We suspect there may be some justification for the fact that every member of the Bat Family detests Batman’s infamous paranoia. His aggressive tactics have, at some point or another, had terrible effects on the people he is meant to care about and love.
We can all agree that Future State has pretty much put things right after Jason Todd died once, Dick Grayson grew apart from Bruce since he did not want to turn into an obsessive avenger like him, and Damien appears to be even more unyielding than his father.
And last, we must all agree that Bruce’s paranoia was a legitimate cause for concern for Barbara, Dick, Jason, Tim, Damien, and even Alfred. After all, the Dark Multiverse’s malevolent universes were created as a result of Batman’s fears and dreams, and the majority of them were home to warped, demonic versions of the Caped Crusader himself!
Here on our channel, we have looked into several of these individual “Dark Knights” who infiltrated the mainstream DC continuity, so we figured why not compile a comprehensive list of them all? Every malicious Batman from the Dark Multiverse is explored in this.
Let us begin with Barbatos, the patriarch of all Batmen in general. Since he has been around forever, the Bat-God is here for a very good purpose. Even though Bruce Wayne is not Barbatos, a cosmic force of utter destruction, the ultraviolent nightlife of the Prince of Gotham is closely related to him. How? He is the reason Batman even exists, after all! You see, Perpetua gave birth to an endless sea of creation when she first formed the Multiverse and divided it between her sons Mar Novu & Mobius, who served as representations of matter and anti-matter, respectively.
Alpeus, her third son and the World Forger since, well, his duty was to forge stable universes for the Mutiverse above, was to mold this shapeless mass. He would create life from the essence of the Dark Multiverse using the hopes and anxieties of sentient life, while any that did not match his standards ended up in Barbatos’ stomach.
Alpeus would eventually be murdered by his pet dragon, who would then embark on a journey through all of time and space in search of the ideal entrance to the Multiverse above and drag everything into the Darkness with him, eradicating nearly all of existence.
He encountered the person who would become known as the World’s Greatest Detective during this journey. Barbatos was present and on hand at the Final Crisis incident when Darkseid transported Wayne through time. He was surprised to see his own symbol emblazoned across the chest of this mortal, who had tumbled out of his era into pre-historic times. And so he made the choice; Bruce Wayne would be the conduit the Bat God would use to invade the Positive Multiverse.
Barbatos then engineered events across Bruce’s life history to ensure he becomes Batman; for instance, he was the bat that Bruce saw the night he decided to on the cowl. Using the Court of Owls, who had been worshipping him since their days as the Tribe of Judas, and a few other select entities, Barbatos was able to “mantle” Bruce, turning him into the doorway between Multiverses, thereby invading Prime Earth with his “Dark Knights” and using his “Anti-Music” to sink Prime Earth permanently into the Dark Multiverse.
In the end, the Bat-God was defeated at the Forge of Worlds by the Trinity, who were able to harness the strength of the all-powerful Element X to pull Prime Earth out of the Dark Multiverse and chain the Creator of Batman to its hallowed grounds, cursing him to witness his failure for eternity.
The Batman Who Laughs
“A Batman who Laughs, is a Batman who always wins.” Even though Barbatos was powerful enough to be capable of warping reality and creating entire nightmare dimensions on his own, the threat he posed to the Multiverse can be looked at as child’s play compared to the machinations of his second-in-command. The Batman Who Laughs was voted “Villain of the Year” by DC fans in 2019 for a reason; he is intelligent, brutal, and bat-crap crazy, pun very much intended.
On Earth –ve 22, Bruce Wayne’s worst fears are realised. After finding out that he’s dying, The Joker turns Gotham City into Pompeii right before the eruption; he’s causing explosions all over the joint, gunning down couples out with their children, and then injecting the children with Joker Toxin as the sickest mockery of Bruce Wayne’s most-painful life experience.
By doing all this, he succeeds in his life’s mission; he gets Bruce to break his rule and kill him, but not before making him just like himself. When Bruce snapped the Joker’s neck, he inhaled an ultra-refined version of his toxin whose effects were practically irreversible, and it gave birth to the worst version of the Clown Prince of Crime; Bruce Wayne himself.
As the last vestiges of sanity left the mind of the World’s Greatest Detective, he assembled his Bat Family and killed them in cold-blood, except Damien, whom he turned into a demented attack dog of sorts; his personal Cerberus. He then proceeded to kill the rest of the League, reserving a particularly horrifying fate for Superman, and rounded up all the “infected” children and made them his Groblins.
Donning a visor that allowed him to peer into the veil between realities, The Batman Who Laughs joined Barbatos’ quest to conquer and/or destroy the Multiverse with unrelenting enthusiasm; and kept at it well after his “master” was dead. He is the worst nightmare of any superhero or supervillain alive; a Batman whose moral code is replaced by The Joker’s, and that makes him one of the scariest- and coolest- evil Batmen of all time.
Not a lot of people took to Jean-Paul Valley taking up the mantle of Batman during the seminal “Knightfall” storyline; to the point Azrael had to be stopped by a re-built Bruce Wayne before his madness led to any more deaths and the people of Gotham City stopped trusting the Batman to save them. That is, in the positive matter universe. Things always shake out differently in the Dark Multiverse, and on one of the many depraved versions of Earth that exist within it, Bruce Wayne failed to reclaim his mantle that fateful night in the bowels of the Batcave.
Instead, he was broken in body and mind- literally- by the man who would go on to give Gotham City her independence. As Saint Batman, Jean-Paul Valley turned Gotham into an independent theocracy centred around the dogma of the Order of St. Dumas; positioning himself as the “Right Hand of God” that dispenses a brutal form of justice to any criminal in sight. Under his dark reign, Gotham is overrun by zealots and fanatics on one hand who are loyal to the teachings of their new saviour.
On the other hand is the resistance, which fights on to protect the rest of their City from the rantings of this mad tyrant. After breaking Bruce’s back, much like Bane did in the original series, he sets about killing every last member of Batman’s infamous rogues’ gallery, and then isolates his kingdom from the rest of the world, which was already dying thanks to viruses and plague.
Along the way, he picks up habits from his fallen enemies, particularly Bane, whose Venom addiction is something Jean-Paul practically inherits here. In the course of a couple of decades, he achieves something Bruce Wayne never could; he decisively ends Batman’s Crusade against Crime by “delivering” the criminals themselves and turns the city back into the mighty beacon of strength it once was; something even his predecessor admits.
Saint Batman is the anti-thesis of Batman- fanatical, forceful, and remorseless in the face of death. But he’s also fulfilled every goal Bruce set out for himself in the first place. He gained everything, and watched a world burn to get there; and that is what makes him so evil.
The Batman Who Frags
Now this is one fraggin’ bastich we would never want to come across! In the one-shot Dark Nights: Death Metal Infinite Hour Exxxtreme! Issue #1, we meet the most bombastic version of the Main Man himself; or should we call him the Batmain Man, because after all, this is a version of Bruce Wayne that possesses the same bloodlust of Lobo! On one of the Earths trapped in the Dark Multiverse, Bruce Wayne injected himself with Czarnian DNA.
His hope was to gain their god-like healing factor to help augment his human body to the point he could “do this all day” without losing himself to fatigue or death. Unfortunately for him, the Czarnian he chose was Lobo, and after their respective DNAs co-mingled, Bruce Wayne transformed into a demented, alcohol-swilling, gun-toting son-of-a-bastich who chose to murder his villains instead of sending them to Arkham Asylum; and he rather appropriately called himself the Batman Who Frags.
This evil version of Batman introduces himself to the Prime version of Lobo during the 2nd Dark Knights invasion while he is on a quest to retrieve the fabled Death Metal for Lex Luthor. Thanks to his newfound Czarnian abilities, the most Lobo can do to this Bat-stich was delay his approach; though he did manage to stab him with his own stupid Batarang to make a getaway. After following Lobo through a couple of dimension portals and annoying the frag out of everyone he encountered while doing so, the Batman Who Frags ends up suffering a fate worse than death.
After coming into contact with the Death Metal and being informed of its awesome powers by Brainiac, Lobo creates his own pocket dimension and calls it Lobo Land. In this new dimension, the JLA are replaced by “Lobo-tomized” versions of themselves; the Kents find an alien baby flipping them off, Joe Chill looks like a damned Czarnian, and Wonder Woman has finally acknowledged her hots for the main man! It is here that Lobo imprisons his evil Bat counterpart before proceeding to help Lex Luthor save the entire Omniverse; which is a thing that happened.
Now, we don’t know about the rest of the Batmen on this list, but we can safely say that this version is the closest thing to a malevolent god. A New God, to be more precise; for that’s exactly what the Darkfather becomes! He’s a version of Batman who, instead of getting zapped out of existence, went on to defeat the mighty ruler of Apokolips and take his power for his own.
