During Bruce Wayne's first activities as Batman, there was no secret underground base of operations underneath Wayne Manor. The Batsuit was often placed inside a wooden chest in Bruce's bedroom. Sometime after this, he adapted a crime laboratory, concealed behind
The Batcave serves as Batman's command center, where he monitors all crisis points in Gotham City and the world. It is often located underneath Wayne Manor and is part of a large subterranean group of caverns.
During Bruce Wayne's first activities as Batman, there was no secret underground base of operations underneath Wayne Manor. The Batsuit was often placed inside a wooden chest in Bruce's bedroom. Sometime after this, he adapted a crime laboratory, concealed behind a wall inside Wayne Manor.
Batman then acquired the Batmobile and subsequently the Batplane. With no place to hide his vehicles, Batman placed them inside a seemingly abandoned barn near Wayne Manor. In order to reach the barn undetected, Bruce built an underground tunnel that connected the barn and Wayne Manor.
As time passed, Batman upgraded the underground tunnel and placed a secret elevator which connected the secret laboratory to the underground tunnel. He designed the place as an underground hangar to hide all his vehicles and also included a place to repair and do mechanical work. The old disguised barn was left empty and only used to conceal the Bat-vehicles that emerged from the underground. The ground between Wayne Manor and the barn was filled with reinforced concrete to secure the main structure.
Creating the Batcave
Not long after this, the underground hangar was modified and turned into a cave, aptly called the Batcave. The cave was connected by a secret stairway to the entrance which was concealed in Wayne Manor. The Batcave was still an underground shelter where the Bat-vehicles were kept, but Bruce also moved his secret laboratory and the gym from Wayne Manor to the Batcave. Finally, a security alarm was placed in the cave in case any unwanted person would infiltrate the hidden base of operations.
Batman had an extensive database of criminal profiles and records stored in the Batcave that he kept in microfilm, so it didn't take up too much space. Shortly after this, Batman included a special room with a cage in which he and Robin would practice their escaping skills.
The cave was also connected to the cellar of an abandoned shack on the outskirts of Gotham. The laboratory was located in main area of the cave, which was also the parking place of the Batmobile. The cave was supported by a metallic structure and it provided a large space for training.
An early feature of the Batcave was the "truth chamber". This room was used for interrogation of criminals and consisted of mirrors instead of walls, a multi-colored light bulb, a microphone that amplifies Batman's voice, a one-side mirror for Batman to check upon the crooks and in the middle of the room, a single chair where Batman tied the criminals. All this with the purpose of creating a mental breakdown on the criminals that caused them to confess their crimes.
Shortly afterwards, Bruce incorporated a new area to the cave which he called the Trophy Room. Prior to this upgrade, the trophy room was located somewhere in Wayne Manor, but as Batman's collection of crime trophies increased, the room wasn't large enough to keep them all and he moved it to the Batcave.
The cave was then connected to Wayne Manor through a large staircase that led to a secret entrance in the house, concealed behind a grandfather clock. Soon, a criminal who escaped from prison broke into Wayne Manor and found the secret entrance, leading to the Batcave.
The ensuing confrontation between Batman, Robin and the criminal, called Wolf Brando, was short-lived as Brando was attacked by the bats that lived in the cave and he fell into an underwater stream that dragged his body to a river shore, far away. Brando was dead, but during the fight some of the trophies of the cave were damaged including one of Penguin's Umbrellas, the mechanical dinosaur and the Giant Penny. However, both trophies were soon repaired and back on their places in a short time. After years of crime fighting, Batman collected over a thousand trophies in the cave, some of which were still working devices. In order to keep record of any unwanted intrusion inside the Batcave, Batman installed an automatic camera on the entrance as a constant surveillance system.
Not long after this, Batman created a "costume room", in which he would store all his Batsuits, removing them from Wayne Manor. Batman also installed a sliding-wall to prevent any intruders from entering the Batcave by mistake or on purpose. The next security upgrade included a series of laser beams on every entrance of the cave that once activated, would trigger an alarm in case any object touched the lasers. Batman also installed emergency walls made of steel to contain sudden flows of water into the cave, as it was always in constant risk of flooding. In order to know whenever the Bat-Signal was activated while Batman and Robin were in the cave, Batman installed and electric transmitter that was activated when the Bat-Signal was turned on and as a result, a red bulb would flash in the transmitter's panel on the cave, informing Batman that he's being summoned at the GCPD.
