While in his study thinking over a method on how to be a more effective crime fighter and a solution on the means of fighting injustice, Bruce Wayne saw a bat through his window. Realizing that the only way to fight the criminals, the crime and the evil of this world was to adopt a symbol Bruce adopts the persona of a bat in order to conceal his identity and to strike fear into his adversaries. Subsequent origin tales have had Bruce terrified by bats as a child, and observing a bat costume worn by his father at a costume ball, but the primary impetus of his decision to adopt the bat persona has always been the incident of the bat crashing through the window of his study. It is as a result of this incident and this event that the Batsuit was developed and the legend of Batman was born. Stylistically, the Batsuit was designed to evoke fear in his opponents, but every aspect of the suit's design serves a critical function in Batman's career.
Early DesignsThe original Batsuit was a simple design with very few special enhancements. The first costume that Bruce wore consisted of a two-piece grey body suit with a bat-shaped emblem sewn into the chest region. The cowl was black in color and covered Bruce's head and half of his face, leaving only his mouth and chin exposed. It was equipped with long pointed ear pieces that served no apparent function other than cosmetic aesthetics. The cowl was attached to a black scalloped cape that hung down below Batman's knees. Originally, Batman wore a pair of short purple gloves and a standard belt with a round buckle. Soon, he replaced the purple gloves with longer black gloves, and later added to them three pointed accouterments lining each of his forearms.
He also replaced the round belt with a square belt buckle, and gradually upgraded it with small compartments that enabled him to carry various crime-fighting tools. More than simply a means of holding up his pants, this became commonly known as his Utility Belt. The upper set of the batsuit was made from the same material as a bulletproof vest, but Batman decided to remove this feature because it restricted his mobility.
Batman's costume design went through one final evolution. He replaced the black cape and cowl in favor of a blue one which included smaller ear pieces.
Batman redesigned the batsuit by changing the bat-emblem on his chest and added an oval shape around it with a yellow backgroung to contrast the black bat symbol. It reflected the way the Bat-Signal appeared in the night sky. The cowl's ears and the cape remained short for a while until Batman decided to make the ears longer and the cape larger. All this with the purpose of acquiring a more menacing appearance that would help him on his war against crime.
Batman used this design for years, but after recovering from the injury that Bane caused him by breaking his back, Batman decided to change the colors of his outfit. He switched the blue cape, cowl, boots and gauntlets back to the original black designs. However, he kept the yellow oval symbol on the chest.
When Gotham City was struck by an earthquake that destroyed the city entirely, the US Government declared it a No Man's Land. During this time, Gotham became a war zone and Batman changed his slim version of the utility belt to a bigger, "more practical belt", with several pouches where Batman kept most of his weapons and equipment necessary for surviving in that hostile environment.
When Gotham was reinstated as part of the country, Batman changed the suit's logo to the original black bat over the chest and eliminated the oval yellow plate around it.
By the end of No Man's Land, Batman changed his normal knee-high boots for New Rock styled boots.
Modifications and Upgrades
Since the early days, Batman modified and upgraded the Batsuit with the purpose of creating the perfect combat gear that would help him on his crime fighting career.
Most of the Batsuit's upgrades were based on the suit's functionality rather than its appearance. For instance, Batman interwove the batsuit with fine wires and connected them to the small dynamos in the Utility Belt, which created heat necessary to survive in low temperatures.
One of the most inventive upgrades was the compact plastic Batsuit, which could be rolled into a small ball that could fit in a hand. This plastic batsuit was made of a thin fabric, similar to the ones used for folding raincoats.
Additionally, Batman made a fire resistant versions of the batsuit. The first model of this suit was made of asbestos, but later versions were made of nomex and could withstand fiery explosions. Occassionally, Batman would wear a helmet with an incorporated rebreather to withstand fires.
