Bruce Wayne, who witnessed the murder of his multi-millionaire parents as a child, swore to avenge their deaths. He trained extensively to achieve mental and physical perfection, mastering martial arts, detective skills, and criminal psychology. Costumed as a bat to prey on criminals’s fears, and utilizing a high-tech arsenal, he became the legendary detective the one and only Batman.
The character was created by artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger, and first appeared in Detective Comics #27 (1939). Originally named the “Bat-Man”, the character is also referred to by such epithets as the Caped Crusader, the Dark Knight, and the World’s Greatest Detective. Batman’s secret identity is Bruce Wayne, a wealthy American playboy, philanthropist, and owner of Wayne Enterprises. After witnessing the murder of his parents Dr. Thomas Wayne and Martha Wayne as a child, he swore vengeance against criminals, an oath tempered by a sense of justice. Bruce Wayne trains himself physically and intellectually and crafts a bat-inspired persona to fight crime.
Batman operates in the fictional Gotham City with assistance from various supporting characters, including his butler Alfred, police commissioner Gordon, and vigilante allies such as Robin. A large assortment of villains make up Batman’s rogues gallery, including his archenemy, the Joker. The character became popular soon after his introduction in 1939 and gained his own comic book title, Batman, the following year. As the decades went on, differing interpretations of the character emerged. The late 1960s Batman television series used a camp aesthetic, which continued to be associated with the character for years after the show ended. Various creators worked to return the character to his dark roots, culminating in 1986 with The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller. The success of Warner Bros.’ live-action Batman feature films have helped maintain the public’s interest in the character.
An American cultural icon, Batman has been licensed and adapted into a variety of media, from radio to television and film, and appears on various merchandise sold all over the world, such as toys and video games. The character has also intrigued psychiatrists, with many trying to understand the character’s psyche. In 2015, FanSided ranked Batman as number one on their list of “50 Greatest Super Heroes In Comic Book History”.
Batman has no inherent superhuman powers; he relies on “his own scientific knowledge, detective skills, and athletic prowess”. Batman’s inexhaustible wealth gives him access to advanced technologies, and as a proficient scientist, he is able to use and modify these technologies to his advantage. In the stories, Batman is regarded as one of the world’s greatest detectives, if not the world’s greatest crime solver. Batman has been repeatedly described as having a genius-level intellect, being one of the greatest martial artists in the DC Universe, and having peak human physical conditioning. As a polymath, his knowledge and expertise in countless disciplines is nearly unparalleled by any other character in the DC Universe or the Marvel Universe.
Batman has trained extensively in various martial arts, mastering over 127 different types, making him one of the best hand-to-hand fighters in the DC Universe. Superman describes Batman as “the most dangerous man on Earth”, able to defeat an entire team of superpowered extraterrestrials by himself in order to rescue his imprisoned teammates in Grant Morrison’s first storyline in JLA. Batman has the ability to function under great physical pain and to withstand telepathy and mind control. He is a master of disguise, multilingual, and an expert in espionage, often gathering information under the identity of Matches Malone, a notorious gangster. He is a highly skilled in stealth movement and escapology, which allows him to appear and disappear at will and to break free of nearly inescapable deathtraps with little to no harm.
Batman is an expert in interrogation techniques and often uses extreme methods to extract information from suspects, such as hanging a person over the edge of a building. His intimidating and frightening appearance alone is often all that is needed in getting information from suspects. Despite having the potential to harm his enemies, Batman’s most defining characteristic is his strong commitment to justice and his reluctance to take a life. This unyielding moral rectitude has earned him the respect of several heroes in the DC Universe, most notably that of Superman and Wonder Woman. Among physical and other crime fighting related training, he is also proficient at other types of skills. Some of these include being a licensed pilot (in order to operate the Batplane), as well as being able to operate other types of machinery. In some publications, he underwent some magician training.