Over the years, Batman has done some truly weird stuff to his enemies. This is his whole deal, after all: creating order by making criminals completely terrified of him. So, no one blinks an eye when he unnecessarily breaks entire skeleton’s worth of bones every night, and we don’t even act that surprised when he lets criminals starve to death of crushes them with cars.
However, you might be surprised to learn that the abusive and psychotic Dark Knight has tortured his friends over the years just as much as he has tortured his enemies. Sometimes, he’s forcing his partners to eat rats; other times, he’s getting his partner’s girlfriends pregnant. And on very special occasions, he tries to murder the people closest to him. Some of these things are so shocking and so horrible that it will take more than Batman’s slip-filled reminder that his parents are dead to justify his actions.
To find out more about just how bad Batman is for the people around him, you don’t need to wait for Alfred’s tell-all book; you just need to read this handy guide to the 16 Most WTF Things Batman Has Done to His Friends!
16. Abducting Dick Grayson
Back in the mid-2000s, DC Comics decided to create two self-contained series that did not require readers to know much about prior continuity. One was All-Star Superman, the Eisner-award-winning series written by Grant Morrison. The other was All-Star Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder. It was written by legendary Batman scribe Frank Miller, but the only thing legendary about this series is how terrible it was.
The story re-imagines how Batman meets Dick Grayson: he straight-up kidnaps him! His face ends up plastered all over milk cartons so concerned citizens can find him. Batman basically abuses the young boy, forcing him to sleep in the Batcave and live off of any rats or bats that he is able to catch. On top of this is the nonstop verbal abuse, including what is arguably the worst Batman line ever written.
When Dick asks who this masked man is (a relatively reasonable question), Batman responds with “What, are you dense? Are you retarded or something? Who the hell do you think I am? I’m the Goddamn Batman.” While Batman has been abusing Robin for the better part of a century, this may be his weirdest moment ever.
15. Nearly murdering Hal Jordan
When you hear about how Batman was raising young Dick Grayson, you might start wondering exactly what kind of Robin that boy would become. The short answer is that he became a damn psycho. This is very literal: in Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Strikes Again comic (the controversial sequel to the iconic Dark Knight Returns), Robin returns as a genetically altered serial killer targeting Batman’s friends. In All-Star Batman, Miller shows us how this starts when Robin nearly murders Hal Jordan!
The premise of the comic is fairly insane. Green Lantern has shown up in Gotham to criticize Batman and his methods. Batman, knowing that the other hero is on the way and what is weakness is, has Robin paint the entire room (and the dynamic duo) in the color yellow, negating Lantern’s powers. Batman encourages Robin to steal Lantern’s ring and attack him and Robin nearly kills the man, forcing Batman to conduct an emergency tracheotomy to save his life.
14. Gets Batgirl pregnant
For the most part, Batman has kept his love life to age-appropriate relationships. They are not always healthy relationships (see: Catwoman, Talia al Ghul, etc.), but they don’t usually put the Dark Knight in much danger of sitting down with Chris Hansen. Unfortunately, this all changed in a Batman Beyond comic that revealed that Batman was not only regularly having sex with the much-younger Batgirl, but that he managed to get her pregnant!
Yeah, Batgirl. The one who has an on-again, off-again relationship with Dick Grayson, Batman’s former partner. That relationship with Dick is still alive in the Batman Beyond universe, which is part of what makes all of this so icky: Batman gets her pregnant, promises to let her tell Dick Grayson the weird news, and then goes and blabs everything to him. Just when it seemed like things couldn’t possibly get any worse, Batgirl suffered a miscarriage. And all of this happened because a utility belt that has dozens of bombs and shark repellent bat spray apparently has no room for condoms!
13. Lied to friends about the Joker
In the world of Batman, there is no one more deadly than the Joker. This is the villain who cripples Batgirl, murders the second Robin, and generally makes life miserable for anyone associated with Batman. This is what made the plot of Scott Snyder’s “Death of the Family” story so frightening, as this tale highly implies that Joker knows Batman’s secret identity as well as that of his family. What’s worse is that he has seemingly known for years, and Batman failed to tell anyone!
All of this hinges on the revelation that, after one of Batman’s earliest adventures with The Joker, the villain got away and The Dark Knight took the bat boat back to the cave. When he arrived, he found one of Joker’s playing cards in the cave, hinting that Joker may have actually hitched a ride and discovered everything about Batman.
The end of the story reveals that Joker doesn’t really know anything (in fact, he doesn’t want to know), but that Bruce Wayne apparently tried admitting who he was to the Joker years ago, potentially endangering every single person Batman ever worked with!
12. Kills Nightwing
For Playstion VR players who loved the Arkham Asylum games, 2016 had a special treat: an exclusive (albeit short) game in which they were able to play as Batman and explore his gritty world. The grisly plot concerned Batman discovering the dead body of Nightwing and trying to figure out who had the skills and know-how to kill his former partner. However, the horrific twist ending of the game reveals that it was Batman himself!