Batman developed security measures in the batsuit. He installed tear gas capsules in both temples of the cowl in case any foes reach the mask to take it off. He also installed an electric shock device that would be triggered whenever a metallic weapon comes close to him. Both measures would incapacitate the attacker.
At one point, Batman made the batsuit bulletproof, which was useful when fighting criminals that rely heavily on firearms.
Cape and CowlNot long after, Batman made additional alterations to his cape, incorporating a thin lattice of flexible rods that could be used to grant him glider-like capabilities. These accouterments proved ideal for aerial combat, particularly against other flying adversaries such as the Man-Bat.
Batman developed a pair of night vision goggles separated from the cowl which he used for missions in dark places. Shortly after this, he included a radio receiver on the cowl, which allowed him to listen to radio messages from Robin or other members of the Bat-Family. This feature was previously exclusive present on the Utility Belt radio. Years later, Batman created a couple of infra-red visors that would fit perfectly on the cowl's eye-slits.
Other of the improvements that Batman made to the cowl, was the incorporation of night vision gear by adapting some infrared visors on the eyes of the cowl. In order to speed up his investigations, he also added an ultraviolet vision gear to the cowl to help him find clues and evidence.
Batman modified the cowl once again and adapted eye shields and ear plugs that would prove useful against Scarecrow's Fear Toxin and Count Vertigo's "Vertigo Effect". He also adapted a sonar into the eyes of the cowl in order to receive vibrations that would allow him to reckon his environment without the need to use his sight.
Gauntlets and Boots
In the early days, Batman included a concealed blade knife and some chemicals on his boots, for emergencies. The boots' soles were coated with some special powder, which caused the stepfoots left behind to shine when exposed to infra-red light.
Batman implemented a radio communicator on the heel of his boots, but he would use it on rare occasions.
Later, he incorporated a couple of mini propellers on each soles in order to swim faster underwater.
One of the first variation of the Batsuit was the white camouflage design. It was basically the same model as the regular batsuit, but the color was entirely white. Batman first used this suit to avoid detection on a mission in the North Pole and during other missions in snowy areas.
The second variation was the "Frogman" Batsuit, which was a diving suit used for underwater exploration and the helmet was shaped after Batman's cowl. The suit featured an oxygen tank with pipes connected to the helmet and it also had fins on the feet for faster underwater movement.During one mission, Batman had to use several Batsuits with different colours in order to keep the attention on him instead of his partner, Robin. The different colours used were red, blue, orange, green and golden. There were also two special Batsuits: one was white with a bullseye on Batman's chest instead of the Bat-emblem and the second one was a "Rainbow Batsuit", which was probably Batman's most notorious batsuit. After this mission, Batman stored all the coloured batsuits and never used them again.
Batman designed a batsuit for extreme cold. It looked like the regular batsuit except for the Utility Belt with several larger pouches. This batsuit model was made of insulated plastic fiber laced with battery-operated heating filaments.
Batman designed a special suit for base jumping and air operations. This suit was made of a thicker material than the normal batsuit in order to withstand strong winds and cold weather. The cowl of this suit featured a heat sensor gear attached to the cowl's eyes.
Batman also designed a special Batsuit for underwater operations. It didn't feature a cape since it would only slow him underwater. The skin-tight suit featured a rebreather incorporated to the cowl while the boots, gloves and gauntlets were made of a different material for better grip while underwater. Instead of the Utility Belt, this suit features a waterproof backpack where Batman stores the items he might need on his missions. Some of the items used once are flashlights and syringes.
