If there’s one thing everyone knows about one of DC Comics’ most famous superheroes, Batman, it’s that he doesn’t really have superpowers. He’s fit, he has a ton of gadgets, is extremely intelligent and disgustingly rich, but he’s just a human being. His powers are pretty much dressing up like a bat and doing the police’s job for them. Compared to other heroes like Superman or Aquaman, he easily falls flat.
Yet comics wouldn’t be comics if they didn’t mix it up once in a while. One of those ways of mixing things up is giving Batman actual superpowers. Let’s take a look at some of the best stories that came out of that.
Echolocation and Sonic Abilities
Much like actual bats, Batman got imbued with some amazing echolocation abilities in Justice League Vol 2 Issue 38. In this story it’s the result of Batman getting hit by a Lex Luthor-created virus that blinds him and somehow gives him echolocation and the ability to use sonic waves instead.
Superman & Batman: Generations saw the most mortal superhero in the DC Universe lose his ability to die. An older Bruce Wayne gets convinced by Ra’as Al Ghul to follow him into the rejuvenating Lazarus Pits and when he emerges he basically comes out at his physical peak, turning the clock back a few good decades.
Since the Green Lantern powers are basically just tied to a ring and whatever emotion powers that ring, it wasn’t too hard or farfetched to give Batman these powers. In Batman: In Darkest Knight, Batman’s origin story gets rewritten to allow for this. Instead of being inspired by bats to become Batman, Bruce gets offered the chance to become a Green Lantern and he leaps at the opportunity.
In Batman & Dracula: Red Rain, our Caped Crusader ended up with vampire powers. He’s always kind of looked vampire-y so this wasn’t a big stretch of the imagination at all. The concept has also been reused in Batman: The Brave and The Bold, where he gets kind of grim and evil. In the original vampire Batman, he just gives up on being Bruce Wayne and becomes a Batman-bat permanently.
Batman’s powers weren’t always impressive or serious when he got them. In Detective Comics #322, Batman found himself trapped in a genie lamp with the same powers and restrictions you’d expect from a genie. He could pretty much do anything, but had to grant his master’s wishes. At the end, Robin wished to release batman and we were able to leave this weird story behind.
The Red Death
With all the friends Batman has lost over the years in his crime fighting shenanigans, it’s not that hard to imagine a world where he finally snapped. This is basically the premise of Dark Nights: Metal-Batman — The Red Death #1, Batman thinks that the only way to save the universe is to take out the Flash and steal his powers. In pure Batman fashion, he does so successfullly. The process leaves him as a speedster vigilante that brutally takes out criminals and calls himself the Red Death.
Strength & Durability
In Injustice: Gods Among Us, the general idea is that Superman has gone crazy and started a totalitarian regime where his rules have to be followed or you end up dead. Batman is the leader of a resistance group of super heroes and villains who have taken a Kryptonian nanotech pill that allows them to fight toe-to-toe with Superman.