Born from a union between the Dark Knight and the daughter of one of his greatest enemies, Talia al Ghul, Damian Wayne is the ultimate poster boy of nature versus nurture—raised to become one of the world’s most dangerous and deadliest assassins and an unwilling chess piece in an ever-escalating battle between his parents.
Created and raised for years without Batman’s knowledge, Damian was taught by his mother and the League of Assassins to become a lethal fighting machine—at 10-years-old, he already far surpasses the skill and ability of many of the DC Universe’s greatest fighters. Upon discovering Damian’s existence, Batman took his son under his wing as the new Robin in order to train him and break him from Talia’s programming, terrified of what the boy could become otherwise.
Although many find Damian incredibly arrogant, his skills, abilities and intelligence do support his superior attitude. However, despite this, under his father’s tutelage, Damian is learning how to better relate to others while constantly struggling with the murderous tendencies instilled in him from a young age.
Although his behavior at times suggests otherwise, Damian desperately wants to become a hero like his father and fights every second to stay on the path of heroism lest his mother’s nature turn him to villainy.
Love makes us do crazy things. And for the bubbly and psychotic Harley Quinn, that includes dressing in costume, becoming a super-villain, carrying gag-themed weaponry, and murdering countless civilians—all just to put a smile on her puddin's face.
Before her descent into madness, Dr. Harleen Quinzel was a promising psychiatrist assigned to Arkham Asylum, Gotham's home for the criminally insane. But after meeting the Joker, the young doctor became obsessed with the crazed criminal's warped mind. Sensing opportunity, the Joker manipulated her, driving his therapist so mad that he was able to control her. Harleen fell in love with the villain, broke him out of Arkham and devoted her life to making him happy and spreading his bloody brand of mayhem.
Athletic, agile and dangerously unpredictable in a fight, Harley Quinn is a formidable opponent in her own right. She is willing to do anything in order to further the Clown Prince of Crime's goals—no matter the cost to anyone else or even herself. Her energetic, affable and animated personality is enough to make almost anyone drop their guard—a mistake that could easily cost them their life. Deranged and psychotic, Harley Quinn is the poster girl for chaos' terrifying allure.
It takes a certain type of villain to get the best of the Bat. It takes another breed entirely to overrun his city, crush his spirits and demolish him completely. It takes a person of incredible intelligence. A person of immeasurable resolve. A person of insurmountable strength. A person named Bane.
An orphaned boy imprisoned by tyrants and used as a lab rat for high-risk experiments, Bane broke free from his shackles and grew to become one of the most powerful super-villains in Gotham City. His epic battle with Batman in the historic "Knightfall" storyline where he broke Batman's back and his subsequent appearances in comics, film and animation have made him one of the Dark Knight's most popular and enduring adversaries.
Fueled by the uber-steroid serum known as Venom, Bane's strength is matched only by his intelligence. A master planner and strategist, he devoted his life to proving himself as the best. However, his quest for supremacy puts him directly at odds with the Dark Knight, whom Bane sees as the human embodiment of the law and order responsible for his captivity and torture as a child. Intriguingly, despite this hatred, Bane holds a much greater sense of respect for Gotham's guardian than most of his fellow villains, seeing Batman as his only real equal.
But that equality comes at a price. The same serum that gives the villain his greatest strength is also his greatest weakness. Bane has developed an intense drug-like addiction to Venom and if deprived will go into severe withdrawal that could eventually culminate in madness. But if this will ultimately prove to be his downfall, it certainly hasn't yet.
Whether it’s the help he receives on the Gotham streets from Robin, Batgirl and Nightwing, the legitimacy provided to his crusade by Commissioner Gordon or the super-powered backup brought in by his colleagues in the Justice League, Batman has a lot of friends. But only one of them has stood alongside the Caped Crusader since childhood: his loyal butler, Alfred Pennyworth.
Bruce’s life wasn’t the only one that was changed with the squeeze of that gunman’s trigger. A family friend and faithful butler, whose father had served as the Waynes’ butler before him, Alfred took on the responsibility of raising young Bruce after the murder of his parents. Caring deeply for the Wayne family, Alfred knew that the best way to honor the legacy of Thomas and Martha Wayne was ensuring their son grew into the man they would have wanted. He tried to mold the angry, confused boy into a savvy businessman who would be well-suited to take over his father’s business.
