#Batman may be one of the biggest comic book heroes ever, following his foray into the worlds of cinema, TV, animation, video games, and more merchandise than you can shake a Batarang at. He's been portrayed by many an actor on the big screen in many a narrative franchise, and now Ben Affleck suits up as "Batfleck" as part of the DC Extended Universe.
After his arrival in last year's #BatmanvSuperman, Batfleck's solo movie is expected to arrive in 2019, though not officially confirmed as of writing. And there's been much speculation regarding the possibility of this being the first time we could get to see the Bat Family proper on screen, following the disastrous attempt made in the '90s with the Robin and Batgirl featuring Batman & Robin.
So who are the #BatFamily? Well, I'm glad you asked, cause otherwise writing this was a waste of time. This guide charts the team as they are following the 2016 DC Rebirth continuity relaunch, but it does blend in classic backstories from older continuities.
Dick Grayson – Nightwing
Dick Grayson was the original Robin, and he was introduced way back in 1940, not that long after Batman himself. Part of a family of acrobats, Dick's origin follows Batman's as he also witnessed the death of his parents, killed at the hands of a mafia boss. Bruce Wayne takes him in as a legal ward/adopted son, and Dick soon becomes his crime fighting partner Robin.
As Dick got older so did he pull away from the juvenile Robin identity, especially after he became the leader of young hero group Teen Titans. He eventually retired that title and took on the name Nightwing, establishing himself as a mature hero in his own right. Though he leaves Gotham to become the hero of Blüdhaven, he still returns frequently.
While he and Bruce have had their differences, they remain as close as father and son. Dick has even taken on the Batman identity on a number of occasions, typically when Bruce is injured or thought dead.
Nightwing is an interesting member of the Bat Family because he's the one who has been with Batman the longest, and they have an incredibly close bond. He's also a bit of a smartass, isn't afraid to call Bruce out, and has an "on again, off again" thing going on with Batgirl. You can always count on him for some drama. He also uses Escrima Sticks as his primary weapons, which is pretty badass.
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Barbara Gordon – Batgirl/Oracle
Barbara Gordon is perhaps one of the most fascinating characters in DC #comics. The daughter of famous police commissioner James Gordon, she debuted both in the comics and the Batman TV series in the mid-1960s. She first appeared to thwart the kidnapping of Bruce Wayne, before going on to take up her own crime-fighting mantle. Two decades later Barbara retired the #Batgirl name, and shortly afterwards was shot and paralyzed by the Joker in the infamous scene from 1988's The Killing Joke.
Now wheelchair bound, Barbara was reenvisioned a few years later as the information broker and super-hacker Oracle, who continued to assist Batman and the rest of the Bat Family. She later joined the Birds of Prey, partnered with Black Canary, until many years later the 2011 New 52 reboot brought her back as Batgirl, her paralysis cured through cutting edge surgery that resorted her mobility. Now she's back in the drivers seat as Batgirl, an irreplaceable part of the Bat Family.
One of the great things about Batgirl was how she rallied against Batman in her early days, as he pressured her to give up crime fighting due to the fact that she was a woman. But she stuck it out, and went on to become one of the most well-loved Silver Age #DC characters.
Jason Todd – Red Hood
Jason Todd was the second Robin, taking on the title after Dick Grayson moved off to become Nightwing. An orphan living on the streets, Jason is discovered by Batman when he attempts to steal the tires from the Batmobile. This rebellious streak carried on even after he took on the Robin mantle, after assisting Batman in capturing a gang of thieves. Jason lived in the shadow of Dick Grayson for a long time, and also had a series of anger problems, which will become important later.
Jason is also famous for his brutal death in 1988's Batman: A Death in the Family, after his unpopular character was voted by fans to be killed off. He perished after disobeying Batman once again to go after the Joker by himself in an attempt to save his mother. His death had a profound affect on Batman, and Bruce lived with the guilt of being unable to save him for nearly 20 years, until Jason returned in 2005's Under The Hood.
