Batman has built a reputation as a hero who is something of a loner. He sticks to the shadows, he shuts himself off from many of his personal relationships, and he’s so distrustful of other people that he creates contingency plans for how to debilitate even his closest allies. And yet even with the aura of solitude that surrounds Batman, he’s very reliant on other people to keep him alive.
Alfred Pennyworth is one of Bruce’s most enduring supporters, and few heroes are as well-known for keeping on sidekicks as Batman. And those are good things, because Batman is also just an ordinary human without any of the superpowered advantages many of his peers possess. That means Batman gets into trouble a lot more easily than someone like Superman, and when he does, even the Dark Knight has needed a hand in staying alive. He might be capable of taking on any opponent, but here are 15 Times Batman Needed Rescuing.
15. WONDER WOMAN – BATMAN V SUPERMAN
As divisive as Dawn of Justice proved to be, one aspect fans and critics alike could agree on was how great Wonder Woman was. Her arrival in the battle against Doomsday showed exactly why she is one of DC’s strongest heroes, with power even Superman couldn’t help but admire. And her entrance into the climactic fight was one of the most memorable parts of the movie.
Batman might have gotten the better of Superman after having time to prepare for the fight, but he had received no warning against Doomsday. The superpowered monster caught Batman totally off guard and left him little alternative but to run for his life. Once Doomsday shot down Batman’s plane, Bruce could only sit helplessly as the monster charged up an attack that would end his life. Fortunately for the Dark Knight, Wonder Woman arrived in this moment and blocked the blast with her bracelets. Diana saved Bruce’s life, and became the turning point in this battle.
14. CATWOMAN – HUSH
You can’t expect Batman to get into a fight with Superman and actually survive without some help. They’ve clashed numerous times over the years, and this won’t be the only occasion we mention that features Batman getting some help for this rivalry. In this instance, it was Catwoman who came to his rescue. You probably wouldn’t think of her as someone who could overpower the Man of Steel, but she can outsmart him.
Clark Kent was under the power of Poison Ivy at the time, and Batman was doing everything in his power to fend off Superman and stay alive. Of course it takes something incredible to take Superman out of commission, and even Batman wasn’t physically up to that task. So Catwoman found something that would have a bigger impact than any punch to the face; she attracted Superman’s attention by dumping Lois Lane off the side of a building. Clark’s feelings for Lois broke through Ivy’s spell, causing him to abandon his fight against Bruce.
13. ROBIN – THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS
A big part of The Dark Knight Returns was Bruce having to come to terms with the fact that the world was not the same as it was when he was younger. And neither was his body. He was weaker, slower, and didn’t heal as quickly anymore. So it was obvious that he needed help now more than ever, even if he didn’t think so. Luckily for Bruce, Carrie Kelley was not someone to be deterred by his tough guy act, and was there when he needed someone.
A gang called the Mutants had spread throughout Gotham, and Batman wasn’t quite as suited for dealing with the task as he thought. The Mutant Leader proved more formidable than the aging superhero suspected, and their encounter left Bruce defeated. Carrie, the aspiring Robin, had observed the fight and refused to leave her hero lying broken in a trash dump. She got him en route to the Batcave for help, and patched up his injuries too. It was the moment that this older Batman finally accepted Carrie as his new Robin, and realized he couldn’t win this latest fight alone.
12. POISON IVY – ARKHAM KNIGHT
Poison Ivy is a unique villain in that she often doesn’t necessarily have evil intentions towards humans, but rather just gives precedence to plant life. It’s an aspect of her personality that makes her dangerous enough to have some sociopathic tendencies, but also able to be reasoned with if she can see the benefit that doing good can have for her plants. Such was the case with her appearance in the Arkham Knight video game.
With the Scarecrow’s fear toxin unleashed on all of Gotham city thanks to the Arkham Knight (aka Jason Todd) there was little time before the city, along with Batman, became poisoned. Ivy was one villain who hadn’t sided with Scarecrow, and realizing her plants could save Gotham and its plant life, Ivy enacted the ultimate sacrifice to save the city. She let a large tree to draw upon her life, allowing it to thrive and cleanse the air of Scarecrow’s toxin. It cost Ivy her life, but spared Batman and the rest of Gotham theirs.
11. ALFRED PENNYWORTH AND LUCIUS FOX – BATMAN BEGINS
Given how long Alfred has been a part of Bruce Wayne’s life, it’s no surprise at all that the butler has been an enormous asset in helping his master. Alfred could deserve a place on this list just for his devotion to Bruce in general, which has undoubtedly kept the Caped Crusader going time and time again. But in this particular moment, Batman got an assist from not only his butler, but Lucius Fox as well.
