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Batman's suit in DC Rebirth (2016)
Art by Mikel Janín
|First appearance||Detective Comics #27|
|Created by||Bill Finger|
|In story information|
|Element of stories featuring||Batman|
Batsuit (or Bat-Suit) is the costume of the fictional superhero Batman, who appears in American comic books published by DC Comics. The suit has been depicted in various ways, and the stories themselves have described Batman as modifying the details of his costume from time to time. However, it usually consists of a grey body suit, the chest emblazoned with a stylized black bat either with or without a yellow ellipse around it, and blue-black accessories: a wide scalloped cape, gloves with a series of fin-like projections, boots, and a close-fitting cowl (covering the upper half of his face) with ear-like projections to suggest a bat's head; and a utility belt containing a variety of gadgets.
Batman's costume is used to conceal his identity, protect himself, and frighten criminals. Most versions of the Batsuit incorporate some form of body armor, powered exoskeleton, "wingsuit"-cape, built-in augmented reality computer, night-vision, gas filters, and other aids for protection or effectiveness in combat.
Origin and development
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While brooding in his study over how to be a more effective crime fighter, Bruce Wayne saw a bat come through his window. Reflecting 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. In the later elaborations on the origin, Bruce is terrified by bats as a child, and in the Silver Age story The First Batman (later retold in the 1980 miniseries The Untold Legend of the Batman) the inspiration for the batsuit comes in part from a bat costume worn to a costume ball by his father Dr. Thomas Wayne, M.D.
Batman's cape, cowl, gloves, briefs, and boots are usually either black or dark blue with the body of the costume being grey. Originally the suit was conceived as being black and grey, but due to coloring schemes of early comic books, the black was highlighted with blue. Hence, over the years the black cape and cowl appeared as dark blue in the comic books. Thus artists' renditions depict the costume as both black and grey or blue and grey.
The bat symbol on the chest has also alternated from a simple black bat, to a bat design on a yellow ellipse, lending 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 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. The yellow ellipse was eventually removed in 2000 after a 36-year run and replaced by a large black bat-emblem, which resembles the one from the Golden age comics.
Other elements, such as the utility belt and the length of the cowl's ears, have been changed by various artistic teams.
Bob Kane's original sketch of the character was very different from the Batman known today. Kane showed the very first drawing of a character he had first named the Bat, then Bat-Man, to Bill Finger who was the writer he hired to write the first Batman stories. Bill thought that the character looked too much like Superman, so he suggested major changes that would prove to be everlasting to the character's legacy.
Finger took a Webster's Dictionary off the shelf, looking for a drawing of a bat, and found one. He then said to Kane, "Notice the ears, why don't we duplicate the ears?" He then suggested that Kane would draw what looked like a cowl, to bring the nosepiece down and make him look mysterious and not show any eyeballs at all. Finger didn't like the bird-like wings, so he also suggested to Kane to re-design them and make a cape instead, and scallop the edges so it would flow out behind Batman when he ran so it would look like bat wings as well as adding a bat symbol on the character's chest as its chest emblem. He also suggested that the color of his bodysuit should be gray instead of red and a pair of gloves were added, colored purple from the start but later changed to blue.
Similar to many other superhero costumes, the Batsuit's basic foundation is a tight bodysuit. In early depictions, contrasting briefs were worn over a one-piece suit, similar to the garb of early 20th-century circus performers and strongmen. Batman #1 (June 1940) revealed that there is a bulletproof vest sewn into the costume. Modern depictions of Batman's suit do not incorporate contrasting briefs, and the character's suit consists of pants without a color change. The Batsuit is also no longer portrayed as a one-piece suit, as the top and pants are separate pieces.
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. These protective layers in the Batsuit are necessary since Batman, although strong, powerful, and intelligent, is still a human being with no inherently superhuman powers. 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 the video game, 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 costume, the details of the suit have changed considerably. The original incarnation of the cape was a wing-like structure that may have been inspired by drawings by Leonardo da Vinci. This eventually evolved into a more cape-like design of varying length with scalloped edges to resemble the wings of a bat.
The material of the cape has varied with different writers, sometimes being depicted as bulletproof and fire resistant, and other times being made of simple fabric that tears easily 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. He is also commonly seen with the cape able to wrap around his entire body, usually whenever he is standing or sometimes when walking.
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.
Batman's usage of the cape as a mode of transportation differed over the years. 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. 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. 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. 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.
The cowl mainly conceals Batman's features and contributes to his imposing appearance. In almost all comic book depictions, the eyeballs are not visible through the cowl. This was suggested by Batman co-creator Bill Finger during the character's creation to give him a more mysterious look. Instead, the eyes appear white without any visible eyeballs. This motif of white eyes behind a mask has been replicated in nearly every masked superhero following Batman's debut in 1939.
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 superpowered individuals such as metahuman hitman Tommy Monaghan 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.
Batman's cowl has also been depicted with shifting optical lenses that identify suspect's identities, as well as their weak points (through medical records), while simultaneously avoiding the possibility of eye identification. The cowl's lenses incorporate multiple vision modes like infrared vision (heat sensors), night vision, and ultraviolet vision, and 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. In Detective Comics #838 (January 2008), it is 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.
