Batman Skills and Equipment

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See also DC Comics Batman

Batman Utility belt from 1985 Who's Who
Batman Utility belt from 1985 Who's Who

Unlike many superheroes, Batman has no superpowers and instead relies on "his own scientific knowledge, detective skills, and athletic prowess." Batman is physically at the peak of human ability in dozens of areas, notably martial arts, acrobatics, strength, and escape artistry. Intellectually, he is just as peerless; Batman is one of the world's greatest scientists, engineers, criminologists, and tacticians, as well as a master of disguise, often gathering information under the identity of Matches Malone. He is regarded as one of the DC Universe's greatest detectives. Rather than simply outfighting his opponents, Batman often uses cunning and planning to outwit them. In Grant Morrison's first storyline in JLA, Superman describes Batman as "the most dangerous man on Earth," able to defeat a team of superpowered aliens all by himself in order to rescue his imprisoned teammates.


Contents

Costume

Batman's costume incorporates the imagery of a bat in order to frighten criminals. The details of the Batman costume change repeatedly through various stories and media, but the most distinctive elements remain consistent: a scallop-hem cape, a cowl covering most of the face featuring a pair of batlike ears, and a stylized bat emblem on the chest, plus the ever-present utility belt. The costumes' colors are traditionally blue and grey although black or black with dark blue highlights are frequently substituted for the blue. Batman's gloves typically feature three scallops that protrude from the sides. A yellow ellipse around the bat logo on the character's chest was added in 1964, and became the hero's trademark symbol, akin to the red and yellow "S" symbol of Superman. The overall look of the character, particularly the length of the cowl's ears and of the cape, varies greatly depending on the artist. Dennis O'Neil said, "We now say that Batman has two hundred suits hanging in the Batcave so they don't have to look the same . . . Everybody loves to draw Batman, and everybody wants to put their own spin on it.

Batman Utility belt from 1985 Who's Who
Batman Utility belt from 1985 Who's Who

Equipment

Batman utilizes a large arsenal of specialized gadgets in his war against crime, the designs of which usually share a bat motif. Batman historian Les Daniels credits Gardner Fox with creating the concept of Batman's arsenal with the introduction of the utility belt in Detective Comics #29 (July 1939) and the first bat-themed weapons the batarang and the "Batgyro" in Detective Comics #31 and #32 (September; October, 1939). Batman's primary vehicle is the Batmobile, which is usually depicted as an imposing black car with large tailfins that suggest a bat's wings. Batman's other vehicles include the Batplane (aka the Batwing), Batboat, Bat-Sub, and Batcycle. All mostly found in the Batcave.

In proper practice, the "bat" prefix (as in batmobile or batarang) is rarely used by Batman himself when referring to his equipment, particularly after some portrayals (primarily the 1960s Batman live-action television show and the Super Friends animated series) stretched the practice to camp proportions. The 1960s television series Batman has an arsenal that includes such ridiculous, satirical "bat-" names as the bat-computer, bat-scanner, bat-radar, bat-cuffs, bat-pontoons, bat-drinking water dispenser, bat-camera with polarized bat-filter, shark repellent bat-spray, and bat-rope. The storyline "A Death in the Family" suggests that given Batman's grim nature, he is unlikely to have adopted the "bat" prefix on his own.

Batman keeps most of his field equipment in a signature piece of apparel, a utility belt. Over the years it is shown to contain a virtually limitless variety of crimefighting tools. Different versions of the belt have these items stored in either pouches or hard cylinders attached evenly around it.

In some of his early appearances, Batman uses guns (see especially Detective Comics #32, September 1939), but he uses them less over time, later eschewing their use because a gun was used to murder his parents. Some stories relax this rule, allowing Batman to arm his vehicles for the purpose of disabling other vehicles or removing inanimate obstacles. In two stories, The Dark Knight Returns and The Cult, Batman used machine guns loaded with rubber bullets rather than live ammunition. In the 1989 Batman film, firearms figure more prominently in the Dark Knight's arsenal; machine guns and grenades are mounted on the Batmobile, and missiles and machine cannons on the Batwing.

Batmobile

See the main article for the Batmobile

Image:Batmobiles.jpg Nothing says Batman like the Batmobile. The Batmobile really became popular with the 1966 TV show version created by by George Barris, but there have been many versions before and since in the comics.

Bat-Signal

One of the best-known elements of the Batman mythos is the Bat-Signal. When Batman is needed, the Gotham City police activate a searchlight with a bat-shaped insignia over the lens that shines into the night sky, creating a bat-symbol on a passing cloud which can be seen from any point in Gotham. The origin of the signal varies, depending on the continuity and medium.

In various incarnations, most notably the 1960s Batman TV series, Commissioner Gordon also has a dedicated phone line, dubbed the Bat-Phone, connected to a bright red telephone (in the TV series) which sits on a wooden base and has a transparent cake cover on top. The line connects directly to Wayne Manor, specifically to a similar phone sitting on the desk in Bruce Wayne's study.


Batcave

Main article: Batcave

The Batcave is Batman's secret headquarters, consisting of a series of subterranean caves beneath his residence, Wayne Manor. It serves as his command centre for both local and global surveillance, as well as housing his vehicles and equipment for his war on crime. It also is a storeroom for Batman's memorabilia. In both the comic Batman: Shadow of the Bat issue #45, and the 2005 film Batman Begins, the cave is said to have been part of the Underground Railroad. Of the heroes and villains who see the Batcave, few know where it is located. The cave is also home to a large colony of bats which Batman can summon to a scene with a sonic device. Batman also has several little caches throughout the city, linked together through his computer, where he stores extra equipment.

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