A Batman By Any Other Name
Ben Affleck has been cast as the new Batman. Regardless of how you like them apples, Batman has always been a shifting figure in pop culture.
Between Lewis Wilson, Robert Lowery, Adam West, Michael Keaton, George Clooney, Val Kilmer, and Christian Bale, the silver screen has seen several interpretations of the caped crusader, from straitlaced adventurer to campy detective to brooding avenger. Batman meeting Superman on the big screen in 2015 is nothing new; the two heroes’ first on-screen alliance was in 1956. As for me, I’ll take Kevin Conroy’s voice from Batman: The Animated Series over most of these actors any day.
When it comes to the comics, though, there are still more candidates who have worn Bruce Wayne’s boots. Here are some of them.
Bane is known as “the man who broke the bat” through this Knightfall story arc, in which he stages a breakout of Arkham Asylum and attacks Bruce Wayne at his weakest moment, breaking his back in the process. While Bruce is out of commission, his ally Jean-Paul Valley, aka Azrael, steps in, redesigning the uniform and building several new gadgets along the way.
After the events of Final Crisis, in which Batman is launched through time, former Robin Dick Grayson fills his mentor’s boots, with Bruce’s son Damian Wayne as the new Robin. Grant Morrison incorporates villains new and old in this saga.
Sometimes Barry Allen, aka The Flash, takes his powers too far and messes up everyone else’s life. Case in point: while traveling back in time to prevent his mother’s death, Barry ruptures the timeline of events, creating the Flashpoint miniseries. Here, Bruce’s father, Thomas Wayne, is Batman, obsessed with fighting crime after his wife and son were murdered.
After returning to the present, Bruce Wayne decides to “reveal” himself as the financier of Batman’s operations, including franchising the vigilante effort into Batman, Inc. Multiple vigilantes don the cowl across the world, each handpicked by Bruce to bear a larger-than-life symbol for a cause greater than any one person.
In the future, after Batman’s retirement, former juvenile delinquent Terry stumbles upon Wayne Manor and winds up as Batman for a new generation. With Bruce giving veteran advice in his ear, this new crime fighter has twice the brain power and gadgetry in his favor than his predecessor.