Breaching the Batcave is a big deal. In addition to assaulting the physical security of Batman‘s home, villains that successfully break into the Batcave also wage emotional war on his sanity. After all, it’s the last line of defense for the Dark Knight’s war against Gotham’s worst criminals.
While engendering his best detective work and his most effective missions, the Batcave is also a place of healing. It’s where Alfred gets out the first-aid kit and where Bruce gazes at the costumes of sidekicks gone by. The Batcave is one part morgue, one part vault and 100% battle station. So, if and when villains set foot inside the stalactite-strewn man-cave mecca, Batman means business. Despite having security systems for every imaginable scenario, a surprising amount of foes have visited the Caped Crusader in his inner sanctum. Unfortunately for many of them, it’s the last thing they ever did.
Here are 15 Villains Who Broke Into the Batcave.
He’s the one who broke the Bat, the venom-dependent hulk who ambushed the Dark Knight in the most vulnerable of places: Wayne Manor. In Knightfall, Bane frees the bulk of Batman’s rogues gallery from Arkham Asylum, thus forcing Batman to hunt them down. After months of labor, Batman accomplishes the task and absconds to Wayne Manor for a much needed respite. Unfortunately, Bane waits for the weakened Batman and pummels him into the Batcave, where he snaps his spine in grand fashion. It’s the nadir of Batman’s career, the simultaneous destruction of his secrecy and his health.
Though liberally adapted in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, this is arguably the best known assault on the Batcave — except it’s not quite the Batcave. In the movie, Bane cracks Batman’s back over his knee in the sewers directly beneath a hangar in the basement of Wayne Enterprises, a hangar that Lucius Fox had been using to house spare equipment in an effort to keep it out of the hands of evildoers. It didn’t quite work out for him, and Bane’s army was suddenly in possession of all the tools they’d need to bend Gotham to their will.
While Bruce’s paralysis is haunting enough, it’s the falling Tumblers and other prized accessories that strengthen the significance of Batman’s beatdown. It may not have been the actual Batcave he invaded, but Bane’s brilliant strategizing gifted him and his men all of the perks of breaking into the Caped Crusader’s home without actually having to do it.
Bruce Wayne could’ve kept Harvey Dent from teleporting into the Batcave. With Dick Grayson impersonating Batman, the security of the secret bunker is compromised. How does the former Robin learn an intruder has broken into the holy of holies in Batman’s home? Other than Alfred’s insistence that, “the internal motion detectors were triggered…someone or some ones were moving around the cave,” Grayson notices the gargantuan penny has been defaced with a solitary “X” on its backside. It’s Two-Face’s signature, and it echoes a fearful sentiment from the original Boy Wonder: “Oh God.”
The former district attorney riddles Grayson with laced darts and pummels him to the ground. It doesn’t take long for Two-Face to sniff out the inconsistencies, however, noticing the man in the cape isn’t the real Batman. Though he successfully traipsed into the Batcave, Harvey appears disappointed that Bruce Wayne is absent. It spoils the fun, and after he taunts the alternate Batman, Two-Face gets blitzed by Dick Grayson, who sends him out of the Batcave and into Blackgate Prison.
13. The Joker
Remember that one time the Joker’s card was mysteriously found in the Batcave? This was not an accident. In Batman #39, the truth comes to light when the Joker makes his grand re-entrance in the Dark Knight’s secret lair. Before setting into motion his diabolical plans, this ghoulish Joker stops by his larger-than-life signature card and reminisces at the sight of the Red Hood helmet, “Aw, you kept it.” Within an instant, Alfred Pennyworth arrives on the scene toting a smoking shotgun and a license to kill, shouting, “Show yourself, coward!”
The Clown Prince of Crime (who totes a disturbingly child-like purple backpack) taunts the butler about his theatrical past. When Alfred appears from around the corner, the Joker takes a meat cleaver to old Jeeves’ arm and cuts it clean off. “I’ve always been more of an improv man myself! Hahahaha!” This callous trespassing vaults Joker to the top of his miscreant behavior, all while leaving the security of the Batcave in shambles.