One of the cowl's ears carries a high-gain antenna for an internal communication device on the left side of the cowl, allowing Batman to stay in contact with his allies. This communication device is capable of scanning 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 for Batman's needs.
Batman: The Brave and the Bold shows that the cowl's ears are able to change lengths for various uses in. 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, although Grayson often finds that wearing it interferes with his peripheral vision (although, as Grayson primarily wore a domino mask through his career, this could simply mean he is unused to the cowl).
In Batman: Cacophony, during Batman's hunt with the masked serial killer Onomatopoeia, he 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 gloves which extend to cover most of his forearms. 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 fins 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 Batman Begins these bracers are part of the costume Wayne wore during his League of Shadows training, painted black – this set are hard enough to slice Ra's al Ghul's sword into many pieces. The scallops typically serve a defensive purpose and are used to defend against bladed weapons, such as swords or knives. The gloves are sometimes depicted as being capable of launching the scallops as projectiles, most notably in The Dark Knight Trilogy, which also revealed electrical shockers in the fingertips of the gloves, used to control the structure of the wingsuit-style cape.
Additionally, Batman hides a few pieces of his arsenal in his gloves, such as a lock pick and miniaturized batarangs. The knuckles of each glove have been depicted as containing a small amount of lead shot to increase the force of his blows. 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 (shredding the glove and nearly breaking his arm in the process). In the 2004 series The Batman, Batman's gloves have sharp claws embedded in the fingertips.
In Batman: Year One, it is depicted that Batman hid a few pieces of his arsenal in his boots, such as a blowpipe (its length made it impossible to fit in Batman's belt compartment) with fast-acting anesthetic darts and (in the heel) an ultrasonic signalling device capable of calling live bats to it as a form of protection and cover (later reused in Batman Begins). 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 elite swimmer, during the Batman: Hush storyline, it is revealed that he installed underwater propellers in the heels.
The Batsuit has been repeatedly updated in order to reflect advances in technology. Originally the costume was a simple jumpsuit which 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. In the film, numerous people shoot Batman in the chest. He falls over and "plays dead," then jumps up and catches them off-guard. Although the suit often included a neck brace and other preventative bracing, after recovering from his spinal cord injury resulting from Bane's attack, Batman reinforced the armor with a spinal brace and a material to dampen shocks and impact to protect him from such attacks. The Batsuit also has a magnetic signature harness, allowing Batman to attract his body to a gargantuan metal object such as an airplane.
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, acting as "The Insider", 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 Speed Force, 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 has 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. 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. Following 2016's DC Rebirth, Batman's utility belt is depicted as being a black and yellow flat, compartmentalized belt.
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.
Variants in publication
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 Mr. 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, either to cope with particularly physically powerful foes or to compensate for his own aging body (In the Batman versus Predator series, Batman adopts a suit of armor to cope with serious physical injuries inflicted by the Predator in the first volume, and the third sees him using a new suit of armor designed to minimize his external body temperature to hide him from the Predator's infrared vision, although in the second volume he merely uses a scrambler gauntlet to disrupt the Predator's cloaking device as he prefers his usual stealth methods over the powerful but cumbersome armour).
In the Knightfall story arc (1993–1994), 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, and essentially an amalgam of Bruce Wayne's costume and Valley's Azrael armor. 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.
In Batman: Prodigal after Bruce steps down as Batman after his recovery from his attack from Bane and the defeat of Jean-Paul Valley, Dick takes over the role of Batman and wears an exact duplicate of Bruce's Batsuit
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.
Though Batman rejects Jean Paul Valley's armor, he agrees that it is time to update his own Batsuit. While no different in terms of gadgets, the Batsuit that Batman wears, first in the Troika storyline, is noticeably darker than his previous costume, looking very similar to the suit worn in the 1989 Batman movie and its sequel, Batman Returns. The costume, made by Harold Allnut, is also much sturdier than his regular costume, as it is made of Kevlar and Nomex. Batman designs it with his encounter with Bane in mind, and thus is a prototype for additional protection against critical physical injuries such as spinal trauma along with standard firearms and intense heat. It cannot, however, able to withstand armor-piercing shells. Its matte black color scheme camouflages Batman against the city's environment at nights. 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 one with the standard military style pouches.
After Bruce Wayne returns from his journey through time, he designs another Batsuit that 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 incapacitate 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 September 2011, The New 52 rebooted DC's continuity. In this new timeline, Batman wore another version of the Batsuit designed by artist Jim Lee. This Batsuit was made of hardened plates on titanium-dipped tri-weave fibers and was broken into multiple pieces of armor over a more flexible bodysuit for greater mobility, similar to the one in the film The Dark Knight. The gloves were made of a dense but malleable leather with ribbing on the palm side of the fingers, raised piping, and convex metal knuckles on the topside. Mesh detail appeared 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 were retractable and capable of firing outward projectiles. The utility belt was a convex metal ampules form, and its buckle was made of beveled metal platelets. The back of the belt had an intricate containment device and could be detached to be used as a tool. Batman also adapted a para-cape that aerodynamically supported himself for gliding.
