Batman: the 6 best non-superhero characters

DC Comics’ flagship superhero Batman has spawned a plethora of beloved lore and stories in every medium he’s featured in. Since the comic book and superhero genre has long established the concept of the multiverse as a form of plot device, various creators have lent their talents to give fans different takes and stories about the hero and his world. .

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The more than 80-year span of the Dark Knight’s Corner of the DC Universe has also given way to a wide range of compelling, non-superhero characters. Whether they’re characters adjacent to the Bat family or one of Batman’s many supervillains from his sprawling Rogues gallery, these characters further enrich the myth surrounding the Caped Crusader and the city he fights for.

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Commissioner James Gordon

Split image of Gordon smoking cigar next to Batman and Bat Signal

Some fans may wonder whether or not Commissioner James Gordon is part of the Bat Family, but no one will argue that he is a crucial cog in Batman and the work of the Bat Family. Fans usually say family members are the ones who know and work with him as Bruce Wayne, but Gordon is one of Batman’s best friends in the comics.

First year is generally considered the definitive origin story of the Dark Knight, and it also served as the great parallel origin for Jim Gordon. Ultimately, they are both imperfect human beings still trying to do as much good as possible with the poor hands given to them – that is, the underworld of Gotham City. Their character dynamics make each of their personal developments all the more satisfying.

Alfred Pennyworth

Fathers day news split image

More than just a butler, Alfred Pennyworth is the heart and soul of Batman and the rest of the Bat family. He’s also one of Batman’s best comic book mentors, having taught Bruce the acting and makeup skills to play a character. However, some of the biggest things Alfred provided for Bruce was a surrogate father to an eight-year-old orphan who saw his parents taken from him.

One of Batman’s biggest recurring themes as a character is his complex and traumatized psyche, but Alfred is largely responsible for being his moral and spiritual anchor in helping him out of the harsh, unrefined early years like in Origins of Arkham. If it hadn’t been for the loving and caring Alfred Pennyworth, Batman would have fallen into something much darker and jaded, akin to the Thomas Wayne version of Batman – or Marvel’s Punisher.

leslie thompkins

Split image of Dr Thompkins caring for a sick patient, Batman having a touching exchange with her in the comics

In the Batman corner of the DC worlds, Leslie Thompkins is perhaps one of Bruce Wayne / Batman’s most underrated allies and friends. Dr Thompkins has long been a friend of the Wayne family and became a surrogate mother figure for Bruce following the murder of Thomas and Martha. She runs a clinic to help disenfranchised people in Gotham City, with Leslie and Bruce supporting each other.

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One of the best depictions of this character was in the Batman: The Animated Series episode where the Dark Knight visits Crime Alley on the anniversary of his parents’ death. Leslie is a strong-willed, compassionate, and empathetic woman who is one of Gotham’s – and Batman’s – unsung heroes in the myth’s vast character cast.

Joker

The first alleged point of the Joker's loss of sanity in the Killing Joke

The Clown Prince of Crime doesn’t need much introduction, as the Joker is one of the Batmanthe best supervillains. With the psychological themes surrounding Batman in particular, the Joker’s psyche is another of the most fascinating things to explore. The psychotic supervillain is constantly trying to prove that they are meant for each other and that they are the same, but what they are are two distinct sides of the same coin.

Batman went through a tragic time in his life and made him an indomitable force for good, faults and all. The Joker, meanwhile, took advantage of a (alleged) moment of tragedy and used it as an excuse to break up and turn into something sinister. The murderous joke is a prime example of this dichotomy, with Batman towards the end exposing Joker as a coward for desperately trying to justify his obnoxious nature. They have one of the most compelling dynamics in comics and, in a sense, are a metaphorical representation of a mutually abusive relationship.

Lucius Fox

Split image of Lucius meeting Bruce in the Injustice comics and in the Makeshift Batcave during The Dark Knight Rises

While Bruce Wayne has enough resources to shape Batman’s mantle together, he started out in a place without the connections he needed to do it quietly. Although First year is Batman’s best comedic origin, he was far from his best tactic, including what was in his arsenal of gadgets at the time. Lucius Fox is a brilliant inventor, businessman, and entrepreneur who ends up taking care of Bruce’s business connections to fund Batman’s nightly missions.

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Vital “gadgets” like the Batwing or the Batmobile would not be sustainable for Bruce without Lucius’ expertise in obtaining the necessary tools. Fox is another invaluable friend and ally of Batman and has been the subject of several adaptations, including the charming portrayal of Morgan Freeman in Christopher Nolan. The Dark Knight Trilogy. Not to mention he’s the father of Luke and Tim Fox, members of the Bat family, Batwing, and (in a future timeline) of the upcoming Batman.

Oracle

Oracle helping the birds of prey at the clock tower

Barbara Gordon as Oracle is a technical non-superhero character within the Bat family. Before becoming Oracle, Barbara Gordon was the original Batgirl. However, as the first point of tragic conflict in The murderous joke comically, the Joker paralyzes her from the waist down. Always eager to help Batman and Co fight crime in Gotham, she has become their “eye in the sky”. While the Bat family is filled with ranked geniuses, Barbara Gordon is still one of the elite of the family.

In this role, Oracle works in the “Clock Tower”, functioning as the family command center when Batman is in the field. She provides instant analysis and solutions to anything Batman might face, specializing in IT and hacking. Oracle’s race cannot be underestimated, even with such a growing family, as it has often been a deciding factor in the success or failure of a mission.

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