The Batcave was first found by Jeremy Coe in the 17th Century. Coe was a spy who worked for the town of Gotham and tried to push away a tribe of Native Americans. In order to stay close to the tribe, Coe used the cave as his base of operations and he named it the "Batcave" for the various bat colonies that lived in the place. After Coe's victory over the Indians, he left the cave and it was forgotten for 300 years.
Eventually, Bruce Wayne found the cave shortly after he bought the Wayne Residence. He was inspecting a nearby barn when he accidentally fell down through the floor and landed on a massive cave. Bruce explored the cave and found different entrances to the place, one of which was directly connected to Wayne Manor. Bruce decided to create a secret entrance behind the grandfather's clock and soon he transformed the cave into his secret base of operations.
One time, a criminal tried to buy Wayne Manor in order to reach the cave underneath the place, not knowing that it was the Batcave. After learning of this threat, Batman and Robin removed all the elements from the cave and placed them on a temporary location that worked as a Batman museum. Meanwhile, the criminal started digging to get to the cave, which he wanted to use as hideout. Robin and Alfred created a dam that blocked the underwater stream from leaving the cave and when the criminal located the place, it was filled with water, which deterred him from using the place. Shortly after, Batman captured the criminals and he was able to move back all the objects to the Batcave, without raising any suspicion.
Batman and Robin had to solve a case entirely on the Batcave as the time lock that controlled the main door was overloaded, blocking the entrance. After they found the criminal's identity, Batman had to force the door open using some of the many trophies in the cave and a great electric shock.
The final case of the Batcave happened shortly after Batman's death. When Hugo Strange returned, he stole Starman's Cosmic Rod to use various items from the Batcave against Robin. Strange's revenge was thwarted with help from the Batman of Earth-One. Robin, Batman and Batwoman confronted Strange in the Batcave and although the evil madman used some of the trophies against them, Batman stopped his scheme and Strange used the Cosmic Rod to kill himself.
The Batcave was Batman and Robin's secret base of operations, where they often investigated crime cases and kept their arsenal for crime-fighting. Similar to the Earth-Two counterpart, the Batcave was connected to Wayne Manor by a large staircase. However, Batman decided to improve this feature and built an elevator to connect both places. He also adapted a new secret entrance for the Batmobile. It had previously been located in an abandoned barn, but Batman changed it and switched the secret entrance to a hidden door on a mountain side, which was activated from the remote controls of the Batmobile. Shortly after, Bruce installed a "Hot-Line" in the Batcave, which was a private phone connected between the cave and Commissioner Gordon's Office at the GCPD Headquarters. This feature largely replaced the Bat-Signal for some time during Batman's career.
After Aunt Harriet stumbled upon the elevator entrance and found the Batcave, Bruce created a remote control device that would only allow him and Robin to enter the place without having anyone found the place by accident again.
Sealed and Unused
Dick Grayson eventually moved out of Wayne Manor in order to attend Hudson University. For this reason, Bruce felt the house had become too large for just him and Alfred, and they decided to move out of Wayne Manor and settle in the Wayne Foundation Building's penthouse, which has access to a hidden sub-basement that served as a Batcave itself. As a result of this decision, the original Batcave under Wayne Manor was sealed up and remained unused for the greater part of Batman's solitary career.
The original Batcave, however was not entirely forgotten, as it provided Batman with some equipment not found anywhere else. Batman used the Batcave when trying to solve the mystery of a deceased musician and later, he returned to the cave to create an antidote to the man turned monster, Kirk Langstrom. As Man-Bat, Langstrom found the Batcave unintentionally and his animal instincts forced him to fight Batman in the cave. Using the place to his advantage, Batman knocked Man-Bat unconscious and started working on the antidote. Unfortunately, Man-Bat refused Batman's help and escaped from the cave using the same unseen crevice on the cave's roof he used to enter the place. The Batcave was once again breached by the international criminal terrorist, Ra's al Ghul, who wanted to recruit Batman into helping him find his "missing" daughter, Talia.
