In the most recent trailer for Zack Snyder’s upcoming film Justice League, after seeing Batman alongside Aquaman and Wonder Woman, JK Simmons’ Commissionet Gordon notes, “It’s good to see you playing well with others again.” We can only assume that’s a reference to the deceased Robin hinted at in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but it’s a fun line leveled at a character who is widely known as an introverted loner with a singular obsession. In other words, its hard being friends with Batman (as the Lego Batman film hilariously illustrated).
Be that as it may, Batman does have friends. And more than you would think from such an elusive character. They just have to be very patient and accepting of his infamous prickly, untrusting demeanor. It’s not easy earning Batman’s trust, but once you do, there’s no one else you’d rather have in your corner.
We know all the mainstays: Gordon, Alfred, Nightwing, Tim Drake, and fair-weather friends like Catwoman and Talia Al Ghul. But there are many other close associates of Batman you might not be aware of.
So take a look at our list of other superheroes you didn’t know Batman was best friends with to shine a light on his inner circle.
15. Green Arrow
Green Arrow and Batman have more in common than most superheroes in the DCU. They’re both orphan billionaires. They both use their immense wealth to fund their vigilante activities. And they’re also both heroes who aren’t blessed with superpowers, and instead must rely on their physical prowess and trusty gadgets to fight crime. So it’s not too surprising that Oliver Queen and Bruce Wayne have joined forces over the years, both during missions with the Justice League and otherwise.
Green Arrow and Batman compliment each other in many ways, perhaps most famously captured in Frank Miller’s classic 1986 miniseries The Dark Knight Returns, where Batman enlists Arrow’s services to help take down Superman using an arrow laced with kryptonite. In Miller’s 2001 sequel The Dark Knight Strikes Again, they again join forces, this time to stop the evil reign of Lex Luthor. A straight-shooter like Green Arrow makes for the perfect pairing with the Dark Knight.
14. The Creeper
Occasionally, Batman is joined in his Gotham City crime fighting exploits by The Creeper, a bizarre superhero who is secretly local news reporter Jack Ryder. The duo first joined forces in The Brave and The Bold issue #80, and The Creeper has fought alongside the Dark Knight on numerous occasions, both one-on-one, and in the Justice League. He also joined Batman’s other superhero team The Outsiders to help him ward off the villain Hush.
The Creeper’s unique skill set, including the power to heal from any injury and enhanced strength and agility, compliments Batman’s own abilities, as has been demonstrated in storylines including Hush, Flashpoint, and Kingdom Come. They’ve also appeared together in animated form in The Brave and the Bold and The New Batman Adventures.
13. The Atom
If you’re going to keep up with Batman, you need an intellect to match the Dark Knight’s genius detective intellect–and that’s one reason that he gets along so well with Ray Palmer, aka the Atom. Palmer is a physicist so brilliant that he discovered how to shrink down to subatomic levels, making him a keen ally when Batman needs to investigate scenarios that require creative security breaches.
The duo have teamed up on multiple occasions (both with Palmer and his successor Ryan Choi), most memorably on the animated series Batman: The Brave and the Bold. The two have also joined forces with dynamic effect in the video game Injustice 2.
It’s also worth noting that The Atom had Batman’s back in the pages of Identity Crisis, castigating Hawkman, Zatanna, and other participants for wiping Batman’s memory to hide their misdeeds. Great minds think alike, and they look out for one another too.
Soldier of fortune Rex Mason’s life was forever changed after being exposed to the radiation of a burned meteor. He gained bizarre abilities including elemental transmutation, elasticity, shape-shifting, and the power to turn his arms into weapons like knives, axes, and swords.
This unique skill set inspired Batman to offer Mason (now known as Metamorpho) a place on his team The Outsiders, a group he formed to tackle battles the Justice League refused to engage in. In addition to his Outsiders membership, Metamorpho has also aided Batman on many other adventures, teaming up on series including Batman: The Brave and The Bold and The New Adventures of Batman. Mason may view himself as a person cursed with a freakish appearance and abilities, but Batman wouldn’t have him any other way.
We should clarify here that Bat-Mite may feel fonder of Batman than vice-versa, but The Caped Crusader has a soft spot for this interdimensional imp, no matter how frustrating he can be at times. In many ways, Bat-mite is the superhero equivalent of the celebrity stalker, but more comically irritating than threatening.
Bat-Mite has been a presence in Batman’s life ever since his debut in the pages of 1959’s Detective Comics #267. Think of him as a less dangerous Mr. Mxyzptlk, able to subvert the laws of the third dimension (the two imps have even battled on occasion).
