Everyone always thinks of Batman as one of those rare superheroes who does not possess superpowers. Sure, being incredibly wealthy gives Bruce access to things that no ordinary human would ever be able to do, but these are just tools. Deprive Bruce of all his gadgets, suits, and technology, and he’s just an ordinary man. You can’t just rob Superman to remove his super strength and speed, which is the difference between powers and tools. Batman can keep up with his peers, but only by buying his abilities.
Yet just because Batman does not typically have superpowers does not mean he has never had them. Sometimes the Dark Knight has sought out abilities to help him even the odds against an opponent. Other times he has had special abilities forced upon him. Regardless of the circumstances, the fact is Batman isn’t always just some ordinary human. Here are 15 Superpowers Batman Has Actually Had.
15. GAINED SUPERMAN’S POWERS
Batman has fought Superman on numerous occasions, and the struggle is always about how will Batman even the odds against someone with superpowers. But as ”The Dark Knight Returns” showed us, the differences between the two heroes are far greater than just which one of them has powers. Their world views are also disparate, so if Batman suddenly gained powers, it’s not as if he would be Earth’s natural born Superman. That was shown pretty clearly starting in issue # 53 of Superman/Batman.
In this story arc, the impossible finally happens and Batman not only gains superpowers, but specifically gains the powers of Superman. It’s not a peaceful transition. With nothing stopping him from eliminating criminals anymore, Batman uses his newfound speed and strength to make up for lost time. His methods become more brutal than ever and villains are pushed to the brink of death when faced with this new Batman. It winds up turning Batman into one of the biggest threats against the world.
14. BECAME A GREEN LANTERN
Everyone knows there have been multiple men behind the moniker of Green Lantern, but people do not typically think of Batman as being one of them. But Green Lantern’s power ring is a tool much like many of Batman’s gadgets, so it can be used by all sorts of people. It’s far easier to pass on than the inherent powers of somebody like Superman, so Batman has gotten his moment to shine with a power ring. He’s actually gotten multiple chances to use a Green Lantern ring over the years.
Some of these occasions have been as simple as Hal Jordan allowing Batman to wear the ring since they were allies, but Batman has also been directly chosen to be the true next Green Lantern. In the “Darkest Knight” storyline Batman was given the opportunity to be Earth’s primary Green Lantern. Obviously that didn’t last very long, though.
13. VENOM POWERS
When people think about the “Venom” storyline in Batman, it probably immediately brings Bane to mind. The villain is the most well-known beneficiary of the drug, using it to gain his signature hulking size that makes him such a dangerous threat. Much like the symbiote suit in the Spider-Man comics, the dangers of this new power were first employed by the story’s hero before the villain got ahold of them.
Initially Batman was the one who saw his strength get amplified by the steroids that would later become venom. Naturally it made him a stronger, more dangerous fighter, but it also brought about the dangers of steroids. Batman became more prone to anger and started getting out of hand in his methods, so he finally had to kick the habit before he wound up killing someone. Bane would have to learn that same lesson, but it took a lot longer for him.
12. METRON’S CHAIR
One of the more recent entries on this list is also one of the more incredible ones. Several members of the Justice League wound up gaining the powers of gods, like the Flash becoming the god of death, and Shazam becoming the god of gods. Even Lex Luthor got in on the act and became the god of Apokolips. Most incredible was Batman, though, who displaced Metron and gained control of his chair to become the god of knowledge.
Batman’s mind was already his most dangerous asset, but now that power was amplified beyond imagination. Anything he wanted to know was at his disposal, and Batman quickly used that power to get answers to questions he had had for a long time. First he inquired who killed his parents and got confirmation that it was Joe Chill. Then he asked the chair what the Joker’s real name was, leading to the big revelation of there being multiple Jokers.
11. BECAME A MAN-BAT
When many people think of Man-bat they probably picture the silly-looking creature that was introduced as an opposite of Batman and was actually a giant walking bat monster. Not one of Batman’s more iconic villains, but one that has still resurfaced over the years thanks to Man-bat serum, which transforms the person injected with it into one of the freaky creatures. After his son Damian is killed, Batman uses the serum on himself to gain revenge and some powers that live up to his name.