The Batcave was also used by Batman as the battleground to confront the tunnel-digger villain called The Mole. The confrontation caused the Batcave to be flooded with water and the Mole was dragged out by the current, never to be seen again. A few weeks later, Batman learned that Man-Bat had been using the Batcave as his hideout once again. After a short confrontation in the Batcave, Batman tried to help Man-Bat and provide an antidote, but the serum didn't work and Man-Bat escaped.
The Batcave was officially reopened when Bruce Wayne decided to move back from his penthouse apartment at the Wayne Foundation Building. With Dick and Alfred's help, Bruce relocated all the trophies and equipment back in the original cave, and although he was immediately challenged by Man-Bat, who was still inside the cave, Batman reverted his transformation and reclaimed the Batcave for good. One day, the Batcave was discovered by a young boy called Jason Todd, who accidentally learned the secret of Batman and Robin. Because of this unlikely development, Todd soon became the second Robin.
Man-Bat once again returned to challenge Batman in the Batcave and after a brief confrontation, Man-Bat kidnapped Jason, taking him away from the place. Not long after this, a common criminal who started using the Catman costume, stumbled upon the Batcave while looking for his hidden loot and confronted Batman in the place, using the trophies against the Dark Knight. Although the cave was slightly damaged, the criminal was stopped by Batman, who later restored and repaired the damage done.
The caverns that are the Batcave have existed since the early days of mankind. The place was first used by the Miagani tribes, where they located the parts of the Batsuit left behind while Bruce Wayne was trapped in time. The Miagani tribes started worshipping the "Bat God" until they eventually disappeared. Gotham City was built close by the caverns and during the 18th Century, the caves were used as hideout for The Black Pirate, a notorious vigilante of the seas. A century later, Joshua Wayne started the construction of Wayne Manor, close to the caves, but the construction was finished by Alan Wayne, unaware of the connection between the house and the caves.
For years, the caves remained abandoned and bats made the place their home. When he was four, Bruce Wayne fell down to the caves underneath Wayne Manor by accident, which started his fear of bats. Years later, Bruce started his crusade as Batman and in order to have a secret base of operations and preserve Wayne Manor from his activities, he and Alfred explored the caves and decided to build the Batcave right underneath the Manor.
For the best part of Batman's initial years as Gotham's vigilante, the Batcave was a safe haven for the Dark Knight and his allies. However, as his enemies grew in numbers and became smarter and more challenging, the secret sanctuary was sometimes turned against the heroes.
When Penguin sent killer birds to eliminate Batman, the animals followed him back to the cave. Inside, Batman tried to defend himself from the birds using weapons from his trophy room, but failed. Alfred and Tim Drake opened the secret grandfather clock entrance by accident and allowed the birds into Wayne Manor. Batman eventually found a way to stop the birds, but the repairing and cleaning needed in the aftermath was rather substantial.
Main article: Batman: Knightfall
When Bane confronted Batman at the Batcave, he used everything available in the place as a weapon. Bane smashed Batman against the secret clock entrance, against the Batcomputer and also the Batmobile. Bane also pushed Batman against the Giant Penny, causing it to fall on top of Batman, breaking several bones. Bane used one of the stalagmites of the cave to further punish Batman and lastly, Bane threw Batman against Jason Todd's Robin costume display, breaking the glass case and leaving no fight left in Batman. Ironically, Batman's sanctuary became the scenario of his downfall. After this battle, the Batcave was briefly used as a medical centre to treat Bruce's injuries until he was moved upstairs to Wayne Manor.
When Jean-Paul took over the role of Batman, he sealed all the entrances to the Batcave which he knew about. They included the secret clock entrance at Wayne Manor. This meant the official closure of the mansion, as Jean-Paul would only spend his days in the cave. Harold and Ace were the only ones who remained hidden in a secret area of the Batcave. This also meant the ending of the Batman and Robin team-up, which forced Robin to enter through a dry well and confront Jean-Paul. The fight was brief, with Jean-Paul taking the upper hand until Robin managed to use the Redbird to escape.
