Characters who Unmasked Batman
Bruce Wayne has spent a lot of time money and effort hiding the fact that at night he dons a costume and preys on cowardly and superstitious criminals. Despite all of his skills as a crimefighter, he is still only human and can only keep a secret so well. Over the years a number of different heroes and villains alike have uncovered that it is actually Gotham City’s favorite billionaire playboy who dons the cape and cowl.
Robin III/Tim Drake: Of all those who donned the mantle of the Dark Knight’s sidekick most of them discover Batman’s secret identity via the hero’s choice. What set Tim Drake apart was that the kid displayed a skill for detective work from the start by deducing that Batman actually billionaire Bruce Wayne. Being a toddler at Haley’s Circus when the Flying Grayson’s met their demise he recognized Dick Grayson’s acrobatic skillset years later being performed by Robin. From there he followed the bread crumbs until he deduced that the wealthy man who took Grayson in was actually the World’s Greatest Detective.
Lex Luthor: During the bestselling event Forever Evil, the Crime Syndicate captured Nightwing and exposed his secret identity to the world. This was all the brilliant Lex Luthor needed to easily deduce that Bruce Wayne was in fact Batman. While a normal supervillain would use this information for a grand scheme, Luthor is too cold and calculating for that. Instead the Lexcorp CEO uses this fact and his recent role in saving the world to blackmail the Caped Crusader into sponsoring him for Justice League membership.
Bane: Given that he is a musclebound force of destruction, most forget that Bane has a brilliant tactical mindset. In the historic “Knightfall” story arc the Santa Prisca warlord easily deduces that Bruce Wayne is actually Batman by studying his physicality and traits. With this knowledge he takes the fight to the superhero and famously breaks the back of the Batman. Though the Dark Knight came back better than ever the fact that an enemy this dangerous knows this information is a constant potential threat.
Amanda Waller: If someone so much as throws away a dirty napkin in the DC Universe, Amanda Waller makes it her business to know. Having held positions in Checkmate, as the leader of Task Force X, and as the Lex Luthor’s Chief of Staff when he was president she has had access to every piece of information about anyone in the world throughout her career. So when of the wealthiest and most powerful men is running a massive crimefighting operation, naturally the no-nonsense Waller has plenty of ways to figure it out.
The Riddler: It is almost inevitable that the most clever member of Batman’s rogues gallery would deduce who it was hiding behind the mask. Famously in the climax of the blockbuster “Hush” story arc the Riddler stands revealed as the mastermind behind everything having solved the ultimate riddle in Gotham City “Who is Batman?”. While he gets a brief moment to gloat, the hero is quick to intimidate the green-clad menace into keeping his lips zipped. Luckily treatment for a brain tumor soon thereafter seemingly erased this knowledge from his memory.
Zatanna: As a young Bruce Wayne travelled the world honing his craft he sought out a number of experts to serve as mentors. One such expert was the famed magician Zatara, who was not only renowned on the stage but could also manifest his powers via speaking his spells backwards. This is a power he has passed down to his daughter Zatanna. This means it did not take much effort for the current Justice League Dark leader knows full and well the secret identity of Batman. Given that she is one of his few superhero colleagues Batman truly considers a friend so he feels confident that his secret is safe.
Hugo Strange: Back in the classic Detective Comics arc “Strange Apparitions” by Steve Englehart and Marshall Rogers, the demented but brilliant Dr. Hugo Strange became one of the first villains to uncover the Batman’s secret identity. Quietly running a hospital for Gotham’s elite he discovers that Bruce Wayne has discreetly checked in to recover from injuries he sustained in his Batman alter ego. This put Bruce in a prime position to have his secret discovered by this enemy. This kicks off the mad doctor to spiraling out of control and eventually trying to adopt the Batman mantle himself.
The Joker: For decades it has been implied that Batman’s greatest and most dangerous enemy had figured out Batman’s greatest secret. God help us all if the Jest of Genocide had this guarded knowledge. At the end of Scott Snyder’s and Greg Capullo’s acclaimed “Death of the Family” arc Bruce Wayne revealed that years ago he found a Joker card in the Batcave meaning the Joker had been there without his knowledge and undoubtedly discovered everything. The thing is, as far as the Joker was concerned Bruce Wayne is boring it is Batman who brings him demented joy. Do not worry, it was not long afterwards that Snyder and other Batman writers would use this plot point for a number of great stories.