Ace the Bat-Hound
|Ace the Bat-Hound|
|First appearance||Batman #92 (June 1955)|
|Species||Canis familiaris (domestic dog)|
|Place of origin||Earth|
|Team affiliations||Justice League|
|Supporting character of|
Ace debuted in Batman #92 (July 1955) and was created by writer Bill Finger and artist Sheldon Moldoff. Ace's introduction followed on Krypto the Superdog's debut in Adventure Comics #210 (March 1955), and by German Shepherd Dogs from detective films and serials, such as Rin Tin Tin and Ace the Wonder Dog.
Fictional character biography
Ace was a German Shepherd Dog originally owned by an engraver named John Wilker. He was found by Batman and Robin after his master was kidnapped by a gang of counterfeiters. Batman used Ace to try to locate Wilker. Because he had already placed a large number of "lost dog" announcements for Ace in his civilian identity of Bruce Wayne, he was concerned that anyone recognizing Ace (who had a prominent star-shaped marking on his forehead) might make the connection between Bruce Wayne and Batman. To forestall that problem, he hastily improvised a hood-like mask for the dog that incorporated the bat-emblem as a dog tag dangling from Ace's collar. Ace was subsequently christened the Bat-Hound by a criminal that the dog helped Batman to apprehend.
Wilker later took a new job that made it difficult for him to take care of Ace, so he left the dog to Bruce Wayne. Wilker was never aware that Ace was the Bat-Hound or that Bruce Wayne was Batman.
An early case involved Ace tracking down a mentally unhinged ancient weapons expert who was using his own weapons to commit crimes. At one point, Ace acquired superpowers thanks to Bat-Mite, but this was short-lived. He did have his own training. For example; his specialized radio collar, when activated, told him to don his own mask (via a hands-free device) and track down Batman and Robin. Ace was used less and less over time, and for various reasons. When Bruce was overcome with night terrors, Robin suggested that Ace sleep beside him.
A modern-day version of Ace was reintroduced in Batman #462 (June 1991), although he has been rarely seen in recent years. This version was originally a guide dog belonging to a blind Native American named Black Wolf, who called him "Dog". The dog assisted Batman in fighting criminals from Black Wolf's tribe. Following Black Wolf's death, Batman adopted Dog, renaming him Ace.
He did not wear a mask, nor was he ever referred to as Bat-Hound, and has the appearance of an English Mastiff with a bat-shaped dark patch on his flank. Ace has at times helped Batman on cases and is depicted to be very affectionate towards his owner and vice versa.
After Batman is disabled by the villain Bane, Azrael takes over the identity and ejects Ace, Nightwing, Robin and Harold Allnut from the Batcaves. Harold, a trusted confidante of Batman, takes in Ace; they live in a part of the caverns that Azrael is unfamiliar with. To keep busy, Ace enjoys playing with a robotic mouse built by Harold.
A traditional Ace was seen in Final Crisis: Superman Beyond 3D. He is in Limbo with other "forgotten characters", such as Gunfire, Geist, Hardhat of the Demolition Team and Merryman of the Inferior Five. Merryman explains that everyone is here where no stories exist, because nobody is writing about them. Despite this, Superman and his allies work to rescue all the residents of Limbo, who then assist in the battle against the cosmic threat of Mandrakk.
The original Ace appeared in a flashback scene in Batman Inc. #4, thus making the current canon status of the Post-Crisis Ace unclear. In this story, Ace is trying to play with Robin, who is fuming over Kathy Kane, a.k.a. Batwoman, and her influence on Batman.
The New 52
In Batman and Robin Vol. 1: Born to Kill, as part of The New 52 (a 2011 reboot of the DC Comics universe), Bruce is seen purchasing a black Great Dane from a kennel. He later gives this dog to his son, Damian, who names him Titus. Damian rejects the dog at first, but eventually bonds with him. Writer Peter Tomasi revealed that he thought about naming Damian's dog Ace, but "it was best not to drop [Ace] in at this point in the New 52."