Bat-Mite has observed/impeded many a Batman adventure, and try as our hero (and countless writers) might, there will always be a place for the imp in Batman’s heart. He views Bat-Mite as the obnoxious childhood friend you’ve clearly outgrown, but still put up with from time to time.
10. Captain America
The only Marvel character to make our list, Captain America and Batman have a deep mutual admiration, even if it has come at the expense of multiple skirmishes, with the two originally meeting as adversaries.
The two comics legends first tangled in the pages of the ’90s crossover event DC vs Marvel Comics. It was a battle royale: Captain America and Batman are so equally matched (albeit Cap’s super serum gives him a slight leg up physically) that victory proved elusive for either party. Eventually, Batman gained the upper-hand with a Batarang and knocked Captain America in the sewer (but saved him from drowning). This led to a truce and they (along with sidekicks Bucky and Robin) went and did battle with the Red Skull and The Joker.
They would cross paths again in the 2003 miniseries JLA/Avengers (with seemingly no knowledge of having met before). This time, they didn’t engage in battle, however: after sensing their comparable abilities, both decide to join forces and discover the true threat endangering both teams.
9. Black Lightning
Black Lightning (Jefferson Pierce) wields the power of electricity to masterful effect, but he’s also an expert physical combatant as well. This mix of impressive skills led Batman to offer him a slot on The Outsiders, and the two have been compatriots ever since (although Pierce has left the group on occasion, he always returns in times of trouble).
Black Lightning has been a key member of Batman’s inner circle, helping the Dark Knight destroy the Brother Eye satellite in the pages of Infinite Crisis, to name but one of their many notable adventures together. And their team-ups aren’t only relegated to comics: the duo have appeared on episodes of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, as well as the animated film Superman/Batman: Public Enemies (based off the comic series arc of the same name).
8. Booster Gold
The idea of the morose, oft-humorless Batman becoming friends with a wise-ass, smarmy showboat may seem counterintuitive, but Booster Gold and The Dark Knight share a surprisingly healthy relationship. In fact, Batman has a begrudging sense of respect for Michael Jon Carter.
Not only has Batman employed Gold’s time travel abilities to help fix future catastrophic events (including multiple saves of Barbara Gordon from the clutches of the Joker), he even insisted that Gold was the perfect candidate to lead the Justice League International.
Batman has also given Gold a shoulder to cry on, allowing him to vent on his time travel adventures, as discussing them with anyone with loose lips could destroy future events. These moments of candor also show a level of depth to Gold that he keeps hidden from the rest of the world. Gold is also good friends with Batman’s former sidekick Dick Grayson, having protected the Teen Titans in the time stream as well.
The deadly samurai Katana is yet another hero on our list that was a founding member of Batman’s Outsiders team, and she’s helped the Dark Knight on multiple occasions ever since. Some of their notable mutual adventures include the Imperiex crisis and the Day of Judgment.
Katana also showed no fears of going rogue after Batman and Superman were branded as outlaws in Superman/Batman Public Enemies, helping to save Oracle from the corrupt Senator Pullman. She clearly has no qualms about putting her loyalty above any fears of legal repercussions.
The character (who first appeared with Batman in 1983’s The Brave and The Bold #200) has a clear attachment to not only the Caped Crusader, but also his associates, even serving as a member of the Birds of Prey. While some of Batman’s closest allies have tested his loyalty with regularity, Katana is a friend to the end, never shying away from slicing and dicing supervillains by his side.
The Huntress has had a somewhat convoluted origin: she started off as a villain, but was later resurrected as Helena Wayne, daughter of the Batman and Catwoman of Earth-2. But her bloodline connections to Batman ended during the events of Crisis of Infinite Earths, and she was wiped from continuity.
However, she was later reborn as Helena Rosa Bertinelli. And despite the fact that she’s no longer a blood relation to Batman, her connection to him remains, including a brief romantic fling with Nightwing. Batman and Huntress’s relationship has always appeared rocky on the surface: he’s considered her too impulsive and violent, not holding his values on the art of crimefighting. However, he has paternal feelings for her. He once told Commissioner Gordon how much she reminds him of Barbara Gordon, in an effort to illustrate their familial connection. In other words, this relationship may be the most secretive on the list: he’s less afraid of her than for her, and wants only the best for her in the future.
5. Martian Manhunter
The near omnipotent green extraterrestrial also known as J’onn J’onzz might seem like an odd pairing with Batman, but their mutual respect and complimentary abilities have been advantageous to both parties throughout the years. The Justice League alums have gone on many adventures, one of the most notable being when Batman and Superman helped J’onnz during a battle on New Mars in 1977’s World’s Finest #245.
