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Superman has been exploited by Poison Ivy in Hush, and he's definitely mad in Injustice. What about Batman? Has Batman ever had to be brought to justice/stopped/killed by his fellow superheroes? (That one time when Superman dreams of Batman snapping Joker's neck doesn't count)

Edit: The Dark Knight Returns doesn't count: Batman wasn't really mad, and he wasn't wrong either.

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    If I remember well, Catwoman tries to stop Batman from killing the Joker in Hush -- she is unsuccessful btw, but then comes Com. Gordon to save the day... – David Banner Sep 23 '16 at 17:32
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    There's a pretty good example here. Superman and Batman switch powers. Batman goes mad and the Justice League try to stop him. arousinggrammar.com/2014/10/04/… – Valorum Sep 23 '16 at 19:33
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    @Valorum - great catch, interesting one; although I was more interested in something like "Batman finally develops that psychosis he was going for" – Gallifreyan Sep 23 '16 at 20:12
  • @Valorum - in absence of another responses, your comment is worthy of being an answer – Gallifreyan Sep 23 '16 at 20:22
  • @Gallifreian - I would, except that I haven't actually read this comic, just the page that I linked – Valorum Sep 23 '16 at 20:23
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+100

There's a possible example of this in Batman comics from the late 1980's, beginning in the much-publicized A Death in the Family story line, and coming to a head in the A Lonely Place of Dying story line.


A Death in the Family

(December 1988–January 1989)

For those who aren't familiar, this arc is focused on Jason Todd (the second Robin) searching for his birth mother, finding her in the employ of a certain clown prince of crime, and being captured by the Joker, who beats Robin to a pulp with a crowbar, then blows the Boy Wonder (and his mother) to smithereens.

Although the fans despised Jason, and his death was actually the result of a poll in which Batfans were asked to decide whether he should live or die, Batman didn't share his readers' contempt for this whiny brat. As such, the death of Jason Todd left Batman grief-stricken and guilt-ridden to such a degree that he became emotionally unstable.

After killing Jason, the Joker is hired by the Ayatollah and dispatched to the UN as a diplomatic ambassador for Iran. This gives the Joker diplomatic immunity, which means Batman can't touch him without sparking a international crisis, and possibly even outright war. Batman has zero f@#%s to give about foreign relations or avoiding wars, so he sets out to kill the Joker anyway. The Joker has, rather conveniently, left Batman a clue as to his whereabouts - an address which turns out to match the location of the United Nations headquarters in New York City.

Superman steps in at the behest of the US State Department and attempts to reason with Batman, but Bats is not in a reasoning kind of mood. He tells Batman to stay away from the UN. Batman asks why. Superman dodges the question. Batman asks why the Joker is going to be at the UN. Superman won't answer. Eventually, Batman runs out of patience with Superman's evasive responses, so he throws a punch at the Man of Steel. This goes about as well as you'd expect, and Bats only avoids shattering every bone in his hand, wrist, and forearm because Supes was thoughtful enough to roll with the punch, minimizing the force of impact and the resulting injury. After a quick X-ray-vision-checkup from the Kryptonian do-gooder reveals that his fist is bruised, but not broken, Batman assures his colleague that he won't pursue the Joker any further, and Superman flies off... at which time Batman resumes his pursuit of the Joker.

Bruce Wayne uses his wealth and power to get into the upcoming UN General Assembly, intent on fulfilling his vendetta. He is horrified to discover the Joker's new occupation when the lunatic clown appears at the dais to give a speech. He may be a diplomat, but he's also the frigging Joker, so when he finishes his speech, he releases a bunch of poison gas into the room. A security guard who bears an uncanny resemblance to Clark Kent (if Clark Kent wore a cheap fake mustache) manages to inhale all the poison gas, then flies through the roof to release it safely outside of earth's atmosphere. Before leaving, he implicitly gives Bruce Wayne permission to handle the Joker however he likes. Bruce disappears, Batman suddenly shows up, and after a brief altercation, the Joker attempts to escape by helicopter, and Batman hops in after him. The Joker and his pilot are inadvertently shot by one of his henchmen, and Batman leaps from the chopper just before it explodes and crashes into New York Harbor. Superman fishes Batman out of the water, Batman tells him to find the Joker's body, predicts that the body won't be found, and he laments that his interactions with the Joker always end up the same way - unresolved. There the story line comes to an end.


A Lonely Place of Dying

(October-December 1989)

This story line covers the period following A Death in the Family. Still mourning the loss of Robin II/Jason Todd, Batman has become unhinged, reckless, and self destructive. He is unnecessarily and uncharacteristically brutal to his adversaries, displaying a degree of sadism that appears to go against everything he used to stand for. He seems to have a death wish, and his faithful confidant Alfred is afraid that this wish will soon be granted. Alfred attempts to intervene, trying to pull Bruce back from the precipice, but in vain. Batman has decided that he bears full responsibility for Jason's death, because the boy was too rebellious and angry to make a suitable Robin; by ignoring these warning signs and making Jason his ward and sidekick anyway, Batman believes he doomed the boy to an early grave.