Following his rebirth — which happened either when Superboy-Prime altered the reality of the DC Universe, or via the Lazarus Pit depending on the continuity — he took up the Red Hood mantle, which was once worn by Joker, his murderer. For a long time he stalked Batman from afar, still consumed by feelings of inadequacy and intense rage both towards Joker and Batman.
Eventually though Batman and Red Hood reconciled, and Jason returned to the Bat Family. He still clashes with them sometimes though, as he has demonstrated a willingness to kill and a ruthlessness which doesn't gel with Batman's strict moral code, but deep down they do care for each other.
Tim Drake – Red-Robin
Another day, another Robin. Tim Drake was the third Robin to take up the mantle, appearing not long after the death of Jason Todd. He idolised Dick Grayson from a young age, ever since seeing him in action with his acrobatic family at the circus. This allowed Tim to figure out the true identities of Batman and Robin — at the time when Robin was still Dick Grayson — when he recognised Robin's gymnastic movements as those of Dick's. Inspired, Tim began training himself as a vigilante from a very young age.
When he was only thirteen, the second Robin Jason Todd died. After studying Batman for so long, Tim realised that he had been changed by the death of Robin, becoming violent and reckless. So he sought out Bruce Wayne, revealing that he knew his identity and wanted to help. Though Batman initially pushed him away due to his guilt over Jason's death, he did eventually allow Tim to become the third Robin after his mother was killed and his father badly paralyzed. It always ends badly for Robin's parents.
Tim served as Robin until the late 2000s when Dick — who was Batman at the time — replaced him with Damian Wayne. Tim then took up the new mantle of Red-Robin and went on a search to find Bruce, who he believed to still be alive. He became a part of the Teen Titans following the New 52 reboot, and currently works alongside Batman and Batwoman in Rebirth's Detective Comics.
Kate Kane – Batwoman
Batwoman has been around since the 1950s, another hero inspired by the acts of the Batman. Like Bruce Wayne, Kate Kane also comes from a wealthy family, and uses her money both philanthropically and to fund her vigilante lifestyle. She was first introduced as love interest for Batman in reaction to speculation that Bruce Wayne was gay, and ironically the modern version of Batwoman is one of DC's few lesbian characters.
Initially a rival to Batman as a vigilante who could match his skillset, Batwoman evolved to become a key member of the Bat Family. Her modern version also has a tragic backstory from her childhood: a kidnapping which ended with her mother and twin sister dead, though her sister later returned as the villainous Alice.
Coming from a military background, she's living the life of a Gotham party girl until she encounters Batman and decides to put her skills to better use, fighting crime using military armor and weaponry. In different continuities she's been in long standing relationships with Gotham cops Renee Montoya and Maggie Sawyer, and was engaged to Maggie prior to the Rebirth reboot. Her relationships are often troubled by her identity as Batwoman and her sometime cold personality. Despite this, she cares deeply for the Bat Family and is a key member of the group.
Damian Wayne – Robin
The most recent Robin from the main DC continuity is Damian Wayne — son of Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul. And if all the Robins have been troubled, Damian is the worst of all. He was raised in a laboratory and trained as an assassin, indoctrinated to follow in the steps of his grandfather, Ra's al Ghul, whom he worships.
When Talia reveals Damian's existence to Bruce and leaves the young boy with him, Damian is violent and very stuck up, believing himself to be superior due to his genetic lineage. Like Jason Todd, he and Bruce often clash over their differences in morals regarding the issue of killing. Damian initially rejects his father for his weakness and for not being present in his life as a child, but also is desperate to win his approval.
Like Jason, Damian also has a difficult relationship with Nightwing who he views as Batman's first true son, although the two do become brotherly as time passes.
Damian first takes on the Robin mantle — albeit reluctantly — at only ten years of age. He was killed off by the Heretic in 2013, but later brought back by Batman using a Chaos Shard, a pertinent moment as Bruce then chose Damian's life over that of his parents. He now serves in the Teen Titans after taking over as leader from Tim Drake, as well as working alongside the Bat Family in DC Rebirth.
Who is your favorite member of the Bat Family? Sound off in the comments, and check out the epic Justice League trailer below!