Batman represents the gold standard when it comes to crime fighting, a literal one-man army against the worst criminals imaginable. But as amazing as the Caped Crusader is, many of his accomplishments would never have been possible if it hadn't been for the help of his closest allies and friends. Known as the Bat-Family, the many individuals that have taken up identities alongside Batman are each a superhero in their own right as fighters, detectives, and technological wizards.
CBR VIDEO OF THE DAY
While there have been many people that worked alongside Batman, this list will focus on core members of the Bat-Family and not those that exist outside Earth-1 continuity (such as Carrie Kelley), or those that took up various mantles for a short time (such as Charlotte Gage-Radcliffe, Michelle Carter, and Helena Bartinelli).
Bruce Wayne was the Original Batman
When Bruce Wayne watched his parents die at the hands of a back-alley mugger, a part of him changed forever. Vowing to strike fear into the hearts of criminals, Wayne was reborn as Batman.
Operating out of Gotham City, Batman has since become a shining force of justice as well as a dark vigilante.While preferring to work alone, the Dark Knight of Gotham City has become a surrogate father figure over the years, acting as both parent and mentor to his wards.
Dick Grayson Was The Very First Robin
As a member of the trapeze artists known as The Flying Graysons, Dick Grayson led a wonderful life until his parents were killed by Antonio Zucco, a low-level mobster. Heartbroken and alone, Dick was taken in by Wayne and brought under his wing.
Grayson was trained extensively until he became competent enough to battle crime alongside Batman. The young acrobat took the mantle of Robin, and he and his mentor became the very first incarnation of the Dynamic Duo until Grayson eventually discarded the identity and took up the heroic mantle of Nightwing.
RELATED: Batman Introduces a Werewolf-Proof Costume Upgrade
The Second Robin, Jason Todd, was Doomed to a Tragic Fate
A street orphan with more guts than common sense, Jason Todd caught Batman's attention when he attempted to steal the tires off the Batmobile. The Gotham City vigilante later took Jason under his tutelage when the young boy helped him apprehend a gang of criminals. Jason was a skilled crime fighter, albeit one that struggled with the intensity of his emotions.
Unfortunately, Jason met a horrific end at the hands of The Joker, an event that continues to haunt Batman to this day. Many years later it was revealed that Wayne's repeated nemesis Ra’s al Ghul had resurrected Jason, who also discarded the Robin identity in favor of becoming the Red Hood, the most violent and reluctant member of the Bat-Family.
Barbara Gordon Became the First Batgirl
Barbara Gordon was driving to a costume party one evening when her life was changed forever. Dressed as a female version of Batman, Gordon helped prevent the abduction of Bruce Wayne by the villainous Killer Moth. Despite his misgivings about her becoming a crime-fighter, Batman was still impressed by Gordon's natural abilities.
After taking the name Batgirl, the daughter of Commissioner Gordon quickly became a valued member of the Bat-Family. However, tragedy also befell her at the hands of the Joker, who shot the hero in her home and left her paralyzed. Nevertheless, Gordon forged ahead, operating as the computer expert Oracle until she regained the use of her legs and reclaimed her original costumed identity.
Tim Drake Became Robin After Deducing Batman's Identity
After watched The Flying Graysons perform one evening at the circus, Tim Drake noticed that Nightwing performed the same acrobatic maneuvers that Dick Grayson had performed. Confronting him and Batman, Tim was able to prove that he had deduced their secret identities.
Reluctant to take another Robin after the apparent death of Jason Todd, Batman eventually relented and trained Drake. More of a detective than a martial artist like Dick or Jason, the young crime fighter was still considered a valued member of the Bat-Family. When he eventually passed down the title of Robin, he adopted the new identity of Red Robin as he continued his work as a hero.
RELATED: Bruce Timm is Wrong, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm Is Perfect
Cassandra Cain's Batgirl is the Ultimate Fighting Machine
Conceived out of a desire to create the perfect fighter, Cassandra Cain was the daughter of David Cain (who was a member of the League of Assassins) and the deadly villainess Lady Shiva. As a child, Cain was completely isolated, leaving her unable to speak, read, or write for many years. After finally understanding the cruelty of her parents, Cain fled and took to a life living on the streets.
During the No Man’s Land event, Cain was recruited by Batman and Barbara Gordon to take up the mantle of Batgirl. The young fighter proved herself as a respectable member of the Bat-Family, eventually operating as a member of Batman Incorporated before continuing her work in Gotham City as a member of the Batgirls.
The Renegade Army Brat Kate Kane Became Batwoman
Born to a father who was a colonel and a mother that was a captain, Kate Kane spent much of her childhood traveling the world with her parents. When a terrorist attack left her mother and sister dead, Kate began to focus her life on emulating her father as much as possible.
Trained extensively by her father and his special forces allies, Kate armed herself with military grade equipment and entered the world of vigilante crime-fighting as Batwoman. Although she sometimes butts heads with Batman over the military tactics she employs, Kate has still proven herself to be an invaluable member of the Bat-Family and one of Gotham’s best protectors.
Damian Wayne is the Son of Batman and Talia al Ghul
After a questionable relationship with Talia, the daughter of Ra’s al Ghul, Batman learned years later that he had a son, Damian. Raised by Talia and Ra’s, the boy was trained from an early age in the world’s finest martial arts by the League of Assassins. As such, Damian had a very difficult time acclimating himself to his father's methods when they finally met.
As Batman trained him to become the next Robin, Damian needed to learn restraint in combat, as his ruthless training conflicted with his father's no killing rule. As the boy grew into a teenager he matured somewhat, establishing a loving relationship with his father and gaining close friendships with other young superheroes such as Jon Kent and the Teen Titans.
RELATED: Mark Waid Prepares DC Fans for Lazarus Planet's Big Finale
Harper Row's Skill With Electronics Led to Her Becoming Bluebird
Raised in the slums of Gotham City, Harper Row and her brother Cullen lived rough lives. However, a chance encounter with Batman inspired Harper to lend him her assistance, an act that brought scorn from The Dark Knight.
Undaunted, Harper went on to prove herself time and time again as a capable fighter, and her expertise with electronics proved invaluable to the Bat-Family. She soon created the identity of Bluebird and helped defend Gotham City in 2014's Batman Eternal series.
Luke Fox Adopted the Mantle of Batwing
The son of Lucius Fox, president and CEO of Wayne Enterprises, Luke was born into great wealth. He received the finest education possible, earning double majors from MIT. But a life of business wasn’t what Luke wanted, and he longed to join Batman Incorporated.
Luke trained extensively in martial arts, even fighting in underground cage matches to hone his skills. When the original Batwing, Davis Zavimbe, retired, Batman chose Luke to take up the mantle. Armed with a sophisticated armored suit, Luke has proven himself against the likes of Duella Dent, the League of Assassins, and the A.I. Ascalon.