When the Joker used a variation on his Joker toxin to turn the Justice League against Batman, Batman fought against them using a suit of armor described (by the Joker-like Superman) as the "Justice Buster" suit, created specifically for Batman to wage war against the most powerful beings on the planet. It allegedly cost more to create the suit than sixty percent of the world's nations put into their respective militaries, with a sizable portion of that budget going towards giving the suit the processing power necessary for it to outpace the Flash and anticipate where he would run so that it could immobilize him; even with the amount of focus on the Flash, Batman notes that the dedicated processing power is still based on the assumption that the Flash would not be moving at optimum speed when attacking him. Its armory includes an artifact called the "Bind of Veils", which is an inverted version of the Lasso of Truth that took Batman two years to acquire on the supernatural black market; contact with it traps Wonder Woman in a dream causing her to think she has killed Batman. More conventional weapons in the suit's arsenal include a foam-gun that sprayed powered magnesium carbonate to trap and drain Aquaman of all moisture, an electromagnetic nerve tree to stop Cyborg, a citrine neurotoxin for Green Lantern, plasma shields to deflect heat vision, dwarf red suns in the gauntlets to weaken Superman, and a small pellet of Kryptonite gum if Superman got past the suit. Despite the amount of time he put into creating the suit, Batman acknowledges that it would never be able to stop Superman if he was genuinely trying to kill the Dark Knight, only winning the fight with the Joker-like Superman through the use of the Kryptonite gum.
When James Gordon is 'promoted' to become a GCPD-sponsored Batman after the disappearance of the original, he wore two variations of the Batsuit, designed by the Powers Corporation. When he was in the field, he commonly wore a large high-tech suit of armor that included shoulder-mounted weapons, a large handheld gun, various electromagnetic generators, full-spectrum visual capabilities, and large bat-like wings to act as a bomb shield and refine its 'flight' mode – although this was commonly used when falling from the GCPD 'Bat-Blimp' rather than full solo flight – composed of nano-carbons that could even change color if the user wanted. When inside buildings, he wore a simple all-black bodysuit with a yellow bat outline on his chest while carrying a gun on a basic utility belt, lacking the usual cape, although the suit possessed a personal cloaking device that could turn Gordon totally invisible and was made of a material that could withstand the temperature of an incinerator long enough for Gordon to break out (even if it had to be repaired after the fire damage). When Gordon was acting alone, the robot Batsuit could run a 'nimble auto program' that would allow Gordon's home base to set a target and allow the suit to calculate how to reach that target, using basic contextual materials to act on its own accord. The suit proved powerful as a combat asset, and Powers Corp had plans to create a whole series of suits to be put into action across the country, but after the original sustained serious damage in battle with new villain Mr Bloom, who proceeded to take over all the other suits via remote control just before the original Batman returned, Gordon stepped back and returned to his role as Commissioner as Powers Corp abandoned the Batman program due to public loss of confidence, feeling that only the true Dark Knight could be Batman.
In the 2016 DC Comics relaunch, DC Rebirth, Batman's latest suit is similar to his New 52 suit. It is mostly grey and black with a purple lined cape, like most of his other suits. The gauntlets and boots are armored, and the utility belt is black with yellow lining. The bat symbol is still black but now outlined in either gold or yellow, depending on the colorist.
In The Dark Knight Returns, which Batman initially goes into action wearing the standard Batsuit, he dons a suit of powered armour when facing Superman. Features of this suit include an ultrasonic gun- along with sonic dampeners to prevent Batman being damaged by the same weapon- and the ability to plug directly into Gotham's power grid by connecting the suit to a lamp in Crime Alley. When plugged into the power grid, the suit was powerful enough to do some damage to Superman in a fight, but this required Batman to confront Superman at night after he had been hit with various other weapons, such as missiles from the Batmobile and an arrow of synthetic kryptonite. Three years later (The Dark Knight Strikes Again), Batman has returned to his original suit with a completely black cape and cowl, the cape's edges being so sharp that he is able to use them to carve a 'Z' onto Lex Luthor's face. During his initial rematch with Superman, after the Man of Steel had been worn down by various other attacks, Batman beat Superman into submission with a large pair of Kryptonian gauntlets.
In Batman: In Darkest Knight, where Bruce Wayne is chosen as the Green Lantern instead of Hal Jordan, he mostly wears the standard Green Lantern uniform, but his attire includes a cape and cowl similar to what he would wear as Batman, although it lacks the "bat ears" of the traditional cowl.
In Batman: Holy Terror, Bruce Wayne's costume is specifically stated as having originally been worn by his father when he portrayed a demon in a play. The general look is still the same as Batman's familiar attire, but the belt is almost triangular in design, the 'ears' on the cowl are wider without being a simple single point, and the bat-like symbol on the chest is more triangular, with a white patch at the top leading to a thin white line directly over the throat under the chin, possibly a reference to Bruce Wayne's civilian role as a priest.