Jean Paul Valley's Batsuit
When Jean-Paul Valley took over as Batman after Bruce Wayne was paralyzed by Bane, he started out wearing the standard Batsuit. His first modification came after his exposure to Scarecrow's Fear Toxin set off The System. The old leather gauntlets were replaced with more modern, armored weapons armed with razor sharp talons and a shuriken launcher. His first encounter with Bane lead to him modifying the entire suit entirely. The cape was replaced with a shorter one attached to an armored chestplate which also mounted a searchlight with the Bat-Shield on it. The costume was one piece and the legs mounted three razor sharp accouterments on each one. Finally, the old cowl was replaced with a full covered cowl. A near-disastrous encounter with the Corrosive Man lead to the first modification, restoring the Bat-Shield on the chest and replacing the cowl with a helmet. His final change, after his first encounter with Gunhawk and the death of the Abbatoir, transformed the costume entirely - a belt feed was added to the right gauntlet, with the shuriken launcher settings set to three, a flame thrower added to the left gauntlet and the cape replaced with segmented wings similar to his Azrael costume.
Earth-One VersionFirst used by a scientist by the name of Tlano who lived on a different planet was inspired by Batman's actions and designed a Batsuit to wear in resemblance of his idol. This batsuit was different from Batman's in that the suit consisted of a set of purple cape, cowl, briefs and gauntlets; red vest and pants and yellow sleeves. Besides resembling Batman's costume, it featured a yellow oval symbol on the chest with a bat symbol inside.
New Earth VersionBruce Wayne's mind was attacked by a post-hypnotic suggesttion implanted on him by Dr. Hurt. It was triggered by the word Zur-En-Arrh and caused Bruce to lose memory of who he was. However, Bruce prepared a backup personality for this situation: the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh. Under this personality, Bruce found some rags and tatters on a derelict's car and sewing the pieces together, he designed the Batsuit for the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh. Similar to the Earth-One version, this Batsuit was entirely different from the regular one and was only used by Batman to confront Hurt and his group called the Black Glove. However, Batman fell into a trap and the Black Glove stripped him from this batsuit and dressed him with the regular one, ridding Bruce of his backup personality and disposing of the colorful outfit.
- The first batsuit design was an armored battle suit made of kevlar and the cowl was attached to the cape as an entire piece with the neck.
- The glider-cape concept was developed by Wayne Enterprises. A technology which they referred to as memory cloth, in its natural state, the memory cloth remained flexible, but by sending a current into the fiber, it would realign the molecules, making them rigid. The shape of the memory cloth could be tailored to the specifications of the user. Former board member Lucius Fox provided Bruce Wayne with a sample of memory cloth which he later incorporated into his costume. When asked why he needed such material, Wayne told him that he wanted it for "base jumping".
- Some years later, Batman changed the cowl to be a separate piece from the neck, allowing him to move the head freely.
- Batman's batsuit consists of a cape and cowl as one piece, utility belt, gauntlets and boots. The skin tight suit is able to read Bruce's vital signs and transfer the data to Oracle in order to let her know if Batman is in danger.
- The cape is also able to adopt a rigid form allowing Batman to glide long distances and stop himself from free falls.
- The gauntlets have incorporated a mini computer from which Batman can look for information over his database and remotely control the Batmobile and Batarangs
- The cowl has an ear communicator from which Batman is able to contact any of his allies by radio frequency.
- There are also armored versions of the batsuit that give Batman further damage protection and also there are some versions of the gauntlets that can emit electric shocks on impact, knocking enemies faster.
- In Batman: Arkham Knight, the suits Bat symbol is revealed to be the most heavily armored portion of the Batsuit and the symbol itself is designed to draw enemy gunfire to where the suit's strongest point. The Arkham Knight specifically points this out to his men and instructs them avoid to concentrate their fire on the Bat Symbol. The Arkham Knight reveals that the armor is not as thick on the sides and even takes advantage of it to wound Batman, though Batman's new V8.03 Batsuit manages to stop the bleeding by compressing around the wound.
The Bat-Suit consists of the following equipment:
- The cape and cowl are sometimes depicted as a one-piece gear and other times as separate pieces. For most of their history, this pieces have shared the same colors of black and blue simultaneously.
- Gloves and Gauntlets: On his earliest appearances, the Bat-Suit gloves were purple. On modern times, the gloves were changed to gauntlets and the colors varied between blue and later black.