How’s that work? The plot of the previous games revealed that Batman was infected by a very special Joker venom. By the time the Arkham Knight game rolls around, the infection is bad enough that Batman is imagining full-on conversations with the now-dead Joker. In Batman: Arkham VR, the revelation comes when Batman starts piecing together the various clues that point towards himself, eventually seeing a Jokerized version of himself in the mirror.
To be fair, the game offers some clues that may point to this being a nightmare induced by Joker venom or fear gas. However, the lack of clarity on this has left countless fans shocked at discovering that their hero has murdered his closest friend.
11. Spying on everyone with Brother Eye
For fans of Golden Age adventures with Batman, one weirdly persistent story element involved villains having opportunities to discover the identities of heroes. For instance, when villains swap bodies with heroes, all it takes is a glance in the mirror to verify that, say, Batman is really Bruce Wayne. The “Identity Crisis” storyline offered a creepy explanation: the magical Zatanna, backed up by some of the Justice League, was selectively wiping villain memories.
Batman eventually discovered this as they were wiping Doctor Light’s mind. He protested this as a violation, and they ended up wiping his mind. Years later, Batman found out about this and built Brother Eye, a special spy satellite intended to spy on all of his so-called friends.
This was already an insane overreaction (Batman responds to a handful of friends violating his privacy by violating the privacy of all of his friends). The satellite was eventually hacked to hunt down heroes and then turned into a fully sentient killing machine that threatened the whole planet…all because Batman has trust issues.
10. Gets his Fiancee’s Father Killed
Typically, Batman isn’t attached to any one woman for very long, seeing how he is both very busy and very unhinged. However, Batman: Year Two presented us with Bruce Wayne’s fiancee, Rachel Caspian. Things are going alright between them until Batman helps kill her crimefighting father, thus driving her to a nunnery!
The comic deals with Batman finding out who killed his parents: Joe Chill. Batman is also dealing with The Reaper, a lethal, gun-toting Gotham vigilante who often gets the best of him. Since Reaper is targeting the underworld, Batman goes so far as to team up with a bunch of criminals.
After a bloody battle, Batman thinks Reaper dead and he goes off to murder Joe Chill. Reaper comes back and shoots Chill himself, and Batman uses Chill’s old gun to fight him. Reaper ends up falling to his death, and Batman swears off his own gun-toting ways, but not before finding out Reaper was the father of his fiancee, Rachel. She is completely devastated and calls off their engagement, devoting her life to being a nun.
9. Gets Blue Beetle Killed
Remember how Batman’s Brother Eye satellite is eventually used to threaten the entire world? One of the ways it did that was through OMACs, which are cyborgs controlled by the satellite that hunt down and kill metahumans and anyone they deem dangerous. The OMACs end up doing such cheerful things as invading Themyscira and trying to murder all of Wonder Woman‘s people. Now, it took a while before it got that far, and Batman could have stopped it all if he had only listened to Blue Beetle!
Blue Beetle had been investigating some things and discovered info about the “O.M.A.C. Project.” He knew it was bad news and tried to get Batman’s help in stopping it. Batman completely blows off his friend and colleague, which would have been bad enough on its own. However, Blue Beetle investigates the matter on his own and finds out Max Lord is behind it. Because he is by himself, Blue Beetle ends up shot and killed, all because Batman wouldn’t listen to one of his oldest friends and colleagues.
8. Ditching Gotham for months
The story of “No Man’s Land” is very provocative and powerful. Gotham experiences a huge earthquake, and in the wake of the damage, the government declares it to be a No Man’s Land, going so far as to destroy all of the bridges (something Bane does in Dark Knight Rises). The only inhabitants left in the city are power-hungry supervillains, dedicated police officers, and stubborn private citizens who didn’t want to abandon their homes.
You might have noticed we didn’t say Batman. This is because after Bruce Wayne makes a token effort to get his rich friends to help Gotham and they refuse, he just drops off the radar for about half a year. Gotham goes to hell and a lot of good people die before Batman finally returns.
7. Designed Red Kryptonite
In the “Tower of Babel” JLA storyline, the JLA get taken out one-by-one with a combination of exotic weaponry and meticulous planning. They are trying to figure out who would have the knowledge and resources to take down the most powerful people in the world when they realize it’s Batman!
In his utter paranoia, Batman wrote detailed files about how to incapacitate or kill all of his fellow League members. When this is stolen by Ra’s al Ghul, they are able to defeat even the most powerful League members, including Superman.
Batman wanted to have a non-lethal way of dealing with Superman if the Man of Steel ever went rogue, so he experimented and developed artificial Red Kryptonite. While it did not kill Superman, it made his skin more translucent, forcing him to absorb more solar radiation than his body was meant to handle. This caused Superman pain like he had never experienced before and also overloaded many of his powers, putting everyone around him at risk! After they beat Rhas al Ghul, it’s no wonder that Superman cast the deciding vote to kick Batman out of the JLA.
