Who Are The Batfamily?

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A trivia-filled list of the core members of the Batfamily for your reading pleasure.

They say that family is the friends we’re born into, but whoever first said that had obviously never had to deal with a drunk uncle (drunkle?) during a traditional holiday meal. Imagine how much more awkward it’d be if you and your uncle also fought crime while dressed in bat-themed outfits!

One thing to keep in mind: Because DC refuse to make up their mind about what’s canon and what’s not, this list might contain canonical errors – or be straight-up wrong if you read it in two years time.

Please note: This isn’t the ultimate list of Batfamily characters, it’s a quick primer for the various versions of the characters you’re likely to see across most non-comic media (films, TV series, games etc).

So whether you’re a casual comic fan in search of some new trivia (who’s happy to risk SPOILERS – and not the Stephanie Brown type), or a veteran comic reader looking to see if I’ve remembered Ace the Bat-hound, check out the list of Batman’s usual teammates below!

Batman

Surely I don’t need to explain who Bruce Wayne is to anybody, but here goes anyway:

Background: Bruce Wayne watched his parents fatal shooting during a mugging gone wrong, and used the billions he inheritated from them to terrorize the criminals of Gotham. He and most of his extended family (and friends) prowl the streets at night doing their best to maintain order on the lawless streets, but a few help him with his operations in other ways.

Fun Fact: The original Batman costume had purple gloves.

Robin/Nightwing/Batman

Dick Grayson, the first Robin, was an orphan who used to perform in a circus doing acrobatics with his parents before they were killed. He eventually recovered from his grief by becoming Robin. In his Robin persona he was a happy-go-lucky martial artist who used his acrobatics to help Batman fight crime.

Eventually, he wanted to branch out on his own, so he adopted the persona of Nightwing and moved to a city called Blüdhaven. He will, however, return to Gotham and fill in for Bruce as Batman when needed.

Fun Fact: The name ‘Nightwing’ comes from a Kryptonian story that Superman once told Dick.

Robin II/Red Hood

Jason Todd was a street kid who was caught by Batman when Jason was trying to steal the hubcaps from the Batmobile. Impressed with what he thought was bravery, Batman took him on as the second Robin. Before too long though, Bruce would realize that Jason was little more than a simple (if skilled) thug.

Although Batman tried to reach Jason and teach him not to be so violent, the second Robin was apparently beaten to death by Joker before this could happen.

However, Jason hadn’t died. He returned to face Batman but ultimately ended up rejoining the Batfamily. Although he’s rejoined them, he still has his own sense of identity – he uses guns, which still frowned upon in the Batfamily.

Fun Fact: The name ‘Red Hood’ is a reference to Joker’s beginnings as a criminal.

Robin III/Red Robin

Tim Drake used his advanced hacking skills to hack into the Batcomputer (just to see if he could), and he discovered Batman’s identity. He then contacted Bruce and told him that (in his opinion) Batman needed another Robin due to how violent Batman was becoming in his grief over Jason’s ‘death’. Batman responded by saying that he didn’t give in to blackmailers, which shocked Tim – Tim replied that he wasn’t blackmailing Bruce and that his secret was safe with him.

Batman later responded by asking Tim to put his money where his mouth was. Because Tim had proven trustworthy and skilled at hacking, Batman told him he was welcome to become the new Robin.

Fun Fact: Tim was the first Robin who didn’t have a natural talent for combat. This is why he used a Bo Staff – so he’d be able to keep the enemies at bay. The Bo Staff has since become the standard weapon for Robins in most non-comic media, such as Teen Titans and Teen Titans Go! (even though those Robins are the Dick Grayson version)

Robin IV/Batgirl IV/Spoiler

Although since retconned (i.e. removed from canon due to mystical nonsense), Stephanie Brown was chronologically the fourth Robin. She chose to step into the role after Tim left, having previously worked with Batman in her Spoiler persona.

Well-meaning, but inexperienced in understanding the bigger picture of how Gotham works, Stephanie was the first Robin to be fired (as opposed to leaving the role) when she continually disobeyed Batman’s direct orders. She would eventually become the fourth Batgirl.

Fun Fact: Stephanie is the daughter of a low-tier criminal known as ‘The Cluemaster’.

Robin V

Damian Wayne is the son of Bruce Wayne and the assassin Talia al Ghul (daughter of longtime Batman villain Ra’s al Ghul). Bruce didn’t know that Damian existed until Talia handed him over when he was 10 years of age.

By far the most violent of the Batfamily due to being raised as an assassin, Damian often disagrees with Bruce on whether or not murder can be justified.

Fun Fact: For a time, Damian was Robin while Dick Grayson was Batman, which caused the emotional dynamics to flip: Batman was the good-humoured one while Robin was the brooding vigilante.

Batwoman

Kate Kane is Bruce’s cousin, and was the first major LGBTQ+ character in the Batfamily (and possibly DC comics depending on your definition of the word ‘major’).

Unlike Bruce, Kate considers Batwoman to be a part of her identity, not all of it. This is shown by the fact that Kate allows herself to have a romantic relationship.

Fun Fact: Given that Batman was brought into existence by police corruption, it’s ironic that Batwoman married a cop, Maggie Sawyer.

Batgirl II/Oracle

Barbara Gordon is the daughter of Commissioner Gordon, Batman’s main ally in the Gotham City Police Department. She was the first ‘unauthorised’ Batman character – Batman had no idea who she was and told her to stop acting like him. She didn’t listen to him, and over time she proved herself to him.

While trying to turn her father insane, Joker shot her, which left her paralyzed from the waist down. She now supports the rest of the Batfamily as Oracle, the master hacker.

Fun Fact: Although she was written to be a more annoying version of Robin, it didn’t work as intended: The readers found her independent spirit refreshing.

Alfred

Alfred Pennyworth is an experienced fighter who also happens be Bruce Wayne’s butler and surrogate parent.

Although a pacificist, Alfred uses his dry wit and moral compass to try to steer Bruce in the right direction, while asking him the hard questions that only a true friend can.

Fun fact: In military terms, a soldier who is a personal servant to a commissioned officer is called a batman. If you consider Batman to be a highly-ranked soldier in his personal war on crime in Gotham (and if you don’t, then why not?), this means that Alfred is the Batman’s batman.

Ace the Bat-hound

Ace the Bat-hound was often used by Bruce in the early days before he relied on forensic evidence. After the third time the DC universe was rebooted, Ace’s origins were changed: He was one of Joker’s guard dogs who Batman cared for until Ace learnt to trust humans again.

Fun Fact: Ace is the only regular member of the Batfamily who has a hyphen in his Bat-name.

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