Mere days before Batman Day (the anniversary of Batman's first appearance in Detective Comics #27), Zack Snyder revealed the first look at Batman's Tactical Suit in the upcoming film, Justice League. It marks the fifth Batsuit worn by Bruce Wayne in the DC Extended Universe, of which three were seen in Snyder's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
It's no secret that Batman has worn a variety of suits over the decades, not only in comics but also in film and on television. However, it wasn't until the dawn of the New 52 universe that Batman began to experiment more with armors, suits, and exoskeletons that would imbue him with superhuman abilities, enhance his strength, and provide him with the means of combating special threats.
Batman is a tactical genius, which means he doesn't construct new suits for just any apparent reason; there are domestic and extraterrestrial threats he worries about, and these suits are often designed to combat very specific threats. Nevertheless, of all the armors, suits, and exoskeletons he's created over the years, here are the 15 Most Powerful Batsuits Of All Time.
15 Superman Suit
Batman and Superman may be best friends, but that doesn't mean they've always gotten along. In fact, they vehemently oppose each other in Superman/Batman Annual #2. As it turns out, in that story, Superman temporarily loses his powers, thus leaving Metropolis -- and the world -- defenseless.
As Robin so eloquently puts it, "Gotham needs Batman and Robin... but the world needs Superman." It's those words that convince the Caped Crusader to show the world that there still is a Superman, and he will always be there to protect them. He does this by donning an armored suit resembling the Man of Steel, flies through Metropolis, and takes down the supervillain Metallo.
By doing this, Batman not only saved Metropolis, but he restored an unyielding sense of hope amongst its citizens. Power doesn't always need to be associated with strength; even though the suit was capable of flying and blasting lasers, sometimes hope is all some citizens need to survive.
14 Haz-Bat Suit
It's not super uncommon for comic book writers to use some sort of contagion to cause an epidemic in one of the major cities, such as Gotham or Metropolis. We've seen such an event take place on the big screen in Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins, in which Ra's al Ghul and the League of Shadows unleashed Scarecrow's fear toxin on Gotham City. While Batman found a way to counteract the gas in the movie, things don't always work out so well in the comics.
That's not to say Batman would shy away from a situation like the one seen in Batman Begins. No, the World's Greatest Detective is a devout believer of precaution; in situations revolving around bio-warfare or infection, the Dark Knight equips himself with the Haz-Bat suit (appropriately named by Robin), a lightweight suit designed not only to withstand a blow from Superman but also shield Batman from infection. It's also capable of medical scanning to aid Batman in detecting the source of the infection, so as to produce a counter-agent if he were to be exposed to anything.
13 The Dark Knight Returns Armor
Of all the armors and suits on this list, perhaps the most recognizable of all is Batman’s power armor from Frank Miller’s seminal work, The Dark Knight Returns. The majority of Batman’s alternate armors and suits have emerged in the New 52 universe; however, The Dark Knight Returns power armor has existed for over three decades.
It’s painfully obvious that Batman doesn’t have superpowers, so he’s forced to rely on his intellect, his training, and, of course, his toys to beat his enemies. As evidenced in Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Batman constructed an armored exoskeleton for a sole purpose: to defeat the Man of Steel.
Although it’s not the most advanced armor Batman has ever created, it is one of the strongest and most iconic, which is why it’s on this list. The armor, which allows Batman to lift the Batmobile with one hand, equipped the Dark Knight with the means to defeat Superman in a head-to-head fight.
12 Batwing Suit
As previously mentioned, the New 52 universe brought about a series of new armors and suits for Batman, one of which is the Batwing suit. While the first Batwing character was David Zavimbe, the "Batman of Africa," for the purposes of this list, we're focusing solely on Luke Fox, the second Batwing and son of longtime Batman partner Lucius Fox.
Shortly after David retired from being Batwing, Lucius constructs a new Batwing suit, which is then given to his son, Luke. Not only is the suit capable of flight, but it also has an interior skin that monitors vital signs and performs minor medical treatments. While it doesn't provide invisibility, it is efficient in functioning in low-light environments.
Interestingly, in a rare moment of genuine glee, in Batwing #19, we see Batman joyfully inform Alfred of all the things the new Batwing suit can do. He's really a billionaire who loves his toys, even if he doesn't get to play with them himself.
11 Man-Bat Serum Suit
For the uninitiated, the Man-Bat serum is a bat-gland formula created by zoologist Dr. Robert Langstrom aka the Man-Bat, a supervillain who created the serum to amplify one's hearing. However, when injected with the serum, a person mutates into a half-human/half-bat hybrid, one imbued with powers of flight and echolocation, as well as superhuman strength and agility. In order to revert to one's human self, the person must either wait for the serum to wear off or take an antidote.
