it is made of Kevlar for added protection. Batman designs it with his encounter with Bane in mind. The gauntlets and boots for this Batsuit are also one piece, connected seamlessly to the arms and legs. By Robin #14, Batman substitutes the original gloves and boots for ones of more protective quality, citing his encounter with the Russian Troika. Later in No Man's Land, Batman replaces the utility belt, which uses capsules, for a utility belt with the standard military style pouches.
In Batman and Robin, Dick Grayson (filling in as Batman when Bruce was presumed dead) wears a seemingly lighter, easy to wear Batsuit as compared to that of Bruce Wayne. There are noticeable differences in the Batbelt - while Bruce's does not sport the Bat-Symbol, Dick's belt sports a golden version of it, as well as a differently modeled belt.
Also, the gloves which Bruce used during his tenure have been replaced by gauntlet-type wrist attachments, their coloring making them appear similar to the original Batman's glove color scheme. These attachments feature two scallops while Bruce's traditionally has three (although some artists have drawn three scallops).
Lastly, during the Dark Knight's battle with the Red Hood, Jason Todd shoots Batman in the chest, noting that although the suit was lined with Kevlar and the symbol was copper-plated, him shooting Dick in the chest would still hurt. After shooting Batman, the symbol is blown out of the costume, showing a mesh of fiber underneath.
Rejected concept art by Tony Daniel showcased an outfit that was visually similar to the costume of Earth-Two's Dick Grayson. Another concept sketch by Frank Quitely depicted a plated design that heavily resembled the Batsuit worn by Bruce Wayne in the film The Dark Knight.
After Bruce Wayne returns from his journey through time, he designs another Batsuit which differentiates from Dick Grayson's (concept drawings by artist David Finch) and adds further upgrades. It is notably similar to the Troika outfit, but unlike that Batsuit, this suit includes a full set of electronics, including a heating and cooling system, secure broadband communications, and is capable of emitting an electromagnetic pulse, which disrupts electronic devices around him (such as rooftop security cameras). For combat efficiency, Batman added projectiles on the gauntlets to incapaticate opponents and retractable knives on the boots' soles.
The shield is no longer just a bat-themed insignia adorned on the chest area. It can be used as a wide-beam flashlight and intimidating opponents, therefore could be "powered down to black or gray so that it camouflages itself when necessary."
The New 52
In the wake of the New 52, Batman wears another version of the Batsuit. It is designed by artist Jim Lee. This Batsuit appears using various elements from Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Trilogy. Just as in The Dark Knight, it is made of hardened kevlar plates on titanium-dipped tri-weave fibers and is broken into multiple pieces of armor over a more flexible bodysuit for greater mobility. The gloves are made of a dense but malleable leather with ribbing on fingers (palm side), raised piping and convex metal knuckles (topside). Mesh detail appears just beneath the palm and inside the three recessed louver-like shapes located on both topside. The blades on the sides of Batman's gauntlets are now retractable and are capable of firing outwards as projectiles. The utility belt is now a convex metal ampules form, its buckle is made of beveled metal platelets. The back of the belt has an intricate containment device and can be detached to be used as a tool. Batman also adapts a para-cape that aerodynamically support himself for gliding.
Other media appearances
Filmation and Hanna-Barbera
In the various superhero animated series produced by Filmation and Hanna-Barbera, including The Adventures of Batman (1968–1977), Super Friends (1973–1986) and The New Adventures of Batman (1977), Batman's costume has consistently resembled the blue and gray Batsuit of the Silver Age comics from the 1960s and 1970s, and the "New Look" version of the batsuit.
DC animated universe
Batman wears various Batsuits throughout the DCAU:
Batman's first major Batsuit in Batman: The Animated Series (1992–1995) overall appears to be a cross between the "New Look" costume and Bob Kane's original design; the suit's chest emblem and utility belt are similar to the "New Look" version, but the cape and cowl have Kane's original color scheme of black with blue highlights. Occasionally, the cape and cowl appear to be woven in one piece, and when he's not fighting the cape is usually seen covering Batman's entire body below his head (similar to how he's occasionally drawn in the comics). His utility belt uses capsules or cylinders that are both yellow. The costume lacks any armor qualities and is merely a body suit with no apparent special features and it often becomes torn in serious fights. It is occasionally seen packed in Bruce Wayne's luggage or in his vehicles, and it is made clear that he has numerous spares. He is also shown that he hides lock picks and blades within his gloves in preparation of when his wrists being bound by handcuffs or ropes. The exact appearance of the suit was not always consistent in the series, such as the chest emblem's design or the length of the cape.
