Many of Batman’s most dastardly deeds were aimed squarely at his very own Bat-Family. (Didn’t we tell you he was kind of a jerk? Why does everything need to have “Bat” in front of it anyway?)
Pretty much anyone who ever got close to the Dark Knight was treated to some serious mistreatment at the hands of the Caped Crusader.
From, well, every single one of the Robins to even poor old Alfred, it seems the safest thing to be in Arkham City is a bad guy, as they can stay as far away from the Dark Knight as possible. The Joker received star-treatment compared to Batman’s own family.
With that said, here are the 15 Worst Things Batman Has Ever Done To The Bat-Family.
15. Batman Tries To Kill His Own Son
To be fair, Damian Wayne killed a bunch of people. To be more fair, they were criminals and he was raised by assassins.
So there you go. Bruce Wayne may not have been aware of his son’s existence (and depending on which canon you go with he may not have consented to the circumstances leading to his birth) but he certainly reserved no sympathy for his own flesh and blood.
Everything came to a head when Dick Grayson (who was acting as the current Batman) was killed on a mission. Bruce Wayne believed Dick knew the risks, Damian believed his recklessness led to the accident. Both blamed the other for the faulty belief systems, and then all heck breaks loose.
14. Batman Makes Robin Eat Rats
Raising a kid is tough work. Batman needs to make sure his wards can take whatever Gotham throws at you and sometimes that includes chowing down on vermin.
In Frank Miller’s All-Star Batman and Robin Batman’s terrifying attempt to train Robin into kick-butt, crime-fighting shape, sees the poor kid locked up in a freezing Bat-Cave with nothing to eat except that which “presents itself.” What presented itself was a bunch of big, ol’ rats.
Alfred took pity on the poor kid and attempted to give him a simple burger… and Batman lost his ever-loving mind. Bruce Wayne thought feeding a freaking superhero a decent meal would soften him up and let Alfred have what’s for.
13. Batman Blatantly Tells Jason Todd He Is His Biggest Failure
It was meant to be a heartfelt apology, but phrasing, Batman, phrasing. Bruce Wayne goes missing and Jason Todd attempts to take control of Gotham’s gangs, but things spiral out of control. Jason ends up in prison, is broken out by Tim Drake, and is sent to the Batcave to read Bruce’s will.
The will contains a message naming Jason as Bruce’s biggest mistake. In a rare act of sympathy, Bruce was actually trying to apologize to Jason for failing to see his emotional issues and not responding properly. He believed he failed him in his training and as a confidant. But maybe telling an emotionally fragile orphan he’s a mistake is a terrible idea regardless of the intentions? Maybe?
Jason kinda snaps after reading Batman’s note and goes rogue. He attacks the other members of the Bat-Family and attempts to take up the mantle of Batman for himself. Everything gets back to normal after Nightwing kicks him off a train. Just your typical dysfunctional family kind of stuff.
12. Batman Replaces Robin With His Girlfriend
Seriously, what does Bruce Wayne have against poor Robin? This particular Boy Wonder was the relentlessly ignored Tim Drake — the most forgettable of the Robins.
That’s not just our own opinion either, the rest of Bruce Wayne’s wards had so many issues they were simply more important to Batman or just took up more of his time and attention.
Tim found himself a lady to take his mind off his superhero troubles and in true Batman fashion, Bruce destroyed everything.
Imagine Tim’s shock when he is not only replaced by his boss/mentor, but his new-and-improved model turns out to be his own girlfriend, Stephanie Brown. That’s what a life dedicated to ridding the world of crime gets you.
11. Batman Helps Robin’s Girlfriend Fake Her Own Death
Batman helps Robin’s girlfriend fake her death, and then totally doesn’t tell Tim Drake about it. Yep, this is none other than the aforementioned Stephanie Brown. Stephanie ends up failing big time as the new Robin.
She uses excessive force on criminals, gets kicked off the Bat-team, steals Bruce Wayne’s crime-fighting plans, and accidentally starts a freaking gang war. Girl was a mess. But what can you expect from a kid trained by the Bat?