This feral Batman swoops down from the skies with an army of bats at his back, acting as Batman’s children to replace the child he lost. Needless to say, Damian’s killer was totally unprepared to face a Batman like this and wound up becoming overwhelmed and defeated. This is just a good reminder of why it’s actually a good thing Bruce doesn’t have powers, because he could do some scary things with them.
10. BECAME A YELLOW LANTERN
That’s right, Batman has been fortunate enough to not only wield a Green Lantern power ring multiple times throughout his years, but also another Lantern Corps power ring. And this won’t even be the last one either. So in addition to the power of the Green Lanterns, Batman has also known the power of the Yellow Lanterns, and on more than one occasion too.
The first time was rather brief, with one of the Yellow Lantern power rings seeking out Batman as Green Lantern engaged in a battle against Sinestro. But the ring quickly rejected Batman after his heroic intentions and his past history with Green Lantern rings became apparent. It was also revealed that much like Batman has secured away different types of Kryptonite should he ever need it, and that Bruce also kept one of Sinestro’s rings as a contingency. Bruce is never one to pass up a useful tool.
9. THE AMAZO VIRUS
Another recent bout of Batman becoming superhuman comes thanks to the storyline “The Amazo Virus”, where a contagion is released that begins turning ordinary people into super-powered beings when they become infected. It all sounds well and good from that perspective; who wouldn’t want some free superpowers?
The problem became apparent when it turned out the Amazo Virus also had the side effects of driving the victim insane after giving them their new powers, so they’d begin harming people around them. Oh, and the virus all wound up killing the host eventually.
Some of the other superpowers on this list might sound cool for Batman to have, but premature death is a pretty sucky power by any metric. After the Dark Knight became infected, the Justice League set out to find a cure and save him. In the meantime Batman gained abilities of an actual bat, able to unleash echo sound waves– except they were so strong that they could blast people away.
8. MAGICAL ABILITIES
Magic among DC characters varies from character to character, but not all magic users are born with their powers. Fortunately for Batman, he’s friends with someone who knows magic that can be passed along to others. That would be the magician Zatanna, who has been an ally to the Dark Knight, and apparently even taught him a few tricks.
In the scene above, the Justice League is dealing with Circe, who is known for her use of magic in her battles with Wonder Woman. You’d think one of the super-powered Justice League members would handle the situation, but Bruce decided to take a stab at it. Batman knew he would need something to even the odds against someone with supernatural powers, so he allowed Zatanna to teach him an incantation. As seen above, it negates Circe’s magic, leaving Batman a chance to call in the rest of the League to take Circe out before her abilities are restored.
7. BECAME A BAT-GOD
We all know that Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman are DC’s trinity of superheroes who have had some of the biggest impacts on comic books. But the trio are also meaningful within their own universe, as shown by the storyline in “Trinity” that depicts the three heroes as being key to maintaining balance in the world. When a trio of villains try to eliminate the iconic heroes, that balance is upset and it has some pretty dramatic consequences.
It turns out you can’t just get rid of DC’s iconic trinity that easily, as the story reveals the three have managed to survive in another dimension where they have becomes gods. Superman and Wonder Woman were already powerful beyond comprehension, but this is especially surprising for Batman, who goes from an ordinary man to being Atmahn the Night Judge. The three heroes aren’t happy with the villains who tried to take them out, so they return to their original world to gain some vengeance.
6. GETTING RESURRECTED IN THE LAZARUS PIT
This is probably one of the more subjective abilities on this list, but there’s little debate that this is something supernatural that Batman has benefitted from. As its name suggests, the Lazarus Pit is something in DC that allows the user to be reborn, essentially. Ra’s al Ghul uses these pits to retain his youth and heal from mortal wounds, but he’s hardly the only beneficiary of them. Many characters have taken a dip into the Pits over the years, including Bruce himself.
Admittedly somebody else placing Batman into a Lazarus Pit is not something he volunteered for, but powers are often bestowed to heroes against their own will. Carrying on living might not seem like much, but surviving a mortal wound is certainly a supernatural ability. So even though we don’t think of Bruce having powers, he’s benefitted from the power of resurrection and lived beyond his natural life span by recovering from wounds that ordinarily would have killed him.