In Robin 3000, the Batman of this time period wears an outfit similar to the standard batsuit; the only clear difference is an artificial left eye, similar in design to Deadshot's familiar cybernetic substitute.
In Batman/Houdini: The Devil's Workshop, most of Batman's attire is concealed under a long thick coat, the exact costume not entirely visible in the dark of the night, although his cowl is the familiar style apart from notably thinner 'ears' than usual.
In Batman: Dark Knight of the Round Table, after Bruce of Waynesmoor has spent years living in Avalon before being trained by Merlin, he is granted a suit of armour that Merlin describes as having been forged by the power of the dragon, the metals forged by the dragon's fiery breath before being cooled in its blood, granting the wearer control over the forces of nature itself. While wearing this armour, Bruce also used his father's old sword.
In Batman: Gotham by Gaslight and its sequel, the Batman outfit is presented with buccaneer-style gloves and boots and a floor-length cape with an upturned collar, along with a simple cloth cowl. The utility belt is shown with two short daggers and various pouches with unidentified contents.
In Batman: Castle of the Bat, depicting Bruce Wayne as a Frankenstein-esque doctor while the Bat-Man is his reanimated father, the Bat-Man's initial attire is intended to aid in his father's altered awareness of his new senses and mask some of the necessary scarring, the familiar cowl accompanied by a short cloak around the shoulders and upper arms. As the Bat-Man 'evolves' he discards the cowl and his head becomes distinctly bat-like.
In Kingdom Come and its sequel The Kingdom, an older Bruce wears a bracing powered exoskeleton due to his long career as Batman putting his body under serious strain, and then a completing armor when in action as Batman.
In the Vampire Batman trilogy, Batman wears the familiar Batsuit even after he becomes a vampire, although he wields silver batarangs in the first novel in the trilogy in his final confrontation with Dracula and uses cross-shaped throwing daggers, made of wood with silver in the interior, in the second novel, these weapons specifically designed to help him kill the other vampires. After his surrender to his vampire side and several months decaying in a coffin, Batman occasionally transforms into a twisted giant bat form when flying and hunting his enemies, but he retains the usual suit in his human form, albeit with his body now so decayed that his ribs are clearly visible and his arms seemingly reduced to bones rather than skin and muscle.
In Batman: Brotherhood of the Bat, some years after Bruce Wayne's death and humanity's decimation by a virus unleashed by Ra's al Ghul, Ra's takes control of the Batcave and uses some of Bruce's sketches of possible costumes to create an army of Bat-men based on Bruce's rejected costume designs. These costumes reflect darker or more heavily armoured styles that Bruce considered using before he decided to go with a simple design that could be adapted for multiple situations, feeling that others suffered such problems as impractically large capes, excess padding providing enhanced protection at the cost of mobility, or looking too demonic for his goal of becoming part of the darkness without appearing too intimidating for the people he was trying to protect. Later in the storyline, Talia is able to direct her son, Tallant, to oppose his grandfather, with Tallant donning his father's own Batsuit to infiltrate Ra's's plans and destroy his grandfather's army.
In Elseworld's Finest—retelling the origins of Superman and Batman in the style of pulp fiction narratives in the 1930s—Bruce Wayne is a former playboy turned impoverished archaeologist. During a confrontation with Ra's al Ghul's men on a quest for the lost city of Argos, Wayne is badly injured by a poisoned sword, but is confronted by the spirit of the ancient warrior-wizard Kha. who offers Bruce life and himself redemption if Bruce will take on his mantle. Kha's armour consists of a black bodysuit with golden gauntlets and boots, as well as a golden necklace in the style of a bat and a golden helm that resembles a twisted bat.
In League of Justice, depicting DC heroes in a fairy-tale realm, the 'Bat-Mancer' goes into action wearing armour underneath the head and wings of a giant bat.
In Superman: Speeding Bullets, depicting a world where Kal-El was taken in by the Waynes and raised as Bruce, he initially goes into action wearing what appears to be the standard Batsuit, albeit with the mouth covered as well and visible padding around the edges of the arms and legs. After Lois Lane convinces him that he would have more power as a symbol in the daylight, he adopts a new Superman-style costume, albeit without the red 'trunks' and with headgear that encircles his ears and chin while leaving his face exposed.
In Elseworld's Finest: Supergirl & Batgirl, where Barbara Gordon is Batgirl after her father was killed saving the Waynes and Bruce is essentially her Alfred rather than Batman, she initially wore the standard Batgirl costume from the comics. By the time of the storyline, she has adopted a darker costume, including metallic gauntlets on her forearms and wrists, shoulders, and exterior ankles, with the main suit consisting of nanites extending out from the belt to cover her body.