When Bruce recovered from his injuries and returned to Gotham, he learned the truth about Jean-Paul's actions and he burst into the Batcave by tearing down the brick wall that was placed to seal off the secret entrance to the cave. The cave was as broken as when he left it. Bruce and Jean-Paul had a brief confrontation in the cave, with Jean-Paul victorious. A second and final confrontation took place in the cave and this time, Batman managed to defeat Jean-Paul without the need of violence.
The Batcave was breached once by Hush, but once inside he had to fight Batman, Alfred, Nightwing and Robin. Furthermore, he depleted his guns when stopping the robotic T-Rex that was activated to stop him. Hush then tried to leave the place using the Whirly-Bat, but ultimately failed and crashed against the cave's ceiling, leaving no trace behind.
When the Black Glove infiltrated the Batcave, they incapacitated Batman, beat and captured Alfred. Shortly after, they gathered the Club of Villains and decided to use the place as their base of operations. However, they left the place in order to witness Batman's downfall in Arkham Asylum, which ultimately became their own downfall.
A few days later, Nightwing decided to rebuild the partially destroyed cave, but he was suddenly attacked by the League of Assassins. Nightwing used every weapon and vehicle available in the cave to his advantage and defeated the assassins. A few days later, Nightwing, Alfred and Robin finished the reconstruction of the cave by locating the missing Giant Penny and placing it back on its rightful place and once again the Batcave was completely active and functioning. It was later discovered by Alfred that Bruce had left a giant machine hidden in the cave. The computer inside contained a "last will" message to all the members of the Batman Family.
The cave's centerpiece is a supercomputer whose specs are on par with any of those used by leading national security agencies; it permits global surveillance and also connects to a massive information network as well as storing vast amounts of information, both on Batman's foes and his allies. A series of satellite link-ups allows easy access to Batman's information network anywhere in the globe. The systems are protected against unauthorized access, and any attempt to breach this security immediately sends an alert to Batman or Oracle. Despite the power of Batman's computers, the JLA Watchtower is known to have more powerful computers (composed of Kryptonian, Thanagarian and Martian technology), and Batman does occasionally use them if he feels his computers are not up to the task; on occasion he also consults Oracle for assistance.
Additionally, the cave contains state of the art facilities such as: crime lab, various specialized laboratories, mechanized workshops, personal gymnasium, a vast library, parking, docking and hangar space (as appropriate) for his various vehicles as well as separate exits for the various types, trophies of past cases, a large bat colony and a Justice League teleporter. It also has medical facilities as well as various areas used in training exercises for Batman and his allies.
The Batcave also contains a large number of glass cases that serve as display for the many Batsuits and other uniforms of past and present members of the Bat Family.
The cave houses Batman's vast array of specialized vehicles, foremost being the famous Batmobile in all its incarnations (mostly for nostalgia as well as for contingencies, as all are serviceable and in excellent working condition). Batman keeps a fleet of regular cars of various models and utility vehicles as well — such as an ambulance, for example — when the Batmobile would be too conspicuous for a mission. Other vehicles within the complex include various motorcycles and various air and watercraft such as the Batplane, a single-occupant supersonic jet and the Whirly-Bat. Another vehicle found in the Batcave is the subway rocket, first used during the time when Jean Paul Valley was substituting for Bruce Wayne after Bane had broken Wayne's back. It let Batman get into Gotham City very fast, and could electronically clear a path via the Gotham Rail system.
The cave is sometimes powered by a nuclear reactor, but most often by a hydro-electric generator made possible by an underground river.
- First appearance: Detective Comics #470
- Appearances of Batcave II
When Dick Grayson left for college, Bruce Wayne decided he no longer wished to remain at Wayne Manor — feeling that the house was now too big for just him and Alfred. He closed Wayne Manor, relocated to a penthouse suite at the Wayne Foundation Building and had the original Batcave sealed up. Bruce placed a small laboratory beneath the Wayne Foundation Building which served as a surrogate "Batcave". Eventually, Bruce learned of an abandoned subway tunnel underneath the building, that had been partially constructed during the 1930s, but was never completed and never connected to the main subway line. He made use of it to expand his laboratory and after expanding the tunnel, Bruce, Alfred and Dick moved most of the equipment and the most important trophies from the original Batcave to the new space.