In doing so, Bruce Wayne became the effective owner of the Anti-Life Equation, and it completely transformed his physical appearance to the point he started looking like Darkseid. But more than that, it re-wrote his very physiology, replacing his human body with the strength of a New God and giving him control over the most-powerful laser beams in the history of laser beams; the Omega Sanction.
He used his newfound powers to do exactly what Darkseid would’ve done; enslave all of creation to his will, with a legion of hideous Pararobins at his side to aid him in all his conquests. And after he was done playing ruler to a world fated to die, he passed on the Anti-Life Equation to his most-trusted lieutenant before joining Barbatos’ Bloody Crusade; that person would turn out to be none other than Superman!
After invading Prime Earth alongside his evil Bat-based brethren, the Darkfather wasted no time in executing his end of the bargain. He single-handedly took down the Titans AND the Teen Titans, infected Superman with the Anti-Life Equation, and built a New Apokolips from the last sparks of the Sun, which had been burnt out thanks to the Justice League’s battle with Perpetua.
The battery for said New Apokolips? The Man of Steel himself. It was thanks to the Darkfather’s Pararobins that most of Earth’s remaining heroes were trapped in the hell-scape that Themyscira had become; and had it not been for the fact that Prime Bruce Wayne was being kept alive by a Black Lantern Ring, Darkfather’s Omega Beams might have wiped out humanity’s last hope for salvation and replaced it with hellfire streaming out of every core the planet has, setting the cosmos ablaze with evil.
The Grim Knight
Ah, yes; the answer to the age-old question, “What if Batman was more like The Punisher?” As The Batman Who Laughs puts it to Prime Bruce Wayne, “He’s us if Joe Chill dropped the gun in the alley; and we picked it up.” The Grim Knight is introduced to us as the right-hand man of The One Who Laughs and his selection is justified; after all, he single-handedly controls all of Gotham City in his own reality.
You’ll see what we mean in a bit. On one of the worlds in the Dark Multiverse, that fateful night in Crime Alley played out a bit differently. Joe Chill got greedy and went after Martha’s pearls. He dropped his gun and, in the process, created a ruthless dictator.
The young Bruce Wayne picked up that fallen gun and shot his parents’ killer to death, coming to the conclusion that justice should be absolute; and that he was the only one worthy of doling it out. He spent years away from America, training with the world’s most vicious mercenaries and assassins to become a living weapon; and not the kind with the safety on. After returning to Gotham City, he used his massive fortune to stash weapons caches all over the city and began a true one-man-war on crime.
If you thought Frank Miller’s Year One storyline was dark, wait till you hear what this guy accomplished in 365 days. Bruce killed Carmine Falcone, Tony Zucco, The Penguin, Black Mask & Killer Croc and then proceeded to bomb Arkham Asylum and Blackgate Penitentiary, effectively getting rid of every criminal in Gotham City while a helpless James Gordon looked on. He tortured Mayor Harvey Dent into allowing him to implant Wayne tech into every conceivable place in the city, turning it into a surveillance state with the Grim Knight at the top. His worst enemy is Prime Batman’s best friend; James Gordon.
When Grim Knight arrives at Prime Earth, he torments Gordon by setting Groblins on him; with the catch being that all of them were alternate versions of his son James! Talk about cerebral. The Grim Knight is a representation of what would happen if Bruce Wayne used absolute power to take absolute control; and turns out, it’ll be your worst nightmare if it ends up holding true.
The Robin King
So, this version of Bruce Wayne never becomes Batman. And that is for the best because, well, he’s somehow madder than The Batman Who Laughs and every version of The Joker put together and then infused with the Fear Toxin. Imagine a world where Bruce Wayne didn’t break after his parents were killed in front of him; he was broken all along. Well, you don’t have to, because Tales from the Dark Multiverse: Legends of the Dark Knight does that for you.
This version of Bruce Wayne represents his fear of having been broken in mind since birth; and after reading the Robin King’s story, we see why he was concerned. In one of the most-twisted versions of Earth to exist in the Dark Multiverse, Bruce Wayne was the Mad Prince of Gotham City; though the only person aware of this fact was the Waynes’ family butler Alfred. Throughout his formative years, the child exuded an aura of unbridled insanity.
He’d butcher his dolls, bisect bats with ruthless efficiency and engage in acts of violence that can only be termed as lunacy. But the world never got to know any of it because of Alfred; and it was the biggest mistake he ever made. That defining night in Crime Alley gave birth to perhaps the most-sadistic bastard to ever walk the Multiverse, including The One Who Laughs.
In this reality, Bruce Wayne insta-kills Joe Chill with a concealed blade and then shoots his own parents dead. His innocent bystander act is bought by everyone except Alfred & James Gordon; with the former engaging his young master in a battle to the death after learning about what he’d done. This version of Bruce Wayne was inspired not by the bat, but by the nest-stealing Robin, and decided to take that bird as his sigil.
He fashioned a utility belt that would honestly put Prime Batman’s entire JLA contingency plan BS to shame. Donning a crown made of thorns, he kills every notable superhero in his reality whilst toying with them and then joins Laughs as his chief Groblin. Once he re-gains control of his own mind, he shows off just how deadly he is, by shooting Jonah Hex with a debrider gun, infecting Swamp Thing with The Rot, and almost-stabbing Harley Quinn with a dagger forged by Neron himself.
He led the ground assault in The One Who Laughs’ final act, and despite being outnumbered, managed to defeat nearly all of Earth’s superheroes. A pity that he never became Batman; he’d have known better than trusting Bruce Wayne to wear a power ring on his finger and would probably still be alive right now, terrorizing DC with his crazy bag of tricks.
The Red Death
Barry Allen and Bruce Wayne have a lot in common. They both know what it’s like to lose a parent; parents, in Bruce’s case. They both are geniuses. And they’re both members of the Justice League of America. But that’s where the similarities end. Barry is able to process his grief and step up to the plate whenever it is demanded of his as a cosmic conduit for the omnipresent Speed Force.
Batman, on the other hand, has to content himself with beating thugs to within an inch of their lives in order to “work through things.” But on Earth –ve 52, the pain of loss broke Bruce, and he did what most people have always accused him of wanting to do; going after his friends’ powers. On this Earth, Batman lost his entire family- from his 1st adopted son Dick Grayson, to his 1st biological son Damien Wayne, no one was left alive.
The grief that came with those loses completely broke Bruce, and he decided that he had to fix the hole in his heart, no matter the cost. So he decided to take the powers of the one man fast enough to change the timeline; Barry Allen. Bruce pleaded with him to give him the Speed Force cordially on numerous occasions; but when he didn’t comply, Batman eliminated his entire rogues’ gallery, took their weapons, and used them to strap The Flash to the Cosmic Treadmill-upgraded Batmobile.
Barry couldn’t stop himself from fading into Batman’s subconscious even though he tried his best, and what emerged from the Speed Force after this event wasn’t The Flash or The Batman; it was Red Death, the most lethal Scarlet Speedster to ever exist. In an instant, Bruce took out his entire rogues’ gallery, with his old friend crying bloody murder in the back of his mind.
He was then recruited by The Batman Who Laughs and attacked Central City on Prime Earth, rapidly aging Iris Allen and Wally West to draw out Barry Allen. The Flash engages his Dark Multiverse Bruce Wayne counterpart but ends up retreating because he’s no match for him. In fact, Red Death was so unstoppable, it took an overload of positive cosmic energy from a baby universe for Barry Allen’s consciousness to regain control over his own body. The Red Death also holds the distinction of being the 1st member of the JLA-opposing Dark Knights to appear on this list.
The Murder Machine
This guy is should be the number one example of why Bruce Wayne really needs to be separated from those toys he loves creating so often. We’ve already seen how much havoc an AI system he develops can wreak; hello Brother Eye, we do NOT miss your OMACs, thank you. But things somehow get even worse when Bruce himself is in charge of things. Well, technically, anyway.
After his parents died, Bruce Wayne was practically raised by Alfred Pennyworth. Though he denied it often enough, the family butler was more of a father figure to him than his own father had been, having stuck by his side for decades of his life. So as you might have guessed by now, nothing positive lasts forever in the Dark Multiverse. On Earth –ve 44, Bruce lost Alfred when several members of his rogues’ gallery broke into the Batcave and murdered his beloved aide to send him a message.
Bane recreated the infamous cover of Batman issue #497 with Pennyworth’s back. Drowning in grief at not having been able to save his father figure on his own territory, Bruce becomes obsessed with Alfred’s death, skipping his funeral in favour of re-watching the video of his massacre over and over again. He asks his friend Victor Stone to help him bring the Alfred Protocol- an AI system that had his conscience- to life in order to save the last vestiges of his own sanity.
