People often think of Batman as a creature of darkness who lives a life of tragedy and despair, but we’d like to challenge that view. We’re celebrating DC icons this week on the road to DC FanDome, and it's got us thinking about what the Caped Crusader's happiest days have been. If Batman could relive any day, which would it be? Here are our picks for the seven best days in Batman’s life.
Meeting Dick Grayson
In 1940’s Detective Comics #38, Bruce Wayne met Dick Grayson and both their lives were changed forever. Before that moment, Batman had nobody to share his crimefighting life with and his nights were filled with solitude and despair. When he met Dick, Batman saw a kindred spirit and the entire focus of his mission changed. Taking Dick Grayson on as Robin set an important precedent for Batman, and more allies followed over the years. When Thomas and Martha Wayne were shot, Bruce Wayne lost all sense of family, but when he met Dick Grayson, he was able to heal and create a new one.
Solving the Mystery of His Parents’ Murder
Batman has solved many mysteries, but the one that's always haunted him the most is the murder of his parents, Thomas and Martha Wayne. In 1948’s Batman #47 (retold in The Untold Legend of the Batman #1), the Caped Crusader found himself face to face with Joe Chill, whom he instantly recognized as the mugger that killed his parents. Batman confronted Chill, revealing himself as Bruce Wayne, which terrified the career criminal. In the end, Chill was gunned down by other criminals angered that he "created" the Batman. Although the Dark Knight wasn’t able to put Chill behind bars, the event nevertheless gave him a sense of closure.
Punching Guy Gardner
Have you ever encountered an obnoxious coworker you wanted to knock out? Imagine how difficult that is when you’re Batman. You have extensive martial arts training and can end an arrogant blowhard in over thirty different ways, but you have to show restraint because you’re colleagues. In Batman’s case, that blowhard was Guy Gardner, a member of the Green Lantern Corps and the Dark Knight’s Justice League teammate. In 1987’s Justice League #5, Guy challenged Batman to a fight, which gave the Caped Crusader the opportunity to take out his frustration on the clueless Lantern. Batman knocked Guy out with one punch, and we can only imagine how satisfying it was. Although the Dark Knight will never admit it, he probably got some of his best sleep that night.
Footnote: Guy Gardner’s legal counsel would like us to add that although he has an arrogant reputation, he’s not such a bad guy.
Honeymooning with Talia
Batman’s relationship with Talia has always been unconventional. Although they love each other, her loyalty to her father, international terrorist Ra’s al Ghul, has always put them at odds. That changed in Batman: Son of the Demon when the Dark Knight agreed to ally with Ra’s and Talia in order to combat a greater threat. During this alliance, Bruce and Talia lived together as husband and wife, and the Dark Knight began to experience joy as he never had before. When Talia announced she was pregnant, Batman said it was the happiest time of his life. Sadly, the partnership and marriage soon fell apart, and for years Bruce thought the baby had been lost. But there’s no denying the feeling Batman felt during this extended honeymoon.
Saving His Son
And speaking of Batman and Talia's son, who indeed lived... When Damian was killed by Heretic, it was one of the darkest days in Batman’s life. There's no heartbreak like a parent having to bury their child, but Batman wasn’t ready to give up. During the "Robin Rises" event, Batman and his allies journeyed to the depths of Apokolips to recover Damian’s soul and return him to the land of the living. The trip was strenuous, and it almost cost Batman his life, but in the end, he was able to bring Damian back. This too was an emotional highpoint in Batman’s life. He may not have been able to save his parents, but he was able to save his son.
Getting Engaged to Selina Kyle
For some reason, Bruce has convinced himself that being Batman means saying no to his deepest desires. That changed in 2017’s Batman #24 when the Dark Knight decided to listen to his heart and propose to Catwoman. Selina accepted the proposal in 2017’s Batman #32, which overjoyed Bruce. Was he really allowed to be happy? Unfortunately, the whole thing ended badly, but this day—which was years in arriving—was full of joy.
In Detective Comics #1000, Batman gathered his closest allies to take a family portrait. That may not sound like much on the surface, but remember that the Bat-Family doesn’t typically get together under happy circumstances. And even when they do, someone is usually absent because they’re on a mission or…well, temporarily dead. This time, all of Batman’s “children” made it, including the usually absent Cassandra Cain and the black sheep Jason Todd. Even Alfred and Ace the Bat-Hound showed up. While there was the usual playful ribbing and the gathering didn’t last long, Bruce was able to immortalize the moment in a photograph. He’ll never admit it, but we suspect he probably uses that image as his Batphone lock screen.
Honorable Mention: A Fun Afternoon with Superman and Robin
If you look at the early Golden Age covers for World’s Finest, they seem to tell a story about a fun day out with Superman, Batman and Robin. The heroic trio played baseball, planted a victory garden, went to a funhouse, took a joyride on a firetruck and more! The untold story of this playful afternoon has never been fully chronicled, but judging by the covers, it looked like one of the happiest days of Batman’s life.
DC FanDome returns on October 16, 2021! For more articles like this one, and to stay up to date on all the latest news, visit dcfandome.com.
Joshua Lapin-Bertone writes about TV, movies and comics for DCComics.com, is a regular contributor to the Couch Club and writes our monthly Batman column, "Gotham Gazette." Follow him on Twitter at @TBUJosh.
NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of Joshua Lapin-Bertone and do not necessarily reflect those of DC Entertainment or Warner Bros.