Batman is one of the most iconic characters in comics. His cunning mind, bravery, use of technology, no powers, and sense of perfection make him one of the greatest superheroes of all time. The guy takes down villains without being born with powers—that’s an accomplishment in itself!
Besides Bruce Wayne, there’ve been others who took the cowl. Today we’re ranking the top 10 alternative Batmen. Let us know which is your favorite or if they made the list.
10.) Tim Drake
In Batman: Battle for the Cowl, Jason Todd reappears as an imposter Batman after Bruce Wayne “disappeared.” Gotham is disastrous after the villains discover Bruce’s disappearance. Many of the Robins take up the Batman mantle for their reasons. Tim Drake is no exception, showing up in a version of the Batman costume to take on Jason Todd.
At one point in Battle for the Cowl, Damian tries to prove himself to Dick Grayson, NightWing, by attacking the imposter Batman, Jason Todd. Ths prompts Tim to go after Jason in a classic version of the Batman costume.
Besides this storyline, Tim also appears as a possible future Batman in several other storylines. While Tim made it on the list, he’s not as effective as some of the others.
Owlman is Batman’s evil counterpart from the Antimatter universe. He is also a member of the Crime Syndicate of America, the Justice League’s Earth-Three parallel. Like Batman, Owlman possesses unmeasurable intelligence, a master at physical combat, and use of technology. Unlike Batman, however, in some versions of the character Owlman can control minds.
In the Forever Evil storyline, Owlman gains control over all the crime in Gotham City. This allows him a chance against Batman. He and the crime syndicate lose, but Owlman is the only member to escape.
Later in the Darkseid War storyline, Owlman and New God Metron, discover the secrets of the universe before being vaporized by Doctor Manhattan.
Batman’s Knightfall storyline is one of the most memorable Batman Story arcs. It is the staple moment The Dark Knight Rises mirrored; when Bane crippled Batman by breaking his back.
After Bane paralyzes Bruce, Batman’s current apprentice at the time, Jean Paul Valley aka Azrael, takes up the role as Batman. As a trained assassin in his Azrael role, Jean Paul dismisses many of Bruce’s tactics. He tarnishes Batman’s reputation through his violent nature, disregard for innocent bystanders, and delusional behavior. Jean Paul rejects Jason Todd, Commissioner Gordon, and the Gotham City PD, pivotal partners in Bruce Wayne’s work.
While he wrecked Batman’s reputation, Jean Paul’s suit and assassin background were a fresh touch to the Batman character.
7.) Jason Todd
Jason Todd appears as Batman in the Battle for the Cowl story arc. Jason was almost opposite to Bruce Wayne, having little morality and a more violent attitude.
After Batman’s disappearance, a mysterious “imposter” Batman surfaces and fights the increase in crimes. However, it’s apparent that the imposter isn’t Bruce Wayne. Jason pins notes to his victims, claiming the be the real and only Batman. He also creates his own Batcave, where he tortures and starves villains to death.
He quickly defeats Tim Drake, but Jason loses the Batman mantle after Dick Grayson tops him. While Jason’s guns blazing Batman was a sight to see, his aggressive attitude puts him lower on the list.
6.) Damian Wayne
As the current incarnation of Robin and Bruce’s son, it’s only natural that he followed in his father’s (and, alternatively, his grandfather’s) footsteps.
Damian appears as Batman in Batman 666. The world is constantly at war, with nearly unlivable temperatures in the climate. Damian sells his soul to Satan to protect Gotham from the peril, but that doesn’t mean trouble isn’t around. A mysterious man, Bat Devil, claims to be the Anti-Christ and murders five Gotham crime bosses to get Damian’s attention. He does and is ultimately defeated by Damian.
Damian later mentors a young Terry McGennis, training him to become the fourth Batman after Bruce, Dick, and himself.
5.) Thomas Wayne
In Flashpoint, Barry Allen resets the timeline by going in the past. Several things in the present timeline are altered—Cyborg is the world’s hero (much like Superman in the actual timeline), Superman is an experiment, and Batman is Thomas Wayne, Bruce’s father.
Instead of killing Thomas and Martha Wayne, Joe Chill kills Bruce instead causing Martha to lose her sanity and become the timeline’s Joker. Thomas is a harder version of the caped crusader; gunning down villains, drinking alcohol, and resorting to brute force.
The best thing about Thomas Wayne is his love for Bruce. When Flash informs him that Bruce lives on to be a better Batman in the standard timeline, Thomas writes an endearing letter to his son. The letter was a redeeming quality for his vicious nature; and let’s face it, Batman with a gun done right is breathtaking.
4.) Batgirl (Barbara Gordon)
While not technically a version of “Batman,” Barbara Gordon’s Batgirl is one of the best adaptations of a caped crusader. She’s also one of the best of the Bat family in its entirety.
The character of “Batgirl” has been in and out of DC’s publications since the 60s. Barbara Gordon had a significant role after Flashpoint with her New 52 series. As a frequent member of the Batman family, Barbara’s bravery and cunning behavior mirror’s Batman’s possibly more than most of the Robin’s.
3.) Adam West Batman
The Batman that’s reminiscent of the “good ole’ days,” Adam West’s version of Batman is classic. While Batman’s reputation pegs him as dark, mysterious, and at times scary, Adam West added a comedic tone to the hero. The antics between Batman and Robin in the 60s tv series highlight bits of humor, crime fighting, and the generic old school “hero saves the day” mantra.
This Batman ran around fighting crime, solving mysteries, and had the catchiest theme song of any show in its time. The Joker was a juvenile prankster, leaving clues for Batman and Robin to solve his crimes. The cheesy running, funny voices and excellent episodes knock this Batman to the upper part of the list.
This version of Batman and Robin appeared in Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders, with much praise.
2.) Dick Grayson
The Robin of all Robins, Batman’s “first son,” and Nightwing, Dick Grayson comes in at second in the ranks. Not only is he Batman’s first Robin, but he’s proven many times that he’s the most powerful, going toe to toe with Bruce several times.
Dick appeared as the first Robin, the Boy Wonder, in 1940. After fighting alongside Batman for years, he went on to form the Teen Titans with Kid Flash, Aqualad, Speedy, and Wonder Girl. Eventually, Dick was the first Robin to become a hero, Nightwing.
After defeating Jason Todd in the Battle of the Cowl arc, Dick Grayson successfully follows Bruce as Batman. While it was a limited time, he still was the better Batman out of most others.
1.) Terry McGinnis
No one can forget the iconic Batman Beyond animation from the early 2000’s. Batman of the future, Terry McGinnis, is Batman Beyond, the latest Batman after Bruce becomes too old to carry the mantle.
Terry came from a rough background—multiple run-ins with Gotham City PD, time in juvenile hall, and running with various gangs gave Terry a jaded outlook on the world. However, Bruce Wayne saw himself in him, saved Terry and took him in as an apprentice to become the next Batman.
The animated series kept Terry out of the main DC timeline. However, he was later introduced to the main DC continuity as Damian’s mentor in a future timeline. He currently has his Rebirth line.
Bruce Wayne is a legendary icon in DC comics. His legacy spawned many versions of Batman, many that aren’t on the list. However, in certain circumstances, these ten alternative Batmen are almost as good a Batman as Bruce himself.