Top 10 Batman Characters

Photo Credit:

Today is the 75th anniversary of Detective Comics #27, the debut of Batman. The seven and a half decade legacy is still growing. Batman and his supporting cast currently have more titles on the shelves than any other DC superhero. In the fall, Fox will premiere Gotham, a new series chronicling the origin of many classic characters. Rocksteady will release Batman: Arkham Knight for the PS4 and Xbox One in October. Ben Affleck will have a prominent role as Batman in the upcoming Man of Steel sequel. Batman isn’t going anywhere and with good reason. To celebrate the past 75 years, here are the ten best characters to come out of the Batman universe.


Photo Credit: Barbara Gordon a.k.a. Batgirl/Oracle-

Daughter of Commissioner Gordon and the first Batgirl, Barbara is perhaps the most committed member of the Batman Family. When the Joker paralyzes her, she doesn’t completely give up, providing assistance from the cave as Oracle. Barbara is a more lighthearted hero than the rest of the team, lending a larger sense of fun to the overall universe. (First appearance: Detective Comics #359 1967)


Photo Credit: Harvey Dent a.k.a. Two-Face-

One of Batman’s most tragic enemies, Two-Face embodies Gotham City’s ability to corrupt its white knights, turning them into the very thing that makes the city so dangerous. As Gotham’s District Attorney, Dent had a chance to clean up the streets alongside Batman and Gordon. After his scarring, Batman consistently tries to pull the good out of him once again. Bruce’s mission will never be complete if Harvey Dent is still a criminal. (First appearance: Detective Comics #66 1942)


Photo Credit: Commissioner James Gordon-

It’s incredibly important that not all of Batman’s allies have capes and masks. Following the law, Gordon’s alliance with Batman is initially rocky, Gordon essentially using the vigilante as a last resort thanks to his corrupt colleagues. But their friendship has become a foundation for the universe, Gordon keeping the Batman in check, never allowing him to cross the line from hero to villain. (First appearance: Detective Comics #27 1939)


Photo Credit: Harleen Quinzel a.k.a. Harley Quinn-

Tonally, Harley shouldn’t work as a character. Created on Batman: The Animated Series as Joker’s sidekick, Harley provides comic relief with her loving obsession with Mistah Jay. But being the Joker’s lover leads to a life filled with tragedy. But her persistence and joyful outlook is unique among supervillains everywhere. Probably the easiest villain to root for in all of comics, Harley has potential for just about every kind of Batman story. (First appearance: Batman: The Animated Series “Joker’s Favor” Season 1 Episode 22 1992)


Photo Credit: Ra’s al Ghul-

Batman’s quest to save Gotham doesn’t always mean his villains are away from the failing city. The Dark Knight does most of his globe-trotting when dealing with Ra’s al Ghul, the leader of the League of Assassins. What’s great about Batman’s relationship to Ra’s is that only one rule separates the two. If Batman were a killer, he’d essentially be on the same mission as Ra’s. (First appearance Batman #232 1971)


Photo Credit: Alfred Pennyworth-

One of the many characters in the battle for Bruce Wayne’s soul, Alfred took care of young Bruce after his parents were murdered. He raised him, allowing Bruce to become the savior of Gotham. Whether that has done more good or bad for Bruce is part of Alfred’s struggle. But Bruce is always able to rely on him, the closest thing to a parents he’s had since that fateful day in Crime Alley. (First appearance: Batman #16 1943)


Photo Credit: Dick Grayson a.k.a. Robin/Nightwing-

The original superhero sidekick became so much more than that, making the very use of the word “sidekick” a bastardization of his character. Bruce sees himself in young Dick Grayson after his parents are murdered. He can’t resist taking him in and training him. Now Dick is roped into this endless quest because of Bruce’s obsession with his mission. But the original Robin proved strong enough to take control of his life when he left the mansion behind and became Nightwing. (First appearance: Detective Comics #38 1940)


Photo Credit: Selina Kyle a.k.a. Catwoman-

There’s probably not a better example of a character walking the line between good and evil so gracefully in all of fiction. Starting out as a prostitute inspired to put on a costume when she sees Batman, Selina has become a powerful force in Gotham City. Playing the hero more lately, thanks to her on-and-off relationship with Batman, Catwoman is still completely unpredictable, usually out for whatever makes her happy. But Bruce has been mostly successful in turning her into a hero. (First appearance: Batman #1 1940)


Photo Credit: Bruce Wayne a.k.a. Batman-

What makes Batman so compelling is that his mission may not always be the best thing for his partners, himself, or his city. He’s helped create a lot of the villains that roam the streets. Sometimes his refusal to kill is what keeps Gotham in peril, but it’s also what keeps him on the side of good. Bruce Wayne is the embodiment of a human superhero, not because he has no powers, but because he has both good and bad in him. This makes him the most real and genuine superhero in all of comics. He’s not always the hero we need, but the hero we deserve. (First appearance: Detective Comics #27 1939)


Photo Credit: Joker-

He can be anything. From blowing up hospitals and killing Robins to trying to trademark fish by giving them his signature smirk, Joker is the best villain ever. His unpredictability and one-of-a-kind attitude make him a unique case shrouded in mystery. Joker has no origin, he is a force, the reason Batman still exists. He is pure evil incarnate, but evil has never been so much fun. While Batman’s morals are questionable, it’s frightening sometimes how much we root for the Joker. He appeals to our most simple desires because he’s having fun with every crime he commits. He does’t want money or power, just to have fun and mess with his one true love, Batman. As an audience, he upsets our moral outlook, and Batman has to reel us back in. It makes him one of the most fascinating characters ever conceived. (First appearance: Batman #1 1940)


Do you agree with our picks? Who are your favorite Batman characters? Let us know below. Happy 75th Bats.

By Matt Dougherty

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