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Every DC Character Who's Killed Batman, In Chronological Order

CBR logo CBR 8/12/2022 Sean Migalla
© Provided by CBR

Batman is the World's Greatest Detective and one of the most gifted fighters in the world. The Dark Knight has been around for over 80 years, and in those decades, has achieved and experienced an abundance of successes and failures. In his many adventures on Earth, in space, and in other universes, one thing Batman seems to do over and over again is die.

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DC Comics fans like to joke that Batman can beat anyone given enough prep time. There are still some characters that managed to get the upper hand and slay the Dark Knight. Death is only a minor setback for the Caped Crusader, having returned many times. No matter how many times he cheats death, there will always be another character looking to bury Batman permanently.

Batman Poisons Himself To Join A Club (August 1952)

The first time Bruce Wayne was ever declared dead in a comic was Batman #72 by David Vern Reed, Jim Mooney, and Ira Schnapp. Batman's death is actually part of a ruse planned by him and Robin to infiltrate the Death-Cheaters Club.

Batman suspects the club is harboring a killer. To investigate, he decides to join the club as Bruce Wayne. However, the club only allows members who have cheated death by dying and coming back to life. Bruce poisons himself and is legally declared dead by a doctor. Luckily, he recovers and is able to carry out his infiltration.

Bugsy Carthart And His Gang Electrocute The Bat (November 1974)

While investigating a kidnapping in The Brave and the Bold #115 by Bob Haney and Jim Aparo, Batman attempts to enter the building where he believes the victim is being held. However, the kidnappers, Bugsy Carthart and his gang, run a strong electrical current through the building's entrances.

After being electrocuted, Batman is declared brain-dead, and his organs will soon shut down. To solve Batman's final case, the Atom shrinks down and puppets the Dark Knight's body from the inside to take down Carthart. Through some 1970's pseudo-science, this revives Batman at the end of the issue.

Batman Is Burned Away By Bill Jensen (April 1979)

After superhero comics dipped in popularity, DC introduced modern versions of Golden Age heroes. Their solution was Earth-Two. In the new canon, the original heroes were actually from a different universe. In Adventure Comics #462 by Paul Levitz, Joe Stanton, Dick Giordano, Adrienne Roy, and Ben Oda, DC decided it was time for the original Batman of this Earth-Two to die.

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The Earth-Two rival of Bruce Wayne, Bill Jensen, battled the Justice League. He used his newfound powers to burn away Batman's mask. When he realized Batman was Bruce Wayne, he lost control of his powers in a fit of rage and killed them both.

Batman Is Electrocuted Again By Elmo Galvan (May 1992)

In Detective Comics #644 by Chuck Dixon, Tom Lyle, Scott Hanna, Adrienne Roy, and John Costanza, Batman tracks down a criminal named Elmo Galvan who has been attacking people with an electrical weapon. Batman successfully catches up with Galvan, but during the battle, the criminal manages to electrocute and kill the Dark Knight.

In the following issue, Batman had no pulse. Robin managed to convince another villain, the Electrocutioner, to restart Batman's heart with the use of his shock gloves. In the span of two issues, Batman was killed and revived by two electricity-themed villains.

The Joker Finally Finishes Off Batman (November 1994)

As Batman's most popular villain, it's surprising that the Joker never succeeded in killing Batman until the mid-1990s. In Legends of the Dark Knight #65 by J.M. DeMatteis, Joe Stanton, Steve Mitchell, Digital Chameleon, and Willie Schubert, Batman is caught in an explosive trap set by the Joker.

After a brief moment of disbelief, the Joker dumps Batman's body into a river and contemplates what to do with his life now that he no longer has his arch-nemesis. Though Batman would quickly return in the next issue, his apparent death actually prompts Joker to live a normal life. This "redemption" ends as soon as the Clown Prince of Crime learns of Batman's return.

