Batman's been around since the 1930's, and when you continue to be one of the most popular characters in DC's stable you are going to get a few redesigns along the way. The Dark Knight has come a long way from the boomerang ears and purple gloves of his first appearance, and even today he continues to change.
After his initial costume, he settled into a more bright blue and gray phase. While the color scheme was similar over the next several years, the hues of blue and gray continued to change and grew to extend out of comics entirely with the 60's Batman television series and the Super Friends cartoon in the 70's. The character trended toward a darker color scheme in the late 80's and throughout the 90's, especially with the popularity of the Batman, Batman Returns, and Batman Forever movies.
In the late 90's it trended back towards the classic blue and gray, but creators weren't afraid to experiment with new designs, and soon there was a myriad of different costume types to choose from. Nowadays it seems less about changing colors and more about modernizing the design, but some of those familiar favorites always make their way back in.
With so many to choose from, it was quite difficult narrowing this down to five, as you could have a top 20 and still miss a few favorites. The ComicBook.com staff picked a few as well, which you can find below.
Jamie Lovett: The Batman of Zur-En-Arrh (Batman RIP).
Charlie Ridgely: Either Tomas Wayne from Flashpoint, Red Son Batman or the Knightmare Batman from Batman v Superman. Red Son is probably my favorite though.
Jim Viscardi: Batman 1989. When I think of Batman that's what comes to mind. It's badass but simple.
Kofi Outlaw: Batman Beyond might be my favorite. The color scheme and all the stuff it can do is pretty slick. I also like the Justice Lords costume.
Russ Burlingame: Will have to go with Azrael Batman (Knightfall).
J.K. Schmidt: I like the Batman Incorporated one, but Dick Grayson's Batman costume was good too.
With that settled, hit the next slide to see what came out on top in ComicBook.com's top Batman costumes!
No. 5: Batman Thomas Wayne (Flashpoint)
While everything from the costume to the car may change, one constant is the man under the cowl. That is unless you're dealing with Flashpoint, in which case it's Bruce's father Thomas Wayne. The costume isn't as sleek as other versions and opts for a gray, red, and black color scheme. You'll also notice the two pieces at either side, as this Batman isn't afraid to use a pistol if the need suits him.
In this universe Barry Allen meddled with the timeline, causing everything to change. One of those changes happened to be the death of Bruce and Martha, causing Thomas to pick up the cape and cowl instead of his son. The costume matches the gruffer personality, one of the many reasons it's become a fan favorite so quickly.
You can find the official description of Flashpoint below.
he red-hot, sold-out five-issue miniseries from Geoff Johns and Andy Kubert is on its way in trade paperback! This is Flash Fact: When Barry Allen wakes at his desk, he discovers the world has changed. Family is alive, loved ones are strangers, and close friends are different, gone or worse. It's a world on the brink of a cataclysmic war – but where are Earth's Greatest Heroes to stop it? It's a place where America's last hope is Cyborg, who hopes to gather the forces of The Outsider, The Secret 7, S!H!A!Z!A!M!, Citizen Cold and other new and familiar-yet-altered faces! It's a world that could be running out of time, if The Flash can't find the villain who altered the time line!
No. 4: Batman Beyond
There's something about the red and black color scheme that just works, and the Batman Beyond suit also happens to have sleekness on its side. The large and pointed Bat-symbol is ostensibly the only colored area, aside from the red highlights in his belt. Artists tend to go back and forth in the coloring of his eyes, either going with a bright white (more animated style) or bright red to match the symbol. Either way, the simplicity of the suit is what makes it stand out on the page, and it perfectly fits the futuristic Gotham he patrols.
Batman Beyond (Rebirth) Vol. 1 is in stores now, and the official description can be found below.
Terry McGinnis takes on the Batman cowl amidst rumors that the original Joker has returned. An entire section of Gotham City has
Written by Dan Jurgens and illustrated by Bernard Chang, the in-continuity tales of the Dark Knight of the future continue here in BATMAN BEYOND VOL. 1: THE RETURN! Collects issues #1-6 and BATMAN BEYOND: REBIRTH #1.
No. 3: Batman Hush
Jim Lee delivered one of the most popular versions of the Dark Knight to date, and no this isn't All-Star Batman and Robin. That honor would go to his rendition of Batman during the Hush storyline with Jeph Loeb, and it featured a costume that straddled classic and modern lines.
The colors were a throwback to the brighter blue and gray, but the belt was made chunkier and the Bat-symbol left out the yellow backing and outline. The blue was also a slightly more muted hue than previous costumes, and it featured shorter ears. This could very well contend for number one if it didn't still have the whole trunks on the outside design, but that wasn't really up to Lee.
You can find the description for Batman Hush Vol. 1 below.
In this story of murder, mystery and romance, Batman sets out on a simple mission to discover the identity of the character wreaking havoc in his life and finds himself in battle against his greatest ally. Working with Catwoman, the Dark Knight Detective goes in search of the deadly Poison Ivy to learn of her role in this latest plot against him. But when her trail leads to Metropolis, a war of epic proportions breaks out as the Man of Steel stands in the Dark Knight's path. Featuring a monumental battle between Batman and Superman, this book also includes appearances by the ravenous Killer Croc and the female vigilante Huntress.
No. 2: Batman Ben Affleck
The Dark Knight has built up quite the resume on the big screen, with around eight different films under his name. Everyone has their favorite rendition of course, but costume wise the most recent might just be the best of the lot.
The suit seen in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (starring Ben Affleck) ditched the all black suits from the Nolan trilogy and integrated the gray suits from the comics. The large black symbol draws from The Dark Knight Returns, while the stitching makes it look more intricate and handmade than the bulkier armor from other films. Onscreen the suit looks absolutely amazing in motion, and this was hands down the best Batman suit seen on film.
Ben Affleck will reprise his role in the upcoming Justice League, where his suit will be getting some upgrades. There seems to be more silver in it, not to mention a whole new tech suit with a bevy of extra gizmos built in. Whether either of these new designs overtake the original remains to be seen, but for now, this version holds the top movie spot.
No. 1: Batman Rebirth
The goal of a redesign is to implement new modern stylings while still retaining what made the original great. DC's Rebirth initiative did this for its universe line-wide, and the company also managed to deliver the same for The Dark Knight's latest look.
The new costume features an all grey bodysuit with black armor, with the bodysuit being sleeker and the gauntlets, boots, and cowl being a bit bulkier to balance it out. The trunks have been unlimited, with the only breaks of color coming in the Bat-symbol yellow highlight and a stylish utility belt that is less boxy than one's previous. The suit looks stunning on the page, and it will hopefully be around for a long time to come.
You can read the official description for Batman: Vol 1 below.
He is Gotham City’s hero, its Dark Knight, its greatest protector. He is Batman. And he is not alone.
There are two new heroes in town—a pair of masked metahumans with the powers of Superman and a devotion to preserving all that is good about this twisted city. Calling themselves Gotham and Gotham Girl, they’ve saved Batman’s life, fought by his side and learned from his example.
But what happens if Gotham’s new guardians go bad? What if they blame the Dark Knight for the darkness that threatens to drown their city?
When sinister forces are unleashed that can warp the minds of men and make heroes into monsters, the time will come for Batman and his allies to decide once and for all: Is Gotham a force for good…or an engine of evil?