While the Man-Bat serum has been primarily used by Langstrom, Batman once applied the serum to the Suit of Sorrows (a suit created during the Crusades and later bestowed upon him by Talia al Ghul), thus allowing him to wear an exoskeletal suit capable of bat-like abilities. In addition to flight, the Man-Bat serum endowed Batman with invisibility and the ability to generate electric shocks. It was at this moment, wearing the Man-Bat serum suit, that Bruce Wayne truly became a bat man -- and a terrifying one at that.
10 Stealth Suit
Batman is the master of stealth. Just think about how many times he's disappeared off the roof of the Gotham Police Department, or hid from the sight of superhumans such as Gotham and Gotham Girl. Batman is able to do this thanks to years of training and utilizing the skills he learned from the League of Assassins, so it only makes sense that he would construct a suit designed to augment this particular ability.
The fittingly named Stealth Suit is outfitted to function across the full magnetic spectrum; it will sense whatever someone is using to detect the suit and adjust accordingly to camouflage itself. Case in point, not only was Superman unable to detect Batman in the suit, but so was the Wrath, whom Batman defeated with the help of the GCPD.
Long before Batman became friends with Superman, he harbored a deep distrust of the Kryptonian, so he built a suit to conceal himself from Superman's sight. He never used it until Superman asked him if such a thing were possible, and within two days, the Dark Knight proved to the Man of Steel that it was.
9 Kingdom Come Suit
While the majority of armors and suits on this list are part of the canonical DC Universe, there are a few that existed in alternate (or future) realities. We see one of those suits in Mark Waid and Alex Ross’ brilliant/gorgeous miniseries, Kingdom Come, which takes place in 2020 and sees most of the Justice League members retired, including Batman. Instead of relying solely on the Bat Family to protect Gotham, Batman’s legion of Bat-Knights patrol the city and maintain law and order.
Of course, robots can’t be the only defense against superior threats, which is why the story sees Batman come out of retirement and help Superman one last time. However, due to his old-age, Batman wears an unnamed suit that allows him to fight like a young man again. Plus, it’s outfitted with flight capabilities and twin-mounted lasers; so, at least in this story, Batman is on the same level as Superman.
8 Batman Beyond Suit
While general comic book fans and casual moviegoers will recognize The Dark Knight Returns armor the most, faithful Batman fans will easily recognize the iconic Batman Beyond suit, which first appeared in the Batman Beyond TV series -- being worn by Bruce Wayne's successor, Terry McGinnis -- before making its way into the comics.
Before McGinnis took over the mantle of Batman, Bruce Wayne had designed the Beyond suit to presumably aid him in his old age, so that he may continue his crusade against crime in Gotham City. However, his campaign didn't last much longer, and the suit would later transfer over to McGinnis, who became an equal in Bruce's eyes.
Equipped with situational cloaking and magnetic boots, the Batman Beyond suit is capable of adapting to any circumstance, while also allowing the wearer superhuman strength and agility, as well as heightened senses. However, the best part is that the suit automatically generates its own batarangs. We're sure that tends to come in handy.
7 Justice Armor
There have been several occasions in which Batman has worn an armored exoskeleton or power suit in order to aid his fellow Justice League members against large-scale threats. One of those situations was during the Justice miniseries in which Batman wore an unidentified suit of armor (inspired by the iconic red-and-black Batmobile from the 1966 Batman TV series) to protect himself from Brainiac's mind control. However, preventing telepathic invasion wasn't the only thing the Justice armor is capable of.
While the armor is able to resist punches from Superman, it's designed for combat against the world's toughest supervillains, many of which are present in the Justice miniseries. To allow Batman to be on the same playing field as the rest of the Justice League, the Justice armor is equipped with wings and a propulsion system which allows Batman to fly. Unfortunately, there is not much that's actually revealed about the armor in the miniseries, but at the very least, it's insanely cool looking.
6 Augmentation Suit
The majority of people can recognize Batman's core rogues gallery, but Caped Crusader faces more villains than people realize. Preventing a villain from razing Gotham City to the ground is a daily task for the Dark Knight. In one Batman and Robin story arc during the New 52 reboot, Batman thwarted the villain Terminus from accomplishing that very task -- and he did it with the help of his new augmentation suit, which is equipped via the Batmobile.
In this story arc, Terminus himself wears a special suit that grants him superhuman strength. On his own, Batman isn't able to fight Terminus head on, so he instructed the Batmobile to fire upon Terminus while he outfitted himself with the unnamed Batsuit. Although we don't know too much about the suit, we do know that it is more agile than Batman's other armored suits, it's capable of granting the man inside immense strength and flight capabilities, and it allows Batman to stop a nuclear missile dead in its tracks.