This Batcave had very much the same facilities as the original, and also contained an exact replica of the study in Wayne Manor. The secret entrance for the Batmobile to this cave was via a hidden tunnel in an empty warehouse owned by Wayne, located in a nearby cul-de-sac called Finger Alley. The cave was also connected to the penthouse and to Bruce's private office through a secret elevator.
When Wayne decided to return to Wayne Manor, the Batcave II was closed and all the equipment and mementos were relocated back to the original Batcave. A short time later, the place was reopened and remodeled to serve as the Outsiders Headquarters. The Outsiders team that Batman assembled used the place as their base of operations until Batman's eventual resignation from the team. Afterwards, the place was closed again and was not reopened until much later.
The first concept of a backup Batcave was introduced after Batman was forced to stay out of Gotham grounds for an entire week. In order to keep fighting crime, Batman created a flying machine, large enough to fit some of the most important equipment from the Batcave. The "Flying Batcave" was used to stop crimes from the air without having to set foot on the city. Batman and Robin used an "auxiliary" Batcave when they had to deal with a crook who posed as Batman. This place was located on the outskirts of Gotham and contained only an old TV set and a fake replica of the Hot-Line.
Following his return at the end of KnightsEnd and the subsequent events of Zero Hour, Bruce passed on the mantle of the Bat to Dick Grayson, now Nightwing. During that time, Bruce set up various emergency Batcaves across Gotham that only he knows about. This was due to the fact that Bane was able to find and get the drop on Bruce when he was at his weakest.
One known Batcave, Batcave North, is located underneath Arkham Asylum — its existence unknown to both staff and inmates — and was used during the No Man's Land incident. It remains unknown as to whether it is still there following that iteration's destruction.
Before there was a Batcave, Batman would keep some memorabilia of solved cases in a special hidden room inside Wayne Manor. This room was called the Hall of Trophies and it was only accessible through a six-inch-thick steel door with a combination lock. Some of these items included a decoy duck used by Joker to escape prison, a penguin statue and one of Penguin's Umbrellas from his first crime, Bruce Wayne's portrait from the case of the prophetic pictures, Joker's mask from his secret hideout and a candy-spiked trap designed by Joker. Some time later, Batman added the diary of Dana Drye, a one dollar bill from a nonexistent crime and the mysterious murder box from Diamond King.
As Batman's collection of crime trophies increased, the Hall of Trophies wasn't large enough to keep them all and he moved it to the Batcave, changing its name to Trophy Room. Once in the cave, the room was large enough to keep larger objects like the three most iconic pieces in the Batcave. These are a full-size mechanical Tyrannosaurus Rex, an equally large U.S. penny and a giant Joker playing card. The T. rex comes from an adventure on "Dinosaur Island"; the penny was originally a trophy from Batman's encounter with a penny-obsessed villain named the Penny Plunderer and the giant Joker playing card was taken from one of Joker's hideouts, when Batman was kept prisoner in that place. Other "keepsakes" in the cave include Two-Face's original coin, Deathstroke's sword, the shroud of the Mad Monk and over-sized bowling ten-pins.
The first Bat-Costume that Batman placed on the Trophy Room was his father's Bat Costume. Thomas Wayne used the costume for a masquerade party and later to confront the criminal Lew Moxon. Bruce used this costume years later to confront Moxon and learned that he orchestrated his father's murder. Afterwards, Bruce kept the Bat-Costume on a glass case along with all the other trophies.
There is also a glass case display of Jason Todd's Robin costume as a memorial to him, with the epitaph "A Good Soldier". Barbara Gordon's Batgirl suit was also kept on display until she recovered from her paralysis, and returned to action. Following the death of Damian Wayne, his Robin costume was kept on display, like the others. However, Damian's display case was smashed by Batgirl, during a heated argument over Batman's handling of his grief.