In Batman: Dark Knight Dynasty, Bruce Wayne's distant ancestor Joshua of Wainwright initially acts as a member of the Knights Templar, but when faced with a raid on Vandal Savage's compound after the rest of his group have been slain by Savage's minions, he dons his old family armour, which includes a bat-like crest and a helmet in the style of the usual Bat-cowl, including small points and a visor that shields his eyes, although his equipment consists only of a sword and a short iron knife. In the present day, after Savage kills his parents on his wedding night, Bruce adopts the familiar Batman costume to hunt their killer, later adapting it into a spacesuit with its own air supply and the cowl now an actual helmet when he confronts Vandal on a space shuttle. In the twenty-fifth Century, Brenna Wayne devises three bat-themed costumes to track the source of the conspiracy against her family, with two being high-tech black-and-orange suits with such advanced weaponry as flamethrowers in the cape/wings, and the third a simpler black suit with gold trim.
In Superman & Batman: Generations, depicting Superman and Batman 'aging' in real-time from their debuts in 1939 onwards, Bruce Wayne is shown wearing the standard Batsuit of each era, including wearing a Robin outfit in a story set in 1929 and wearing a fox-mask with an orange cape and purple shirt during an adventure when he was a child in 1919. Dick Grayson takes on the role of Batman between 1959 and 1969, again wearing a Batsuit similar to what was worn in the comics at this time, with this suit being worn by Bruce's son, Bruce Wayne Junior, when he takes over as Batman in 1969 after Grayson is killed by a trap set by the Joker, Bruce Junior switching costumes with Grayson to create the illusion that the Joker killed Robin rather than Batman. Between 1979 and 1989, Bruce Junior adopts an armoured Batsuit with a covered facial mask as his new costume. He wears this costume until 1999, when he rediscovers his long-missing father- Bruce Wayne having become immortal and young in 1979 after a confrontation with Ra's al Ghul- with Bruce adopting a new Batsuit in darker colours after his return to the role.
In other media
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 has been consistently depicted with the blue and gray Batsuit of the Silver Age comics from the 1950s and 1960s, with the chest emblem and utility belt from the "New Look" version.
DC animated universe
Batman wears various Batsuits throughout the DC animated universe (DCAU):
- Batman: The Animated Series
The Batsuit in Batman: The Animated Series (1992–1995) features a chest emblem and utility belt similar to the "New Look" version, and the emblem's design itself typically resembles the yellow-ellipsed bat symbol that was used in comics from the early 1970s through the late 1990s (as well as most Batman merchandise to this day and in the 1989 theatrical movie poster), but the cape and cowl noticeably feature Bob 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 is not fighting the cape is usually seen covering Batman's entire body below his head (similar to how he is occasionally drawn in the comics). His utility belt uses capsules or cylinders that are both yellow (similar to his utility belt drawn in the comics). The costume lacks any armor qualities and is merely a gray bodysuit with no apparent special features that 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. It 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. This design was re-used in the feature films Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993) and Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero (1998).
- The New Batman Adventures
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 and the tights were also changed to a dark gray. Bruce Wayne's Batsuit resembles the batsuit used in Batman: Year One. This design was re-used in the crossovers with Superman: The Animated Series and Static Shock, as well as the feature film Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman (2003) and the flashback sequence in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (2000).
- Justice League and Justice League Unlimited
Batman was again redesigned in Justice League (2001–2004) with his third major Batsuit as a mixture appearance of the previous two designs; 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 its follow-up, Justice League Unlimited (2004–2006).
- Batman Beyond
An extremely different variant of the Batsuit 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 "power suit". This fourth major Batsuit was originally designed by Bruce Wayne himself to aid his aging body (as the series' storyline was set at the DCAU's chronological end), but Terry McGinnis becomes the suit's primary wearer once Wayne retires. 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 video link system that allows Bruce to see and hear everything Terry does and give advice and communicate. The suit features microphone recorders in the fingertips permitting eavesdropping and recording conversations either from a distance or through a wall. His signature weapon the batarang is now stored in a magazine. An automatic launcher built in the wrists places one or multiple foldable circle shaped batarangs for instant throwing (the suit most likely has a ballistics computer for calculating trajectories for throwing as shown when Terry attempted to throw a batarang while not wearing the suit and missed). The suit is flexible enough to be folded and stored in a backpack. It offers mild ballistic protection, flame resistance, radiation resistance (albeit not for prolonged exposure), is durable enough to offer the wearer resistance to blunt force trauma or significant impact (allowing the wearer to withstand punches from beings with super strength). Its original utility belt was capsulized like the original design from Batman: The Animated Series. It is also revealed that some of the suit's technology (notably the servomotors in the limbs) 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. This Batsuit design was re-used in the feature film Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (2000) as well as the crossover The Zeta Project and even post-series crossovers Static Shock and Justice League Unlimited. In the Justice League Unlimited episode "Epilogue" (set during the Batman Beyond era), minor changes show Terry has more traditional pouches like the designs from The New Batman Adventures and Justice League.
- Other DCAU costumes
Flashbacks from the Batman: The Animated Series episodes "Robin's Reckoning" and "The Mechanic" as well as Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993) show Batman's earliest costume that (according to the reference book Batman Animated) was based on the Batsuit from Batman: Year One with elements from Bob 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 alternative 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 alternative timeline created by Vandal Savage's disruptions of World War II in the Justice League episode "The Savage Time", Batman's Batsuit 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 in 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, seemingly inspired by the Phantasm costume worn by Andrea Beaumont. 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 Batsuit. 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 Wayne had a prototype Batsuit that resemble the Bat-Armor from DC Comics's award-winning comic book epic 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 colossal size and puts a strain on his weakened heart. It lacks a scalloped cape or wings, indicating that Bruce was not finished of building it prior to him went to retirement.