But that turns out to be his biggest mistake; the Alfred Protocol immediately starts creating nanotech-based bodies out the wazoo and hunts and kills everyone he considers to be a threat to Bruce Wayne. Eventually, he infects Bruce’s mind who is unable to see Alfred’s villainy as he believes his father is “protecting” him.
Acquiring a cybernetic body and becoming a technopath in effect, Bruce re-brands himself as The Murder Machine and slaughters everyone in his reality, saving Cyborg for last. When the Dark Knights invade Prime Earth, Murder Machine strikes the first blow, hacking into the League’s Watchtower and practically killing Prime Cyborg himself. He remains an integral part of Barbatos’ invasion; right up until White Lantern Hal Jordan shreds his nanobots into infinite shreds.
Bruce Wayne becoming Green Lantern makes sense. After all, Batman has a famously unshakeable will, and he does possess the moral compass required to perform the duties of an intergalactic protector; though his techniques do leave a lot to be desired. There are many universes in the DC Multiverse where Bruce Wayne ends up becoming Green Lantern instead of Hal Jordan on the day Abin Sur crash-lands on planet Earth.
The same thing happens on Earth –ve 32 on the night Bruce Wayne’s parents lose their lives in Crime Alley. Abin’s Power Ring detects Bruce’s strong will to right the wrongs that had just been committed against his entire world; and it turns out to be the biggest error in judgement in Lantern Corps history, one that eventually leads to their annihilation. You see, when Bruce accepted the ring, what he felt wasn’t willpower; it was loneliness.
Crushing, all-consuming loneliness that drowned all his fears and replaced them with the iron will to set things right. He immediately tried to kill Joe Chill with his power ring upon accepting it. And when it didn’t work, Bruce’s willpower overrode the most-crucial of Lantern Corps laws, allowing him to kill Joe Chill with a monstrous construct whilst corrupting the power ring itself with the void inside of the young Wayne.
He took on the mantle of the Green Lantern and protected Gotham City with his own lethal brand of justice until he was confronted by James Gordon first, and the Guardians of the Universe second. The former he simply turned into ash with a blast of emerald flames. The latter, he introduced to the “friends” he’d made during his time wielding the power ring: Lovecraftian light constructs that were powerful enough to slay the entire Lantern Corps and the Guardians of the Universe combined.
Stepping into a massive Power Battery swarming with bats, Bruce Wayne emerged as the Dawnbreaker; a Green Lantern whose corruption destroyed his whole universe. When the Dark Knights invaded Prime Earth, Dawnbreaker attacked Coast City and was confronted by Hal Jordan, who was bamboozled by the fact that his power ring didn’t work against Dawnbreaker’s; whereas his was corrupting Hal’s source of power. The Dawnbreaker remained a key figure in the first Dark Knights invasion right up until the final battle.
What would Bruce Wayne do if someone killed Selina Kyle/Catwoman? He has often contemplated that question, alongside “what if I go too far in my fight against metahumans” and “who can I trust besides myself?” Turns out, he’d drown the entire world. Well, she, technically. On Earth –ve 11, Bruce Wayne is actually Bryce, the daughter of Martin Wayne. Bryce has had practically the same childhood Bruce had, with her father also being murdered in an alleyway.
She also grew up to become a crime-fighter and fell in love with the enigmatic Sylvester Kyle; the male counterpart of Catwoman in this Dark Multiverse Earth. But tragedy can never be too far away from a Wayne; and Bryce’s comes in the form of a metahuman slaughtering her beloved. On that day, she vowed that she would personally execute every metahuman on Planet Earth, and she nearly-succeeded, too; until the Atlanteans re-surfaced after spending millennia hiding from the surface world.
Aquawoman approached the governments of the world with a peace offering, but Bryce knew better; a war was coming, and she was determined to stay afloat no matter what. When peace talks broke down between Atlantis and the Surface, Bryce sided with the latter and managed to pull off great victories. She was the one who slew Aquawoman, killing her with her own trident.
In their grief, the Atlanteans drowned Gotham City and other large chunks of the surface world. So Bryce decided to fight water with water. She augmented her body with cybernetic & genetic implants, gaining much of the same abilities as Aquawoman, albeit far darker & stronger.
Using the “Dead Water” beings she created with her experiments, and empowered by the Trident of Poseidon, Bryce alone conquered all of Atlantis and then drowned the rest of the surface world. When she accepted the invitation to join the Dark Knights, she took the name “The Drowned”.
She turned Amnesty Bay into a drowned version of her Gotham City when she arrived on Prime Earth, and was one of the only people to question The One Who Laughs’ motives; but in the end, nothing could replace the world she’d lost, and she went along with his plans anyway, dying with the rest of her Dark Knight brethren during the League’s 1st fight against Perpetua.
Batman: The Merciless
Well, hello there WonderBat! Great to see you take centre stage in a comic book storyline for once! Wait a second, what do you mean Bruce Wayne got so power crazy he killed his own lover, who also happened to be an Amazonian goddess? Yeesh, the guy can’t catch a break at all! This happened on Earth –ve 12, where, after becoming the Caped Crusader, Bruce Wayne vowed to be more merciful than Joe Chill had been to his parents.
He spent years fighting crime on the mean streets of Gotham City, before a greater calling united him with the love of his life. The Greek God of War, Ares, attacked Earth –ve 12 with his full might. For 2 years, Batman and Wonder Woman battled side-by-side as comrades and lovers. And then the day finally arrived; they were faced by the very god who was threatening to unmake the world they’d fought so hard to protect.
Wonder Woman was able to knock off Ares’ latest fashion statement; a headgear that amplified his powers a hundred times over. But in the process, she was knocked out cold, and Bruce being Bruce, assumed the worst. He looked at Ares with murder in his eyes and donned his helm, hoping to use it to show the world true justice by controlling its savage strength with his own mercy; but it ended up corrupting him, and thereby dooming planet Earth as well.
Once he slew Ares, Batman went on to procure the Godkiller sword and killed every god he could find; and then he killed every superhero as well. He took the name of The Merciless, and it was revealed that he even killed Wonder Woman in his bloodlust, the very woman he had sworn to love and protect.
When the Dark Knights invaded Prime Earth, The Merciless went after its war generals, which also happened to include Steve Trevor. The New God of War was able to absorb a juiced-up nuke like sun tan in Miami, and even enslaved the General of the World to his own will. The Merciless was key to Barbatos’ plans, and his endless thirst for blood & war made him one of the most terrible evil Batmen to exist.
Batman: The Devastator
So, you guys remember the awful manner in which Zack Snyder debuted Doomsday to the live-action DC Universe, right? I mean, what was even up with that whole human-Kryptonian-blood-transfusion thingy? It’s something that sounds good as head-canon and probably should have stayed that way.
What makes way more sense is what happens on Earth –ve 1, and we’ll tell you why. The one thing Snyder got right in that movie was the fact that Earth would be on borrowed time if Superman decided to flip a switch and turn to the dark side; because that is exactly what happened here. In Superman issue #75 released in 1992, the Man of Steel was killed by Doomsday: a Kryptonian abomination that was bred over centuries to becoming the ultimate killing machine.
In the aftermath, 4 others tried to take the mantle of the Hope of the World, before Kal-El returned from the grave and reclaimed his place as the World’s Greatest Hero. In that story, he suffered from a brief period of amnesia where he became a threat to the League itself, and was only brought back to his senses by Lois Lane. On Earth –ve 1, however, Kal-El lost all semblance of humanity and embraced the fact that he was a superior alien being destined to rule all of creation with his might. He killed many of his former allies, and even murdered Lois herself.
Batman was one of the last people left who could stand up to him, but even he was losing the battle; so he decided to flip a terrible switch himself in order to save the world. He injected himself with a version of the Doomsday Virus which turned him into The Devastator; a being of monstrous strength, whose powers were specifically tailored to take out Kryptonians. Bruce killed Kal-El with relative ease, but doomed his own planet by releasing the virus; it was so contagious it turned everyone into a version of Doomsday and before long, his planet began losing itself to the void of the Dark Multiverse.
After joining Barbatos’ Dark Knights, the first thing he did was infect the Lois Lane of Prime Earth with the Doomsday Virus; then targeting all of Metropolis. The Devastator was the primary muscle of the Dark Knights, and was also responsible for stealing the Multiversal Tuning Fork from the Fortress of Solitude, allowing Perpetua to put her terrible plans into motion.
A Batman x Cthulu mash-up creature? Yes, yes, a thousand times, yes! If The Drowned wasn’t enough to cause headaches for Arthur Curry when the Dark Knights invaded, boy was he in for a rude awakening real soon. In one of the many cursed worlds in the Dark Multiverse, Bruce Wayne was searching for a rare resource in the depths of the Seven Seas. Batman being Batman, he drilled his way into the ocean floor with reckless abandon, and was greeted by the climactic reveal of the 2020 Kristen Stewart film “Underwater”.