Batman's physical appearance was revamped in The New Batman Adventures (1997–1999) with his second major Batsuit's colors darker overall and the utility belt here uses pouches that is a very pale light brown. His gloves also have extended scallops and his chest emblem was changed into a complete bat without the yellow ellipse. There were fewer highlights on the cape and cowl that were now dark gray and the cape itself was redesigned to always reach over his shoulders, even when it is not covering his entire body below the head. This Batsuit is based on his modern comic book appearance. This design was re-used in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (2000) and Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman (2003) as well as crossovers with Superman: The Animated Series and Static Shock.
Batman was again redesigned in Justice League (2001–2004) with his third major Batsuit as a mixture appearance of the previous two suits; the costume itself is basically the same one from The New Batman Adventures, but has the original color scheme from Batman: The Animated Series. Additionally, the artists added certain modifications to foreshadow the futuristic costume from Batman Beyond such as the lengthening of the "ears" on the cowl from and the addition of heels on the boots. This design is re-used in the Static Shock two-part episode "A League of Their Own" as well as Justice League Unlimited (2004–2006).
An extremely different variant is featured in Batman Beyond (1999–2001) which does away with the traditional individual articles of clothing and appears to be a simple black bodysuit with a red chest emblem and the cowl also covers the entire face. However, this version is a form fitting "powered suit" similar to an artificial powered exoskeleton. Batman's fourth major Batsuit was originally designed by himself to aid his aging body (as the series' storyline was set at the chronological end) but then Terry McGinnis became the suit's primary wearer from then on after becoming the new Batman. This Batsuit is unlike any other one in the DCAU. It gave Terry increased strength and equipped with sophisticated built-in gadgets (similar to Jean Paul Valley's variant). Of its many features, the most frequently used are a set of retractable wings and jet boots which together allow for flight, an active camouflage system which renders him nearly invisible, and a two-way radio and surveillance system that allows Bruce to see and hear everything Terry does and give him advice. It is also revealed that the suit's technology was designed by prosthesis scientist Dr. Peter Corso. Repeated encounters with Inque led Bruce to add electroshock circuitry to protect Terry or to disable an opponent. Terry's Batsuit's original utility belt was capsulized like the original belt from Batman: The Animated Series but the Justice League Unlimited episode "Epilogue" (set 15 years after Batman Beyond) shows Terry now has more traditional pouches like the ones in The New Batman Adventures and Justice League.
Flashbacks shown in the Batman: The Animated Series episodes "Robin's Reckoning" and "The Mechanic" as well as the spin-off film Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993) shows Batman's earlier costume that (according to the reference book Batman Animated) was based on the Batsuit from Batman: Year One with elements from Kane's original Batsuit (which was also similar to how his basic costume would be designed in all further subsequent DCAU appearances). Batman also has an alternate suit of black armor in The New Batman Adventures episode "Torch Song" capable to withstand extreme heat and flame (such as Firefly's attacks) and presumably bulletproof as well. During the alternate timeline created by Vandal Savage's disruptions of World War II in the Justice League episode "The Savage Time", Bruce still became Batman but the Batsuit he developed reflected the state of war he lived under: a helmet (with seemingly no eyes but likely has a visor), several rigid armor plates and incorporates firearms into his arsenal (unlike the Batman of the primary timeline). Another alternative-universe version of the Batsuit worn by the Justice Lords incarnation of Batman in the Justice League episode "A Better World" featured lighter gray colors on the cape, cowl and chest, and jet black on the rest of the bodysuit. The cape was also extended to cover the upper torso and shoulders entirely, with the Bat insignia embedded into the chest portion. The insignia itself was also changed to become more angular, and was colored a metallic silver, a version of the same logo appears on the Batman Beyond-era suit. The Justice Lord Batsuit also did not use separate colors for the "underwear" portion, had a silver-gray utility belt, and the gauntlets had no scallops. In the Batman Beyond episode "Disappearing Inque", Bruce had a prototype Batsuit that resemble the Bat-Armor from DC Comics's award-winning comic book saga Kingdom Come which he used to fight Inque. This Batsuit can increase Bruce's endurance and offer him some protection, but hindering his movements due to its size and puts a strain on his weakened heart.