- Utility Belt
The Utility Belt is a piece of gear that allows Batman to carry gadgets and devices around his hips. Over the years, the Utility Belt has been modified in order to increase its carrying capacity.
The suits used by the various members of the Bat-Family are usually made of the same material as the batsuit.
Robin's SuitThe first Robin suit design consisted of a red vest with the "R" symbol on the left upper side of it; a yellow cape, a black domino mask and a green set of shorts, sleeves, turnshoes, gloves and gauntlets. The utility belt was entirely made of black leather except for the radio buckle, which was golden. This version of the suit was used by Dick Grayson and Jason Todd. However, this suit exposed too much of the wearer's body, making impractical for crimefighting.
The suit used by Tim Drake was redesigned and it consisted of a reinforced red vest with the "R" logo on the left upper side of it; a yellow utility belt as well as green set of "utility" sleeves, gauntlets and gloves, pants and black boots. The cape was also redesigned to feature a black color on the outside and yellow on the inside. The cape's neck attachment was reinforced with a gorget made of kevlar for better protection of the neck. Robin's domino mask was changed from black to green and it was made of starlite. It was also equipped with night vision gear.
Stephanie Brown used the same suit as Tim Drake during her time as Robin. However, she used a special combat suit against Mr. Zsasz. The suit featured a reinforced protection gear for the neck, designed to withstand attacks with sharp objects like knifes.After Tim Drake returned to the role, he redesigned the suit once more and this time he changed the green sections of the suit. The new suit consisted of an entirely red bodysuit with a set of black boots, gloves and cape. The domino mask was modified by Richard Grayson to resemble his Nightwing mask; visually and in terms of capabilities. This suit was used as the basic design for Tim Drake's new costumed identity of Red Robin. The only changes made were the inclusion of a cowl similar to that of Doctor Mid-Nite and a couple of belt straps, jointed together on the chest by a Red Robin symbol buckle and black skin-tight pants.
Damian Wayne's Robin suit was also redesigned and changed. He wore a set of green boots, domino mask and gauntlets. The red vest remained the same, but the arms and legs were covered with a dark-grey bodysuit. The cape was yellow, but it was also attached to a black hood, giving the impression of a double colored cloth. The gauntlets featured pointed accouterments and the utilit belt was entirely yellow.
Batgirl's SuitThe first Bat-Girl suit consisted of a red dress with short sleeves with green ornaments and a short skirt, red small boots, a green cape, a black domino mask with large ornaments and a green belt. This version of the suit was used by Bette Kane, the first Bat-Girl. She would also carry a small purse equipped with some basic gadgets disguised as make-up.
The second Batgirl suit was designed by Barbara Gordon, who adopted the identity of Batgirl. Her suit was very similar to Batman's Batsuit, except she made her skin-tight bodysuit black and wore yellow high heels boots, gauntlets and gloves. The Bat insignia was also yellow and the cowl had a back hole which allowed Barbara's hair to remain loose. The first version of the suit was incorporated in her everyday clothes. Her skirt became a cape, her beret a cowl and her handbag doubled as a utlity pocketbook. Barbara would eventually incorporate a more sophisticated version of the utility belt to her suit.
When Barbara was forced into retirement, she dropped the costumed gig and years went by without any Batgirl. Eventually, a new Batgirl appeared, much to Barbara's dismay. This Batgirl used a more crude version of the Batsuit. The skin-tight suit, as well as the boots and gloves were black, the outline of the Bat insignia was outlined in gold and the utility belt was also yellow. The cowl was an entire piece, covering the wearer's head including the hair, eyes and mouth. This version of the Batsuit was designed by Helena Bertinelli, also known as Huntress. However, her recklessness caused Batman to take the mantle of Batgirl away from her and he gave it to a more worthy successor, Cassandra Cain.