In his first face-to-face encounter with Scarecrow in Batman Begins, the Dark Knight wound up getting gassed by Crane’s fear toxin. The drug not only made its recipients extremely paranoid, but could also kill them. Combine that with the fact that Batman had also just been lit on fire and fell out of a building, and he was in a bad way. He had to put in a call to Alfred to pick him up and bring him back to the Batcave, and it fell to Lucius to create an antidote to the toxin. It was a reminder that, beneath the costume, Batman is still human and needs other people to help him, and to keep him from dying in an alleyway.
10. SUPERMAN – A DEATH IN THE FAMILY
Technically Superman could count for this list in a lot of different ways. Every time Superman has gotten into one of his enormous fights with the world at stake, heroes everywhere have Clark Kent to thank for their survival– Batman included. But this isn’t just giving credit to Superman for general acts that have happened to save others. Let’s discuss the times when Superman was directly involved in specifically saving Batman.
One such instance was during one of the most tumultuous events in Batman’s life, when the Joker killed Jason Todd. In the aftermath of that historic moment, Batman leaned on Superman for a lot of support in trying to apprehend the Joker. The end result was Batman getting into a fight with his sidekick’s killer aboard a helicopter, and gunfire going off in the vehicle causing it to explode and fall into the ocean. Fortunately, Superman was there to pluck Batman from the wreckage and carry him to safety. Batman only cared about what had happened to the Joker, but he had to settle for carrying on with his own life instead.
9. GREEN ARROW- THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS
We already talked about the older Batman needing help in The Dark Knight Returns when dealing with the Mutant Leader, but his climactic encounter was something else entirely. This was a fight against Superman himself, and even a young Batman in his prime would need every advantage he could get to win this fight. But this older Batman had to rely not only on a superpowered suit and his new Robin, but another familiar face from his past.
Even with just one arm left and a body past its prime, the Green Arrow was still an incredible marksman. And even if Superman was doing everything in his power to avoid killing Bruce, the aging billionaire was determined to continue this fight even if it did kill him. The Green Arrow firing a Kryptonite arrow at Superman was one of the few things capable of debilitating the Man of Steel, and it was the assist that allowed Batman’s plan to come to fruition. Batman might have appeared to die in the public eye, but had this fight played out without intervention from Green Arrow, Superman could have very well legitimately killed Bruce.
8. TALIA AL GHUL – DETECTIVE COMICS #411
Talia al Ghul and her father have arguably gone on to do terrible things that far outweigh any of the good they have ever brought to Batman’s life. They have been some of the most unusual enemies he has had; one moment bringing devastation to his world, the next trying to groom him to take over the League of Assassins and marry Talia. You can’t blame Batman for being unsure how to handle the dynamic, especially when Talia started off saving his life.
Talia was being held captive by Dr. Darrk, who was calling himself the leader of the League. Eventually Batman learned that Darrk had actually turned against Ra’s, and was trying to create his own organization. That alone was enough to create animosity between Talia and Darrk, but after Batman freed her, Darrk blinded Batman and was on the verge of stabbing the hero. Talia is clearly someone who believes in repaying favors. She shot Darrk before Batman could be harmed by the man who betrayed her father.
7. HUNTRESS – HUSH
We already talked about one instance where Batman needed some help in the Hush storyline, but there was actually another case where he ran into some trouble at the start of the story. While Catwoman would save Batman later on, at this point she herself was under the control of Poison Ivy. Batman was pursuing her, in an attempt to figure out what was going on, when someone cut the line he was using to swing between buildings. The result was a long fall to the ground that fractured his skull. He was then surrounded by criminals ready to finish him off.
Fortunately, Batman is a hero with quite a few allies ready to help him when he needs it, including Huntress. She rode in on her motorcycle and made quick work of the thugs looking to hurt Bruce. On any good day Batman would have been quite capable of handling the fight on his own, but plummeting the height of a building will lead to anyone having an off day. She packed the injured billionaire into the Batmobile and sent him off for Alfred to nurse him back to health.
6. ROBIN – DETECTIVE COMICS #644
Whoever carries the moniker of Robin has usually used the role as Batman’s sidekick to spring into their own career as an independent hero later on. The role has become more of a place for people breaking into crime fighting to get some firsthand experience under one of the best heroes out there. But as anyone who’s ever done an internship knows, just because you’re not capable of standing on your own quite yet doesn’t mean you can’t have some breakthrough moments.