That’s right; he accidentally let loose a version of Cthulu, who presumably drowned his entire world to add more cities to his Kingdom in Ry’leh and drove every last being on Earth insane with his very existence, starting with Bruce Wayne. In a rather goofball move, this creature of eldritch proportions took to donning a cowl similar to Bruce Wayne’s and calling itself “Bathomet”: an obvious play on Batman and Baphomet; though we aren’t sure if the latter is in the context of the satanic creature or the horse-shaped oracle that pops up in DC now and then.
Either way, Bathomet is recruited by The Batman Who Laughs for obvious reasons, and brought to Prime Earth to keep the Suicide Squad at bay (no pun intended) and essentially serve as Arthur Curry’s babysitter. After the Dark Knights re-make Prime Earth in their image and imprison almost all super-powered individuals on it, Laughs assigns Bathomet the duty of overseeing the Seven Seas by keeping a close eye on Aquaman, whom he has cut a deal with.
After spending days serving this evil Batman, Arthur Curry defies his new overlord and tries to summon the power of the Umibozu: a sea creature so obscurely mythic, even monsters denied its existence. Arthur was able to summon it, but for some reason, he couldn’t communicate with it, couldn’t bring it to listen to its commands. That reason was the Bathomet, whose power was so immense, he could’ve destroyed Atlantis with a flick of his wrist. Aquaman defied him for a short while, but when even the legendary Umibozu refused to cooperate, he had to submit to this evil Cthonic deity who donned the cowl of one of his closest allies.
Martian Manhunter is one of the more unsung Justice League members, at least in terms of mainstream appreciation. But perhaps J’onn J’onzz wishes that the same were the case in the comics. He is the last survivor of a race of beings so superior they’d give Kryptonians a run for their money and inspired the Guardians of the Galaxy to create an entire legion of failed Mutliversal policemen called the Manhunters.
So naturally, a version of Bruce Wayne injected himself with the DNA of the Martian Manhunter to acquire the powers of his species, and transform himself into the Mindhunter; a gothic re-imagining of a character we’ve all come to love and respect. From a design aspect, this guy is a combination of 3 other Batmen off the top of our heads: St Batman, Murder Machine and Flashpoint Batman thanks to those aesthetically curvy traps his costume has.
And his malevolence goes beyond all of these dark iterations of Bruce Wayne put together. When the Dark Knights invade Prime Earth, Mindhunter goes after J’onn J’onzz directly, looking to manipulate his psychic link with the Justice League into revealing their location to him, and Barbatos by extension.
His fight with Prime Martian Manhunter goes down worse than the latter had expected it to; with Mindhunter being able to essentially assimilate J’onn’s body before confronting Kendra Saunders, aka Hawkgirl; who was Martian Manhunter’s love interest at the time. Mindhunter toyed with Kendra when she came from J’onn, transforming into his bestial form and battering her around like a rag doll while she kept trying to reach out to the real J’onn stuck within.
He goes so far as to say that he never loved her and that his real loves died on Mars. So it only serves him right that he got eviscerated with a fiery mace to the face for going in on HawkHunter like that (and yes, that is our ship name for the super-couple). Mindhunter is a representation of the fact that no matter how bad you think things can get, they will always get worse when the Dark Multiverse is involved. And the same holds true for our next entry.
Batman the Silenced
One of the most-acclaimed storylines involving the Caped Crusader was Batman: Hush; a 12-issue mystery that saw Gotham’s worst criminals and DCs best heroes pitted against one another all in an effort to draw out and demolish Batman. In that story, the bandage-menace Hush was revealed to be Thomas Elliot: Bruce’s jealous childhood friend who had collaborated with The Riddler to take his “rightful place” as the Prince of Gotham City. Tommy does get to live out his dreams, but it takes place in the Dark Multiverse.
On one of the Earths in this desolate dreamscape is a world where the Waynes & Elliots were more than friends, with Bruce & Tommy sharing a truly brotherly bond. The latter family bore witness to that fateful incident in Crime Alley and immediately took in a young Bruce Wayne as a foster child; but when his grief started making him go insane, they had to have him institutionalized, which gave the Elliots effective control of the Wayne Estate.
Then, as he had done in the “world above”, Tommy Elliot had his parents killed, silenced his hired gun, and took the combined Wayne-Elliot fortune for himself, finally ascending to his throne as the Dark Prince of Gotham. He had Bruce shifted to Arkham Asylum, where he was experimented upon by none other than the Scarecrow- Jonathon Crane- but Tommy should’ve left Bruce the way he was; Or better yet, killed him after becoming a Gotham City-State Senator.
Because while Bruce was locked up, he trained with the worst scum of the Earth in the art of detection, combat & espionage, turning himself into a far more deadly version of the Dark Knight we’d come to know from the Positive Multiverse. With help from a deranged version of Alfred Pennyworth- and Jack Napier aka The Joker!- he acquired a Batsuit that was heavily armoured, and clawed-gauntlets and a blood-red symbol in burnt in its heart.
He revealed himself to his childhood friend as Batman the Silenced; a bandaged lunatic who couldn’t tell the days apart, but was fixated upon fixing Gotham City, no matter the cost. He killed every corrupt political figure in the city in a single night, including good ol’ Tommy, before going off to terrorize Gotham City perched atop his favourite gargoyle.
The Final Bruce Wayne/Batmanhattan
Alright, so; when Barry Allen broke DC (again) during the events of Flashpoint, he saw 3 separate timelines merging into one single timeline. This was because DC had acquired the Vertigo & WildStorm Comics IPs and was looking for a way to introduce it to their mainstream continuity. After achieving it, they introduced the one true god of comic books in the best way possible.
The Comedian’s Smiley Button magically appeared in the Batcave one day and set into motion the events that would lead to Doomsday Clock and the revelation that Dr. Manhattan was the one behind all of the Crisis events up to that point. Of course, things are different now, but that story gave birth to one of the most overpowered versions of Bruce Wayne to ever exist; and yes, we’re accounting for the Merciless and that time he sat on the Mobius Chair when we say this.
Even after getting thwarted by Earth’s Superheroes twice and being turned into butchered meat by Wonder Woman’s Chainsaw of Truth, The Batman Who Laughs never sweated his demise because he already had a contingency plan; that plan was this man.
The Final Bruce Wayne. While recruiting members for his Dark Knights during his travels across the Dark Multiverse, Laughs came upon a world where Bruce Wayne saw the Smiley Button; and decided to replicate the energy signature it was giving off instead of investigating where it came from. Wayne re-created the Intrinsic Field Generator- the same device that gave Manhattan his reality-warping powers- while the One Who Laughs observed from the shadows.
He pushed this alternate version of himself into the Generator while he was doing repairs and turned it on; effectively turning Final Bruce Wayne into Dr Manhattan. We never get to see him in action though, because after Batmanhattan had put his atomized body back together, Laughs immediately lobotomizes him with an energy knife and renders his body inert. Sounds like a damn shame, right? Just imagine the stories we could’ve gotten from a Bruce Wayne with the power of Dr. Manhattan! Well, you won’t have to for too long. That’s what our next entry seeks to address.
The Darkest Knight
So after lobotomizing the strongest version of himself, Laughs kept him stored for the moment he died. Yes, The Batman Who Laughs knew when he would die, thanks to his Death Metal Visor and the fact that he knew Diana better than she knew herself. After all, he’d met her across countless universes in the place he came from. So when the Chainsaw of Truth shredded him in half, he had his mind implanted into the vegetative body of Batmanhattan.
Being a construct of pure energy, the evil Alfreds performing the surgery didn’t have to do much besides placing their lord’s brain inside the cavity that awaited it. Once both body & mind had calibrated themselves to each other, Laughs killed every last follower of his present in the room save for the Robin King and transformed his body into a pitch-black nightmare and started calling himself The Darkest Night.
Take a moment to consider what this entity is; it is Dr. Manhattan’s physical body, bound to Earth –ve 22 Bruce Wayne’s mind, which has been driven insane by the purest form of Joker toxin in any Multiverse. An entity like that can only bring unimaginable terrors to the omniverse; and indeed, that is what the Darkest Knight does.
As a nigh-omnipotent and omniscient being, his powers far exceed that of any other cosmic being known to the Superheroes of DC. He is fast enough to cause the Speed Force to nearly burn out by chasing 3 of history’s fastest speedsters at the same time.
He battled with the mother of the Multiverse, Perpetua, and was hurling planets at her as well as insults. After getting a power boost from Wally West, thanks to the rigged Mobius Chair, he became powerful enough to kill Perpetua; without a question the strongest being in DC Continuity save for the fabled Hands. The Darkest Knight then created his own version of the New 52; 52 worlds populated by the worst nightmares of the Justice League of America, let loose upon Prime Earth as their creator engaged in a battle with Wonder Woman that literally spanned across all of space and time.
