It's the car, right? Chicks love the car.
James Bond had his Aston, Doc had the DeLorean and Dick Dastardly had the Mean Machine, but there is one car that is synonymous with comic book history: Batman and his Batmobile have been fighting crime since 1939. First appearing in Detective Comics #27, the Batmobile went on to play a part 14 times in TV, cinema, cartoons and video games. Here is the ultimate ranking of the Caped Crusader's shiny black wheels.
#14 The Batman (2004)
What is this, Bruce Wayne's weekend sportscar? No, no, no it is all wrong. Side slits, multiple jets, puny back fins and a royal blue colouring. The Batman's Batmobile was modelled on a sports coupe - can you even call it a Batmobile? Thankfully the fourth season episode, Artifacts, explores Gotham City in 2027, where this monstrosity is replaced with a Frank Miller-esque tank Batmobile.
#13 Superfriends (1973)
Looking like the Futurama episode, The Honking, when Bender becomes a werecar, the Superfriends Batmobile was a poor imitation of its 1960s cousin. A flattened hood and ominous 'batface' bumper were an updated version of the Lincoln Futura style Batmobile. Gone were the iconic bubble pods, replaced with windscreens, however, this was the first Batmobile to use the yellow logo door emblems. The Superfriends Batmobile was introduced into the comic book canon in the 1980s as Batman can be seen driving it around.
#12 Batman (1949)
The second (and final) run of the Batman serial returned in 1949, with a smaller budget and evidently less effort. A Mercury Convertible became the car of choice, also doubling as Bruce Wayne's everyday transportation. The only difference was an 'in action' Batmobile had its roof up. Reportedly awful to handle, the cast wrecked six of the cars. They would simply replace the Batmobile and carry on shooting.
#11 Batman The Brave and the Bold (2008)
The swiss army knife of the Batmobiles, which ultimately becomes its downfall. A Brave and the Bold Batmobile was a jack of all trades, first appearing as the Batplane, before later transforming into the Batboat, Batcycle or the ludicrous Batbot. That is right, the exoskeleton of the car takes a leaf out of the Transformers book and becomes a battling robot suit. Sorry Warner Bros. You have lost us on this one.
#10 Batman Forever (1995)
The sinister ribs and grilled face makes the Batman Forever Batmobile look like an Alien Xenomorph. Couple this with the bright blue neon innards and you are on to a loser with this one. The start of Joel Schumacher's reign of terror begins when this Batmobile grapples vertically up a wall to escape Two-Face's thugs, but it doesn't end there. Bright pink flames from the boosters and the ability to drive sideways (not in the cool tank way) lands this Batmobile waaaay down the list. Thankfully it was destroyed (along with the Batcave) by Jim Carrey's Riddler and his bouncing green Batbombs.
#9 Batman Beyond (1999)
Now we move into Minority Report territory. The futuristic Batmobile from Bruce Wayne's latter years isn't really a car at all. Gone are all your typical Batmobile features, but we still find it oddly cool. There are no Bat symbols, there are no faceplates, just the sleek pod with angular bat shaped fins and a top speed of Mach 3. The other big disadvantage of the Beyond Batmobile is that there is only room for one. There will be no Dynamic Duo outings in this universe.
#8 Batman (1943)
Something that would look more at home in a Godfather movie, or driven by Wacky Races' Ant Hill Mob, there is something very nostalgic about the first Batmobile. Where the 1949 version was a lot stubbier, the 1943 Batmobile was also a Cadillac, but a lot more regal. No gadgets, no frills, just a 'top up' for Batmobile, 'top down' for Bruce Wayne's runaround. God help Master Bruce if it ever rained.
#7 Batman & Robin (1997)
Joel Schumacher rejoice, for once your film doesn't suck at something. In fact, quite the opposite. Whilst the rest of B&R was swathed in neon fights and smothered in cheese, the Batmobile (slightly) toned down its garish Batman Forever look. Production designer Barbara Ling felt that the Forever incarnation of the Batmobile didn't have enough stage presence and attempted to fix it by emulating roadsters like the Jaguar D Type and Delahaye 165. Thankfully the gadgets were scaled back and the Batmobile seemed to go for more of a Batman the Animated Series look. It became one of the longest Batmobiles ever, measuring at about 30ft long!