That unfortunate gang war resulted in Stephanie’s untimely death… or did it? It didn’t. She faked her death to get out of the colossal mess she had made and Batman totally went along with it. He even went as far as hiding Stephanie’s very much alive status from the heartbroken Tim. Messed up, Batman. Messed up, indeed.
10. Batman Gets Batgirl Pregnant … While She’s Still Dating Nightwing
In the Batman Beyond comic, Barbara Gordon and Dick Grayson were totally in love. Sure, they had bad timing at first and their relationship was shaky getting off the ground. Who knew fighting clown thugs could kill the romantic mood? Everyone. Everyone knew that.
However, once things really got rolling, the couple was so happy together Dick started shopping around for engagement rings. Just a few weeks in and Master Grayson already had marriage on the brain. This was the real deal.
So, Batman gets Batgirl pregnant while Nightwing is out of town, of course. This causes a huge strain on basically all their relationships because Bruce knew how much Dick loved Barbara since college. Sadly, Barbara ends up suffering a miscarriage, because DC is just super dark.
9. Batman Erases Robin’s Memory And Sends Him Back To The Orphanage
Yep. This is where that hilarious Bat-slap meme came from. You’re welcome. Except the full story behind that infamous panel is incredibly sad.
If anyone knows anything about Batman it’s that he hates Superman. With a vengeance. However, Superman is loved by pretty much everyone else in the DC universe so Dick Grayson doesn’t take to Bruce’s irrational hatred easily.
Dick quits the Dark Knight’s caped crusade after discovering Batman’s inexplicable distaste for Supes, but Batman was having none of that. To protect his identity, Bruce erases Dick’s memories of his stint as Robin, but his brutal track-covering doesn’t end there.
8. Batman Forces Robin To Dig His Own Grave
Talk about morbid. In World’s Finest Issue No. 195, Batman’s mind becomes scrambled and he starts to believe he’s working for the Mafia. Superman pretends to forget his own identity to get close to the rogue Batman and things take a turn for the dark and sinister.
Batman-Who-Doesn’t-Know-He’s-Actually-Batman thinks Bruce Wayne is dead and decides to finish the job. He orders Superman to kill Jimmy Olsen and takes the murder of Dick Grayson into his own hands.
Superman decides it’s too risky to put a stop to Batman’s evil plan and decides to play along. Like you do. Superman lures the boys to their final resting place, where Batman offers them shovels and orders them to dig their own graves … at gunpoint.
7. Batman Convinces Dick Grayson To Fake His Own Death
This seems to be the Bat’s go-to solution when the going gets tough. Pretend you’re dead! That’ll fix it! OK, in this case a faked death might have been the only way out — Dick Grayson’s secret identity was revealed to the world. You can’t have that. So Batman convinced Dick to fake his death to save his life. Fair.
However, Batman sent Dick on a spy mission and when it was over his sidekick tried to return home — only to discover his boss had no memory of his existence. Bruce Wayne’s memory is rewritten (again) and he doesn’t remember being Batman or ever having met Dick.
Granted, the memory loss may be out of Batman’s hands, but how much does it suck to return from the dead to find the only person who knew you were alive has forgotten all about you? A lot. That has to suck a lot.
6. Batman Sleeps With Batgirl After Kicking Her Off A Case
Batman and Batgirl again! And yet he claims to have so much respect for Commissioner Gordon. In the controversial animated movie adaptation of The Killing Joke, Babs and Bats get physical, but their quasi-father/daughter relationship makes the deed feel all kinds of gross.
Batgirl spends the first half of the film trying to prove her worth on the field. She makes rash decisions, puts missions in jeopardy, and nearly quits being a vigilante all together. When Batman gives her her wish and kicks her off a case she becomes angry and the two have it out.