In The Batman (2004–2008), the Batsuit looks very similar to the costume from Batman: The Animated Series, but has shorter 'ears' on the cowl to make the Batman look more like a "boxer", has claws on the fingertips of the gloves, a slightly redesigned yellow elipse bat symbol on his chest, a more high-tech computerized utility belt linking to the Batcave's computer system called the "Batwave"; The belt's buckle can be removed and used for several purposes, such as for a tracking device, for controlling the Batmobile, the Batbot, or as seen in "The Cat and the Bat" fly remote-controlled batarangs. It also has a longer cape that, just like the DCAU costumes, sometimes covers his entire body below the head. In the episode "Fleurs Du Mal", it is shown that the suit is linked to the Batwave, to monitor his physical and mental activities. Despite this regular default Batsuit, Batman uses some other variations of the Batsuit as well in the series to tackle certain situations and villains.
- In the episode "Traction", the Batman is badly injured by the immensely powerful Bane, due to which he is forced to build a prototype exo-skeleton called the "Batbot" to battle the villain. The Batbot is controlled by Bruce Wayne while sitting inside its cockpit. It is shown to possess superhuman strength to match that of Bane, along with enhanced levels of agility and endurance. It has two turbo retro-thrusters for flight on its back as well. The Batbot is also shown to be controlled via the Batman's utility belt (for example, in "The Cat and the Bat" episode).
- In the episode "The Big Chill", when Mr. Freeze defeats the Batman in their first encounter, the latter's butler Alfred coats the Batsuit with a special white weather-proof material, that can withstand sub-zero temperatures and can be used by the Batman to camouflage himself in snow. It covers the Batman's facial part as well, which is usually the only exposed part of his regular Batsuit. Additionally, this arctic Batsuit is shown to be armed with retractable ice skates in the boots and two flamethrowers attached on either side of the waist. Also, the blades on the Batman's gloves emit high electric sparks to melt any ice in his path. The arctic Batsuit reappears in the episode "Fire and Ice", and is depicted to sustain heavy amounts of damage but protects its wearer, when the villain Firefly maneuvers the Batman into a fuel tanker that is about to explode. The Batman survives, but injures himself and has the suit damaged.
- In the episode "Swamped", when the Batman has to battle Killer Croc, he uses a special hydro Batsuit, that does not get wet or allow water to enter it. It is totally black in color, and the Batman somehow sheds or retracts his cape in his suit when he goes underwater to battle Killer Croc.
- In the movie The Batman vs. Dracula (2005), Batman briefly extended the design of his utility belt to his shoulders and chest for carrying a vast number of vampire-fighting gadgetry such as garlic bombs, garlic-treated batarangs, and vials of vaccine made to counteract a vampiric virus spread from the vampire lord Count Vlad Dracula. The extension of the belt would also create a shape of a cross, which is commonly known to be able to ward off vampires as they have an aversion to all of the Christianity icons, including Christian crosses.
- When arsonist Garfield Lynn's transformation from Firefly to a nuclear-powered Phosphorus in "White Heat", Batman designed a black NBC suit, built by Alfred, to protect himself.
- On the episode "Artifacts", it is shown that, decades into the future, an elder Batman would adapt a simpler Batsuit resembling of Frank Miller's Batman: The Dark Knight Returns graphic novel.
Batman: Gotham Knight
In Batman: Gotham Knight (2008), a DC Universe Animated Original Movie set between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, details of the Batsuit are shown. The suit has many characteristics of the Batman Begins suit, but on the segment "Field Test", Batman upgrades the suit with an advanced motion scanner that has an electromagnetic gyro which produces a magnetic shield capable to deflect small-arms fire before he abandons it. On "In Darkness Dwells", it is shown that there's an infrared scope built within the cowl, along with a rebreather that can be folded within it. There's a wireless relay communicator in the cowl. Its signals are locked with quantum cryptology and bounced through a dozen different satellites (presumably the WayneComs). As per the animation styles the suit varies between versions of the Batman Begins costume and the Comic Book costumes, including the similarity to the outfits from The New Batman Adventures, Justice League and Justice League Unlimited.
Batman: The Brave and the Bold
In Batman: The Brave and the Bold (2008–2011), Batman wears a slightly modified version of the blue and gray suit worn during the Silver Age comics from the 1960s and 1970s. The batsuit also resembles the "New Look" costume. According to the show's creators, this was deliberately done to invoke a less dark and violent depiction of Batman following the release of The Dark Knight.