When Cassandra relinquished the role of Batgirl, the next person to wear the mantle was Stephanie Brown. Her Batsuit was designed by Barbara Gordon, the original Batgirl, and this version was much more sophisticated than any of the previous versions. The Bat emblem remained yellow, and the skin-tight suit was mostly black except for the sides, which were coated with a purple fabric. The boots and gauntlets remained black, but they were reinforced with pointed accouterments, similar to Batman's gauntlets. Her cowl was similar to Barbara's first cowl and she also included a yellow combat pouch on her left leg, aroung her thigh.
In the Post-Flashpoint universe, Barbara Gordon is the only Batgirl and she started her career wearing a similar version of the Batsuit as her Pre-Flashpoint counterpart did. Eventually, she decided to "improve" her combat suit by eliminating the skin-tight suit in favor of a two-piece set. The upper part of the suit was a purple leather jacket, purple leather pants with black fabric on the sides. The cape was strapped to the jacket and the utility belt as well as the gloves and boots were yellow. She also switched the high leather boots for a couple of flight suit boots. Her new oufit allowed her to carry more objects in her pockets, like her cellphone.
The first Batwoman, Kathy Webb used a skin-tight yellow Batsuit, with black shadings on the front side of the chest. She also wore striped belt, which served no actual purpose and a purse in which she kept various gadgets concealed as make-up accesories. Her cape, short boots and gloves were bright red and she wore a large domino mask, outlined with red stripes. Her suit did not feature the bat insignia on her chest.Kathy Kane became Batwoman and her Batsuit was slightly redesigned. Her skin-tight suit and the outside of the cape were black and she wore large high leather boots and gauntlets. Her boots, gloves, utility belt and bat insignia were red, as was the inside of her cape. The domino mask was improved to cover more of her face and it was also black. In order to create a more effective disguise, Kathy Kane wore a red wig with long hair and she would wear white make-up on her chin, which was the only exposed part of her body.
Nightwing's SuitWhen Dick Grayson outgrew the role of Robin, he adopted his own costumed identity as Nightwing. In order to return to his circus roots, Grayson created a costume that resembled the uniform of the former circus acrobat, Deadman. The skin-tight suit was almost entirely blue, with the boots, gloves and additional designs, in a lighter shade of the color. The domino mask was a more stylized and the suit left his chest opened as the "lapels" were as high as his ears. The costume also featured golden stripes around the chest and arms. With time, he started modifying the costume and at first, he got rid of the lapels and transformed the suit into a one-piece costume. The golden stripes were also included in the boots and gauntlets.
Eventually, he decided to get rid of the golden stripes and included a single blue design that resembled a bird, which surrounded his new skin-tight black suit, around the chest and arms. His boots and gauntlets were also black and featured a single blue stripe around them. This version of the suit became the main costume for Nightwing until he temporarily switched the blue stripe with a larger red design. The red often made Nightwing look "edgier", but he was forced to put the costume away for a while and by the time he returned, he decided to wear the suit with the blue design once again.
- Batman creator, Bob Kane based the concept behind Batman's cape functionality on the "flying machine" schematics designed by Italian artist and inventor Leonardo da Vinci.
- The idea of placing the yellow circle in the Batsuit chest was conceived by Julius Schwartz in 1964 as a way to improve Batman's appearance. However, this idea was probably taken from Batman #113, where the yellow circle was introduced as part of a bat-suit that belonged to a Batman from another planet.
- A collection of Batsuits are kept inside glass cases in the Batcave.
- During Batman's first appearances, he had no base of operations such as the Batcave and instead, he would store the batsuit in a wooden chest in Wayne Manor. After Alfred joined the Bat-Family, the Batsuit was usually kept in drawers, just like the rest of Bruce's clothing. A short time later, Bruce placed all his Batsuits on a special room in the Batcave and no longer kept them anywhere in Wayne Manor.
- Appearances of Batsuit (Chronological)* Appearances of Batsuit
- Item Gallery: Batsuit
- Images featuring Batsuit
Links and References