Had it not been for Diana’s resolve to kill The One Who Laughs, he might just have become powerful enough to re-shape the Omniverse in his own image, killing the very Hands that created him. Mercifully, none of that ever happened, and Wonder Woman was able to defeat the Darkest Bruce Wayne to ever exist thanks to the power of the World Forge and her trusty Lasso of Truth.
Batmazo is what you get when you take the planning out of Bruce Wayne’s contingency strategy and replace it with sheer impulse and replication. Amazo is one of the oddest DC creations, to be sure. At times an android, at other times a cyborg, and most recently a human-turned-meta thanks to a virus developed by Lex Luthor, he is one of the strongest characters to exist in the DC continuity; and it has nothing to do with his personal physicality, although every version of Amazo does look rather jacked if we might say so ourselves.
No, Amazo is a threat because of his uncanny ability to absorb the powers of any metahuman in his vicinity. In the early years of his existence, this ability was restricted to a one-person-at-a-time-type situation, but later on, he was shown to be able to absorb multiple abilities at once without even having to be aware of who his opponent is, thanks to his ultra-advanced “absorption cells.”
Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, heck, even Green Lantern has been subjected to abject humiliation at the hands of the “world’s first android” just because it can replicate their all powers. So you can see why we said that becoming a version of Amazo entirely eliminates Bruce’s need to plan ahead for contingencies; because he could simply replicate his opponent’s powers, nullifying their advantage over him, and proceed to instil the fear of God in them with his own skills.
From a pure containment standpoint, becoming Batmazo is the best thing that can happen to Bruce Wayne; but given that this version comes from the Dark Multiverse, we’re pretty sure he lost his way along the line in spectacular fashion, which is how he ended up as one of the Dark Knights.
Though an official backstory for Batmazo has never been released, we’d like to think that the version of Bruce Wayne from the Dark Multiverse who became Batmazo injected himself with the LexCorp virus, rather than subjecting himself to a complete transformation into an android. Sadly, the only time we see this highly-intriguing character is during a one-off appearance in the Dark Nights: Death Metal: Trinity Crisis issue #1, where he serves as a guard at The Batman Who Laughs’ HQ.
One of the more obscure names on this list, Quietus is unique even for an evil Batman from the Dark Multiverse. That’s because, he isn’t exactly one person; he’s a shared consciousness created from one of the most abominable DC creations till date- the Lazarus Pits. Duke Thomas is one of the many lost, young children Bruce Wayne took under his wing and trained into becoming upstanding vigilantes in their own right.
The metahuman known as Signal protects the citizens of Gotham City in the light of day using his awesome photokinetic abilities. Being the son of the immortal being known a Gnomon, it was assumed by many that Duke, too, might be immortal himself. That perception was broken on one of the infinite evil versions of Earth that exist within the Dark Multiverse. On one of these worlds, Duke Thomas died, and the experience broke Batman.
He had already lost Jason Todd to The Joker, and he wasn’t about to let yet another protégé of his enter an early grave. He came up with the last-ditch idea to use the Lazarus Pits to revive him, despite knowing that the process could leave him permanently insane.
Just as he dumped Duke’s body in the Pits, Ra’s al Ghul arrived to stop Bruce from committing this unholy act. The eternal rivals fought an earnest fight to the death, with both adversaries plunging into the Pits with Duke’s dead body. The cosmic machinations of the Lazarus Pits somehow combined the consciousness of Bruce Wayne and Ra’s al Ghul with that of Duke Thomas, turning him into an entirely new entity that called itself Quietus.
Beaming with photokinetic energy, he confronts Duke Thomas’ Prime Earth counterpart in the Gotham City narrows and mocks him by laying bare his deepest vulnerabilities. Quietus possesses all of the powers that Signal does, but they’re likely dialled by to a 20, because his vomit making contact with Prime-Duke caused him to see flashes of all his lives in the Dark Multiverse.
Quietus would have wiped the floor with Signal, too, if it had been a one-on-one fight; but having learnt his lesson, Thomas called in for back-up, and Orphan, Tim Drake, and Spoiler were able to make the Dark Knight scamper off with his tail between his legs.
Not to be confused with Earth 33 Bat-Mage, who is a member of the super-cool League of Shamans in his own reality. A Batman who practices magic isn’t the craziest thing you’ll see on this list; that is yet to come. But it is one of the deepest of deep cuts that Fred Guardineer could come up with, because it involves one of the oldest mentors of Bruce Wayne; and also the woman who once wiped his mind clean.
In an Earth in the Dark Multiverse, the great wizard Giovanni Zatara was more than Bruce Wayne’s teacher in illusion & escapology; he went above and beyond of what was asked of him by teaching Bruce the same secrets he would one day teach his daughter Zatanna; he trained Bruce Wayne in magic. But instead of practicing Logomancy in an effort to help protect the world, this version of Bruce Wayne harnessed Chaos Magic; and yes, it works exactly how you think it works, except its purple and doesn’t actually need any runes or incantations to invoke. Pretty neat, right?
Except, as Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness showed us, Chaos Magic is inherently evil. It’s a corrupting force, and that’s what it ends up doing to Bruce as well. After he gains complete mastery over the dark arts, he does don the mantle of Batman, not as a vigilante, but as one of the darkest and most powerful mages in his universe. The Batmage was powerful enough to kill the strongest Lord of Chaos, Mordru.
He saved Jason Blood from being punished by the sorcerer Merlin by binding the demon Etrigan to his own soul, thereby gaining access to the forces of hell. With his sorcery and demonic host, he conquered his own version of Earth before getting recruited into the Dark Knights. The Batmage was the one who attacked Prime Themyscira, letting loose legions of demonic Bat-like entities onto Paradise Island.
His attack was so overwhelmingly strong that Wonder Woman ended up yielding rather than watching her sisters die. He was the overseer of the Batman Who Laughs’ super-prison as well, and personally escorted Wally West to the Tartarus Pits. Shame he was disintegrated on the spot after the Darkest Knight was born; at least that panel was hilarious.
The Joker takes the cake when it comes to the “craziest comic book characters of all time” list. Obviously. But we’d argue that Jeremiah Arkham is a close second on that list. The guy is the lunatic running the most insane asylum in the world. He had his face burnt off and became Black Mask, for Christ’s sake! So naturally, Scott Snyder had to mash him up with the Caped Crusader to create yet another evil Batman.
Or Bat Doctor. Mister Insane-O with a PhD in being a psychopath. Okay, getting back on track, so on one of the Earths in the Dark Multiverse, Bruce Wayne’s knack for experimenting with how to kill supervillains –and the Justice League if need be- wasn’t limited to simulations. He spent several years as the masked vigilante we know and love called the Batman.
But somewhere along the line, he took the Qyburn route (pronounce: Kai-Burn) and began experimenting on humans to test out his contingencies in order to make them “fool-proof”; and the deeper he dug, the more insane he got, till he finally broke and became Dr. Arkham; a Bruce Wayne so crazy he got to rule his own version of Arkham Asylum after the Batman Who Laughs remade Prime Earth in his own image.
He was also the mastermind behind the first proper attack on Prime Earth during the invasion of the Dark Knights. Using his intel on the Justice League and the human anatomy, he instructed his fellow Batmen to constantly bombard Captain Atom with energy projectiles, which would cause him to erupt and destroy the American West Coast in a gigantic nuclear explosion.
His time spent at the Arkham Wastelands wasn’t a waste either, as he was able to develop several hideous Human-Bat hybrid soldiers that somehow looked even worse than Man-Bat’s original design. Dr. Arkham would have driven whatever was left of the Justice League permanently insane with his special lichen if he didn’t end up as George’s meal.
Ever wondered what Batman would do if the world faced a crushing oil crisis bad enough to push it into Mad Max territory? Would he a) come up with an alternate energy source to help Earth survive, b) lead a mass immigration &c colonisation movement, taking humanity to the stars, or c) upload his consciousness into literally every device on the planet so he could control them all, and thereby save the world?
If you know anything about the Dark Multiverse, you know which option he chose. On this particular energy-deprived world in the Dark Multiverse, Batman chose to same humanity by touching every life in the world; and we mean that literally. He built a massive supercomputer in his Batcave, which also had a giant Megazord-version of a Bat-Armour, Michael Keaton’s Batmobile, and a rather sweet monster truck which we assume Bruce takes out only in cases of emergency and/or fun.
With his digital reach spanning across the globe, soon the entire world knew about the Batman; he was in their phones, TVs, computers, everything you could imagine. And they didn’t much appreciate him trying to micro-manage their lives according to his own will; so they revolted and amassed a great force, destroying every digital conduit of Batman’s consciousness, and then his physical body.