- Bulletproof Vest
- Futuristic Airship
- Giant Dice
- Miniature Mansion
- Poisonous Mushroom
- Imitation Brain
- Batwoman Portrait
- Dinosaur Egg
In other media
Upon his initial foray into crime-fighting, Wayne used the caves as a sanctum and to store his then-minimal equipment. As time went on, Wayne found the place ideal to create a stronghold for his war against crime, and has incorporated a plethora of equipment as well as expanding the cave for specific uses. Often, Bruce Wayne is depicted as having discovered the cave as a child, falling into it during youthful exploration of the grounds. In at least one continuity, the cave is implied to have been used by Thomas Wayne prior to Bruce finding it.
- Before the Batcave was envisioned, the Batmobile, Batplane etc. were stored in non-descript places. One example is shown in Batman versus the Vampire: Part One (Detective Comics #31), which describes Batman's new Batgyro as being kept in "a secret hangar known only to himself", to quote the narrative panel.
- The modern concept of the Batcave first appeared in the Batman serial on the episode The Electrical Brain and was called the "Bat's Cave". It was later adapted into the comics.
- The mechanical dinosaur in the Batcave comes from Batman #35; despite the fact that a similar robot appeared for the first time in Batman #10.
- In Earth-51 continuity, the Batcave was known as the "Bat-Bunker". It was here that a dimension-hopping Jason Todd first assumed the guise of Red Robin.
- The cave is said to have seven different entrance tunnels connecting the cave to the surface.
- Alfred Pennyworth feeds the bats. They prefer free-range corn-fed chicken goujons, gently fried in extra virgin olive oil. With chives, sir.
- There have been many critiques over the display cases in the comics; fans saying that Stephanie Brown's Robin costume should also be displayed beside Jason Todd's and Barbara Gordon's costumes to commemorate her death during War Games. It was later retconned that Batman never put a memorial up because he had doubts about whether Stephanie was truly dead.
Links and References
- Detective Comics #29
- Detective Comics #33
- Batman #3
- Batman #12
- Detective Comics #83
- Batman #31
- Batman #34
- Batman #40
- Detective Comics #134
- Detective Comics #137
- Batman #48
- World's Finest #39
- Detective Comics #158
- Detective Comics #165
- Batman #64
- Detective Comics #177
- Batman #74
- Detective Comics #205
- Detective Comics #223
- Batman #108
- The Brave and the Bold #182
- Batman #164
- Detective Comics #328
- Detective Comics #351
- Batman #217
- Batman #222
- Detective Comics #402
- Detective Comics #407
- Batman #232
- Batman #340
- Batman #341
- Batman #342
- Batman #348
- Detective Comics #526
- Detective Comics #527
- Detective Comics #538
- Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #1
- Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #3
- Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #4
- Secret Origins of the World's Greatest Super-Heroes
- Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #2
- Detective Comics #615
- Batman #497
- Batman #498
- Detective Comics #668
- Robin (Volume 2) #1
- Robin (Volume 2) #7
- Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #63
- Detective Comics #850
- Batman #677
- Batman #678
- Batman #681
- Batman and the Outsiders (Volume 2) #11
- Nightwing (Volume 2) #152
- Nightwing (Volume 2) #153
- Robin (Volume 2) #183
- Detective Comics #667
- Limited Collectors' Edition #C-44
- Detective Comics #469
- Batman #316
- Batman and the Outsiders #3
- Batman and the Outsiders #32
- Detective Comics #186
- Batman #183
- Batman #9
- Detective Comics #58
- Detective Comics #42
- Batman #4
- Detective Comics #62
- Batman #14
- Detective Comics #112
- Detective Comics #130
- Batman #35 see notes
- World's Finest #30
- Detective Comics #114
- Batman #32
- Detective Comics #80
- Nightwing (Volume 2) #18
- Detective Comics #235
- Batman #44
- Batman #41
- Batman #59
- Detective Comics #210
- Detective Comics #233
- Batman #104
- Batman Forever and Batman Begins
- Gotham (TV Series)
- Countdown to Final Crisis #14
- Batman #655