Batman’s Mask Tusks Are Weird – And Awesome


Batman is known to be prepared, but his last defense against having his cowl removed goes beyond that – and more.

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for the story. “Hounded” Part Three from Batman: Urban Legends #13, on sale now from DC Comics.

Batman has a long list of ridiculous and complicated gadgets. Although many of them are housed in his utility belt, some are built into the suit itself. It can be as simple as the bat symbol on his chest reinforced with bulletproof padding or as complex as his signature cowl defenses. These protect him against the discovery of his identity during his incapacitation. His latest catch highlighted just how ridiculous those defenses really are – and they’re a stroke of genius, too.

Batman and Ace the Bat-Hound were recently captured and while Ace managed to escape, the Dark Knight was still at the mercy of his captors in “Hounded” Part Three (by Mark Russell, Karl Mostert, Trish Mulvihill and Steve Wands) in Batman: Urban Legends #13. His captors attempted to remove his mask to discover his secret identity but were first thwarted by a classic defense measure – electricity. As seen in the likes of The black Knight, the hood electrocutes any enemies that attempt to remove it. These bad guys figured out that insulating gloves could circumvent this measure. Too bad Batman already thought of that.

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When the second assailant attempted to remove the mask, they were barely able to get near thanks to the large jets of fire that erupted from it. These were located just below Batman’s eyebrows, with five dots above each eye. It seems like an absolute miracle that Bruce Wayne’s eyebrows aren’t burned by such a ridiculous defensive mechanism. It is surely also a danger to his face and eyes, to have a wild, roaring flame so close to him. Yet that utter absurdity is part of Batman’s charm.

Flames and electricity aren’t the only defenses the mask has to offer. Electrifying Assaulters seem to be the answer in most cases, but there are some other weird tricks in this hood. In Batman #609, at the start of the “Hush” storyline, the Dark Knight was left unconscious in the streets. Although the electric defense was deployed when they tried to unmask him, just before that a strange gas was deployed. This was to disorient any nearby enemies and deter others from approaching.

There’s a lot more tech in Batman’s cowl and it’s likely there are even more defense mechanisms that haven’t yet debuted, ones with a number of purposes. In fact, the flamethrower defense went further than just the dark knight defense. Huntress was there to save Batman in “Hush”, but Ace didn’t reach her best friend in time in that story. However, the flamethrowers left behind a clear clue that the captured Caped Crusader was hidden here. On the wall that Batman was facing when the flamethrowers detonated, there was a soot bat symbol clearly marked on the wall. It’s a completely ridiculous detail that honestly shouldn’t make sense, but it’s awesome.

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This ingenious method of proving the Dark Knight was there sounds like something straight out of Adam West Batman series from 1966. Back then, the Caped Crusader had all sorts of ridiculous tools to get him out of the most absurd situations. With Batman and Robin caught in a death trap nearly every episode, they always had the perfect gadget for any situation. The Bat-Shark repellent is the most famous but there are even weirder entries: there’s a Bat-Fly Swatter, a Bat-Shield reminiscent of Captain America, and even rockets. The list goes on and on, with each entry more ridiculous than the last.

This latest gadget then follows the trend but does not exceed it in any way. A flamethrower that doesn’t melt in Batman’s face and leaves behind a sooty bat symbol to show where it was last seen? It’s nothing compared to the African Death Bee antidote pill in Robin’s utility belt (essential when caught off guard by a Death Bee Beehive Tripwire) but, nonetheless, it’s still absolutely perfect.

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