Meanwhile, another young man named Tim Drake has been watching Batman very closely. Years earlier, Tim had gone to the circus, where he saw a performance by a family of acrobats known as the Flying Graysons, and was thrilled when the youngest member of the team, Dick Grayson, posed for a picture with him. The experience left a tremendous impression on Tim, and as a result, he followed the Grayson family's exploits with great interest from that point on.

He was present when one of the Graysons' performances went horribly wrong. Thanks to an act of sabotage, Dick's parents fell to their deaths when their trapeze wires snapped. Tim watched as Dick ran to their lifeless bodies in tears, and he saw the famous billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne emerging from the crowd to comfort the distraught boy.

Following the tragedy at the circus, Tim read the news that Bruce Wayne had adopted Dick Grayson. He also noticed that, not long after the adoption, Batman had taken on a partner in crime-fighting. This sidekick, known as Robin, was clearly a young man... in fact, he was about Dick Grayson's age. He was also an extraordinarily gifted athlete... and his movements and fighting style were remarkable for their acrobatic prowess. Robin's outfit was quite distinct, but somehow familiar... perhaps because it bore a striking resemblance to the costume Dick Grayson used to wear in his performances. When Dick Grayson came of age and left Wayne Manor, Robin suddenly disappeared as well... although Robin's vanishing act coincided with the appearance of a new costumed vigilante, named Nightwing, whose appearance, abilities, and behavior bore much in common with Robin's.

His experience at the circus had inspired Tim to emulate his newfound idol, Dick Grayson, and he began to practice acrobatics. When he determined that Dick had become Robin, he expanded his studies to include martial arts and detective work.

Some time after Bruce/Batman parted ways with Dick/Robin, Tim Drake learned that Bruce Wayne had taken on another ward, this one named Jason Todd. Sure enough, a short time later, Batman had a new Robin. The partnership didn't last long before the sudden and mysterious disappearances of both Jason Todd and Robin. Not only does Tim notice the pronounced and troubling change in Batman's behavior following Jason's death - he also intuits the only solution to the problem: Batman needs a Robin.

Tim seeks out Dick Grayson, and shares his insights with the former Boy Wonder. Grayson isn't happy about just how much Tim knows, but he sees that the young man is an ally, and treats him as such. Grayson brings Tim to stately Wayne Manor and introduces him to Alfred, who shares Dick's concern about the fact that the boy was able to suss out so many of the Bat Family's secrets.

Tim pleads with Dick to resume his role as Robin, but Dick has no intention of donning the red, gold, and green ever again. Still, Grayson admits that Bruce is in trouble, and agrees to do what he can to help his former mentor. He leads Tim to the Batcave and puts on his Nightwing gear; Tim insists that Batman needs Robin, not Nightwing, but Dick ignores him. Alfred raises the possibility that Tim might be the new Robin they are looking for, but at this juncture, the question is mostly rhetorical - unless someone convinces Batman that he needs a Robin, there is no point in nominating potential candidates for the position. Nightwing sets out to join forces with Batman, and together, the temporarily-reunited dynamic duo work on a case involving one of their old nemeses, Two Face.

Back at the Batcave, Alfred and Tim are alarmed when a homing signal Nightwing carries goes dead (Batman and Nightwing have stumbled into a trap, and are now prisoners of Two Face, who has become obsessed with killing Batman). Seeing no other way to help Batman, Alfred fetches Jason's old Robin costume and tells Tim to get dressed. The two head out to save the caped crusader.

At Two Face's lair, Tim engages the villain, but is overpowered. Two Face is about to kill the boy when Alfred intervenes, and the distraction provided by the butler's entrance gives Tim the chance he needs. The new, unconfirmed, and very unofficial Robin turns the tables on Two Face, opens a can of whoop ass, and saves the day.

Alfred and Tim find Batman and Nightwing and set them free. Batman sees Tim in the familiar costume and flies into a rage. He tears the mask from the boy's face, bellows that Tim had no right to wear the outfit, and insists that there is no Robin anymore, and there never will be. One boy has died as Robin, and Batman refuses to risk the lives of more young men by granting them the burden and danger that come with the position. The dark knight is further incensed by the fact that Tim was able to deduce his true identity; Tim is understandably taken aback by the vitriol to which his hero is subjecting him. Alfred defends Tim, pointing out that Batman would be dead if the boy hadn't stepped in; he even goes so far as to endorse Drake as a logical, qualified, and worthy heir to the mantle of Robin, but Batman remains unmoved.