But Bruce had a far different way of honoring his parents in mind, and when he adopted the cowl, Alfred came along for the ride, tirelessly guarding his employer’s secret while providing some much-needed assistance. Whether it’s skilled technical support, medical aid or simply managing the complicated schedule that comes with being a business leader, nighttime vigilante and wealthy playboy—it’s all under the purview of Mr. Pennyworth. Driven by love and an unwavering sense of loyalty, Alfred nevertheless worries deeply about Bruce. He understands the importance of Batman to a city such as Gotham, but after a lifetime of raising Bruce, he still sees a young, scared boy where most see a hardened hero. And every night the bat-signal flashes across the city skyline is another night that boy will spend searching for a way to undo something that could never be undone. A search that Alfred realizes could very well lead to his end.
If Alfred Pennyworth is the man behind the Bat—the voice of reason and emotional support for the Dark Knight—Lucius Fox is the man behind Bruce Wayne, providing him with the technology and gadgetry he needs while single-handedly maintaining the financial integrity of Wayne Enterprises.
As CEO, Lucius presides over the strategy and management of Bruce Wayne's multi-billion dollar company, ensuring it remains profitable while remaining ethical. Very intelligent and with a knack for business that’s second to none, Lucius plays a crucial role in ensuring the financial security of the business, which allows Bruce to concentrate on his more nocturnally inclined activities as Batman. Whether or not Lucius is fully aware of his employer's vigilantism is unclear, but he has admitted that he prefers to retain a level of "plausible deniability." Regardless, Lucius does tend to allocate funds toward research and development projects that would be incredibly beneficial to the Dark Knight's cause.
Lucius Fox's resourcefulness and business acumen place him alongside Alfred and Commissioner Gordon as a valuable asset to the Dark Knight, without whom Batman's success would be much more difficult to achieve…if not outright impossible.
When it comes to Batman's greatest allies, Commissioner James Gordon easily ranks as one of the Dark Knight's oldest, most important, and most well known—sharing the Caped Crusader's commitment to ridding Gotham City of corruption and crime.
Debuting alongside Batman in the pages of DETECTIVE COMICS #27, Commissioner Gordon has appeared in virtually every incarnation of the franchise and in every single form of media. An expert detective as well as a highly trained and decorated officer, as Commissioner of the GCPD, Gordon brought a dose of integrity and honesty to a previously fully corrupt police force. Under his leadership, the GCPD has improved both in the public eye and in their record of successful arrests and incarcerations. However, Gotham is no ordinary city, and where others may have locked up an unsanctioned super hero like Batman for taking the law into his own hands, Gordon has chosen to support the Dark Knight, acknowledging the difference he makes. Gordon's cooperation with Batman has made a difference in a city once seen as being well past the point of saving, and it’s sent a message to criminals throughout Gotham—whether it’s at the hands of a badge or a Bat, you will see justice.
Gordon is aware of the legal issues associated with his partnership with the Dark Knight. As such, he adopts a "look the other way" philosophy for most of Batman's activities. Whereas Batman works in darkness as Gotham's Dark Knight, Commissioner James Gordon is its knight in the spotlight—ever vigilant and open about his commitment and desire to do what is right to protect and serve the people of his city.
As the Guardian of Gotham, Batman strikes fear into the hearts of his enemies—utilizing terror itself as a weapon in his crusade against the villains that plague his city. However, there is another denizen of Gotham that knows how to use fear to his advantage. One that turns Batman's own weapon against him and revels in terror and dread: the Scarecrow.
As a young child, Jonathan Crane was subjected to sick and twisted experiments on fear conducted by his own father. Emotionally scarred and mentally unstable from the ordeal, Crane spent his childhood living in fear until he made an important realization—if he could control fear, it would never again control him. Over time, this interest in fear become an obsession. Graduating from college with a doctorate in psychology and specialty in phobias, Jonathan began experimenting on others, subjecting them to a hallucinogenic fear toxin he developed that brought out their worst nightmares. Although Batman has developed a number of remedies to counteract these toxins, Crane is constantly improving upon his formula, creating more potent and deadlier versions.