5. VAMPIRE BATMAN
The Batman of Earth 43 was one of the rare superheroes who has turned into a vampire. Though to be fair, many heroes have endured turning into something odd at some point, like when Captain America became a werewolf. Vampire Batman was more interesting than Captain Werewolf, however. For one thing vampire powers go pretty well with Batman’s whole theme.
These powers initially arise in the story Batman & Dracula: Red Rain, where Batman was bitten by a vampire, but wasn’t drained of his blood. This gave Batman some of the powers of a vampire, but didn’t take away his mortal life since his blood wasn’t drained.
The vampire who bit Batman enlists him to eliminate the leader of a rival vampire clan, led by none other than Dracula. Batman is able to impale and kill Dracula, but not before getting his blood drained by Dracula, turning this version of Batman into a fully-formed vampire.
4. USED SUPER PILLS IN INJUSTICE TO GAIN SUPER STRENGTH
With Injustice 2 now here, many fans are eagerly living out their fantasies of having the characters of DC go head to head against each other. A common question fans might have had even in the original Injustice: Gods Among Us is how do characters like Harley Quinn or Catwoman ever stand a fighting chance against the likes of Ares and Superman? The comic book tie-in to the video game offered a bit of an explanation for that.
As Superman loses his mind from the death of Lois, he and Lex created a super pill to turn ordinary people into super-powered heroes so the likes of the Joker couldn’t hurt anyone else. Once the rebellion against Superman began, heroes who stood against Superman got their hands on the pill as well. This allowed someone like Harley Quinn to literally rip off Lobo’s head in battle, and it also allowed Batman to beat down Superman and Wonder Woman in a fight.
3. BECAME A WHITE LANTERN
Obviously almost all the powers on this list have been temporary for Batman, but his time with the White Lantern power ring was short even by those standards. He actually only held onto this power for a few short moments, never even getting the opportunity to utilize it in a battle. That’s because the power ring was given to Batman against his will, but the White Lantern power filled Bruce with such knowledge that he realized power like this was not meant to be forced upon someone.
This all came about after the “Blackest Night” storyline that saw many DC characters brought back to life with Black Lantern rings. The follow up to this storyline was “Brightest Day”, where the search for a worthy bearer of the White Lantern ring began. Batman was deemed the most worthy candidate, but relinquished it after he saw the purpose of life and knew such power was not meant to be given this way.
2. BECAME IMMORTAL
We already talked about how the Lazarus Pit resurrected Batman and gave him a supernatural second chance at life. In case that wasn’t super enough for your taste, Batman has actually found another use for the Lazarus Pit in a different storyline: gaining the power of immortality. We don’t mean like Ra’s al Ghul simply using one of his Pits to restore his body whenever he needs it, but rather that Batman was immersed in the Pit for so long that its effects became permanent on him.
Needless to say, this didn’t happen in Batman’s main continuity. It occurs in Superman & Batman: Generations, which utilizes the novel idea of asking what if superheroes aged in real time. “Generations” ages Superman and Batman as if they were affected by the passage of time as we saw it, except Batman finds a loophole. Though Superman ages and grows old, Batman had gone into a Lazarus Pit with Ra’s al Ghul and wound up becoming immortal by the time he finally emerged.
In one of the most unusual yet entertaining examples of Batman gaining superpowers, he was once a full-fledged genie in Detective Comics # 322. In a storyline we doubt we’ll ever see a movie about, an item called the Larko Lamp is stolen, and the lamp is said to have the power to turn any human into a captive genie when sprinkled with magic power. As Batman and Robin pursue the crooks who stole the lamp, the criminals throw the powder on Batman and he becomes their new genie.
Batman can’t help but obey his new masters until he fulfills three wishes, but luckily these crooks are very uncreative and just wish for help in robbing banks. Why they didn’t just wish for their Bat-Genie to create ten billion dollars for them, we don’t know. Regardless, Robin and Batgirl play defense against the giant Bat-Genie long enough to get ahold of the lamp, and right as Robin falls into a lake, he uses the last remaining wish to command Batman to save him. That ends Batman’s time as a genie, and he and Robin bust the crooks.
Are there any other powers you can think of that Batman has had? Share any you can recall from over the years in the comments!