Though similar in appearance to the older costumes, this Batsuit is unique in and that it possesses a much larger amount of gadgetry than any other costume shown to date, and has many characteristics of the Batsuit in Batman Beyond. Thus far, this version of the Batsuit has been shown to not only contain multiple Batarangs and other standard Bat-paraphernalia, but also a collapsible sword (hidden inside his utility belt with a sound similar to a lightsaber), wings, deep space gear, scuba equipment, and multiple rocket thrusters. Also, the emblem on Batman's chest can now transform into an emergency Batarang, becoming hard and rigid after being exposed to some sort of magnetic field emitted by the suit. Also the 'ears' on the mask can become long blades with the push of a button, sharp enough to pierce a robot's head.
In the episode "Game Over for Owlman," the villain Owlman steals one of Batman's costumes that looks identical to the original Detective Comics #27 design from 1939, and commits a series of crimes to frame the Caped Crusader. In a flashback sequence from the episode "The Color of Revenge," Batman is shown wearing a slightly different costume that has the chest emblem from the Golden Age comics from the 1940s and 1950s, in addition the teaser of the episode has Batman sporting various Bat suits in different colors, as an homage to Detective Comics #241. In another flashback during "The Golden Age of Justice", a much younger Batman is shown wearing the original Bob Kane outfit during training sessions with the Justice Society.
The Batsuit worn by Batman in Young Justice (2010–2013) is largely similar to the ones seen in The New Batman Adventures, Justice League and Justice League Unlimited, as well as the comic books prior to Batman Incorporated. The only major visual difference stems from the detailing on the suit, which highlights the padding and armored plates, in contrast to the more minimalist take drawn by Bruce Timm and other artists. In the episode "Schooled", Bruce is shown utilizing an emergency Batsuit hidden in the Metropolis corporate offices of Waynetech. As a nod to the 60's Batman series, the suit is accessed via a switch concealed within a bust of William Shakespeare.
Beware the Batman
Taking advantage of the computer generated imagery used to create the show, the Batsuit worn in Beware the Batman is more detailed than previous versions. Like the suits seen in most of the live-action films, the new Batsuit is entirely black and sports a raised bat-emblem on the chest without the yellow-ellipse, as well as a more helmet-like cowl, and it is very similar to the outfits from The New Batman Adventures, Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. The suit's utility belt was also redesigned for the show, and an actual model was built by Glen Murakami in order to make it as realistic and practical as possible.
Batman (1960s TV series)
The live-action Batman television series of the 1960s, starring Adam West, featured a blue-purple and gray version of the Batsuit with a noticeably shorter cape and ears (the ears were shorter than the actual cowl to allow tighter close up shots during filming and the cape was shortened as other actors kept treading on it while West was moving bringing him to an abrupt halt and ruining shots.) There were also light blue eyebrows painted on the cowl, along with a light blue-line on the nosepiece. The bat-emblem with the yellow-ellipse is similar to the "New Look" costume. In keeping with the campy nature of the series, the devices on the utility belt were often used as gags, with one of the most bizarre items being a thermos for storing alphabet soup. In one episode, Bruce Wayne carried two capsules that when dropped in a glass of water became full-sized costumes for Batman and Robin, complete with utility belts. In the crossover episode featuring The Green Hornet, Britt Reid refers to Batman's costume as a "goofy purple cape."
Batman (1989 film)
Tim Burton's Batman films feature a black Batsuit with the yellow ellipsed emblem, yellow utility belt, and heavy armor placed on the chest, forearms, and boots, with the chest armor molded to look like a well developed upper body incorporating the bat-emblem. This becomes the basic template on which all subsequent live-action Batsuits are based. On several occasions in the live-action films, Bruce Wayne's appearance in this Batsuit template has been likened to that of "A giant bat," especially when his cape is spread wide in front of terrified criminals.
In Batman (1989), the basic design of the suit, done by Bob Ringwood, is essentially the Neal Adams version of the costume, which was still in vogue in the comics during the 1980s. This movie suit was notable for its introduction of the grapple gun (which was later adopted by the comics), for the black eye makeup worn under the mask (which has been used in every live-action Batman film since), and for the construction of the cowl (which made it impossible for Michael Keaton to turn his head while wearing it). The costume was constructed of heavy materials (foam rubber in real life, special body armour in the context of the film), instead of the spandex material seen in the comics. While Bruce Wayne is depicted as a muscular man in the comics, Michael Keaton was not of the same physical build and the armor was designed to make Batman appear that way.