#6 Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
Whereas the Nolan-era Batmobile resembled tank more than it did a car, the Zack Snyder version is a bit of an amalgamation of a few looks. It is almost as if they have taken a classic Batmobile, superglued on some extra wheels and painted it gunmetal grey. The front mounted gun is a big issue for fans of Batman's 'no gun rule' and it certainly gets used a lot in Batman v Superman. What the tumbler got right, this seems to have got wrong, with everything looking a bit squashed, like Bane sat on the bonnet for too long.
#5 Batman Arkham Knight (2015)
Yes I know I just said no guns, but the gaming version of the Batmobile has an ingenious way around this. The Arkham Knight Batmobile only fires rubber bullets at its assailants and the rockets it shoots are at unmanned drones. Unlike BvS, this Batmobile isn't upping the innocent bystander hit count. We have seen the Arkhamverse Batmobile in all four of the games (under constriction in Arkham Origins), but it isn't until the final game, Arkham Knight, that we get to use it. A bug bear of the game though, the Batmobile became more of a hinderance than a help. It is pulled out at every available opportunity to solve Riddler tasks, scale walls, or complete those laborious tank battles. Only during 'battle mode' does the Arkham tumbler come into full effect, entering flight mode for big jumps or transforming from road vehicle to tank - the ultimate SUV.
#4 Batman (1966)
it's kitsch, it's campy, we love it. Adam West and Burt Ward driving around in their own little Pope-mobile. Based on the Lincoln Futura design from over a decade earlier, the 60s Batmobile had infrared Batdust, a Batray, parachutes and the all important Batphone. Remember kids, don't text and drive! Sure, the bright red bat symbols on the side and the wheels make you stand out like a sore thumb, but it was the 60s - the brighter the better. This was the Batmobile from the height of Batman and we especially love the red trim. Good thinking Batman!
#3 Batman: Nolan Era (2005-2012)
So what do you think?
Does it come in black?
The car that changed it all. If you had told hardcore Batfans that the Dark Knight would roll up in a tank, you would be laughed out of every convention...but it worked! Nolan's hyper-realistic universe was never going to opt for some Schumacher lights for a Batmobile and for a while we were worried how it would turn out. Fresh out of Lucius Fox's Applied Sciences division, the tumbler was a prototype bridging vehicle used by the military. The vehicle became Christian Bale's form of transportation across the three films, apart from the odd transformation to the Batpod and destruction of his first tumbler in The Dark Knight. Unfortunately the tumbler seemed pretty popular and during The Dark Knight Rises, Bane and his men gain access to three tumblers with their original camouflage colouring. Of course for Bruce's version it had to come in his favourite colour...black.
#2 Batman: The Animated Series (1992)
Featuring an elongated chassis, retractable roof entrance and ominous glowing yellow headlights, The Animated Series Batmobile puts the 'goth' back in Gotham. Designed, created and maintained by Earl Cooper and his daughter, Bruce Wayne picked up this Batmobile when his first one became run down. This design was later updated when The Animated Series returned as The New Batman Adventures, featuring a sleek two passenger coupe, but we will stick to the original design for this article. The New Batman Adventures version can later be seen in the Batcave during an episode of Batman Beyond. With it being a cartoon, the illustrators could pack in gadgets galore and boy did they:
Smoke and oil dispensers, wheel slasher hubs, a missile rack, tear gas dispensers, ejection seats, titanium alloy wheels and body panels, reversible jet exhausts...as well as 'shield mode'.
A pretty darn good Batmobile, but only beaten by one...
#1 Batman: Burton Era (1989-1992)
Where to begin? The Batmobile of all Batmobiles. Yes Nolan helped bring Batman into the 21st Century, but Burton put The Bat on the map. From the moment Batman saved Vicki Vale, to the when Penguin took over its controls, this Batmobile was an imposing menace on Gotham City. Dubbed 'The Keatonmobile', the Burton era Batmobile was based on jet aircrafts and war machines with fully functioning gadgets; plus it turns into the uber-cool Batmissile for those tight spaces and police chases. Since its retirement, the Keatonmobile ranks alongside the 1966 version as one of the most popular. You can actually buy it yourself as the car is currently on sale for a mere $1 million. Pure Burton perfection plucked from his dark mind.