However, their argument quickly turns to sex… which opens up another can of worms entirely. Did one or both of them think she would resume her vigilante work after getting it on with her boss? Did Batman just sexually harass his subordinate? We’re afraid of the answers to these questions.
5. Batman Spanks Robin On His Birthday
Bruce Wayne has always gotten the suspicious sideeye from concerned readers who couldn’t quite get past his insistence on working with parentless children. Seriously, what is up with that? The tights, the abuse, things have just never looked good for these kids.
So, when Bruce came into Dick Grayson’s bedroom and put a pajamad orphan over his knee everything just felt wrong. Poor Dick had no idea what was going on as a smiling Bruce spanked his bottom and counted out the slaps.
The kid looked completely dismayed with his father figure’s “show of affection”. Batman ends by wishing Robin a happy birthday, but Robin still looks confused and hurt.
4. Batman Considers Marrying Batwoman… Who Is Also His Aunt
Kathy Kane set out to become Batwoman and seduce Bruce Wayne — this was her idea originally — but he certainly didn’t put up a fight. Bruce and Kathy weren’t related by blood — she married his uncle — but everything about this story is just icky.
Right down to the dream wedding issue that sees Batman consider marriage in order to get Kathy off the streets and at home like a dutiful housewife.
Most of Kathy’s original storylines are pretty inappropriate, actually. In other versions, she’s Batgirl’s aunt, but both Batgirl and Batwoman develop feelings for Bruce. Thank goodness the writers decided to scrap all this romance nonsense and made Batwoman a part of the LGBTQ+ community.
3. Batman Plays With Tim Drake’s Heart Like A Yo-Yo
Poor, neglected Tim Drake. Tim used his own great detective skills to piece together Dick Grayson’s identity as Robin, leading him right to Batman’s Bat-Door.
He insists on being trained as one of Batman’s sidekicks but Bruce initially refuses. Tim kicks butt and brings down Two-Face and Batman has a change of heart. He agrees to train Tim to become the next Robin, yay!
But then Damian Wayne shows up and Batman kicks poor Tim to the curb in favor of his reckless son. We’re all for family bonding, but this just doesn’t feel like an appropriate reaction. Aren’t all the Robins supposed to be Batman’s surrogate children? Who treats their kid like that?
2. Batman Murders Ra’s Al Ghul In Front Of A Very Traumatized Robin
If you thought the Dark Knight had a strict no-kill rule, then you thought wrong. Yes, Ra’s murdered an entire town, Batman would be remiss if he didn’t do something about that. Breaking his rule might have even been warranted in this case, but the manner in which he wreaks vengeance on Ra’s leaves Robin traumatized.
Batman and Ra’s battle it out and the two agree to drink a chemical that will result in their immediate deaths should they come in contact with rays from the red sun.
After drinking the chemical, Ra’s attempts an escape on a shuttle… but Batman has the shuttle’s remote. He sends Ra’s straight into the sun where he is immediately disintegrated in front of a shocked and horrified Robin.
1. Batman Makes Alfred Computer Clones
Despite his frequent coldness and abandonment of his adopted children, Bruce Wayne has an unhealthy dependence on his faithful butler, Alfred Pennyworth.
Bruce is so afraid of facing life without Alfred that he begins to build an AI version of his faithful servant based on Alfred’s brain scans. But he thinks better of creating a robot version of his only real friend and puts an end to his little project.
That is, until Alfred dies *sob* and Bruce is suddenly left to live out his greatest fear. Batman asks Cyborg to help him complete the “Alfred Protocol”. They totally succeed and soon a robot butler is running around the Batcave.
However, Alfred’s one, true goal was to protect Bruce at all costs. Being a robot, AI Alfred takes things to dangerous extremes. Robot Alfred clones himself and each new version takes up the “Protect Batman” mission.
The Alfreds put an end to Gotham’s crime by breaking Batman’s no-kill rule again and again. His closest friend has now embodied everything Batman never wanted to be.
Can you think of any other horrible things that Batman has done to his Bat-Family that we missed? Let us know in the comments!
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