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How many times has Bruce Wayne died, or at least been injured or incapacitated to the point where someone else has had to step in and assume the mantle of Batman?

I know during the Knightfall arc, Bane breaks Bruce Wayne’s back and while he is recovering, Jean-Paul Valley takes his place as Batman.

How many other characters have taken Bruce Wayne’s place?

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In the pre-New 52 Earth-1 continuity, there have been a couple of alternate Batmen.

  • Jean-Paul Valley, better known as Azrael, was mentioned in the question. Bruce tapped him to take up the Cowl following his defeat at the hands of Bane in Knightfall, but Valley went slightly peculiar stark-raving mad, and was deposed in the sequel series KnightsEnd
  • After stripping Valley of the title, Bruce passed it to Dick Grayson, setting off the Prodigal storyline, which ran for about a year. Dick took up the mantle again following 2009's Battle for the Cowl arc
  • Batman #700 gives us a glimpse at a couple of future Batmen, who have presumably taken over for Bruce in his old age; the notable ones are:
    • Dick Grayson, again
    • Damian Wayne, Bruce's son by Talia al'Ghul
    • Terry McGinnis, best-known from the DCAU show Batman Beyond, in his comics debut
  • Damian Wayne is also shown to have taken up the cowl in a hellscape future in Batman #666, following Bruce's death
  • Tim Drake as been shown in various alternate futures to take over from Batman, notably in the Teen Titans: Titans Tomorrow storylines. He also swaps capes with Bruce in the frankly bizarre Young Justice: Sins of Youth storyline, where Klarion the Witch-Boy magically ages Tim and de-ages Bruce
  • You may also count Jason Todd, who assumed the Cowl (without permission) during the Battle of the Cowl storyline. He was a rather brutal Batman, as you'd expect, but he's deposed by Dick by the end of the arc
  • An interesting edge case: during the "Blind Justice" storyline, Bruce is temporarily rendered paraplegic and is understandably unable to be Batman until he recovers. To maintain order, Bruce remotely operates Roy Kane, a character introduced for (and killed during) this storyline, using some macguffin mind-controlling technology1

In the New 52 continuity, currently only one other person has taken up the Cowl: Commissioner Gordon, who used a Batman-shaped mech suit to carry on the legacy after the real Batman was presumed dead2.


1 Thanks to FuzzyBoots for pointing this out in comments

2 Nod to Durakken for reminding me of this in comments

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    Note: Alfred and Superman have gone out as Batman at times while Bruce was otherwise busy... Also, presently in the new52 James Gordon has assumed the mantle for who knows what reason. Barbara Gordon "kinda" did in her origin story. She was though to be Batman, but it was found out she was a girl and then modified the costume to better fit her. Thomas Wayne could be said to have taken on the mantle due to Bruce's incapacitation during Flashpoint too ^.^
    – Durakken
    Jul 12 '16 at 14:50
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    In Detective Comics Vol 1 Issue 600, Roy Kane wears the batsuit while Batman remotely pilots him. Not certain if that counts or not... dc.wikia.com/wiki/Detective_Comics_Vol_1_600
    – FuzzyBoots
    Jul 12 '16 at 14:55
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    In The Flash's "Flashpoint Paradox", Bruce's Dad ended up as Batman.
    – PiousVenom
    Jul 12 '16 at 18:15
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    @Durakken I've added Gordon, so thanks for that. I thought about Flashpoint, but left it out deliberately, because I don't think it's fair to say that Thomas "took over" for Bruce. I also wanted to leave out Batgirl, because (as I recall) she wasn't trying to impersonate Batman; other people just assumed that's who she was. Do you have comics references for Superman and Alfred? I know both have happened on television, but I was looking specifically at the comics Jul 12 '16 at 21:44
  • @FuzzyBoots That's...an interesting one. Added; thanks Jul 12 '16 at 21:44
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How many other characters have taken Bruce Wayne’s place?

For one without Batman's consent, in the story I Am the Batman (Detective Comics # 472, September 1977) Hugo Strange impersonated both Batman and - for a prolonged period - Bruce Wayne (emptying Wayne's bank accounts in the process), whilst Batman was a prisoner at Strange's 'clinic'!

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