In Batman Returns (1992), Bruce is seen choosing his Batsuit and accessories out of many spares from a large walk-in closet carved into a wall of the Batcave. The suit used in this film differs slightly from the previous version, being that it was made out of a thinner, slightly more flexible foam rubber material and featured a more angular shape in the musculature of the armor that is shown to have weak areas (most notable when Catwoman is able to pierce the side of the suit after feeling for weakness in it). The overall design of the suit was meant to resemble the design of automobiles. It also features a bat-emblem more similar to the iconic DC Comics emblem than the previous film's costume, which had two extra spikes on the bat's tail. At one point in the film, Batman's cape is shown to be able to change, through use of a fold-out spring loaded framework, into a glider that allows him to glide through the sky. Christopher Nolan would use a similar approach with the cape in his Batman films.
Joel Schumacher's Batman films are known for their addition of rubber nipples to the Batman and Robin costumes (on the DVD commentary, Schumacher claimed they were inspired by statues of the Greek gods), though they are noticeably absent from the secondary suits Batman wears during the climaxes of both films.
In Batman Forever (1995), the Batsuit is somewhat similar to the previous two films' costumes, except for the focus on a more anatomical design overall and a black utility belt instead of a yellow one. The "ears" on the cowl are also longer. One notable feature of the costume is a button on the utility belt which causes a fireproof coating to excrete from and cover the cape, allowing Batman to wrap it around himself as a shield from extreme fires, and a more 3-D bat emblem on his chest. Also like in Batman Returns, Bruce has numerous spares which he keeps in a large dome-like structure in the Batcave of this film. Dr. Chase Meridian, the film's love interest for Batman, mentions the appeal of Batman's suit as she runs her fingers across the chest section. After all of the regular Batsuits are destroyed by the Riddler, Bruce is forced to use a prototype "Sonar Suit", which is an iridescent silvery-black and more armor-like. This new Batsuit utilizes lenses that slide automatically over the cowl's eyeholes to display a sonar-generated image of Batman's surroundings to him, allowing him to see with more accuracy in extreme darkness or glare. The use of this suit in the climax of the film, allows Batman to smash the Riddler's Box-device and save both Robin and Dr Meridian, which otherwise would have been impossible with the standard Batsuit. The Batsuits in this film were created from a less dense mixture of foam rubber, which resulted in much lighter suits and allowed more flexibility for Val Kilmer and the various stunt doubles, while increasing durability. More than 100 Batman and Robin costumes were created to allow for the range of stunts, from underwater scenes to scenes involving fire and extreme fighting. The basic Batsuit of Batman Forever was subsequently used by Christopher Nolan when auditioning actors for the lead role in Batman Begins, and was worn by Christian Bale and Cillian Murphy among others.
Batman & Robin
In Batman & Robin (1997), Batman produces a bat-credit card from his utility belt which has an expiration date of "Forever". This film also added pop-out ice skates to the costume's boots. The basic Batsuit of this film is also noticeably more blue than black in color tone, including the ellipse around the bat symbol. A second, more elaborately detailed costume (a silvery Arctic version) is worn by Batman during the film's climax against Mr. Freeze. As in Batman Forever, the basic Batsuit of this film also features nipples and a comically enlarged codpiece.
The Batsuit in the reboot Batman Begins (2005) is given the most complete description ever seen in a Batman film and possibly the comic books. Derived from the Research and Development Program within Wayne Enterprises' Applied Sciences Division, the suit is described by Lucius Fox as a Nomex survival suit originally intended for advanced military use but was considered to be too expensive for the United States Army and military in general. Based on an advanced infantry armor system constructed from Nomex, the first layer of protection is an undersuit with built-in temperature regulators designed to keep the wearer at a comfortable temperature in almost any condition. The second layer of protection consists of armor built over the chest, calves, thighs, arms and back. This armor features a kevlar bi-weave that can stop slashing weapons and can also deflect any bullet short of a straight shot impact, and reinforced joints that supposedly allow maximum flexibility and mobility, which Batman finds still hinders his movements due to its weight. The armor is then coated with a black latex material for camouflage and to dampen Bruce's heat signature, making him difficult to detect with night-vision equipment. Made of a graphite material, the cowl acts as a protective helmet. The cowl's Kevlar lining is supposed to be bulletproof. A manufacturing defect in the graphite used in the production of the first shipment of the cowl's components made its outer shell incapable of withstanding blunt trauma (a flaw Alfred demonstrates to Bruce using a baseball bat). The second shipment (not shown) was supposed to fix this problem. An advanced eavesdropping device is concealed within the cowl's right ear and enables Batman to listen in on conversations from a distance.
