Criminals are a superstitious cowardly lot. So my disguise must be able to strike terror into their hearts. I must be a creature of the night, black, terrible... -Bruce Wayne, Detective Comics #33 (November 1939)

Batman's main shtick is that he doesn't kill criminals, he scares them into not committing any more crime.

However, due to Joker Immunity, Batman's villains often come back.

So, my question is:

Has Batman ever successfully stopped a criminal from continuing to break the law using fear alone?

  • 1
    Gordon (in Beware the Batman: Animal) says that Batman has successfully scared a criminal straight. Not sure if that's what you're after... springfieldspringfield.co.uk/…
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 17, 2015 at 19:11
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    It's a bit hard to tell if Batman's scary presence keeps people from becoming criminals, if we don't see them becoming criminals because of his scary presence.
    – Theik
    Commented Oct 17, 2015 at 22:20
  • Recurring super-villains make for good stories, so the characters that Batman set permanently straight are less likely to be featured. There are probably hundreds of petty crooks and burglars who walked the straight and narrow after one run-in with Batman, we just don't talk about them because that's not as interesting as a psychotic clown serial killer.
    – Nerrolken
    Commented Oct 19, 2015 at 14:05
  • 1
    @Nerrolken Not clown, Joker. Commented Oct 19, 2015 at 14:50
  • 1
    @Nerrolken dailymotion.com/video/… "Who is this clown? - Not clown, Joker." Commented Oct 19, 2015 at 15:55

2 Answers 2


There is an episode in the DCAU Old Wounds in which Batman brutalizes a petty criminal in front of his family. Robin, disgusted with Batman's tactics, leaves.

Years later Robin (now known as Nightwing) returns to Gotham and has a chance encounter with the same petty criminal, now an employee at Wayne Enterprises, who Bruce Wayne personally knows and asks about.

In this instance, Batman scared the criminal straight, then Bruce Wayne helped get him back on his feet with a job.

  • That’s some advanced-level abuse right there! Commented Oct 18, 2015 at 10:37
  • It might make sense to mention that the Robin in question is Dick Grayson. As far as I am aware, he's the only Robin who became Nightwing.
    – Wad Cheber
    Commented Oct 19, 2015 at 3:31

Scott Snyder's Batman #51, features a former gang-member who turned his life around after an encounter with Batman.

You [Batman] recognize me, don't you? Or your software does?

It's true, I... used to be in the whisper gang as a kid. I was deep in, but you... five years ago, when you were looking for the owls, you took us down.

You attached my face to a moving train, actually. Heh All of our faces I should say. The magnet held us until the cops showed up the next station down.

The whole thing, though, it... it changed my life.

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