Martian Manhunter has remained a close ally to Batman over a variety of titles, aiding him in The New Frontier, Kingdom Come (despite being in a terribly debilitated state), and again joining forces in Injustice: Gods Among Us. At times, he’s been Batman’s babysitter, there to lend a helping hand when the Dark Knight pushes the limits of his abilities, such as when Batman tested how long he could survive in outer space without a space suit (in JLA: Welcome to the Working Week.)
After that incident of truly shocking and disturbing behavior, J’onzz wisely infers that Batman’s project was “dangerous and unnecessary.” Sometimes, people have to break it to Batman that he’s in over his head, and the Martian Manhunter never shies away from speaking his mind.
The heroic apparition Deadman (who left this mortal coil as murdered circus performer Boston Brand) has banded together with The Dark Knight many times over the years, with his supernatural powers (including the ability to physically possess any sentient being) coming in handy when Batman’s mortal mights show their limitations.
They teamed up during the events of Blackest Night, with Deadman saving Commissioner Gordon, and joined forces over the course of several Superman/Batman arcs as well as The Batman Adventures. They’ve also appeared together in animated form, in both Justice League Unlimited and the recent Justice League Dark animated movie (here’s hoping they have a scene together in the upcoming live-action Justice League Dark film as well).
Deadman has also struck up a friendship with Batman’s ally Nightwing (fun fact: Dick Grayson’s original costume was inspired by Brand’s classic outfit). Deadman’s appearance and undead abilities might spook many DCU denizens, but Batman is always glad to have him in his corner.
One of the most powerful wielders of the magic in the DCU has had a complicated relationship with Batman, and their history goes way back, first meeting as adversaries in the late ’60s. Once that was resolved (along with some retconning) it was revealed the two were childhood friends that had maintained a strong bond into adulthood.
They also had a romantic fling, only called off after Zatanna realized Bruce Wayne’s well-being always played second fiddle to Batman’s agenda, and she knew he could never leave his obsession as Gotham’s defender behind.
Their friendship was sorely tested during the events of Identity Crisis, after she wiped his mind clear of any memories involving the Justice League’s decision to magically lobotomize Dr. Light. Zatanna slowly regained Batman’s trust, beginning with a mission involving one of Ra’s Al Ghul’s Lazarus Pits, with Batman’s icy retort: “I needed someone I can trust, but I had to settle for you.”
Their friendship remains on stronger footing today–he’s even gone back to affectionately calling her by her nickname “Zee.” Regaining Batman’s trust is a herculean feat that few can accomplish, meaning their relationship is one that he must prize as much as any.
2. Wonder Woman
“One: Dating within the team always leads to disaster. Two: You’re a princess from a society of immortal warriors. I’m a rich kid with issues… lots of issues.” That’s Batman having a heart-to-heart conversation with Wonder Woman on the animated series Justice League Unlimited. And that scene (one of the funniest and most memorable in the series) shines a light on the complicated, yet enduring relationship between the Dark Knight and the Amazonian princess.
While Batman and Wonder Woman have been occasional lovers over the decades (most notably in the 2003-2004 run on Justice League, during the Obsidian Age storyline), their friendship and bond has remained firmly in place. This was seen most recently in the Wonder Woman movie, where Bruce Wayne reunites Diana with a long-lost photograph that opens the film. There is a mutual respect and appreciation that will never be severed, and it looks to be a cornerstone of the future of the DCEU.
Despite coming to blows in the The Dark Knight Returns, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Injustice: Gods Among Us (to name but a few), and holding radically differing points of view, the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel are indeed friends, and they’ve bonded over more than the fact that they’re both orphans with moms named Martha.
The Batman/Superman friendship has been in existence ever since the two crossed paths in the pages of 1952’s Superman #76 (they had met prior in 1941’s All-Star Comics No. 7, but their brotherly bond wasn’t established yet). The series World’s Finest (which ran from 1941-1986) was an decades-spanning team-up series showing the most enduring bromance in comics.
The truth of the matter is that for all their philosophical differences, Batman has a great deal of respect for Superman, and there’s no one he’d turn to sooner when the chips are down. Perhaps this was best illustrated in World’s Finest #289, when the two shake hands, with Superman stating “We’re like night and day, you and I, and yet, we’re closer than we realize, closer than twins, because we complement each other. We fit each other… like hand and glove.” We couldn’t say it better ourselves.
Well that wraps up our list of Batman’s best friends! What other lesser-known comrades of the Caped Crusader would you add to the list? Tell us in the comments.
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