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Top 10 Worst Things That Have Ever Happened To Batman

VO: Y WRITTEN BY: Michael Wynands
Written by Michael Wynands Batman may not have any "super" abilities, but his ability to endure has been tried and tested, and he has proven to be able to survive some ridiculous amounts of punishment! WatchMojo presents the Top 10 Worst Things that Batman has Gone Through! But what will take the top spot on our list? Watch on WatchMojo: Big thanks to Strider Xanthos for suggesting this idea, and to see how WatchMojo users voted, check out the suggest page here: https://www.WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Worst+Things+That+Have+Ever+Happened+To+Batman

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When you’re a mere mortal who’s committed to fighting larger than life criminals… pain and heartbreak become part of the package. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for Top 10 Worst Things That Have Ever Happened To Batman.

For this list, we are looking at some of the worst things to have ever happened to Batman or Bruce Wayne. To be clear, we will only be looking at the comics, not the films or animated series. That being said, alternate comic book timelines will be considered.

#10: The Death of Alfred

Let’s be clear - had this taken place in the main continuity, it would have been a contender for the number one spot. Given that it transpired in the pages of the tie-in comics to the Injustice video games, however, we have to give it less weight. Regardless, it’s easy to forget that technicality when seeing this heartbreaking moment on the page. Alfred has been a surrogate father to Bruce since his parents’ death, becoming his greatest confidant, ally, voice of reason and best friend. It would’ve been heartbreaking enough had Alfred simply died of old age, but having him murdered by Zsasz, who was working for none other than Superman? That’s devastating.

#9: His Own “Death”

Bruce Wayne might not have superpowers, but that’s never stopped him from going toe-to-toe with the biggest, baddest and most powerful of DC villains. In Final Crisis, the Dark Knight put aside his long-standing “no guns” rule to fire a radium bullet at Darkseid. It was a bold move but one that ultimately cost him his life - or so we thought. Batman’s smoking corpse seemed pretty definite, but we later learned that Darkseid’s omega sanction actually sent him back in time, to fight his way through the ages. It was a grueling journey and, when he made it home, he was forced to die for REAL and then be resuscitated. So… not exactly a pleasant trip.

#8: Joker Kidnapping the Bat Family

As a superhero, when you bring allies on board, you’re opening yourself up to retribution, as well as putting lives at risk. As such, Bruce has spent much of his career going back and forth between solitary crimefighter and working with a young ward. Over the years, however, despite himself, he’s actually acquired an entire Bat Family. And sure enough, in Death of the Family, the Joker used those familial bonds to emotionally break the Dark Knight. After kidnapping Alfred, Nightwing, Robin, Red Hood, Batgirl, and Red Robin, Joker played host to a family dinner Batman would never forget - one that forced Batman to confront the danger in which he placed people by letting them in.

#7: Raped by Talia al Ghul

Batman and Talia al Ghul have had a complicated relationship over the years, but there’s nothing complicated about this particular incident. Talia drugged the world’s greatest detective and then proceeded to have sex with him. That’s sexual assault, plain and simple. Not only that, but the act was committed by the daughter of Ra's Al Ghul with the intention of conceiving a child against Bruce’s will - which she succeeded in doing. Of course, Batman didn’t learn about the child until many years later, when Talia introduced him to his son - Damian.

#6: His War with Black Glove and Becoming Zur-En-Arrh

There are few villains who can claim to have actually broken the Bat, even temporarily. But when Black Glove and Dr. Hurt brought the psychological pain to Bruce Wayne and his alter ego, well... he snapped. A thoroughly bewildered Bruce Wayne was left without a sense of self to wander the streets of Gotham, effectively homeless due to his missing memory. But this is Batman we’re talking about, and he’s always got a backup plan. Sadly, in this case, his backup plan was far from elegant. An emergency identity by the name of Zur-En-Arrh kicked in - an unpredictable, manic version of Batman with a penchant for extreme violence and wacky outfits. Pretty? No… But certainly effective!

#5: Tortured By Emperor Joker

Have you ever heard of Prometheus? This titan defied Zeus by stealing fire and giving it to mortals. For his humanitarian action, he was tied up while a bird ate his liver. Not just once though… this punishment was repeated daily - indefinitely. Now swap out Prometheus for Batman and Zeus for the Joker. Scary thought, right? In the Emperor Joker storyline, the Clown Prince of Crime acquired Mister Mxyzptlk’s reality-bending powers and used them to put Batman through hell. Every day, he would find new and creative ways to kill Batman. Batman was left utterly broken, but thankfully, the memories of this terrible ordeal were wiped from his mind. Otherwise, we might’ve lost Batman for good.

#4: The Death of Damian Wayne

For those keeping score: this is the fourth entry on our list to come out of a Grant Morrison storyline. Suffice it to say that Batman and his son got off to a bit of a rough start. Before being taken under his father’s wing, Damian was raised by his mother to think of himself as royalty, and when he came to live with Bruce, that made him a royal pain in the butt. However, over time, Damian formed a bond with his father. For Batman, however, “happy” cannot become the status quo. Talia’s treachery is what brought Damian into this world, and her treachery took him out of it. Damian was killed by an adult-aged clone of himself - the Heretic - who was working for Talia. For Bruce, it almost proved too much to handle.

#3: Bane Breaks his Back

Batman has a great number of villains in his rogues' gallery, but few have ever bested him. Even fewer can claim to have legitimately broken him - but Bane sure did. This venom-addicted genius in a luchador mask not only outsmarted Batman at every turn but proved too much for the Dark Knight physically as well. Bane ran Batman ragged and then, after pushing him past the point of fatigue, destroyed Batman in single-combat, breaking the seemingly unstoppable detective’s back. The damage, both to his body and will, proved so significant that Batman was temporarily forced to pass along the cape and cowl to someone else. Suffice it to say… he made the wrong choice of successor.

#2: The Death of Jason Todd

Sadly more than one sidekick has met their apparent end working with Batman. In addition to Damian, there was also Stephanie Brown. But Jason Todd… he was a first in more than one way. He was the first Robin other than Dick Grayson, and he was also the first Robin to die. Rather than go out in a blaze of glory, he was brutally beaten to death by Joker with a crowbar. The guilt of this death was a heavy burden for Bruce - one that would go on to shape his character moving forward.

#1: The Death of His Parents

Who would Bruce Wayne be if Joe Chill had not killed his parents that fateful night in crime alley? It’s impossible to say. It’s also difficult to imagine the state that Gotham would be in, inundated as it is with criminals, had its fearless protector not been started on his path that night. While the event gave rise to a hero, the death of Thomas and Martha Wayne orphaned a young boy and changed the trajectory of his life forever. Batman’s childhood trauma has shaped the person he is today. While Batman has made the world a better place, the catalyst for his transformation is undeniably the worst thing to have ever happened to Bruce Wayne.

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