In DC Rebirth, a different Ace was introduced in Batman vol. 3 Annual #1, in which he is depicted as a former guard dog of the Joker who fought Batman until Joker left him and the other dogs without food in a ditch to fight amongst themselves. The dogs had card symbols on them, and the brown dog with an ace on it killed the others. He was sent to the Gotham Pound, and Alfred adopted him two days later. In order to facilitate this, Alfred actually purchases the Gotham Pound, turning it into the Martha and Thomas Wayne Humane Society. Alfred spends the next couple of months training the dog despite Bruce's objections, as he thinks Ace's wounds from the Joker's actions cannot be healed. Despite this, Alfred manages to properly train him in time for Christmas, and Bruce starts bonding with the dog after getting injured during one of his night shifts. He gets Ace a bat-mask for Christmas and calls him a "Bat Hound". Though the Gotham Pound owner described Ace as a female, Bruce and Alfred have called Ace a him, leaving the gender ambiguous.
Ace is seen later, playing with visitors. He again obeys Alfred without question.
Titus is seen as a pet living in Wayne Manor. It alerts Alfred of Duke Thomas's sneaking out. Titus and Ace are later shown sleeping in twin baskets, confirming that both dogs now exist in the same continuity. Ace is seen following Bruce Wayne around the manor after he has a difficult night out. 
In Mark Waid's and Alex Ross's Kingdom Come miniseries, Ace is portrayed as the giant winged steed of the Fourth World Batwoman. Ace is also mentioned in Howard Chaykin's Elseworlds crossover Batman/Houdini: The Devil's Workshop. During a seance attended by Bruce Wayne and mystic debunker Harry Houdini, Ace was referred to as Bruce Wayne's childhood pet. In the Elseworlds Frankenstein pastiche Batman: Castle of the Bat, Dr. Bruce Wayne tests his theories by creating a literal Bat-Hound: a dog with some of the attributes of a bat. A version of Ace appears in multiple issues of Tiny Titans, a comic created for younger readers. Ace appears in the alternate universe 'Unkillables' storyline, assisting Jason Todd.
In other media
- Ace appears in Batman Beyond, with vocal effects done by Frank Welker. This version is Bruce Wayne's pet and guard dog that is a Great Dane mix. He made his first appearance in the series premiere episode "Rebirth". At first, Ace did not like Terry McGinnis, but after he and Terry were able to help each other on several missions, Terry earned Ace's affection and loyalty. The episode "Ace in the Hole" reveals Ace's origins; he was a puppy that was bought by illegal dog-fighting ring leader Ronnie Boxer but managed to escape this abusive, violent life. He soon found fellow tormented soul Bruce at Crime Alley during the anniversary of his parents' murders. After he was injured by a member of the Jokerz gang during an attempt to save Bruce from the thug, Bruce took the dog into his personal care and Ace has been his sole companion in Wayne Manor ever since. After encountering Boxer once again, Ace and Batman stop Boxer's attempt to use synthetic growth hormones to turn dogs into monsters.
- Ace makes a cameo appearance in the Static Shock episode "Future Shock".
- Ace appears in Krypto the Superdog, voiced by Scott McNeil. He makes occasional appearances and is once again a crime-fighting ally of Batman - although the Dark Knight himself does not appear in the show. In this series, Ace, much like Batman, is equipped with various gadgets and equipment as an aid in his crime-fighting efforts. In one episode, he met the Dog Star Patrol and helped them find their missing member Hot Dog. His enemies include the Joker's hyenas Bud and Lou, the Penguin's trained birds called the Bad News Birds (Artie the Puffin, Griff the Vulture and Waddles the Penguin), and Catwoman's pet cat Isis (who flirts with Ace, much like Catwoman flirts with Batman). Ace has a Batwoman-style glider that he uses for more speed. He considers himself to be Batman's partner instead of his pet and becomes annoyed when someone calls him the latter.
- Ace appears in Batman: The Brave and the Bold, with vocal effects done by Dee Bradley Baker. In the episode "Legends of the Dark Mite!", he helps Batman fight Catman and an endangered tiger he unleashes on Batman. Ace manages to corner Catman up a tree and Batman rewards him with a bat-shaped treat after getting him to heel. Ace is later seen in the episode's main plot as a guise that Bat-Mite created. When Batman sees two Aces, Batman knows that something is wrong. At the end, Batman touches Ace's collar to see if he is a fake, but he is the real thing and tells Ace that he was just making sure. Ace makes an appearance in the episode "The Siege of Starro! Part One!", where he is seen when Batman contacts Booster Gold. In the episode "The Plague of the Prototypes!", Ace is friends with Proto (Batman's prototype Bat-Robot) and encourages him to save Batman from Black Mask when the False Face Society hacks into the Bat-Robots and reprograms them. Later, using his jet-pack, he helps Batman and Proto track down and deactivate Black Mask's bombs.