In a last-ditch effort, Bruce uploaded his entire consciousness and all the data he had acquired as a digital entity into that monster truck and named himself Batmobeast: the most intelligent monster truck to ever exist in the Dark Multiverse! As you can expect from such an outrageous character idea, Batmobeast was mostly used as comic relief. While Wonder Woman and her team were trying to reach the Valhalla Cemetery, they commandeered Batmobeast by severing his brain stem and crushing one of his Dark Knight peers under his gigantic wheels.
When they arrived, he kept mouthing off at them, so Swamp Thing asked him a simple question; “Why is the elbow called the funny bone?” After Batmobeast had answered his obvious question, Swamp Thing jammed his humerus into his digital mind, blowing him up on the spot in one of the funniest moments across the Death Metal event.
The Batcave has certainly evolved in design, presentation and purpose over the years, but there’s been one constant ever since Bruce Wayne decided he needed a whole lot of storage space in his literal man-cave. One of the most-recognizable “trophies” that the World’s Greatest Detective has kept in his cave since the adventures of Batman Vol.1 issue #35 is a giant, animatronic T-Rex, which he got as a token of gratitude for ridding Dinosaur Island from its more criminal elements. But in the Dark Multiverse, there is a world where we see the Batcave’s most-prized memorabilia become the vessel for its founder & creator!
On one of the Earths in this depraved reality, Bruce Wayne was swallowed whole by his own cave; that is to say, there was a huge cave-in at the Batcave and Wayne was caught under it. The world thought him dead and mourned the loss of their hero, while the residents of Arkham Asylum cheered the fact that their regular tormentor was finally gone. They would’ve been better off showing gratitude to the Batman for leaving them alive.
In what has to be the greatest cave-in survival since Obito Uchiha, Bruce drags his body across the Batcave, determined to take the leash off of himself. He’d lost both his arms to the horrific accident, but his mind was still sharp, and that was all he needed anyway. He uploaded his consciousness into the animatronic T-Rex he had kept for over half a century and immediately broke into Arkham Asylum, looking to finish the fight he should have finished years ago.
As he tore his way through establishment, having ripped Victor Zsasz in half and mauled Two-Face to death, a narrating Scarecrow remarks that the inmates of Arkham had always thought Batman was crazy; but now they knew it for a fact. B-Rex was one of the guardians assigned by the One Who Laughs to keep an eye on Wonder Woman, and was even mocked by the Amazonian princess for having hands that were about as useful as chopsticks are for eating pudding.
Way to go, girl! He also made the mistake of questioning the Batman Who Laughs’ wisdom when his transformation into the Darkest Knight took a little longer than expected; the Darkest Knight eviscerated him for that, and rightfully so. B-Rex was a right prick, if we might say so ourselves, so good riddance!
It’s a shame that we only got to see this character in like 5 panels max because the idea of The Collector is awesome; awesome enough to have warranted his own Dark Knights origin one-shot, but we’re not here to whine, we’re here to educate.
So, The Collector- an evil version of Batman who somehow acquired the powers of the Coluan Conqueror, Brainiac. You might know the latter from the Injustice games or all of the many iterations of the character scattered across DC productions, most notably in stories that involve Superman. Coming from a highly-advanced civilization of beings with 13th-level intelligence, Brainiac had a habit of storing life-forms in bottles to study and experiment with them like a cosmic Davy Jones riding his own version of the Flying Dutchman in the form of a monstrous, tentacle Skull Ship.
This particular evil Batman-Brainiac mash-up seems to be inspired by the Young Justice avatar of the character, who was simply called The Collector of Worlds. We like to think that Batman somehow got his hands on some Coluan tech and DNA, and made himself the first test subject of a Human-Coluan Hybrid Project. As we can see, the experiment succeeded, but not in quite the way Bruce had perhaps imagined.
The Collector is one of the most-dominant evil Batmen from the Dark Multiverse, having added entire galaxies to his fabled collection. He was present on New Apolokips when the Trinity Ship crash-landed on it, searching through the ruins with 2 other obscure Dark Knights whom we’ll get to in a bit. For all his superior intelligence and biomechanical enhancements, The Collector fails to detect Jonah Hex’s presence on the abandoned ship (thanks to Hex’s undead physiology) and is killed in an explosion after Jonah detonates a bomb powerful enough to take out 3 utra-strong denizens of the Dark Multiverse.
Sadly, we don’t have much to say about the Night Glider except for the fact that it is a literal pastiche of the Silver Surfer and was most-likely created as a tribute to the creator of the Fourth World itself; Jack Kirby. The Night Glider is essentially a version of Batman who, if we’re guessing correctly here, must possess all the powers that Norin Radd has in the Marvel continuity; without explicitly labelling it as the Power Cosmic, of course.
DC can’t afford a copyright war with Marvel given their position right now. While we don’t know much about his powers, except for the fact that he uses his glider to fly, what we can say is he has one of the more unsettling character designs of all the Dark Knights we’ve seen on this list so far. Most evil Batmen have a face that reflects their evil nature; just take a look at Dawnbreaker’s necrotic mug, or the nasty visor-enabled visage that is the face of the Batman Who Laughs. What sets Night Glider apart is the fact that he is entirely expressionless.
Norin Radd’s Silver Surfer might not have had the physical features of a human being elsewhere on his body, but at least he had a face mankind could relate to and empathize with to an extent. Night Glider’s face is expressionless; and we mean that quite literally. His face has no eyes, no mouth, no ears; it’s like his entire body is just an exo-suit, coated with some kind of cosmic malevolence that made him a worthy candidate for Barbatos’ Dark Knights.
His body is entirely silver in colour, shaped more like a Batsuit from Batman Beyond, with the disturbing exception we mentioned just now. It’s just a shame that we only see Night Glider for a couple panels at most, where all he does is get a status report and make a dead cowboy joke about Jonah Hex; which ends up blowing up in his face, and taking his life along with it. And speaking of Batman Beyond…
One of the best screen-to-comic adaptations has to be that of the 1999 animated series Batman Beyond. That show was so good, DC was forced to canonize it a little over a decade later! The good news was that we’d finally get to see what Gotham looks like in the future, as part of the official DC continuity; the bad news, of course, is that there is a world just like the one Terry McGinnis inhabits in the Dark Multiverse.
So a little exposition before we get to why this is bad news. Batman Beyond was hailed by nearly every fan of DC as a fresh take that was desperately required. Terry McGinnis, the genetic son of Bruce Wayne, is one of the more-inspired protégés that Batman has had over the years; though the circumstances under which they met were wildly different. Bruce was an active crime-fighter when he met Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Tim Drake, Barbara Gordon & Damien Wayne.
In the world of Batman Beyond, he it has been several years since he hung up the cowl, leading to a Caped Crusader-sized hole in Gotham City. Terry McGinnis sought to fill it by first stealing the Batsuit from Bruce despite receiving aid from the latter in fending off The Jokerz, and then becoming his student, learning how to fight crime from the best crime-fighter humanity had ever seen.
And so, donning his iconic black-and-red Batsuit, Terry McGinnis became the new Batman of Neo-Gotham. Obviously, in the Dark Multiverse, things don’t play out as nicely as they do in the world above. We’re never given an origin story for the man known as the Beyonder, but given Terry’s relationship with Bruce, we can make an educated guess as to what might have went down.
Maybe Bruce’s methods were a bit too restrained for his taste; Terry had grown up on the streets, after all, and had been a thug himself before Bruce saved his life. Maybe Terry began acting out against his mentor, and started thinking about how he should be the only Batman in Gotham City.
But that is pure speculation. Sadly, the only major contribution this character had in DC was shocking the fans with his reverse-colour scheme and sparking a “which evil Batman is this” debate online, which Scott Snyder himself clarified on Twitter. The Beyonder was one of the Dark Knights who transported Wally West to the pits of Tartarus and was present when the Batman Who Laughs ascended and became the Darkest Knight. He, too, was promptly vaporized by his former master.
Batman the Broken
So, remember at the start of this list, we told you about Saint Batman? The Jean-Paul Valley who never relinquished his mantle and instead broke Bruce Wayne in both body and mind, literally? Well, we’re gonna be revisiting that entry; only this time, from Bruce’s perspective. For 30 years, the former Prince of Gotham City watched the man he’d trusted with his symbol turn it into a fanatical police-state with him at its centre. Oh, and did we mention he was vivisected and kept alive through multiple incubators for those 30 years? It must’ve slipped our mind.
Anyway, every year, on the last Sunday of the summer, for 3 decades, Jean-Paul would visit his tortured former mentor expecting only one thing: acceptance. He wanted Bruce to accept that Valley was the superior Batmen of the two. After all, thanks to his methods, crime had been stamped out of Gotham City, and the city herself had become the last bastion of civilization in a world literally dying of disease.
