Top 10 Darkest Batman Moments



Top 10 Darkest Batman Moments

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Johnny Reynolds
This iconic superhero has gone through some seriously troubling scenarios. For this list, we'll be looking at the most disturbing moments involving and surrounding the Dark Knight across all media. Our countdown includes The Death of the Waynes, Alfred's Death, Bane Breaks Batman's Back, and more!

Top 10 Darkest Batman Moments

Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Darkest Batman Moments.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the most disturbing moments involving and surrounding the Dark Knight across all media. Beware, major spoilers ahead!

The Bat Family has gone through incredibly horrific experiences and this is far from all of them. Be sure to let us know what you think the darkest Batman moment is in the comments!

#10: The Death of the Waynes


From a very early age, Bruce Wayne’s life has been defined by trauma. The inciting incident of his dedication to act as a one-man army against crime is seeing his parents gunned down in front of him. Elements of the murders of Thomas and Martha Wayne have changed through various adaptations, but it always ends the same: a young child is left with nothing but his inheritance, forever altered. There are many other heroes whose motivation to do good is spawned from the death of a loved one. But there’s always been something so cold and callous about the death of the Waynes. However, it just goes to show how twisted Bruce’s life would become that this barely cracked the Top 10.

#9: Tim Drake’s Transformation

“Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker” (2000)

Allying yourself with Batman frequently leads to misfortune, as many members of the Bat Family have found out. In this animated film, Tim Drake’s time as Robin is cut short due to a horrific encounter with the Joker. Through flashback, we learn that Tim was kidnapped, tortured, and brainwashed for weeks by the Joker and Harley Quinn. By the time Batman finds his protégé, he’s been mentally and physically altered to resemble his archnemesis. Hearing the young hero’s creepy laughter never fails to elicit chills. When he fights back, killing the Joker, it isn’t a heroic moment. With tears streaming down his face as the laughter continues, it’s anything but a victory for Tim Drake.

#8: Batman Almost Kills the Joker

“Batman: Hush” (2002-03)

People often question why Batman never kills the Joker. The Clown Prince of Crime has committed heinous, vile acts over the years. However, Batman nearly did kill the Joker once for a crime that never actually happened. During the “Hush” storyline, Batman fully believes the Joker has murdered his childhood friend, Thomas Elliot. With his mind swimming of all the Joker’s past crimes, some of which we’ll get to later, Batman pummels him for over half the issue. He even knocks out Harley Quinn and Catwoman in the process. The animated adaptation really drives home the viscera, as Batman delivers blow after blow in between Joker’s pleas for him to stop. Only Jim Gordon is able to bring him back from the brink.

#7: Alfred’s Death

“City of Bane” (2019-20)

Every Batman fan knows and loves Alfred. More than simply a butler, he’s the father figure Bruce initially lost. It’s the nature of his kindhearted characterization and the way in which he’s killed in the “City of Bane” storyline that’s so dark. With Gotham taken over by Bane, the Bat Family is warned to stay out. But Damian Wayne learns the hard way the lengths to which Bane will keep his word. After sneaking in and getting captured, the young hero awakens to see Bane snap Alfred’s neck. It’s a cold end to one of the most caring people in Bruce’s life and a harsh lesson for Damian. The sorrow doesn’t end there, as the Joker reanimates Alfred’s corpse in a later issue.

#6: The Tunnel of Love

“The Dark Knight Returns” (1986)

For this groundbreaking graphic novel, Frank Miller also toyed with the idea of Batman killing the Joker. Only, this being an alternate timeline, he got to be even more brutal. After a seasoned Bruce Wayne returns as Batman, Joker finds purpose again and goes on a killing spree. The confrontation when Batman catches up with him is vicious and, despite their age, the two take some incredible punishment from one another. Batman throws a batarang into Joker’s eye, but Joker stabs him multiple times. It ends with Bruce paralyzing Joker only for the villain to snap his own neck, setting up Bruce as a murderer. It’s a haunting end to a truly twisted character.

#5: Assault on Batgirl

“Batman: The Killing Joke” (1988)

The Joker is constantly trying to one-up himself when it comes to psychological torture. In the phenomenal “Killing Joke,” he tries his hardest to break Commissioner Gordon. And he begins by shooting his daughter Barbara in front of him, paralyzing her. The event is sudden and savage; as Barbara falls, Gordon is unable to help her. But Joker’s depravity knows no bounds. He also undresses Barbara and takes photos, taunting Gordon with them later in the story. The silver lining is that Joker still loses in the end. Gordon doesn’t stoop to his level and Batgirl would overcome her disability, but it’s still one of the most sadistic ploys Joker’s ever concocted.

#4: The Death of Bruce Wayne

“Flashpoint: Batman - Knight of Vengeance” (2011)

The deaths of Thomas and Martha Wayne are certainly dark. But as it turns out, it could’ve been a lot more unpleasant. When the Flash goes back in time to save his mother, he unwittingly causes many things about his world to change for the worse. Instead of losing his parents, Bruce himself is shot in the alley. This causes Thomas to immediately kill his son’s murderer and become Batman instead. It also causes Martha to suffer a mental break, becoming this universe’s Joker. Losing a child is truly horrendous, and seeing Martha make her Joker smile out of Bruce’s blood in the animated movie is incredibly unsettling. Some of her methods in tie-in comics makes it clear she lives up to the name.

#3: Bane Breaks Batman’s Back

“Batman: Knightfall” (1993-94)

We all like to think of Batman as powerful and unbreakable. Despite having no superpowers, he can usually walk away from anything. But Bane is one of the most physically formidable foes Batman has ever faced. And during the “Knightfall” storyline, he had a pretty clever way of weakening his opponent. Bane breaks a handful of Batman’s villains out of Arkham, waiting for him to tire himself out before attacking. In one of the most iconic images ever printed in a comic book, Bane lifts Batman above him before breaking his back on his knee. This was a vital moment for Bruce and readers, showing that Batman could be bested and signaling a great terror for the citizens of Gotham.

#2: The Batman Who Laughs

“Dark Nights: Metal” (2017-18)

Multiple realities means comic writers can get creative when it comes to making the Dark Knight even darker. The “Dark Nights: Metal” storyline sees Batman accidentally release several evil versions of himself from other realities, one of which is the Batman Who Laughs. This atrocious version comes from a reality where Batman actually did kill the Joker; the villain had killed several parents and forced their children to ingest his toxins in an attempt to create Joker-Batman hybrids. Unfortunately, Bruce also ingested the toxins unknowingly and ended up snapping, killing most of the Bat Family. He then turned his son Damian and killed the entire Justice League. A villain with Batman’s abilities and Joker’s erratically violent behavior makes for one seriously terrifying combination.

#1: The Death of Jason Todd

“A Death in the Family” (1988)

The darkest moment in Batman’s history was surprisingly decided by the fans. Only, there was no way to know just how dark it would be. Jason Todd, the second Robin, was becoming unpopular due to his rebellious nature. So, DC decided to let readers choose if he lived or died by calling a phone line. Needless to say, things didn’t go Todd’s way. He’s captured by Joker, brutally beaten with a crowbar, and left in a building with explosives that detonate, killing him before Batman can come to the rescue. Batman’s sidekicks often have bad things happen to them, but failing to prevent this violent demise is one of the Caped Crusdaer’s biggest failures. Todd would eventually return, but with an extremely damaged psyche.