Analysing Batman is always fun. One of DC Comics’ most famous characters has a deep psychological background that is always interesting to both interpret and analyse more profoundly. But, most of the analyses remain within the heroic framework of Batman’s persona, which is why we have decided to present you a different kind of analysis in today’s article. Ever wondered what would happen if Batman became a villain? Keep reading to find out!
If Batman did indeed become a villain, the Justice League and the other heroes would certainly have to deal with a capable and formidable foe, but due to him being human, he would not be unstoppable.
DC Comics, for those of you that are not familiar with the story behind the comics, is a major American comic book publisher founded back in 1934. Along with Marcel Comics, it is the most popular comic book publisher in the United States. DC Comics is a major player in the comic book business and is the “home” of many famous comic book characters such as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash and many others.
Now that we’ve given you a short introduction, let us discuss the topic of this article in more detail.
What if Batman became a villain? Would he be unstoppable?
Batman is known as one of DC’s firmest superheroes, in the sense that he doesn’t really deviate much from his heroic values. Although he is very much different than your traditional superhero, despite all of his darkness and the brutality of his methods, he has a firm moral compass and doesn’t really deviate much from it. So, could he even become a villain?
Well, since comic books are really amazing in that way, it’s certainly not impossible for Batman to become a villain in some narratives, especially if you consider the large number of alternative universes within the Multiverse. In fact, this has already happened in some alternative reality stories, but more on that later. As for the main continuity, it is difficult to imagine Batman going rogue if he’s not drugged, controlled or brainwashed by someone.
So, what would happen if Batman became a villain? Well, we assume that he would – at least – be as successful in such endeavours as he is in his heroic ones. Batman is a genius and he uses proficient planning in fighting crime so there is nothing to suggest that he would deviate from that approach if he decided to commit crime. In fact, as a crime fighter, Batman was generally one step behind his opponents for a while (before eventually figuring out their plans), which means that, as a villain, he would probably be one step ahead of his opponents. This is particularly valid for Gotham City, where he wouldn’t really have any superhuman opponents and would be able to execute most of his plans without much problems.
The Justice League is another thing, but seeing how Batman had a contingency plan for each member of the League, we assume that he would be a formidable foe for each of the members. He wouldn’t be unstoppable, though, as he is just a regular human and would ultimately not be able to defeat all the superpowered heroes, but he would certainly not be an easy target, despite all of their advantages. In fact, Batman even had a contingency plan for himself in case he ever turned evil, so we don’t really think that he would be unstoppable.
Was Batman ever a villain in the comic books?
We have already stated that it is overly difficult to imagine Batman as a villain in the main continuity and as far as we know, he was never one (except when he was brainwashed, controlled or drugged, but that is something completely different). As for the alternative storylines, Batman was portrayed as a villain in several storylines and we are going to mention a few notable examples:
- In the Batman & Dracula storyline, Batman becomes a vampire after an encounter with Count Dracula. And while that wouldn’t be a problem per se, he has also become a bloodthirsty monster. The good thing here is that he only attacked and killed (in the most brutal way imaginable) members of his Rogues Gallery, but he was still deemed a threat, even by himself.
- The Batman Who Laughs – whom we are going to mention in the following section – is a prime example of a villainous Batman, as he is a twisted combination of the Dark Knight and his biggest opponent, the Joker.
- In the alternative storyline Superman: Red Son, Batman is depicted as an opponent of Superman’s regime and was thus deemed a villain, despite actually being a revolutionary who was fighting against the Kryptonian’s tyranny.
- Owlman is usually depicted as a villainous version of Batman from an alternative universe where the Justice League is actually a group of supervillains rather than a group of superheroes.
What if Batman became the Joker?
This is a very interesting theory that has been discussed by the fandom ever since Alan Moore published his controversial cult classic The Killing Joke, where the Joker tried to make Batman go insane after having that “one bad day”. The ambiguous end didn’t help in settling the debate and the question of what would happen if Batman became (like) the Joker lingered on for years until it was finally resolved in DC Metal, a series that introduced the so-called “Dark Batmen” from an alternative reality. Among them was The Batman Who Laughs, a demonic version of Batman that was born when the Batman of that alternative universe killed the Joker and became him.
Without being overly detailed – as we are going to deal with this topic in a separate article – we are just going to say that The Batman Who Laughs was no joke (pun intended).
And that’s it for today. We hope you had fun reading this and that we helped solve this dilemma for you. See you next time and don’t forget to follow us!