5 Thrasher Suit
By now, it should be obvious that Batman is prepared for virtually every situation. He has enough armors and power suits to defeat every member of the Justice League and then some. However, unlike the other armors and suits, which are built specifically for combat, the Thrasher Suit is designed with survival in mind. It’s capable of withstanding polarizing temperatures and, if need be, can produce enough oxygen for Batman to survive in for several weeks.
But, just because the suit was built to allow Batman to survive the most inhospitable places on Earth doesn’t mean it can't hold its own in combat. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be a power suit. The Thrasher suit can emit an electromagnetic pulse, shoot out cryogenic batarangs and electrostatic needles, all weapons he used against the Talons – undead servants of the Court of Owls – when they attacked Wayne Manor and forced Bruce and Alfred to retreat into the Batcave's armory.
4 Power Ring Suit
Towards the middle-to-end of the Golden Age of Comics and prominently during the Silver Age, DC published several stories under their Elseworlds imprint, which told tales consisting of famed DC Comics characters that took place outside of the standard continuity. It's in these Elseworlds comics that we see some of the most imaginative designs of characters and their costumes, including Batman. Among the various suits depicted in these comics, one set stands out in particular: the Power Ring suits.
In the canonical DC Universe, Batman has only had fleeting moments wearing a power ring; however, outside of continuity, the Dark Knight frequently wore power rings of various Lantern corps, even once becoming the Green Lantern instead of Hal Jordan. In addition to wearing the Green Lantern ring, Batman has worn the Black power ring, Yellow power ring, and White power ring, which each ring augmenting the Batsuit with different powers, though he doesn't tend to wear them for very long.
3 Justice Buster aka Fenrir
Most comic book fans acknowledge the fact that Marvel modeled many of their characters after DC Comics' lineup, but the thing is, DC Comics tends to borrow from Marvel just as often. In fact, Batman's recently-created Justice Buster armor is fashioned after Iron Man's Hulkbuster armor (which can be seen in Joss Whedon's Avengers: Age of Ultron). However, unlike the Hulkbuster, which is designed to take down one very specific big green fighting machine, the Justice Buster armor contains protocols to withstand attacks from each and every Justice League member.
As revealed in The Joker: Endgame, Batman put more money into developing this suit than sixty percent of the world's nations put into their respective militaries -- and the majority of that money went towards anticipating a fight with one hero in particular: The Flash. But there are also protocols for defeating Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Aquaman, and Cyborg; the suit can even endure punches from Superman. Yet, what we find most interesting is that the suit's knuckles contain pods consisting of several "Red Giants," which are microscopic red suns acquired from dead solar systems.
2 Insider Suit
Bruce Wayne takes his job as Batman very seriously, and he expects equal dedication from the rest of the so-called Bat Family, even when he is not around to witness it firsthand. That is why before Bruce officially made his return home (from traveling through time -- it's a long story), he observed the members of the Bat Family from afar, as well as assessing the state of Gotham City, using the Insider Suit, which was designed not only to mimic the abilities of superhumans but also conceal Bruce's identity.
The Insider Suit contains multiple modes inspired by the powers of various Justice League members, though its primary mode -- Spectral Mode -- is designed after the traditional Batsuit. For instance, there is a Speed Force Mode (inspired by Flash), a Will Mode (inspired by Green Lantern), a Heat Vision Mode (inspired by Superman), a Camouflage Mode (inspired by Martian Manhunter), and a Veritas Lasso Mode (inspired by Wonder Woman). There is also a Flight Mode (because of course) and the mind-blowingly awesome Teleportation Mode.
1 Hellbat Armor
One of the principal questions arising out of Batman v Superman is pretty straightforward: what the hell can the all-too-human Batman do when he's forced to square off against alien threats like Doomsday and, eventually, Steppenwolf? As evidenced by all the entries on this list, Batman often constructs various armors and power suits to combat specific threats. In the case of otherworldly perils, Batman utilizes the Hellbat Armor, an armor he surprisingly did not produce himself.
Designed by the founding members of the Justice League and forged in the heart of the Sun by Superman, the Hellbat Armor was built to aid Batman in handling large-scale threats. Being the most powerful Batsuit, the Hellbat Armor enables Batman to fly, run at super speed, and emit massive energy blasts, while also enhancing his strength and durability. However, it's not without limitations. The armor consequently drains Batman's metabolism, which could in turn kill him if used excessively. This is the worst-case-scenario, end of the world Batsuit, and its badass design reflects that.
What's your favorite alternate Batsuit armor? Do you think any more will make their way onto the big screen? Let us know in the comments.