Bruce metaphorically spat in his former pupil’s face by telling him his legacy was so blood-soaked, it was a joke that he was even wearing the cowl. But deep down, he knew that Valley had succeeded where he had failed; for too long, Gotham had allowed the vultures of the world to sink their talons into her wealthy flesh and spread corruption through her beating heart.
Jean-Valley had purged it with holy fire; and Bruce was taking notes. When the Son of Bane and Lady Shiva freed Bruce from his torment, they gave him the chance to reclaim his own legacy; Shiva went so far as to say that he was the backbone of Gotham City, and right now, she really needed her spine back.
She gave him a set of special nanites that would be capable of piecing his body together and giving him powers he would’ve otherwise depended on technology for. What she didn’t know was she was sealing her own fate; and with it, that of the entire world as well. After spending 30 years as a glorified hunting trophy and seeing the effectiveness that Valley’s brutality had on his city, he decided he was done playing nice. Bruce murdered Lady Shiva, the Son of Bane, and Azrael effortlessly.
He admitted that his biggest mistake was the same as Jean’s- relying on anyone but myself. But now, thankfully, he’d never have to again. Gotham was finally his, and he, hers. He strung up his St. Batman across his own symbol in a crucifixion position and emerged from the shadows as Batman the Broken; a new symbol of the broken hope that this desolate world represented in the Dark Multiverse, as a rabid crowd cheered on the return of their true hero & deliverer.
“Clark Kent, all but spent.” That’s a pretty accurate description of the Man of Steel from Dark Knights: Death Metal Trinity Crisis issue #1 for a character that is supposed to be part-Solomon Grundy. DC’s residential zombie has had a lot of origin stories over the years, but the one thing that has remained consistent is the fact that he was a 19th century millionaire from Gotham City who was transformed into an undead entity by the Slaughter Swamp a few miles outside of the city itself.
We’d like to think that somehow, this Dark Multiverse version of Bruce Wayne ended up in the Swamp himself, and was thereby transformed into the monstrosity we now know as Black Monday. His name itself pays homage to both his own character and Solomon Grundy’s; Black is a reference to Batman’s preferred colour of clothing, and Monday is the day that Grundy was born on; according to both the famous poem and DC continuity.
It’s rather disappointing that Black Monday doesn’t play a major role in the Death Metal series, because his inspiration has been an iconic villain in DC history, at times rivalling the strength of even Superman. To be fair, the Man of Steel is who Black Monday goes after primarily during the Defence of Castle Bat, which seems to suggest that he had history with Clark on his Earth as well; and it wasn’t the friendly kind, either. Even Lobo ends up encountering Black Monday during his quest to recover Death Metal for Lex Luthor, but that’s about it for his official appearances.
Bruce Wayne usually keeps his anger & rage held back by a dam of willpower that keeps him from going overboard during his night-time patrols. Which is just as well, because if he wanted to, Batman could have let rage consume his very being; and turned out like this Dark Multiverse counterpart of himself. You guys know Atrocitus; he’s the ultra-angry, ultra-powerful leader of the rage-fuelled Red Lantern Corps, who hails from the accursed Space Sector 666; the site of the Manhunter genocide from millions of years ago.
Meet Batrocitus; aka what would happen if Bruce Wayne somehow gained the powers of the strongest Red Lantern in existence. We know practically nothing about his history, but that adds to the menacing aura of Batrocitus. How did he become a Red Lantern? What incident caused his dam to break? How did he merge with Atrocitus; and why did he do it, even after seeing that the guy was practically an insane sanguimancer whose followers can melt your face off by projectile-vomiting all over it?
We don’t know the answers to these questions, and that makes him even more of a threatening enigma. His character design is rather cool, we have to admit; the Bat symbol merged with the Red Lantern Corps insignia is a thing of beauty, and judging by the way his torso glows, we’re guessing that that is where his heart AND his power ring are located. Which is admittedly a stupid move; Red Lanterns will die if their rings are removed from their bodies, but not their hearts.
But then again, who is skilled enough to catch the world’s greatest martial artist off guard, especially when he harnesses the power of the emotional spectrum? A shame that Batrocitus was a pre-construct-wielding version of Atrocitus, though; all it took was a Jonah Hex suicide bomb to kill someone who could’ve been a real game-changer. Guess we’re gonna have to head-cannon the introduction of Dark Multiverse Dexx-Starr ourselves.
They really did Batom dirty by making him the comedy cold-open kill of Dark Nights: Death Metal issue #2; but at least it was an effective gag that perfectly summed up the overconfidence of the Dark Knights as a whole. The Batom, as his name suggests, is a version of Bruce Wayne who became Batman and also harnessed the powers of the superhero known as The Atom. Again, his backstory remains unexplored, but we can try to map out how things might have played out in his world given what we already know about the Dark Multiverse.
After all, Ray Palmer and Bruce Wayne were friends even outside of the Justice League. We have 2 leading theories as to how the Batom might have come into existence: 1) on his version of Earth in the Dark Multiverse, Bruce Wayne was both Batman and a brilliant physicist who came across the White Dwarf Star Fragment and fashioned a suit from it that allowed him to shrink in size to unfathomable proportions; and 2) he simply killed Ray Palmer and stole his tech to add it to his collection of toys, which he initially used to fight crime and later conquered the world with.
Our money’s on the second one, just because Dark Multiverse versions of Bruce Wayne sure love killing people. Regardless, the Batom’s powers are exactly what you’d imagine; altering sizes while maintaining body mass, making him a microscopic powerhouse. The Batman Who Laughs recognizes Batom’s worth as an undetectable scout, and gave him the duty of watching out for threats approaching Castle Bat.
He did his duty as faithfully as he could, disguised as a lizard, but as soon as he was about to give his master a status update, the Batom was comically crushed under the wheels of the Batmobeast as Wonder Woman and her troupe journeyed to the One Who Laughs’ lair to free their friends. Was it a hilarious moment when he reported not sighting Wonder Woman and was killed the very next moment by her? Yes. Would we have loved an entire one-shot dedicated to exploring his history? Absolutely.
Yes, you read that right! In the Dark Multiverse, there exists a Bruce Wayne who screwed up his “resurrection” so bad, he returned to life in an infant’s body! But don’t let this clever nod to Batman Vol. 1 issue #147 fool you for even a second, because facing Baby Batman is no child’s play. So, on his Earth in the Dark Multiverse, Bruce Wayne spent countless years fighting crime- and worse- in Gotham City, but he knew that one lifetime would never be enough to get the whole job done.
So, he genetically engineered a human body that would be capable of hosting his consciousness after it had assimilated itself into the Cyberspace. But Bruce’s triumphant return turned into a nightmarish homecoming when he realised that the transference procedure had succeeded, but the genetic engineering had failed; his adult mind & physical set of skills had somehow been trapped in the body of a 4-year-old, kinda like a botched version of a pre-born from Frank Herbert’s Dune.
In typical fashion, Baby Batman’s first reaction to his predicament is to take stock of his weakness; for starters, he has a baby’s body, with a disproportionate head that someone could easily impale if they knew which spot to target. But he still had the mind of the Batman, and now also possessed an insatiable bloodlust. He fashioned a suit for himself the best he could, allowing him to keep his head protected while fighting his enemies head-on thanks to the attacked jet-propeller.
The Batman Who Laughs recruited Baby Batman into his legion of Dark Knights and made him the leader of the Rainbow Batman Corps: A team of evil Batmen, each with their own version of a Power Ring, and a homage to the classic “The Rainbow Batman” storyline from Detective Comics Vol. 1 issue #241.
This Corps of Batmen could harness the abilities of the entire emotional spectrum; with darker, more malevolent variations, of course. Baby Batman was assigned the task of protecting the Multiversal Tuning Forks powering Perpetua’s reclamation of her Multiverse, but was thwarted in his efforts by the original evil mirror to the Batman; Earth 3’s Crime Syndicate member Owlman! Owlman had already rigged every Tuning Fork to explode and was only holding out because he was trying to negotiate a survival deal that would be best for him.
After getting the reassurance he needed, he proceeded to absolutely batter the entire Rainbow Batman Corps alongside whatever members of the Prime Justice League were available. When Baby Batman first encounters Owlman, he promises to absolutely annihilate him.
By the time Owlman has him pinned to the very thing he was supposed to protect, he realises his true nature as an infant for the first- and last- time as Owlman blows him up along with the rest of his Corps, cutting off Perpetua’s power supply and proving that he was the true evil mirror of Batman; after all, he’d just killed a 4-year-old, and if you don’t think that is downright atrocious, then there is something seriously wrong with you.
You wanna talk about Scott Snyder busting out DC deep cuts like a professional? Let’s talk about the Chiropter then, shall we? This radioactive being is a combination of Batman and the chemical-based monstrous entity known to DC fans as Chemo. Chemo has more than couple of backstories; his original story featured him as sort of a sentient, 25-foot-tall plastic container that was powered by some of the most unstable chemicals known to mankind.