The team discovers that Two Face has escaped, but Batman's initial fury at this turn of events is replaced by grudging admiration when Tim informs the others that he planted a tracking device on the villain during their fight. Beginning to see some promise in Tim, Batman (a bit sheepishly) allows the boy to join Nightwing and himself in chasing down their fugitive enemy, but makes it clear that any discussion of Tim's future as Robin will wait until they have delivered Two Face to Arkham Asylum.

The trio track their prey to a cemetery, where Two Face quickly gets the upper hand on Drake once again. He is about to kill the boy while Nightwing and Batman look on, unable to come to the young man's assistance. Batman realizes that his worst fears - the very things he so recently used in his argument against appointing another Robin - are about to come true; for the second time, his recklessness has sent a boy to an early grave; his objections to Tim becoming Robin have turned into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Then Tim uses his considerable intellect, quick wits, and keen instincts to escape Two Face's grip, saving himself, and earning a bit more respect from an extremely relieved Batman. The three heroes promptly defeat their opponent, informing him that neither Batman, nor Nightwing, nor Robin, can ever be killed. Two Face is sent off to the Asylum, and the trio return to the Batcave.

The heroes sit down to debate the future of Tim Drake and Robin. Both Alfred and Nightwing are now convinced that Batman does indeed need a Robin, and that Tim has proven himself to be qualified for the role. The hostility Bruce had directed towards the boy at first is now gone, and his initial refusal to even consider taking on another Robin has been softened by Tim's brilliant performance, but he remains reluctant to risk the life of another young man. Together, Alfred, Dick, and Tim manage to grind Bruce's resistance down considerably, convincing him that he really does need a partner. Finally, Bruce agrees - still with some reservations and doubts - that at the very least, Tim has earned an opportunity to prove himself worthy.

Thus began the journey which culminated in Tim Drake becoming the third Robin.


The Point:

Batman went mad when Jason Todd was killed. The first attempt to "stop" him came in the immediate aftermath of Jason's death, in the form of Superman stepping in on behalf of the US State Department. It didn't go very well, and Batman was so unhinged that he tried to start a fist fight with a guy who can punch mountains to death, lift an entire island with his bare hands, shoot lasers out of his eyes, fly, and kick a hole in the moon. If Superman hadn't rolled with the punch, Batman probably would have been permanently crippled and lost most of the use of his right hand.

But one attempt at stopping him wasn't enough. He doubled down on the craziness, displaying sadistic brutality, little regard for the lives of his enemies, less regard for his own life, etc. He was getting wounded far more often, and far more seriously. He was basically on a rampage, and without intervention, he would have kept it up until he died, and it wouldn't have taken very long.

The successful attempt to stop him was less direct than Superman's had been, but far more profound. Ultimately, Tim Drake, Dick Grayson, and Alfred Pennyworth had a Batman version of the kind of intervention usually reserved for drug addicts. That was the first phase of the effort to truly "stop" him. But the process continued until Tim Drake finished his training, then proved his judgement and temperament to be free of the flaws that had led to Jason Todd's death, and finally, became the third Robin.

Thus, in a very real way, the death of the second Robin drove Batman mad, he had to be stopped, and he could only be stopped by accepting the need for a new Robin, accepting that Tim Drake should be that new Robin, and then giving Tim the skills and fine-tuning that the Robin role demands.

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    I loved reading your summaries of these stories - thanks! – Wikis Feb 20 '17 at 13:42
  • "death" of the second robin ;) – Wouter Feb 20 '17 at 15:10
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The classic case (albeit not in main continuity) is The Dark Knight Returns. Batman once more turns to vigilantism with the government discussing with Superman how he may need to be taken down. After The Joker breaks his own neck to incriminate Batman, Gotham Police goes fully against him. In the wake of the nuclear disaster and Superman being weakened, Batman proves himself superior to the federal government in keeping order and so he's marked to be removed. Superman, loyal to the United States government, confronts Batman and defeats him.

This one is a debatable case since the clear implication is that Batman is the one serving justice while Superman is a government lackey, but it is a case where Batman had to be stopped and brought to justice and is (apparently) killed in the process. Going mad... well, he was no more crazy than he ever is, but this is Frank Miller Batman, so the bar is pretty low.

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    Dang, I forgot to mention this one in OP. I know about TDKR; obviously, Superman is the idiot there once again, not Batman. I'm looking for Joker-esque madness, or maybe something like Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe. After all, if anyone can pull this out in DC, it has to be Bats. I updated the OP. – Gallifreyan Sep 23 '16 at 17:56
  • Try Bats attacking Superman in A Death in the Family – Wad Cheber Sep 27 '16 at 20:45
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In Batman: The Cult, Batman is driven mad by Deacon Blackfire. Robin rescued Batman from the titular cult but not before Batman goes so far as to commit murder while under the madness/mind control. (Issue #2)

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