Emperor Joker Kills Batman In A Variety Of Ways (October 2000)

In the Superman storyline, "Emperor Joker", the Clown Prince of Crime stole most of Mr. Mxyzptlk's reality-changing powers. This godlike version of the Joker used his new powers to reshape the universe and repeatedly torture and kill Batman.

The first of these deaths occurred in Superman #161 by Jeph Loeb, Ed McGuinness, and Cam Smith, when Superman finds Batman's body nailed to the Gotham P.D. building. Luckily, Batman is able to stay alive after Emperor Joker has been defeated. Despite possessing the powers of a god, Joker seemingly couldn't exist without Batman.

Tezumak And Gamemnae Take Out Batman And Wonder Woman (October 2002)

In JLA #74 by Joe Kelly, Doug Mahnke, Tom Nguyen, David Baron, and Ken Lopez, the Justice League battles a team known as the League of Ancients. These Ancients possess a variety of powers including telekinesis, telepathy, and control over magical forces. The Ancients take out the world's most powerful heroes with little trouble.

RELATED: 10 Greatest Justice League Members, Ranked By Courage

Shortly after trying to form a plan, Batman and Wonder Woman are attacked by two of the Ancients known as Tezumak and Gamemnae. Like Superman and Plastic Man before them, Bruce and Diana are no match for their foes and are killed in battle.

Batman Chooses To Die Instead Of Being Captured By Soviets (2003)

Superman: Red Son is a three-issue Elseworlds story by Mark Millar, Dave Johnson, Killian Plunkett, Andrew Robinson, and Walden Wong, that focuses on an alternate version of Superman who landed in the Soviet Union rather than Smallville. In this world, Batman's parents were killed by Stalin's son Pyotr for printing anti-Superman propaganda.

This version of Batman is not a vigilante, but the head of a terrorist organization that fights against Superman's oppressive methods. To avoid being captured, Batman detonates a bomb he implanted in his own body, sacrificing himself for his cause.

Wonder Woman Stabs Batman For Freedom (December 2004)

The Superman/Batman "Absolute Power" storyline explores an alternate reality where Batman and Superman are raised as dictators. They rule with iron fists and take out anyone who opposes them, leading heroes like Wonder Woman to start a rebellion.

In Superman/Batman #15 by Jeph Loeb, Carlos Pacheco, Jesús Merino, Laura Martin, and Richard Starkings, Wonder Woman and the Freedom Fighters take the fight to Batman and Superman. Superman may be a nearly unstoppable force, but Wonder Woman manages to kill Batman by stabbing him with her sword.

Ultraman Kills Batman With A Single Punch (January 2008)

Countdown to Final Crisis featured stories involving characters from all 52 divergent worlds in the DC multiverse. In issue #13 by Paul Dini, Tony Bedard, Keith Griffen, Tom Derenick, and Wayne Faucher, Earth-51's Batman meets his ultimate end.

RELATED: 10 Scariest Versions Of Batman, Ranked

Arriving in Gotham City, this alternate version of Batman immediately chases after the first version of the Joker he sees. However, his pursuit is cut short by the arrival of Ultraman. In one of Batman's most brutal death scenes of all time, the evil version of Superman from Earth-3 punches the Dark Knight through the back of his head, killing him instantly.

Darkseid Zaps Batman With His Omega Beams (January 2009)

In Final Crisis, Darkseid and his forces invaded Earth. In issue #6 by Grant Morrison, JG Jones, Marco Rudy, Carlos Pacheco, and Jesús Merino, Batman confronts Darkseid in hopes of ending the conflict. Faced with the destruction of Earth, Batman breaks his one rule, using a gun that fires a special bullet at Darkseid

As the bullet finds its mark in Darkseid's new body, the New God returns the favor, shooting Batman with his Omega Beams. While the world believed Batman died, Dick Grayson assumed the mantle of the Caped Crusader. Bruce made his eventual return, traveling through time in the Return of Bruce Wayne limited series.

