Batman will now and forever be synonymous with Bruce Wayne. The young boy who saw his parents murdered in cold blood used that anger to fuel his vengeance. He became one of the most notorious heroes of the DC universe. But over the years, quite a few other characters have taken up the mantle, even if it was just for a short while. Here are five other characters who have been Batman in the DC universe.
Perhaps the most beloved example of another character taking up the mantle of Batman, we have Terry McGinnis. The teenager was introduced in Batman Beyond. In a future version of Gotham City, Bruce Wayne has aged out of his crime fighting days. He then takes Terry under his wing, training the young man in the ways of being a Caped Crusader in a futuristic world. In the years since the animated series went off the air, DC has published several books featuring Terry McGinnis.
Batman Beyond synopsis – “From the ingenious team that brought audiences the Emmy Award-winning Batman: The Animated Series comes the continuing legend of The Dark Knight with a futuristic twist as Bruce Wayne trains a new Batman for the 21st century.”
Thomas Wayne, the father of Bruce Wayne, took up the mantle of Batman at one point. The noteworthy iteration of the character was brought to us in the pages of the now-iconic Flashpoint storyline. Barry Allen ends up messing with the timeline while trying to save his mom. In this messed up version of the DC universe, it was Bruce Wayne who died, with Thomas Wayne becoming Gotham’s feared crime fighter.
Flashpoint synopsis – “When Barry Allen wakes at his desk, he discovers the world has changed. Family is alive, loved ones are strangers, and close friends are different, gone or worse. It’s a world on the brink of a cataclysmic war – but where are Earth’s Greatest Heroes to stop it?It’s a place where America’s last hope is Cyborg, who hopes to gather the forces of The Outsider, The Secret 7, S!H!A!Z!A!M!, Citizen Cold and other new and familiar-yet-altered faces! It’s a world that could be running out of time, if The Flash can’t find the villain who altered the timeline!”
Amazingly, Clark Kent, the alien living on Earth who is actually Superman, was Batman at one point. This is another example of an Elseworlds tale that took hold in 1993. The story was brought to us in the pages of Superman: Speeding Bullets. It sort of combines the characters of Superman and Batman into one.
Superman: Speeding Bullets synopsis – “What would have happened if the infant Superman had been found by the Waynes of Gotham City instead of the Kents of Kansas? That’s the question this graphic novel examines, as the child from another planet witnesses the death of his parents at the hands of a Gotham mugger and grows up to become a bat-caped avenger of the night.”
Believe it or not, Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce Wayne’s most trusted ally and butler, has assumed the identity of the costumed hero. As part of DC’s Rebirth initiative in 2016, specifically, in the pages of Batman #5, which served as the conclusion of the “I Am Gotham” storyline, Alfred got to put on the suit. Not only that, but Alfred even got to take the Batmobile for a spin.
Batman #5 synopsis – “ In the final chapter of this epic, is Batman truly the hero Gotham City deserves—or does it deserve better? In this ultimate showdown, where the line between allies and enemies blurs, the question will finally be answered…and the fate of Gotham will be decided.”
Last, but certainly not least, Jim Gordon, one of Batman’s closest allies, took up the hero’s mantle at one point. The moment came as part of the “Endgame” storyline in 2015. Bruce Wayne had seemingly died, leaving Gotham without its greatest protector. So, Gordon decided to suit up, albeit in a new way. Gordon was given a robotic suit to help him fight crime, since he wasn’t as physically gifted as Bruce Wayne.
DC Sneak Peek: Batman synopsis – “Two months ago, the Joker released his deadly Endgame virus on the city of Gotham, leaving its citizens wounded and without their champion. Now, one man must answer the question, ‘Are you ready to be Batman?’”