Criminals are a superstitious, cowardly lot. That’s the kernel of an idea that leads Bruce Wayne, celebrity orphan/hermit, to begin down the path that will ultimately lead him to dressing up as a flying rodent and skipping around rooftops, trying to rid the city of those very superstitious cowards. Batman has built up a reputation within Gotham as he has in the real world, but what would happen to him if that reputation was torn down? Well, then you’re Grant Morrison and you’ve written Batman R.I.P. But what about Batman’s standing in the real world? The character has been around for over seventy years, and he’s gone through some considerable changes in that time, from the pulpy crime fighter to campy TV character to dark and brooding superhero. His history is stuffed full of ridiculous, shameful and just plain bad depictions. There’s a lot of skeletons in Batman’s closet. Besides the ones Alfred uses to decorate the Cave on Halloween. With every retcon of their universe, DC try to sweep more dark – or just plain silly – past mistakes that befell the Dark Knight under the rug. That doesn’t mean they disappear forever, though, so why don’t we take a little peek?
10. He Was Addicted To Steroids
‘Roid Rage isn’t just a thing that happens to professional wrestlers and Barry Bonds, folks: it can befall even the most noble of masked vigilantes. Guilt-ridden after failing to rescue a kidnapped little girl, Batman decides to give to give experimental drug Venom a go, hoping it’ll make up for whatever shortcomings that caused him to fall short in his duties to protect the citizens of Gotham. Later used by Bane for his beefcake, Venom – which is, for all intents and purposes, super steroids – does manage to give Bats a little edge, but it also makes him prone to acting like a total nutjob, suffering from hallucinations and spending more time wondering where his next fix is than beating up criminals. Eventually the Caped Crusader has to convince Alfred to lock him in the Batcave for a month so he can go cold turkey. And yes, this is all as ridiculous and after-school special as it sounds. Venom was republished in the build up to the Dark Knight Rises, what with the Bane connection and all, but it’s been a while since anyone in the comics have mentioned the time Batman got addicted to steroids. Which is for the best.