Neron is a Mephistophelian villain. As lord of the Underworld, he is a Satan in emerald garb, a baddie of truly apocalyptic proportions. Having already convinced the Joker and Lex Luthor to trade their souls for fully enhanced powers, Neron seeks to convert the Justice League and anyone else looking for deified power. Batman soon becomes his primary target. After all, Bruce Wayne’s emotional vulnerability leaves him laid bare before the devil’s schemes — who better to make your disciple?
Neron easily finds his way into the Batcave where he makes an appeal to the Dark Knight’s greatest weakness: the deceased Jason Todd. Reanimating Todd’s spirit, Neron brings the second Robin back to life and summons him to call out Bruce’s name. Neron goes the extra mile, urging Batman: “You want this. You need this. You can have him back…with one word. Say ‘Yes.’” This almost romantically-pitched plea weighs on Batman before he summons the courage to say, “No.” Spurned by the Dark Knight’s moral rectitude, Neron flees the Batcave in anger.
11. Dracula’s Minions
It might not be Bram Stoker’s novel, but Doug Moench’s Batman and Dracula: Red Rain is one of the most epic vampire stories on the books. After allowing himself to become a blood-sucking immortal (specifically to battle Dracula), Batman goes on a rampage to kill the vampire king. When his resources are stretched thin, Batman elects the nuclear option to take out the hordes of Dracula’s minions.
Where does the Dark Knight set this grand finale? In the Batcave, of course. There, Batman lures scores of mindless monsters into the heart of his secret fortress. Armed with a trenchcoat and a detonator, Batman slips into a blast-proof coffin and sets off the bomb. Not only does the explosion level the Batcave and kill the vampire legions in an instant, it buries the whole of Wayne Manor and its surroundings in a massive crater. It’s no wonder, then, that before Batman pulled the trigger, he looked around the Batcave a final time, saying, “time for one last gaze at my other home.” Bon voyage, Batcave.
10. Hugo Strange
The most bizarre thing about Hugo Strange isn’t just his name. It’s his unholy obsession with Batman; his jealous desire to become the myth he has dedicated his life to unveiling. Truth be told, Dr. Strange didn’t simply break into the Batcave, he built one from scratch. Indeed, the river of envy runs so deep in Strange’s soul that he constructed an exact replica of Wayne Manor and the Batcave to kill Batman and take up the Dark Knight mantle himself.
Poor Hugo’s master plan culminated in the weirdest showdown in Batman’s long history: the battle against himself. Dr. Strange doped Bruce up so he could bring him into the Batcave knockoff, and when he woke up, he found his Batman suit ready for wearing. Strange shaved off his signature facial hair and stood before Batman ready to brawl. Twins! Fortunately, the real Dark Knight won the battle and induced Strange’s death. As fate would have it, however, this was merely a robotic version of Hugo Strange who covered for the authentic Doctor busy plotting the reveal of Batman’s true identity. Head honcho Hugo was busy puppeteering the fight from a distance, safely sitting in the real Batcave all along.
Kevin Smith’s controversial character reached the Batcave in the most unorthodox of ways: by invitation. Onomatopoeia, like Batman, is the literal interpretation of the word itself. He speaks solely through sound effects, except when posing as the new vigilante kid on the block, Baphomet. Indeed, Bap and Bat teamed up to purge Gotham of crime, quelling foes like Crazy Quilt and Deadshot along the way. Unfortunately, the Dark Knight was so caught up in his successes that he missed the fact that Baphomet was really the serial killer Onomatopoeia.
This unfortunate truth was exposed in the Batcave, where Batman invited Baphomet along with his lady love of the time, Silver St. Cloud. In one of the most epically ignorant moments in the character’s history, Bruce Wayne unmasked himself before Onomatopoeia and invited him to breakfast. Silver also revealed herself, but when Bruce set his utility belt down to the sound of “KA-KLAK,” Baphomet imitated the sound several times. Knowing the genesis of the sound, Bruce realized the error of his ways and turned to helplessly watch Onomatopoeia slice open Silver’s throat.
