Alfred, Ready my... Night wear.1 of 12One of the most well-liked parts of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was Ben Affleck’s Batman suit, which took heavy cues in both color scheme and design from comic books, particularly The Dark Knight Returns. But it looks as though this comic-faithful version of Batman’s costume will be out of the picture for at least part of Justice League, as director Zack Snyder has revealed Batman’s “tactical batsuit” for the film.
Getting a new look isn’t particularly surprising for Batman – he’s had many redesigns over the decades, ranging from minor tweaks, to major overhauls. Some of these designs have even become icons, defining Batman for their generation.
In honor of Batman’s latest new cinematic look, here are the ten best Batsuits of all time!
Golden Age2 of 12The suit that started it all. The original bat-suit started out with wider, more bat-like ears, and short, purple gloves. While it quickly evolved into a more unified blue and black color scheme, it retained the larger ears and almost pugilistic qualities of its wider belt and shortened gloves for sometime thereafter. An updated version of this suit appears in Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's "Zero Year" arc of Batman.
"The Dark Knight Trilogy"3 of 12Christopher Nolan's batsuit quickly evolved from it's more expected film appearance in Batman Begins to its oddly specific, but still incredibly effective tactical look in The Dark Knight. For the first time in a modern major motion picture, Batman could turn his head. While some fans were divided over the busy look of the many armored plates of the Dark Knight suit, it cut a more effective silhouette than any previous film suit, and allowed Christian Bale a range of movement that propelled the onscreen characterization of Batman from a simple look to a fully realized physical performance.
Batman - 19894 of 12Tim Burton's first Batman suit may look kind of over-simplified, and a little dated today, but it set the tone not just for Batman's appearance in all later movies, but in the comic books for years afterwards. The biggest contribution was it's solid black palette, broken up only by the yellow oval on the chest. While its sculpted, rubber abs still resonate in superhero film design, the solid black suit was a staple of Batman's look in the comic books for years.
The Dark Knight Returns5 of 12Frank Miller's tale of a retired Batman hitting the streets for one last adventure was hugely influential, not just in its overall dark and gritty tone, but in its visual style. Miller's caped crusader took cues from Dick Sprang's barrel-chested silver-age Batman, but muted its colors and added a level of sullen brutality not seen since Batman's earliest days. Miller's suit is so iconic that it was adapted not once, but twice for the screen in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which had a normal Batsuit influenced by the “DKR” design, as well as a version of his anti-Superman armor from the story’s climactic battle.
Batman Beyond6 of 12Terry McGinnis's Batman look is important because of how effectively it captured the essence of Batman while still changing almost every aspect of his design. McGinnis's look is striking in its simplicity, eschewing many of the elements of a traditional Batman look, it boiled down Batman's most important elements into his symbol, his ears, and his utility belt. Batman Beyond’s bat-suit even lacked a traditional cape, and yet still captured the menacing air of Gotham's protector.
Gotham By Gaslight7 of 12Mike Mignola's proto-steampunk take on a Victorian-era Batman set the bar for the numerous re-imaginings and Elseworlds tales that came afterwards. While Batman had run plenty of "imaginary adventures" in the Silver Age, the standard model for Batman's look in those stories was to take his suit and change its colors, or add simple elements like fins. Gotham By Gaslight’s suit took the major elements of Batman's style and completely revamped them into a cohesive new take on his iconic look.
Silver Age8 of 12Though the Silver Age's classic blue and grey color scheme first appeared shortly after Batman's debut, in the '50's it really took on a life of its own with a lighter blue, and the eventual addition of the yellow oval around the iconic bat-symbol. This more light-hearted look informed over two decades of Batman stories that took him from being a Dark Knight to a Caped Crusader, and lead to the more campy take on Batman in the '60's TV show. Still, this is the suit that really solidified the elements we really think of in Batman's costume to this day, like the slimmer ears, and the scalloped gloves.
Batman: The Animated Series9 of 12Setting aside Bruce Timm's striking art style, his Batman design captures the best elements of Neal Adams's Dark Knight detective, Frank Miller's bulky warrior hero, and the more classic sensibilities of his earliest appearances. Like all the elements of the seminal Batman: The Animated Series, the show's Batman design was an attempt to boil down as many varied takes on its hero as possible into one definitive look with its own personality and style. While Batman's DCAU look had an evolution of its own, it always attempted to capture the zeitgeist of the Caped Crusader into a concise costume.
Neal Adams10 of 12Neal Adams took the reigns of Batman's adventures in 1970, immediately capturing fans' attention with a darker, more serious take one the Dark Knight that flew in the face of the campy Adam West version of Batman that had been the public's biggest exposure to the hero for several years. With writer Denny O'Neil, Adams created numerous important aspects of Batman's mythos, including one of his greatest foes, Ra's al-Ghul, and his daughter, Talia al-Ghul. Adams's take on Batman was that of a grim avenger. The blue of his costume was darkened, and his ears were lengthened, giving him a more menacing silhouette. While this version was more gritty, it still fit in with the more superheroic DC universe at large, allowing Adams' take to remain definitive for years.
Batman: Year One11 of 12This is it. The bat-suit that synthesized the best elements of everything that came before it, and informed all the suits that would come after. Miller and Mazzuchelli's retelling of Batman's origin redefined the character for the modern era, solidifying tropes that persist to this day. Their suit defined the default Batman color scheme as the striking black and grey that it remains to this day, almost thirty years later. It simplified Batman's most iconic elements, adding a more angular and lithe take on the Caped Crusader in contrast to Miller's own bulky bruiser that debuted only a year prior in The Dark Knight Returns.
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