- My whole life, I had been afraid of doing what I knew needed to be done. Afraid to give all of myself to the battle. The helmet showed me that my codes and rules were naive. That all that truly mattered was victory. And now I would finally take it for myself.
- — Batman: The Merciless src
Bruce Wayne is the Merciless, the Batman of Earth -12. He gained the powers of Ares after donning the war god's helm, which gave him an insatiable drive to fight. He eventually joined the Dark Knights, a team of evil Batmen from alternate realities. He is primarily an enemy to Wonder Woman.
Bruce Wayne swore to wage a war on crime after the murder of his parents in a Gotham alley when he was just eight years old, promising that he would be a warrior of justice and will show mercy unlike his enemies. When Ares, the Greek god of war, created a helmet that amplified his powers a hundredfold, war broke out in the effort to stop him. For two years, Batman and Wonder Woman fought side-by-side just to get close enough to attempt to stop him. During the war, Bruce and Diana fell in love with each other. He and his allies swore to kill the god of war in order to end his reign of terror once and for all.
As they finally mounted an attack to kill Ares, the two were able to get the helmet off the war god. Diana was however incapacitated by Ares, causing Batman, who was the last one from his army still standing, to think she had died. Bruce swore to make Ares pay, but the god of war mocked him in response. Driven by grief, he put on the helmet of the god of war in order to defeat him despite being warned of its corrupting influence by Diana earlier, believing he could wield it mercifully while making war fair and just. With the helmet's powers, he succeded in killing Ares, but was turned into merciless warrior and started to see his old code as worthless.
Afterwards, he learned that Diana had survived and was only stunned by Ares. Afraid of what the helmet's power would do to Bruce, she tried to remove it. However, he was so addicted to the power, he chose to kill the woman he loved rather than risk losing the helmet. With virtually unlimited power and no sense of morality, Bruce went on to wage war on the entire world. Starting with killing only villains, he quickly escalated to killing his fellow heroes when they tried to pull him out of the darkness. Soon no one was left to stop his rampage.
After slaughtering the gods, he waged a war on Themyscira, the home of the Amazons, for three days. Every Amazonian who was slaughtered had to pay golden coins to the ferryman on the River Styx in exchange for the passage to the Elysian Fields. They were however betrayed as all these coins were melted to make a large golden drachma, and the souls of the dead Amazon women were bound to it.
When Bruce's war reached Olympus, his Earth reached the edge of its existence. Minutes before the end, he was approached by a Batman whose very voice, a match for his, was enough to rattle him. This Batman offered him a chance to put his talents to use in the greatest war any universe has ever seen: a war for their survival. Unable to pass up a chance to prove to all creation that his way is the right one, The Merciless joined the Dark Knights. When Prime Earth's Batman was turned into a portal for Barbatos, The Merciless arrived along with his new allies. However, he was unable to look at an unconscious Wonder Woman as he prepared to bring havoc to Earth-0. To avoid seeing the face of his dead love, he wandered the Tomb of Hath-Set, and stumbled upon a temple hidden under the tomb. Upon the walls were carvings of Prime Batman's history, from his early days to the day the Dark Knights arrived. After musing over the fate of the Court of Owls who thought that Barbatos will benefit them, he left to begin bringing forth his war.
The Dark Knights then helped the Murder Machine take control of the Watchtower from Cyborg, The Batman Who Laughs later opened a portal for them with his dark metal cards to help him take down Green Arrow, Damian Wayne, Nightwing and Mister Terrific, but were prevented in doing so by Dr. Fate. Five days after entering Earth-0, he decided to assault the headquarters of A.R.G.U.S in Langley, where the heads of S.H.A.D.E., the D.E.O., Task Force X and the United States military were gathered, tearing through the soldiers guarding them. Due to his powers affecting everyone's minds, the leaders had been trying to kill each other before he even reached them.
In a last ditch effort to end him, Gen. Samuel Lane ordered an experimental WMD named Valhalla, capable of killing anything in the solar systen, to be used to bomb their location. After Jillian Pearlman, Cassius and Tom Kalmaku realized that they had been told to bomb Langley, they swooped in and witnessed the devastation wrought by the Merciless. The pilots decided to drop the Vallahala warhead, but all the energy of the blast was absorbed by Bruce who used it to strengthen himself. He then used his power to influence the survivors and forced them to pray to him. Instead of giving them a swift death, he kept them alive so they could watch as he conquered the Earth. Taking off his helmet while he thought of his Wonder Woman, he noticed how Steve Trevor, the only one present who had any sense of mercy and restraint, reminded him of who he used to be, thinking to himself that his merciful nature would allow Barbatos to rule.
After Superman escaped from their grasp in Gotham City, the Dark Knights attacked the Oblivion Bar and killed the Nightmaster, but the Justice League was already gone. When the remaining heroes made an attempt to locate desposits of Nth Metal that could be used to defeat the Dark Knights, the latter then proceeded to trap four of the Justice League members in Batcaves specifically designed for them while isolating them from their allies.
