For comic book fans and movie fans alike, Bruce Wayne is THE Batman. However, he isn't the only person to don the cowl, and various people have become the Dark Knight over the ages. Sometimes these people were friends or former proteges of Bruce Wayne, other times they were trying to ruin the good name Batman had established for himself. Whatever the case, these Batmen (Batmans?) are definitely not Bruce Wayne, and it turns out Batman might have a case of mistaken (secret) identity.
1. Dick Grayson
One of the many Robins to don his mentor's cowl is the original Robin, Dick Grayson. After Batman's apparent death, Nightwing assumes the Batman identity and returns to Gotham City. At this time, Dick starts to act as a mentor to the young Damian Wayne (Bruce's son) and has him adopt the Robin persona. This Batman/Robin duo is a reversal of the classic pair, having a light-hearted Batman with a more serious Robin. Other Robins to take on the Batman costume are Jason Todd, Tim Drake, and eventually Damian Wayne.
2. Terry McGinnis
Originating from the DC Animated television show Batman Beyond, Terry McGinnis takes up the Batman name after Bruce Wayne retires. Before Terry became the Batman, he lived a life of pseudo-crime getting himself in trouble with the law on numerous occasions as a child. One night he comes across the gang Jokerz (who style themselves after the long-dead legendary crime prince Joker), and stumbles upon Wayne Manor as he flees from them. It's at this point that he learns that the elderly Bruce Wayne was once the city's protector and Dark Knight. Eventually, Bruce Wayne takes Terry under his wing and trains him to be the next Dark Knight. We also learn through some sciencey stuff that Terry is actually the biological son of Bruce Wayne, as Amanda Waller utilized nanotechnology to ensure that Bruce Wayne's DNA overrode that of Warren McGinnis' sex cells.
Jean-Paul Valley was a former member of The Sacred Order of Saint Dumas, a group of assassins who were tasked with enforcing God's Will. Jean-Paul took the name Azrael from the biblical Angel of Death. During the early 1990s in the story arc Knightfall, Azrael becomes the Batman after Bruce Wayne is paralyzed at the hands of Bane (after Bane breaks his back in a similar fashion as seen in the third installment of Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy). During his time as the Batman, Azrael uses a self-designed battle-armor to enhance his natural abilities. However, with his background as an assassin, Azrael has no problem allowing criminals to die, and does nothing to stop Abattoir from falling to his death which led to the death of a hostage. Jean-Paul begins to descend into madness during his time as the Batman and in an epic showdown faces off against Bruce Wayne as he attempts to regain the Batman mantle. After their battle, Jean-Paul lives among the homeless people of Gotham City. Eventually through a team up with Bruce Wayne and others, Azrael attempts to discover his mysterious past but ends up dying and becomes a member of the undead Black Lantern corps.
4. Black Mask
The Black Mask is one of Batman's super villains and at one point in time dons the cowl to discredit the hero. During the events of Batman: War Crimes, Black Mask allies himself with reporter Arturto Rodriguez, where Black Mask commits crimes under the guise of Batman and Arturto slams Batman in the media.
5. Thomas Wayne
It would appear being a Batman runs in the Wayne family blood; from Damian Wayne to Terry McGinnis to Thomas Wayne, something about this family loves dressing up like a Bat to scare criminals. During the events of the Flashpoint paradox, Thomas Wayne ends up becoming the Batman after his son (Bruce) is killed in an alleyway. In this alternative timeline, Thomas and Martha survive the night of their infamous death and cope with the untimely death of their son in different ways (Martha becomes this timeline's version of the Joker). Thomas Wayne is a much fiercer and unforgiving Batman than Bruce ever was in the original timeline, being no stranger to killing or torturing people. Some fans of the DCEU believe that we will eventually see a live action version of the Flashpoint Paradox with Jeffery Dean Morgan reprising his role as Thomas Wayne (something, I for one, would very much like to see).
If we took into account every single alternative Earth we would have to add at least 51 different Batmen to this list, however some are much cooler than others (I mean a Russian Batman? That's super cool!). If you enjoyed this article be sure to check out its predecessor 5 Times Captain America Wasn't Captain America!
Which alternative Batman is your favorite?
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