Thomas Wayne's Batman Is Killed By Enchantress (August 2011)

Flashpoint reset DC Comics canon in interesting, and sometimes frustrating, ways. The Flash travels back in time to save his mother and inadvertently creates a new universe with different versions of DC's characters. In this new world, Bruce Wayne was killed, leaving his father Thomas to become Batman.

Thomas Wayne's version of Batman helps Barry Allen regain his powers and go back in time. In Flashpoint #5 by Geoff Johns, Andy Kubert, Sandra Hope, and Jesse Delperdang, Thomas is mortally wounded in a fight with the Enchantress. In his dying moments, he gives Barry a letter to give Bruce once the timeline has been fixed.

Batman Sacrifices Himself To Stop A Parademon Horde (July 2012)

Earth 2 was a series that focused on different versions of DC's heroes with unique origins and characteristics. In a surprising move, Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman are all killed off in the very first issue of the book.

In Earth 2 #1 by James Robinson, Nicola Scott, Trevor Scott, Alex Sinclair, and Dezi Sienty, DC's big three fight an army of invading Parademons. After Superman and Wonder Woman die in battle, Batman sneaks into the Parademon control tower. He radios his daughter, Earth 2's Robin, and tells her to stay clear. Batman set the tower to self-destruct. Unable to escape in time, he sacrifices himself to cut off the horde.

An Alternate Future Batman Is Blown Up By Joker (2013)

Adam Kubert, the co-creator of Damian Wayne, crafted the Damian: Son of Batman limited series with Brad Anderson and Nick J. Napolitano. Kubert explored a potential dark future for Gotham and its residents. In the first issue, Damian still wears the Robin suit.

Batman and Robin investigate a grisly scene at the docks where piles of fish and dead bodies have been displayed for them. Damian finds a smiling fish, realizing only too late that it's a trap set by the Joker. Damian manages to escape the explosion, but Batman isn't fast enough. After Dick Grayson's unexpected death, Damian dons the cape and cowl to avenge him.

Thomas Wayne Sacrifices Himself To Kill Many Villains (June 2015)

The Convergence crossover event featured characters from all across DC's history and multiverse. In issue #3 by Jeff King, Stephen Segovia, Jason Paz, and Peter Steigerwald, Dick Grayson teamed up with Thomas Wayne's version of Batman.

Near the end of their adventure, Dick and Thomas were followed by foes of a different universe's Batman. Thomas stayed behind to give Dick a chance to escape. Much to the surprise of the villains, unfamiliar with this more ruthless Batman, Thomas allowed the villains to get close. Once the foes surrounded him, Thomas detonated an explosive, killing himself and the unsuspecting criminals.

Batman Takes His Own Life After History Was Altered (2018)

Batman #45-47 features a storyline known as "The Gift." This story, crafted by Tom King, Tony S. Daniel, and Tomeu Morey, includes the time-traveling hero, Booster Gold. Booster decides to get Batman a very special gift for his wedding to Selina Kyle.

Booster Gold travels back in time to save Bruce's parents and prevent their murders as a gift. However, this has unintended consequences, leading to a worse version of Gotham City in the future. Feeling guilty for not being able to save his parents himself, the new version of Bruce Wayne that spawned in this timeline killed Dick Grayson. The compounding heartache led to this Bruce tragically taking his own life.

Alfred Shoots Bruce Before He Can Become A Zombie (2019)

The DCeased event featured a variety of DC characters getting infected by the Anti-Life Equation, transforming them into zombies. In issue #2 by Tom Taylor, Trever Hairsine, Stefano Gaudiano, and Rain Beredo, Batman fights two of his infected sidekicks and forcibly enters quarantine.

Red Robin and Nightwing infected Bruce during their fight, but he managed to slow the infection with the help of Mr. Freeze's old suit. Batman is able to share some valuable information before he begins losing his functions to the virus. In a heartbreaking scene, Alfred kills Bruce with a shotgun once he has fully turned.

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