6. Made Aquaman aquaphobic
Some of Batman’s plans to take out the Justice League were simpler than others. Developing Red Kryptonite, for instance, took millions of dollars and years of experimentation. To take out Aquaman, Batman kept it really simple: Aquaman needs water to survive. Therefore, Batman needed to permanently take this fish-man out of water. However, considering that Aquaman lives in the ocean, taking him out of the water long enough to kill him was going to be a relatively tall order.
Fortunately for him, Batman has had enough run-ins with the Scarecrow to know how the supervillain’s fear gas works. Batman was eventually able to create his own fear gas and, like Scarecrow before him, create custom fears for his victims. So, after Ra’s al Ghul stole Batman’s plans, they attacked Aquaman with a gas that made him completely and utterly afraid of water so that the powerful aquatic warrior would eventually kill himself by avoiding the sea.
5. Blinded Kyle Rayner
Because he has read The Art of War (or possibly because he is just a manipulative jerk), Batman understands that one of the best ways to defeat your enemy is to turn them against themselves. That was how he planned to deal with the Green Lantern Kyle Rayner. The Green Lantern ring is often referred to as the most powerful weapon in existence. Batman knew that he wouldn’t fare well in a fight against someone using the ring unless he could get them to use the ring against themselves.
So, once they stole his files, Ra’s al Ghul and his team knew exactly what to do: they provided some post-hypnotic suggestions to Kyle Rayner while he was sleeping that made him use the ring’s powers to blind himself. In and of itself, this doesn’t make the ring stop working. However, Kyle was an artist, and he used his artistic vision to create super-detailed constructs with the ring. Without the use of his eyes, he could not properly use the ring and became pretty useless in a fight.
4. Trapped Wonder Woman in endless combat
In a way, Wonder Woman was the most difficult League member for Batman to develop a plan against. After all, she is as strong as Superman or Martian Manhunter, but she did not have their obvious weaknesses. In fact, her only “weakness” was that, as a super competitive warrior, she would never back down from a fight until she came out on top.
However, Batman was ultimately able to use that against her. If Batman wasn’t able to find someone who could endlessly battle Wonder Woman, then he would have to make them! After Ra’s al Ghul stole his plans, he used Batman’s specially-designed nanite against Wonder Woman. Once inside her ear, the nanite made her think that she was in never-ending combat against a foe just as strong and implacable as she is. Batman knew that she would never give up and was morbidly counting on her heart eventually giving out!
3. Vibra bullet for flash
Dealing with the Flash was going to be particularly difficult for Batman. After all, this is someone who can phase his body to pass right through walls, and he’s able to do that same trick to avoid being hit by things like batarangs and bullets. And when he does get shot, the super-metabolism of his powers means that he recovers very quickly. As with Superman, Batman had to really go back to the drawing board and come up with something to stop Flash.
He ended up designing a special “vibra bullet.” After Ra’s al Ghul stole Batman’s plans, the villain’s henchmen fire this bullet at Flash. It attached itself to the base of the hero’s neck and gave him light speed seizures. The pain of this experience was indescribably horrific. In real-world time, the bullet only took Flash out for about twenty minutes. However, due to the way Flash perceives time, he felt as if he had experienced years of terrible agony.
2. Freezing and shattering plastic man
As a superhero, Plastic Man doesn’t always get a lot of respect. He is a reformed criminal who is able to twist his body into a variety of shapes. While he mostly does this to create bizarre comedy during fights, the truth is that it makes it very hard to hurt or kill Plastic Man. Bullets literally bounce off of him, and he has complete control over the molecular structure of his body.
When it came to taking him down, though, this was another hero where Batman’s plan ended up being very straightforward. It’s possible that Batman is just a big fan of Terminator 2, as his plan to take out Plastic Man was basically the same as the plan to take out the T-1000. After Ra’s al Ghul steals Batman’s files, his goons end up freezing Plastic Man and then shattering him into countless pieces. It is ultimately a really ghoulish way to take out one of the goofiest members of the League.
1. Burns Martian Manhunter alive
At first glance, it might seem like Martian Manhunter is easy to take out. After all, his weakness is fire. In the past, Batman has taken down four White Martians using nothing but a circle of gasoline and a match. However, Martian Manhunter is also a telepath, and he has other powers such as shapeshifting, phasing, super-strength, etc. Taking him down was going to take a bit of finesse.
Arguably, Batman’s plan went a bit overboard here. He developed special nanites that could be secretly attached to Martian Manhunter’s skin. After Ra’s al Ghul stole Batman’s plans and used the nanites, they converted the alien’s skin to magnesium. As you know (unless you ditched Chemistry a lot back in school), this meant that Martian Manhunter’s skin would burst into flames whenever he was exposed to air. It was a pretty hardcore plan by Batman— if not for the swift intervention of Wonder Woman and Flash, Martian Manhunter would have simply burned to death!
Know of some weirder things Batman has done to his friends? Be sure to sound off in the comments!
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