The Scarecrow constantly proves to be a dangerous threat to the Dark Knight not due to physical strength, but to the emotional and psychological damage his toxins can cause. In fact, Scarecrow tends to shy away from physical confrontations and instead lets his victims fall prey to their own waking nightmares. A doctor of the deadliest caliber, the Scarecrow's horrific acts don't stem from a villainous desire for power or money, but from an unbreakable urge to learn and hone his craft—mastery over fear itself.
She's made countless comic book appearances since her debut in 1940's BATMAN #1. She's been portrayed by two Oscar-nominated actresses—Michelle Pfeiffer in Tim Burton's classic film "Batman Returns" and Anne Hathaway in director Christopher Nolan's critically acclaimed blockbuster "The Dark Knight Rises." And she's been featured in almost every Batman-related animated or video game incarnation.
Indeed, Selina Kyle has led many lives as the feline fatale Catwoman—but one thing remains the same: Whenever this cat crosses your path, she's equally likely to steal your heart as well as your wallet.
Growing up an orphan in one of Gotham’s worst neighborhoods, Selina turned to a life of crime to not only keep herself alive but her friends as well. The vivacious villainess elevated cat burglary to an art form, stealing whatever may be necessary—and sometimes even more—to survive and protect those closest to her. Utilizing a cat mask and suit to steal from the city’s rich and corrupt, she's a master at hand-to-hand combat and acrobatics, stealthy as a ninja and an expert at breaking and entering.
However, despite her burglarious nature and antagonistic origins, Catwoman walks a fine line between hero and villain. She balances precariously on the precipice of good and evil, of doing the wrong thing for the arguably right reasons. And as such, Selina doesn't look at the world in black and white, but shades of gray. Guided by her own strict—if not slightly skewed—moral compass, Selina sometimes serves as one of the Dark Knight's closest allies. Their flirtatious relationship and complicated feelings for one another constantly push both in directions neither thought possible...or are always comfortable with. Particularly since there always looms the possibility that one day Catwoman will take her crimes too far, and Batman will have no choice but to see her behind bars.
Don't make us laugh. The green hair. The crazed smile. The maniacal cackle. You know exactly who he is and how far he'd go to put a smile on your face.
Whether by way of award-winning films like "The Dark Knight," Emmy-winning animated programs like "Batman: The Animated Series," video game appearances such as the record-breaking "Batman: Arkham Asylum," or the countless comics stacking comic book shelves and digital libraries, the Joker stands unquestionably as the most recognizable and popular comic book villain in pop culture history. Unpredictable, violent and incredibly dangerous, he is chaos personified and has taken on everyone from his archenemy Batman to even the Man of Steel.
But Gotham remains his primary home and Batman his biggest adversary, and no hero is perhaps better suited as in many ways, the Joker is the polar opposite of the Dark Knight. Both were created by a great tragedy, but Batman has since vowed to do whatever it takes to prevent similar incidents, the Joker revels in creating chaos and destroying lives, believing that life’s a big joke and psychotically demonstrating that in a moment, it can all change.
Not much is known about his past, but his acts during the present are what define the Joker as one of the greatest threats to our heroes and the people they've sworn to protect. He's killed a Robin, crippled Batgirl, and tortured and murdered countless people throughout the DC Universe—all just for a laugh.
If it’s hard being a super hero, what is it like as a sidekick? The heroes get the glory, while you clean up the mess. You don’t make the decisions and you don’t give orders. So, what do you do if you’re the Boy Wonder to one of the most recognizable super heroes in the universe and you’re looking to break out on your own?
Simple. You become Nightwing.
When his circus acrobat family was brutally murdered, Dick Grayson was taken in by billionaire and bat-friendly super hero Bruce Wayne. Bruce shared his secret life as Batman with the young boy and eventually molded him into Robin—the Dark Knight’s partner in Gotham. But as Dick grew older, playing second fiddle to the sternest hero in the Justice League began to wear on him, and eventually he struck out on his own, staying true to what he learned as Robin while coming into his own as a respected member of the super hero pantheon. His code, like his mentor’s, is simple—if you’re breaking the law on his turf, watch out. Anyone who doesn’t can expect a short and most assuredly painful trip to Arkham.
Yet, while he may share methods and motivation with Batman, Dick knows what being Batman can do. He doesn’t want to become as dark, controlling and lonely as Bruce. But for all the good he’s accomplished while avoiding it, one question is unavoidable—without going as far as Batman, can Nightwing be as effective as he ultimately wants to be?