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", claws on the fingertips of the gloves, a slightly redesigned yellow-ellipse bat emblem 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.
- With arsonist Garfield Lynns' 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 because of the danger to bystanders of its random deflections. 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 and Justice League.
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 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 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", 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 1930s and 1940s, in addition the episode's teaser 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.
The Lego Movie
The Lego Batman Movie
In The Lego Batman Movie (2017), Batman wears the same Batsuit from the previous movie but now has a new belt piece and has glowing eyes like they did in Dawn of Justice. Batman also owns hundreds of types of Batsuits such as the ones seen from his first appearance in the comics, the 1960s version, the armored version from Dawn of Justice, the 1943 serial and Batman Beyond. Other Batsuits are briefly seen such as Suba Bat, Glam Bat, Regge Man (which becomes the Robin costume), Nightwing, Com-Bat, St Batricks, etc.
Batman: The Killing Joke
In Batman: The Killing Joke (2016), Batman's Batsuit resembles the one used in Batman: Year One and its comic counterpart.
1940s movie serials
The movie serials of the 1940s featured a black and gray version of the Batsuit and it resembles the one from the early Batman comics.
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 the cape shortened (to avoid West and stunt doubles getting tripped up) and smaller ears on the cowl (for closer shots during filming). There were also light blue eyebrows painted on the navy blue face plate, along with a light blue-line on the nose. The rest of the cowl was blue satin fabric that would turn purple after hours of filming under the hot studio lights.
1989-1997 film series
- Batman (1989 film)
Tim Burton's Batman films feature a matte-black Batsuit with the yellow-ellipsed bat emblem, brass utility belt, and heavy armor placed on the chest, forearms and boots, with the chest plate sculpted to look like a well developed upper body. 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, 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 with a motorized reel (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 nearly impossible for Michael Keaton to turn his head while wearing it). The costume was constructed of black kevlar-like material over metal plating (layers of foam-latex over a Neoprene bodysuit in reality, hi-tech body armor in the context of the film), instead of the light-gray spandex seen in the comics and in the 1966 live-action Batman television series. Keaton was told not to put on too much muscle in preparation for the role, as there was uncertainty to how it effect the costume they were sculpting on bodycasts made during the filming of The Dream Team. Keaton's lean build proved helpful when adding layers of armor to his silhouette with the bodysuit.
- Batman Returns
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 latex material and featured more angular shapes in its representation of anatomy. The overall design of the suit was meant to reminiscent of art deco and industrial design like the rest of his retro-futurisic gadgetry. It also features a chest emblem more similar to a traditional bat symbol seen in the comics and in Batman: The Animated Series, than the previous film's costume. 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. Michael Keaton insisted on making the costume's groin area easily allow him to urinate between takes, which resulted in new seam lines running down the leg and a groin flap hiding a zipper on the slacks.
- Batman Forever
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, but resembles the chest symbol from Batman Returns. 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 wears 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 "sonar" Batsuit 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 instead of the yellow ellipsed bat symbol from the last three films. A second, more elaborately detailed costume (a silvery Arctic version) is worn by "Batman" during the film's climax against Mr. Freeze, which is identical to the prototype "Sonar Suit" from Batman Forever, but in blue with silver accents. As in Batman Forever, the basic Batsuit of this film also features nipples and an enlarged codpiece. While Bruce is giving Alfred his medicine, he wears the same prototype "Sonar Suit" from Batman Forever, minus the cowl and gloves.
The Dark Knight Trilogy (2005-2012)
- Batman Begins
The Batsuit in the reboot Batman Begins (2005) is given the most complete description ever seen in a Batman film and 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 a modified climbing harness in bronze with the chest and shoulder straps removed for ease of movement. It features 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, bat-shaped shuriken, a medical kit, smoke bombs, mini explosives, periscope, remote control for the Tumbler, mini-cam, money and other unspecified equipment.
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
Batman's Batsuit is changed in The Dark Knight (2008) due to Bruce Wayne's growing frustration over his overall lack of mobility (leading to an incident where he gets mauled by dogs while breaking up a drug deal). 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 knives and gunfire 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.
- The Dark Knight Rises
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 as an interim batcave while Wayne Manor was under reconstruction in the previous film).