Dr. Strange has an unhealthy mania for Batman, but it’s Thomas Elliot’s obsession that takes the cake. As the shape-shifting imposter, Hush, Elliot wreaks havoc on Bruce Wayne’s butler and Batcave. In Heart of Hush, the eponymous villain tracks down Batman’s home and crashes into Wayne Manor. Though his sights are set on subduing Alfred Pennyworth, the butler knows this Bruce Wayne doppelganger is nothing but a phony. While the butler fights valiantly, Hush nearly executes him before Batman saves the day. The fight moves from Wayne Manor into the depths of the Batcave, where Hush stands in awe of Bruce’s enormous creation.
Though openly scornful of his material wealth, Hush can’t hide his longing for the life Batman leads. The villain, whose face ruptured during the fight, waxes poetical on his misfortunes until the animatronic T-Rex charges in his direction. Hush commandeers Batman’s gyrocopter and tries to escape the Jurassic attack, only to crash the vehicle into the roof of the Batcave. While Alfred and Bruce found Hush’s signature bandages strewn about the secret compound, Hush had quietly fled the Batcave under cover of darkness.
Comic crossovers may be a dime a dozen, but sometimes, they really strike a nerve. In the DC/Marvel match-up between Bullseye, Robin, and Batman, the Dynamic Duo deal with an intruder from an entirely different property. Bullseye, arrogant as ever, finds himself in the Batcave talking smack that would make even the most confident superheroes blush. Not only does Bullseye trump up his talents, but he holds Robin at knife-point until Batman intervenes. “But I never miss!,” Bullseye insists. “Nobody’s fast enough to…” Unfortunately, he never finishes that sentence, because Batman’s feral fist cracks up his jaw.
From spitting game to spitting out his teeth, Bullseye’s ego has just taken as hard a shot as his face. Finding himself crippled on the ground (beneath the menacing, though immovable T-Rex), Bullseye admits, “You hit…even harder…than…Daredevil.” These are the last words Bullseye speaks before passing out on the cold, hard floor of the Batcave.
6. Talia Al Ghul
Batman Incorporated plays out like a steroidal Romeo & Juliet. Torn between two belligerent entities, Talia al Ghul’s Leviathan and Batman’s self-titled venture, the lovers fight, debate ideologies, and reach harrowing fates. Talia in particular goes haywire, waging war against Batman and placing a bounty on their son Damian’s head. Very much like her father, Talia turns to an ultimatum that forces Bruce Wayne to choose between family and the future of Gotham.
Fast forward to their showdown in the Batcave. There, Talia has broken in to offer the final coup de grace to her erstwhile lover. She battles Batman until he falters from her poisonous blade, a lethal dosage that weakens Batman and drives him to make amends for their failed relationship. Moved by his apology, Talia demands Batman to take the antidote, but he’s too incapacitated to care. Before things get any further out of hand, Kathy Kane (the first Batwoman) snipes Talia in the head, thus protecting Batman’s one rule:“You know as well as I do, Batman doesn’t kill.” Kathy Kane, though, is a cold-blooded killer.
5. The Mole Man
Harvey Elder has all the trappings of a Hobbit. Short, stout and armed with a staff, Harvey could easily be considered the Bilbo Baggins of the comics world. Having rightfully earned his name, the Mole Man once stumbled upon the Batcave by a complete metaphysical accident (not too unlike the events that led Mr. Baggins to find the ring, just saying). In this wacky DC/Marvel crossover, the Mole Man was basically minding his own business and tending to his army of Moloids, the low-ranking race of the Subterraneans. These Gollum-like creatures accompany the Mole Man wherever he goes, but on this one fateful day, they suddenly found themselves in a cave unlike any other.
When two universes collide, the Mole Man and his crew are transported to the subterranean environment known as the Batcave. To be frank, they were all quite fond of their new home, and after the dual universes returned to their rightful place, the Mole Man and his Moloids decided to stick around in Bruce Wayne’s sanctuary. Unfortunately, Superman and the Hulk wouldn’t allow it, and banished them from the Batcave.
Of all the villains to breach the Batcave, Inque’s entrance was the most direct. Using her shape-shifting talents to track down the Dark Knight (Bruce’s replacement, Terry McGinnis) and board his Batplane, Inque literally hitched a ride into the basement of Wayne Manor. Rather than taking in the scenery, Inque gets right to work, squirming through the stalagmites and strangling the new Batman like an anaconda. She then stuffs herself into Batman’s gullet and fills his body with her serpentine figure until old man Bruce wards her off with a fireman’s hose.
