While DC villains may wonder who's under the cowl, readers likely want to know who has been Batman in the comics. But answering the question, "Who has been Batman besides Bruce Wayne?" is a tough one. After all, Elseworlds and other "what if" stories have included all sorts of tales where people other than Bruce Wayne become the Dark Knight.
When it comes to the main DC continuity, however, only a select few have been deemed worthy of protecting Gotham - or causing chaos in the Caped Crusader's costume. Heroes and villains alike have donned the cape and cowl, so here's a rundown of who has been Batman in comics continuity.
When Did They Become Batman?: Batman #512, Batman: Battle for the Cowl #3
Why Did They Become Batman?: Dick Grayson has taken the mantle of Batman many times, though the New 52 rebooted much of this. Regardless, the first time Dick puts on the cowl is during Batman: Prodigal in 1994 following Bruce's defeat by Bane. Following the apparent demise of Batman over a decade later, Dick then becomes the Dark Knight for a longer stretch of time starting in 2009's Batman: Battle for the Cowl #3.
How Well Did They Batman?: When Batman is first put out of commission by Bane breaking his back, he passes the mantle to Jean-Paul Valley. As Valley turns out to be a terrible choice for Batman, Dick looks great in comparison. But even on his own, Dick's many years as Batman show he's likely the only one who can do it as good (or better) than Bruce.1,59789Did they do justice to the cowl?
When Did They Become Batman?: Batman #700
Why Did They Become Batman?: Terry McGinnis first became Batman as the lead of the 1999 animated series Batman Beyond. That same year, the story was adapted into a comic of the same name. But it wasn't until 2010's Batman #700 that Terry properly debuted in the comics as a kid from the future who takes over for an elderly Bruce Wayne as the new Batman.
How Well Did They Batman?: Like Marvel's 2099 version of Spider-Man, Terry is a full-time hero in his time period. As such, he has all the ups and downs of being Batman but gets the added benefit of Bruce as his mentor. All in all, he's a stellar Batman, and fans are anxious to see him appear in a live-action adaptation.1,415154Did they do justice to the cowl?
Thomas Wayne (Flashpoint)
When Did They Become Batman?: Flashpoint #1 (2011)
Why Did They Become Batman?: When Barry Allen wakes up in a world where his mother is still alive, he's confused but thrilled - until he learns that many other things have changed for the worse. In this version of things, Bruce was actually slain as a child, prompting Thomas Wayne to become Batman.
How Well Did They Batman?: Like Jason Todd and Damian Wayne, Thomas is a Batman who takes people's lives. While he's far more vicious than his son, his cruelty does end up saving the day when he puts a sword through the Reverse-Flash, who's responsible for the Flashpoint timeline.1,015207Did they do justice to the cowl?
When Did They Become Batman?: Batman #5 (2016)
Why Did They Become Batman?: With the Superman-esque Gotham (the character, not the city) on the rampage, Bruce needs a distraction to buy him the time to show up and save the day. Alfred suits up and gets behind the wheel of the Batmobile.
How Well Did They Batman?: All Bruce needs is a little bit of time so he can arrive on the scene and stop Gotham. Alfred, in full Batman regalia, smashes the Batmobile into Gotham and assures the bystanders that the Dark Knight has arrived. Bruce then immediately signals to Alfred that he's on the scene, ending the butler's brief tenure as the hero. Though his time as Batman is short-lived, Alfred accomplishes his goal and does the cowl proud.810225Did they do justice to the cowl?