- Ace appears in the DC Super-Pets! series of shorts in DC Nation Shorts, voiced by Diedrich Bader.
- In Robot Chicken DC Comics Special 2: Villains in Paradise, Ace appears in a segment where he is shown barking at a dog version of Bane called Banehound, who breaks Ace's back in a parody of the Batman: Knightfall storyline. The segment itself is actually a callback to the segments "That's Bane!" from the first Robot Chicken DC Comics Special, where Bane repeatedly appears and breaks Batman's back.
- Ace appears in the Justice League Action episode "Best Day Ever". When the Joker breaks Lex Luthor out of prison in a secret attempt to steal a weapon of his, he takes the two of them to the Watchtower, knowing that the League will be investigating the Fortress of Solitude after figuring out that they will be there. Having just escaped Krypto, they are apparently chased away by Ace, who brings proof of this to Batman by bringing him a scrap of the Joker's clothing. He receives a firm but respectful "Well done" by Batman for his efforts.
- Ace appears in the DC Super Hero Girls episode "#BeastsInShow", with vocal effects once again done by Dee Bradley Baker. This version of Ace is Barbara Gordon's pet, a retired police dog who had been partnered with her father while he served in the Gotham City Police Department. He is entered in a "44th annual Metropolis Kennel Club dog show" by Babs to compete against Kara's dog, Krypto. After the dog show is interrupted by two hyenas who fled from Harley Quinn. Ace and Krypto fight the hyenas together, and Krypto kicks them out of the dog show. The announcer announces that the winner is "Waffles the Pomeranian", and Babs and Kara complain that even each other's dog is better than that. They smile at each other and the shot cuts to Pelham Park where Babs and Kara agree both dogs are good boys, and the episode ends with Kara and Babs shouting "bad boys" at the dogs while they chase after a cat. Ace appears again in "#FantasticBeastsAndHowToMindThem", where Babs takes him to the park to teach Diana how to train her griffin pet.
- Ace appears in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, with vocal effects once again done by Frank Welker. He engages a member of the Jokerz that had been spliced with hyena DNA and then assists Batman by attacking the Joker, which frees Batman from captivity and damages the controls for Joker's new satellite weapon system.
- Ace appears in Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: The Flash. He is shown to be one of the highest point ranking members of the Justice League, embarrassing former highest point scorer Cyborg.
- In Scooby-Doo! & Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Scooby-Doo dresses in an old Bat-Hound costume near the film's climax.
- In Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts, Pengui creates an army of robot animals to aid in his plans, but Batman manages to hack and override a robotic dog, who aids him and his allies against Penguin, which Batman names "Ace".
- The robotic Ace appears in Batman Unlimited: Monster Mayhem.
- Titus appears in Teen Titans: The Judas Contract. At the end of the film, Raven gives him as a puppy to Damian Wayne.
- Titus appears in The Death of Superman. Fully grown, he is seen to Damian Wayne and Bruce Wayne in the Wayne Manor while the Justice League and the rest of the world mourn Superman.
- Titus appears in Batman: Hush. He is seen to Damian during a video chat call with Bruce.
- Titus appears in Justice League Dark: Apokolips War. He is seen next to Mera while she was mourning Aquaman before the Flash resets time.
- Ace will appear in DC League of Super-Pets, voiced by Kevin Hart.
- Ace appears as an unlockable playable character in Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, with vocal effects once again done by Dee Bradley Baker.
- In Batman: Arkham Knight, a food bowl for Ace can be seen in Wayne Tower's floor.
- Ace appears in DC Super Hero Girls.
- The robotic Ace appears in the Batman Unlimited shorts. He first appears helping Batman stop some bank robbers and then appears helping Batman stop Penguin.
- The appeal of Ace is discussed in Mythology: The DC Comics Art of Alex Ross. Ross feels that as a child, the idea of Batman having a dog is "cool", but as an adult the same idea is "outrageous".
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Once Superman had a dog, Batman got one too, in "Ace, the Bat-Hound!" In the story by writer Bill Finger and artist Sheldon Moldoff, Batman and Robin found a German Shepherd called Ace.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
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