Inque has more ink to write, however, recovering from the original Caped Crusader’s rejoinder before thrusting herself into the ceiling. Though Terry and Bruce initially think she aims to escape, they realize Inque intends to start an upside down earth quake to collapse the Batcave and kill its inhabitants. Stalactites fall like missiles as two generations of Batmen dive for cover, and then Inque attempts to crush the pair under the massive penny. Though he narrowly escapes its fall, Batman uses the massive copper conductor to electrocute his enemy then blasts her with a freeze gun that shatters her into a thousand pieces.
3. Dr. Hurt
Batman #678, the appropriately titled Batman R.I.P., highlights the value of the Batcave. Bruce Wayne doesn’t just use it for fun, he relies on it as a refuge. When Dr. Hurt commandeered the cavernous space below Wayne Manor, it was the final act that rendered Batman completely vulnerable. Having already spent much of the issue in a state of relative lunacy, Batman wandered the streets of Gotham as a vagabond. Dr. Hurt waged emotional war on the broken man and waited for him to return to his inner sanctum.
In the Batcave, Dr. Hurt dons the original Thomas Wayne costume that Bruce’s father wore to a party many years prior. This is a relic of the Batcave and perhaps Bruce’s most prized possession. While enjoying the archetypal Batsuit, Hurt gives celebratory toasts to his onlooking club of villains while torturing Alfred Pennyworth. It should come as little surprise that Dr. Hurt has often been considered a stand-in for Satan, and in these scenes, he treats the Batcave like the Garden of Gethsemane.
2. The Wrath and Scorn
The Wrath and Scorn are the yin and yang to Batman and Robin. As the original “Wrath” mythology goes, the same night Bruce Wayne lost his parents to Joe Chill, the Wrath watched his petty thief parents die at the hand of Jim Gordon. Though he is very much the moral the opposite of Batman, he has long styled himself after the appearance and lifestyle of the Caped Crusader. To the contrary of Batman’s fight for justice, the Wrath has gone out of his way to cause mayhem and kill police officers in the line of duty.
While he was introduced in the 1984 Batman Special #1, the Wrath received extra attention in the 2008 animated series The Batman. Here, the Wrath and his sidekick, Scorn, are the brothers William and Andy Mallory. Bent on destruction, the devilish duo team up with Killer Croc, the Penguin and the Joker to stall Batman and Robin from defending Gotham. After the Wrath and Batman learn one another’s identities, the Wrath and his partner break into the Batcave and trash the place. While they try to bring down Batman in his very own home, they eventually fail and are carted off to prison.
1. The Outsider (Alfred Pennyworth)
Damian Wayne is dead. In the depths of the Batcave, Jason Todd and Alfred mourn the loss of Batman’s beloved son. The butler breaks down in Jason’s arms, though the red hooded fighter is at a loss for words (“…you need to, I don’t know, make some tea or something.”) Out of nowhere, a shrouded figure decks Jason to the dirty, then throws Alfred through the Batcave’s glass encasements. Without breaking a sweat, this man, the Outsider, walks through the rest of the Batcave with militant purpose, as if he’s been here before.
He heads up a flight of stairs and unmasks his (pale, white and old!) hand to access Batman’s armory before accessing yet another undiscovered domain. At the back of the Batcave, this as of yet unnamed villain breaches Batman’s top secret room. There, he finds the Dark Knight’s contingency plans against the Justice League and targets a stash of Kryptonite in case Superman breaks his vows.
Honorable Mention: Donatello
He’s no villain, but Donatello deserves some credit. However unhinged the plot may have been, the Batman and Teenage Mutant Nina Turtles crossover yielded phenomenal results. Pictured above is Donatello losing his mind in the sheer awesomeness of the Batcave. Who can blame him? To be fair, the pizza fanatic didn’t just gallivant through Batman’s pride and joy. He worked with Cyborg and Batman’s futuristic computers to help save the day from Shredder.
What other villains have broken into the Batcave? Let us know in the comments!