Wonder Woman was teleported to the A.R.G.U.S. headquarters below Washington, D.C.. The Merciless bested her in a duel, before unleashing the souls of the Amazonian women he had killed on his world and ordering them to attack her. Diana was defeated and taken by him to Gotham City to be used a battery for the Tuning Fork. The captured League members however were freed from their restraints thanks to Cyborg, who had partially given in to the Mother Box inside him. The Dark Knights tried to subdue them, but they were able to escape through Hypertime due to Cyborg.
After Hal Jordan, Mr. Terrific and the Martian Manhunter reach the Phoenix Cannon on Thanagar, designed to brighten the Nth metal in Earth's core in case it starts sinking into the Dark Multiverse, Michael Holt realizes that someone had reversed its polarity. The Dawnbreaker, the Merciless and the Devastator then immediately teleport to their location and inform them that they were behind it.
The Merciless then mans the Carrier which attacks the Ultima Thule en-route to the House of Heroes in The Bleed. After Cyborg informs the Flash that the Carrier is powered by a baby universe, the latter releases its gravitational suppressor gates before the Merciless can do anything, causing the baby universe to expand. While Red Death tries to stop Flash, he is hit by the pure positive energy from the expanding universe, reversing his polarity. This results in the Bruce Wayne persona disappearing and Barry Allen of Earth -52 taking control of the body. The two ally and knock the Merciless unconscious. He and the other Dark Knights later watch the traitor being disintegrated on the Hall of Heroes.
The captured League Members were however awakened by Wonder Woman through the clanging of Carter Hall's Nth Metal mace clashing with her Bracelets of Submission, made of Eighth Metal. The Dark Knights tried to subdue them, with the Merciless focusing his efforts on Aquaman, but the Bruce Wayne of Prime Earth intervened by throwing Batarangs fashioned from Element X at Hal and Aquaman, allowing them to turn the tide in their favor by using the tenth metal against their foes. The Justice League succeeded in defeating them thanks to Element X.
Powers and Abilities
- Divine Empowerment: The Merciless has all of the powers of Ares amplified a hundredfold due to his helmet. After having slaughtered the Olympians of his world, he likely took all the domains they held sway over as his own as well.
- Energy Absorption: The Merciless was capable of absorbing all of the power of the Valhalla warhead, capable of killing any being in the solar system.
- Magma Control: When the Merciless first attacked Langley, lava began rising up out of the ground from wherever he stepped.
- Summoning: Through his power as the god of war as well as being the heart and soul of his world's Mount Olympus, The Merciless has power over a great many of its items of interest as well as many of its facilities.
- Weapon Conjuration: Bruce can summon any and all forms of munitions within the divine armory to his beck and call at will. Such as when he summoned his God Killer sword when attacking a war room summit.
- Pathokinesis: The Merciless can infect others with anger and a desire to fight, as well as with a need to worship him. He can even peer into the hearts of men, with the helmet on.
- Superhuman Strength
- Hand-to-Hand Combat (Advanced): He bested Wonder Woman in combat.
- Occultism 
- Missing Eye 
- Power Addiction: The Merciless has been corrupted by his helmet, which drove him to his murderous state, and seems to have little control over it, being driven to obsession over maintaining his divine power.
- Ares' Helmet
- Golden Drachma: An artifact created from all the smelted gold coins of the deceased Amazons of Themyscira. By ringing the giant object of currency, The Merciless could summon an army of restless warrior spirits to do his bidding.
- The Merciless represents Batman's fear of what he would become if he started killing, how Wonder Woman helps him see the good in others, and his regret that he can't end his crusade since his villains keep coming back.
- 31 Appearances of Bruce Wayne (Earth -12)
- 12 Images featuring Bruce Wayne (Earth -12)
- 2 Quotations by or about Bruce Wayne (Earth -12)
- Character Gallery: Bruce Wayne (Earth -12)
- Batman: The Merciless #1
- Justice League (Volume 3) #32
- Batman: The Murder Machine #1
- Green Arrow (Volume 6) #32
- Dark Nights: Metal #3
- The Flash (Volume 5) #33
- Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #32
- Justice League (Volume 3) #33
- Dark Nights: Metal #5
- Dark Knights Rising: The Wild Hunt #1
- Dark Nights: Metal #6
- Justice League (Volume 3) #32
|Batman Family member |
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|Wonder Woman Villain(s)|
This character is or was primarily an enemy of Wonder Woman and the Amazons in any of her various incarnations. This template will categorize articles that include it into the "Wonder Woman Villains category."
|Justice League member|
This character is or was a member of the Justice League of America, or the Justice League in any of its various incarnations, sworn by a duty to act as guardians of America and the world by using their skills and/or superpowers to protect Earth from both interstellar and domestic threats.