For this Robin, the breakthrough came when the heroic duo were pursuing villains who used electricity as their weapon of choice, and Batman got blasted with a high voltage surprise attack from the Electrocutioner. It wasn’t intentional, but the Electrocutioner wound up zapping Batman so hard that his heart stopped. Fortunately, Robin quickly arrived in insulated gear, and beat the Electrocutioner into submission until the newcomer relented and attempted to jolt Batman’s heart going again. It left Batman dead for over a minute, but Robin’s quick action did wind up saving his mentor.
5. JOKER – EMPEROR JOKER
Yes, even Batman’s enemies have saved him on occasion. And the Joker of all people makes sense to be one of the most significant ones to do so. The Joker isn’t like most villains who want Batman dead. The Joker needs Batman around to enjoy life. So of course the Joker would be willing to save Batman from being killed if need be— even if the Joker was the one doing the killing in the first place.
Emperor Joker was a storyline that saw the Clown Prince gain unimaginable power, even being able to distort time and the world to his liking. This led to Joker outright eating the country of China, and also relishing in his opportunity to defeat Batman. The Joker tortured and killed Batman, but couldn’t bear to leave his adversary dead, so he’d rescue him over and over again. Of course the Joker was only rescuing Batman for the chance to kill him again, but it showed how even Bruce’s fiercest adversary couldn’t bear to just let him die.
4. JASON TODD – ARKHAM KNIGHT
Jason Todd has a tough time deciding which side he wants to be on a lot of the time. When he first returned, he had a lot of bitterness about Batman not killing the Joker– which in effect led to the Joker being able to kill Jason. So Jason has some baggage going on, but he has proven capable of working alongside the Bat Family when the time is right. Fortunately for Batman, the time was right by the endgame of Arkham Knight.
Todd played the eponymous villain in Arkham Knight and was an antagonist to Batman for the majority of the game. But the Scarecrow was the mastermind behind the worst of the trouble in the game, and was ready to stand victorious at the end of the game when he had Batman captured. The Scarecrow was ready to start experimenting on Bruce with his fear toxins, but Jason Todd stepped in to help his former mentor by freeing him with some shots from a sniper rifle. Sometimes Batman’s belief that villains can be redeemed does pay off.
3. DAMIAN WAYNE – BATMAN VS ROBIN
With as many Robins as there have been it shouldn’t be that surprising that Batman has been rescued by more than one. This third and final instance of Robin saving his mentor is even more significant because this time around it was Bruce’s son Damian Wayne behind the mask. But even with that blood bond between the two, there was big friction between them and Damian was straying over toward the Court of Owls and Talon.
It happened in the Batman vs Robin animated movie, and eventually led to Talon infiltrating the Batcave and attacking Batman. Batman became overwhelmed by the attack, and Talon was on the verge of killing the Dark Knight. Damian was finally able to put aside his differences with his father, though, and fought off Talon to save his dad. It wasn’t without a cost, though, as Talon forced Damian to stab him through the neck, turning Damian into a killer.
2. EQUINOX – THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD
More than one of Batman’s opponents have been his savior throughout his struggles. While most of the people Batman squares off against just want to see him dead, there are a few who have simply disagreed with him while respecting his dedication to his cause. One such character was the reality-warping Equinox in Batman: The Brave and the Bold. Equinox made it his mission to unleash destruction, but in a way he deemed balanced, which did not include letting his adversary die.
Equinox was poised unleash a radioactive meltdown on the city, but Batman put his own body at risk to avert the crisis. Batman went into the reactor to physically stall out the process causing the meltdown, but in doing so exposed himself to dangerous radiation that left him poisoned and badly sick. While Equinox had been willing to set off the reactor, he didn’t view the world losing Batman as the balance humanity needed, and instead healed Bruce of his radiation sickness.
1. SPIDER-MAN – AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #411
Everyone knows how frequent comic book crossovers are, and Spider-Man and Batman actually have had a legitimate storyline together where they teamed up to stop Joker and Carnage. But this crossover was on a much less official basis. In fact, if this encounter was actually treated as canon, it would pretty much prevent Batman from ever having existed.
Amazing Spider-Man #411 featured a small cameo replaying a familiar scene in an alleyway featuring a young boy and his parents. They were being robbed by a man with a gun, and the boy’s father was about to be shot when Spider-Man appeared to subdue the criminal. For readers who didn’t find the homage obvious enough, one of the panels also showed the boy wearing a shirt with the Batman logo on it, so everyone understood that Spider-Man had just stopped Joe Chill from killing Bruce Wayne’s parents. So in a way, Spider-Man saved Bruce from becoming Batman.
Can you think of any more instances when Batman needed a helping hand? Share any other moments you can think of in the comments!
Wonder Woman will have her movie debut on June 2, 2017, Spider-Man: Homecoming arrives July 7, 2017, and Justice League will be in theaters November 17, 2017.
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