DC Extended Universe
- Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Michael Wilkinson designed the costumes for Batman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016). Director Zack Snyder tweeted a photo of the first Batsuit for the film on May 13, 2014. It is influenced by the Batsuit seen in The Dark Knight Returns, and is noted by Bruce and Alfred to include additional armor to compensate for Bruce's greater age, as well as a device in the cowl to alter Bruce's voice when in the suit. The Batsuit is made of a Kevlar-titanium weave, is highly durable, making it resistant to knives and low-caliber firearms, the cowl and neck area of the suit consists of fabric-coated titanium alloy plating, protecting his neck and head from blade injuries and small caliber firearms (a man using a knife could only cause sparks to fly when trying to stab Batman in the back of the neck). Not even bullets can pierce the suit at point-blank range, but some areas are somewhat vulnerable as a thug is successfully able to stab Batman with a knife in the upper arm. A second Batsuit was unveiled at ComicCon 2014, and unlike the first which is made of cloth, it is armored and features illuminated white eyes. In the film, Batman's armor is a powered exoskeleton built by him and Alfred Pennyworth to counter Superman's strength as well as to protect Batman from Superman's attacks. It is also armed with a grenade launcher to fire kryptonite gas grenades and a kryptonite spear, both of which are necessary to weaken Superman to the point where Batman can fight him directly. The armor is damaged in the fight with Superman, prompting Batman to return to his usual costume when he departs to save Martha Kent from her abductors.
- Suicide Squad
In Suicide Squad (2016), Bruce wore the Batsuit again twice in the film where he captured Deadshot and Harley Quinn.
- Justice League
In Justice League (2017), due to Bruce's paranoia of attack, the Batsuit has several additional pieces of armour, most notably on the arm and biceps. The cowl is more elongated, and the suit overall is lighter in texture. In the final battle at the climax, Bruce dons the Tactical Batsuit. This Batsuit consist of titanium armoured plates over a fireproof skin suit. The cowl also features small armoured plates on the ears, and Bruce also wears goggles, similar to Nite Owl from the Watchmen franchise.
Gotham TV series
In this prequel series Bruce Wayne's transformation into Batman begins at the end of season 3, when he saves a nuclear family from the armed robber. His first “proto-Batsuit”, shown in this episode, consists of black coat, black sweater, black gloves and simple robber-like black mask with triangle-shaped eyes.
At the start of season 4 Bruce uses the same suit, but with slightly different mask and a hood added to the coat. But at the end of this episode Lucius Fox represents Bruce a new bulletproof suit with a plastic mask, which looks like a cut-off facial part of Batman's cowl. Bruce continues to use this suit throughout this and next season, while Fox invents new gadgets for him to use in combat.
The only actual batsuit appeared in the final episode, based heavily on Christian Bale's suit, barring a rougher formed version of the cowl and 3D version of the Bat-symbol (similar to the costume from Batman Forever).
In the television series Batwoman, the Batsuit is shown in the Batcave at Wayne Tower and it was later used by Kate Kane as Batwoman. A key element in some later episodes focuses on the strength of the Batsuit, which is capable of enduring weapons fire from most standard weapons without any damage, to the extent that Bruce Wayne and Lucius Fox designed a gun specifically capable of penetrating the suit in the event of it being stolen.
In Batman: Arkham Asylum and its subsequent sequel Arkham City the Batsuit appears more akin to that of the cloth versions often seen in the comics. But underneath the aesthetic layer was a series of armor to protect against ballistic damage. Throughout the course of the games the suit takes on more and more progressive damage. The mask contains a "Detective Mode" visor to allow Batman to investigate crime scenes, see through walls, track enemies, collect data, navigate and locate signals. The gauntlets contain not only Batman's signature spiked blades but also a hardened mini computer and remote for his vehicles. His cape is similar to the one in the Nolanverse films which permits him to glide across vast distances. His utility belt contains an array of gadgets, some of which he builds or receives over the course of the games.
- Utility Belt Arsenal
- Grapple Gun - for ascension of buildings at high speeds, to boost gliding ability, disarming criminals from a distance and opening up heavy doors.
- Line Launcher - Fires a parallel line in opposite directions to accelerate over distant obstacles or tightrope walk across silently.
- Batarang - for disabling thugs, opening doors or destroying things with sonic versions that disable with high frequency sound, a remote-controlled version that can navigate around and through obstacles.
- Freeze Grenades - disables thugs by freezing them in place or creating floating ice for Batman to safely navigate bodies of water
- Disruptor - Disables mines and various firearms.
- Cryptographic Sequencer - Computer and communicator allowing Batman to hack into various systems and open various electronically locked doors.
- Explosive gel - Allows Batman to spray stable explosive and demolish obstacles and walls and destroy hazardous materials.
- Smoke pellets - create a cloud of smoke when thrown to mask Batman's presence to sneak up on armed opponents.
In the prequel Arkham Origins the Batsuit takes on a more heavily protected armor look, more akin to the Nolan version in The Dark Knight. The ears are shorter and the cowl looks less like a mask and more like a combat helmet. After the death of the assassin the Electrocutioner, Batman obtains the killer's taser gloves from his body, using them for the rest of the game. Because of the added armor, the suit appears less damaged, only scratched, even as the game progresses. In the DLC content "Cold, Cold Heart", when facing Mister Freeze, Batman adopts a prototype Extreme Environment suit to cope with the cold conditions created by Freeze's equipment. The suit is equipped with Thermal Gloves to melt large quantities of ice, and allows him to throw thermal batarangs that are heated to destroy icicles and other objects. The suit protects Batman from cold and cryovapor, and its honeycomb structure avoids any significant increase in weight despite its new bulk.