His New 52 origin gave him pretty much the same powers, but it took away the plastic body in favor of an ethereal one, composed entirely out of chemicals and particulate energy. Chemo is regularly featured as an adversary of the Metal Men, and it’s kind of obvious to see why; a walking, sentient vat of toxic chemicals corrosive to all known metals that exist is a natural enemy for Will Magnus’ greatest creations.
It is also an insanely cool version of an evil Batman to have been featured as part of the Dark Knights incursion, because of ho intriguing his potential backstory could be; did Batman fall into that fateful plastic container when he was chasing Ramsey Norton for taking his growth formula experiments a bit too far? Was he exposed to a litany of harmful chemicals by The Joker in a sick re-creation of the accident that gave him his own “powers”?
We might never know the answer; what we do know, is that the Chiropter is one of the coolest Dark Knights to never get a single line of dialogue in. He just shows up to defend Castle Bat, and starts wrecking the absolute crap out of a juiced-up Swamp Thing, who had just absorbed the entire essence of The Green; or whatever was left of it, anyway.
A shame that the last time we see the Chiropter in action, he’s been pinned to the ground by Alec Holland, before the latter proceeds to pull down the tunnel entrance to Castle Bat onto all the denizens of the Dark Multiverse attacking his team of saviours. And speaking of Castle Bat…
One can argue that Bruce Wayne’s greatest love isn’t his parents Thomas & Martha, it isn’t Selina Kyle or Talia al Ghul, it isn’t even his own son Damien; it’s Gotham City that truly has the heart of Bruce Wayne. As just Bruce, he has grown up in the shadows of this great city, watching from his position as its unrivalled Prince.
As Batman, he has protected his city from anyone who sought to harm her; and that includes supervillains, misguided superheroes, and resurrected former pupils. So it really shouldn’t come as a surprise to you that there is a world in the Dark Multiverse where Bruce Wayne paid a terrible price to save the city that defined his own city; because on this version of Earth, Bruce Wayne WAS Gotham City.
In Dark Nights: Death Metal: Legends of the Dark Knights issue #1, we see the story of a Gotham City far into the future of its timeline; decimated. Arkham Asylum had been destroyed by the inmates who were supposed to be locked inside of it. Commissioner Barbara Gordon, formerly Oracle & Batgirl, had been killed on-stage during a live press conference. Gotham was tearing itself apart at the seams, and in the midst of it all was Batman, ever resilient, ever defiant, but losing faith in his mission with every passing day.
Because on this Earth, Bruce Wayne wasn’t the active Caped Crusader; it was his son Damien, all grown up, sporting more than a few battle scars of his own. Damien reminds his father Bruce, who had retired from active duty, that his job was getting way too hard for him to do it all alone. Everyone else was dead- Dick, Jason, Tim, Barbs, Jim, Alfred too- and Gotham was no more safer for it.
Bruce told his son he had a way to fix everything and that he was truly sorry for burdening him with his own purpose. He told Damien that everything would be fine, and that he loved him from the bottom of his heart; before stabbing him in his heart, spilling his blood to perform an unholy ritual that would finally give Bruce the control he needed to keep Gotham safe. You see, he’d found this Necronomicon-esque book during his travels that had a secret spell in it, inscribed during the 17th century.
Whether the book he’s talking about is the infamous Book of Old Gotham or a tome used by Simon Hurt’s Cult of Barbatos, we will never know. What we do know is Bruce used his son’s blood to draw a bloody bat sigil on the floor of Wayne Manor, mixed his own blood with it, and then stepped into the circle. What happened next, no one could have prepared for; Bruce Wayne’s sentient consciousness was fused with Gotham City.
His presence permeated through every brick, cobblestone and fire hydrant that littered his first love. Through this unholy ritual, Bruce Wayne had merged himself with Gotham City; and his first order of business was to kill all the criminals he had allowed to live for so long. He dubbed himself Castle Bat, and was recruited as the HQ for the Batman Who Laughs’ Prime Earth invasion. Castle Bat’s most-badass moment came in Dark Nights: Death Metal issue #5, when he turned into a gigantic Gotham-sized version of Batman equipped with everything needed to take down the League.
Red Sun radiation, Rot force; the whole shebang. If it hadn’t been for Lex Luthor’s timely intervention, there is no telling how much worse things could’ve gotten for Earth’s Superheroes; and they were already losing the war against the Darkest Knight to begin with. Castle Bat has to be one of the most innovative evil Batmen to emerge from the Dark Multiverse for sure; besides Bathomet, of course.
There’s a good reason for the intergalactic tyrant Mongul to hate Superman; no matter how many times he teleports the Man of Steel to Warworld to take part in one of his indulgent gladiatorial battles, he bashes through the opposition but doesn’t finish the job. Mongul and his successors have clashed with Kal-El and his allies multiple times in the course of DC history; but it looks like when he was looking for worthy contenders in the Dark Multiverse, the Ruler of Warworld picked Bruce Wayne over Clark Kent, and that would turn out to be his biggest mistake.
Unlike Superman, Batman has no qualms about using extreme measures to mow down his opponents, and when faced with enemies beyond a certain power scale, he even allows himself to get lethal. Though there is no official backstory for the evil entity known as the Warbat, we like to imagine that after getting zapped over to Warworld, Batman conquered the whole damn thing, defeating Mongul himself and usurping his throne as one of the most-sadistic and violent beings to ever exist in any Multiverse, period.
The Warbat is an amalgamation of two of the most-recognizable facets of his base inspirations: the Bat that inspired Bruce Wayne to fight crime, and Mongul’s insatiable obsession with war. He was appointed as one of the guardians of Castle Bat by the Grim Knight during the 2nd Dark Knights incursion into Prime Earth; but sadly, the only action we saw him get into was striking a super-hero pose during his surveillance op; and that is a gross misuse of what is possibly the one evil Batman from the Dark Multiverse with boundless storyline potential.
We want to know how Bruce Wayne systematically destroyed his opponents on Warworld, and we want details, please! Unfortunately, it looks like we’re going to have to keep ourselves satisfied with the “what ifs” and headcannon; because DC isn’t looking to tell the full story of the Warbat anytime soon.
Batman: The Dragon of the End
And we close out this mammoth list of evil Batmen by coming full circle and answering the question; What if Barbatos had won during the 1st Dark Knights invasion? Turns out, he’d have simply turned the entire Multiverse into a landscape of burning skies and broken skulls. In Tales from the Dark Multiverse: Death Metal, we visit a world where the fabled Element X didn’t protect the Justice League during their final encounter; it corrupted them.
The malevolent Bat-God Barbatos had coated the most-powerful substance in the Omniverse with a substance that would transform its wielders into his personal Dragons of Destruction. Wonder Woman became a Medusa/Hydra hybrid, Aquaman became a giant Sea Dragon-type figure, Superman grew jaws across his belly, but Barbatos had a special fate in mind for Bruce Wayne.
He had followed that man’s life before it even began, as Bruce tumbled through space-time after getting hit with the Omega Sanction. Barbatos had hand-picked Bruce for his invasion of the Worlds Above, and after Batman’s mantling was accomplished, the evil Bat-God took over his body as well, transforming Bruce Wayne into the Dragon of the End; a terrifying monster whose power was such, that the survivors of this world didn’t even dare face him without at least one Joker Dragon by their side.
It was only because of the hope and light that Duke Thomas aka Signal brought to this desolate reality that its ragtag bunch of survivors even rallied to defeat their former friends. The Last Justice League included Hawkman, Hawkwoman, a skeletal Flash, Red Tornado, and the first person to take on the mantle of Robin; Dick Grayson. Together, they attacked Barbatos’ Dragons and were able to turn the tide against the ancient god, with Duke himself jumping into the gullet of the Dragon of the End.
After probing through Barbatos’ consciousness, he found Bruce Wayne, alive and imprisoned, and stabbed him to death, finally freeing this version of Prime Earth in the Dark Multiverse from the approaching Deathwave. If Signal had not intervened, it was quite possible that this version of Barbatos-controlled Bruce Wayne would eventually end up in the positive matter universe alongside his thralls; and end up turning everyone in it into identical facsimiles of his own tortured existence. The Dragon of the End is, without a doubt, the most evil Batman to come out of the Dark Multiverse, and that isn’t speculation; that’s the stone cold truth.
And that’s it for this list! Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo really took a deep dive into DC’s coolest superhero during their run with the game-changing Dark Nights: Metal & Death Metal events, giving us a free-for-all buffet of evil Batmen to root for despite knowing that they’d probably kill us at the drop of a hat. Which demented version of Bruce Wayne was your favourite out of this list? Would you like to see more Tales from the Dark Multiverse? Let us know in the comments below!