The utility belt is bronze in color and is a modified climbing harness, with magnetized impact-resistant pouches and canisters attached to the belt at ergonomic points for ease of reach. It carries a magnetic gas-powered grapple gun, an encrypted cell phone, Batarangs which resemble ninja throwing stars cut in the shape of a bat, a medical kit, smoke bombs, mini explosives, periscope, remote control for the Tumbler, mini-cam, money and other unspecified equipment. Batman removed the belt's shoulder and chest straps because they restricted his movements.
Batman's cape is made of "memory cloth" also developed by Fox. It is essentially flexible in its normal state, but becomes semi-rigid in a fixed form (Batman's wings) when an electric current is passed through it from the microcircuits in the palms of his gloves.
Bruce also adds metal gauntlets with scallops on the forearms, an innovation derived from his experience as a pupil of Ra's al Ghul's League of Shadows. Mainly used to block against knives or other stabbing weapons, Bruce managed to surprise Ra's by breaking the blade of his ninjatō in multiple places with the gauntlets.
The left boot heel contains a high frequency sonic "sounder" which can summon bats (first seen in Batman: Year One).
Prior to the latest upgrade to the Batsuit in the next film, Batman still uses the original less flexible Nomex based suit. Interrupting a drug transaction between Scarecrow and Chechen, he uses a pneumatic mangler that allows him to bend a gun barrel and tear through the sheet metal of a van while chasing after Scarecrow.
The Dark Knight / The Dark Knight Rises
Batman's Batsuit is changed in The Dark Knight (2008) due to Bruce Wayne's growing frustration over his overall lack of mobility. In this new design, the bodysuit is made of hardened kevlar plates on titanium-dipped tri-weave fibers and is broken into multiple pieces of armor over a more flexible bodysuit for greater mobility. But as a trade-off, the flexible armor leaves Batman more vulnerable to injury from bullets or knives in favor of increased flexibility and lighter weight. While the cowl of the Batsuit in previous film incarnations has been attached to the shoulder and neck, the Batsuit's cowl is now a separate component inspired by the design of motorcycle helmets, allowing the wearer to freely swivel and move his neck without moving the rest of his upper torso (by Bruce's personal request to Fox as 'it would make backing out of the driveway easier') as was characteristic in all the previous cinematic versions of the Batsuit. Also, a strong electric current runs through it that prevents anyone except Batman from removing it to further protect his identity.
In this Batsuit, the iconic blades on the sides of Batman's gauntlets are now retractable and are capable of firing outwards as projectiles. The bat emblem is smaller than the previous one and it bears a greater resemblance to the Batman logo that has been associated with the rebooted film franchise.
The suit again has an external 'memory cloth' cape, but, now has the ability to fold into a backpack shape as demonstrated during the BASE jump in Hong Kong. It is unclear in the film if once deployed, as a glider, it can return to this backpack shape automatically. According to costume designer Linda Hemming this backpack idea was developed, at the request of Christopher Nolan, as a fall back if the cape were to get caught up in the rear wheel of the Batpod in motion. However, the concept was not used in the Batpod sequences after the film crew realized they had failed to account for the motion of the Batpod blowing the cape behind the rider, keeping it free from the rear wheel.
One notable modification was made to the utility belt; an air-powered charge-firing rifle, which allows Batman to fire timed explosive charges from considerable distances and can be folded into two halves into a box-like shape to fit into his utility belt's compartment.
The Batsuit also has "sonar-vision", where signals emitted by mobile phones are converted into images in a similar way to echolocation, in which bats use sound to see. In order to view the images, lenses fold down from Batman's cowl to cover his eyes. Aesthetically this gives Batman, for the first time on film, the 'white eyed' appearance he is always depicted within the comic books and various animated films/TV series.
This exact same costume is re-used in The Dark Knight Rises (2012). Batman initially also makes use of a motorized brace to support his damaged knee after injuries he sustained in The Dark Knight. During Batman's first fight with Bane, the costume is initially damaged when Bane severely beats Batman and tears off part of the cowl after cracking the graphite. The rest of the costume is disposed of by Bane's henchmen after carrying off Bruce's badly injured body, as he is shown wearing ordinary rags when imprisoned in the Pit. After he escapes from the prison, Batman is able to acquire an identical Batsuit from the underground bunker (the same one he used while Wayne Manor was under re-construction in the previous film).
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