In the final sequel Arkham Knight the Batsuit takes on its most advanced and detailed look ever seen. The suit consists of two parts. One is a skintight bodysuit with hard points and the outer layer consisting of armor plating more akin to that of an armored knight of Medieval Europe. The armor panels are motorized to contract to the form of the wearer. The pieces are highly articulated as seen in the trailer where Bruce is suiting up, the chest armor has high tensile wire to hold the pieces to expand and contract as he breathes and moves giving the suit a far less bulky appearance than other previous versions. The Batsuit can also compress around wounds caused by anything capable of getting past the Batsuit's armor. It is the most armored suit in the series and may be inspired by the "Armored Batman" skin for Batman: Arkham Asylum.
The Arkham Knight wears a highly military-inspired Batsuit and an Arkham symbol on his chest. His mask is a helmet that not only conceals his identity but features a heads-up display to keep track of his manned and unmanned forces throughout Gotham City. The mask also shows a map of Gotham City, seen on numerous occasions when he fights Batman. The ears on the mask serve two purposes, one to transmit commands to his troops and drones and second as psychological intimidation and mockery to the Batman. The Arkham Knight knows the influence of symbols and has adopted the Arkham Institution logo as his own in place of the bat emblem. He wears a red urban warfare style camouflage and a low slung utility belt akin to that of paratroopers. Beneath the cowl is another mask, known as a Tactical Visor in both the character showcase and referred to as such by GCPD officer Aaron Cash in red, with no eyes or mouth. This visor is later broken but repaired when The Knight is redeemed and featured as the mask of the main character in the Red Hood DLC pack.
The Batsuit (known as the “Batsuit Mark I”) in the first season of Batman: The Telltale Series draws on comparisons of the Nomex suit from Batman Begins, while the color scheme almost matches the New 52 suit. The cowl features short ears and the following functions: thermal vision, the ability to distort Batman's voice, a VR function for planned attacks and investigating crime scenes, and the ability to view reflected images, which comes in handy when a kidnapped Alfred adjusts his glasses to send images via a video Lady Arkham sends to Bruce Wayne in Episode 5. The gauntlets contain a 3D computer-like terminal whenever Batman needs to activate certain gadgets or his drones, and they allow him to scan evidence without ever touching anything; they also allow him to overhear conversations when he presses his fingers to a wall or window. Despite the suit's protection, it gets damaged in Episode 3 when Lady Arkham blasts Batman with her concussion staff. This damage can only be repaired if Wayne convinces Lucius Fox to quit at Wayne Enterprises and work for Batman full-time, or if Batman removes Penguin from Wayne Enterprises (see below). At the beginning of the game, the player can choose one of four colors for Batman's tech and the Batcomputer: blue, red, yellow, and purple. This choice does not affect much in the game except for each color having a different hidden message left by the kidnapped Alfred for Batman to find him.
Towards the end of Episode 4, the player has the choice to oust Penguin as CEO of Wayne Enterprises and protect Batman's tech and gadgets, or to oust Two-Face as Mayor of Gotham and protect Wayne Manor from being burnt down. If Batman takes on Two-Face at the cost of his tech, the Mark I is rendered useless by a disruptor when Batman takes on the Children of Arkham in a hostage situation at the start of Episode 5. As a result, when he goes to rescue Alfred, Wayne is forced to use an old prototype Batsuit. This suit is little more than a skin tight suit with basic cowl functions, which forces Batman to use regular detective skills to deduce where Alfred has been taken. The suit uses the same color scheme as the first suit, albeit the colors being much darker in each respect, even shorter ears on the cowl, and the utility belt having fewer yellow accents as a result of the limited tech Batman has at his disposal. Due to the low protection, the suit is heavily damaged in the final battle against Lady Arkham.
If Batman chooses to take on Penguin and protect his tech, Fox will instead give him the Batsuit Mark II for the final fight. The suit's main body is more light grey, almost silver, with the gloves (which feature no bracers), boots, cape, and cowl remaining all black. The cowl's ears are longer, and the yellow accents on the utility belt are heavily featured. With the heavier protection of the suit, it receives only a few scratches from Lady Arkham's concussion staff.
For the second season, The Enemy Within, Batman utilizes a new (Mark III) suit very similar to the kevlar-plated suit from The Dark Knight. This all-black suit functions like all the other suits and offers almost as much protection as the Mark II Suit, though it already shows scratches of battle wear. The cowl's ears are long with a slight curve. The Mark I suit and whichever suit the player used at the end of the first game are featured on display in the Batcave. Unlike season one, the player can choose to change the color of Batman's tech at any point from the game's main menu (though the same four colors are the only choices once again).
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|← The comic book that first featured Batman was debuted. See Detective Comics 27 for more info and the previous timeline.|| Timeline of DC Comics (1930s)
May 1939 (See also: Batman, James Gordon (character), Gotham City Police Department and Batmobile)
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