10 Times We Saw Behind Batman's Mask In The DCAU

Occasions when the 'Man' in Batman became more important than the 'Bat'.

Batman The Animated Series Harley's Holiday Harley Quinn
Warner Bros.

When you think of Batman, it is very unlikely that you think about words like 'compassion', 'empathy', or 'mercy.' Usually, you think 'cape', 'gadgets', and 'throat punch.'

Even though it is commonly stated by comics fans that Bruce Wayne is an alterego, and that Batman is Bruce's true identity, there have been many times across the various DCAU shows that Batman's mask slipped. These moments have given us glimpses of Bruce's own dark past, as he somehow manages to find kindred spirits in trauma even among the worst villains Gotham has to offer.

Despite being a vigilante who embraces the dark back alleys of Gotham as his second home, occasionally we see behind the mask to the man, not the Bat, and occasionally even glimpses of the scared little boy who lost his parents in one of those filthy alleys.

In one of the episodes on this list, Justice League Unlimited's 'Epilogue', Amanda Waller summarizes Bruce's true strength as a hero: "Despite that fierce exterior, I've never met anyone who cared as deeply about his fellow man as Bruce Wayne."

Which perfectly summarizes this list of times that Bruce let his mask slip ever so slightly and we saw Batman as more man than Bat.

10. Double Talk

Unlike most of Batman's rogues gallery, Arnold Wesker, aka The Ventriloquist, isn't truly evil. He's a simple man who has been afflicted with mental illness, albeit one that gives him the unfortunate split personality of an old-time gangster named Scarface, a ventriloquist's dummy dressed like a 1930s hood.

Upon earning his release from Arkham, Arnold finds out that not only does he have a home at the Wayne Gardens Halfway House, he also has a job waiting at Wayne Enterprises. Unfortunately, circumstances soon draw him back into the world of crime as he believes that Scarface has returned to haunt him.

The rest of the episode follows Batman and Batgirl as they try to figure out what's happening to Wesker, eventually realizing that Scarface's old gang needed their boss back and manipulated Wesker. At the episode's end, Bruce reasons with Arnold, telling him that Scarface is the puppet, not him. Wesker then 'kills' the dummy that so destroyed his life and is pleasantly surprised to find that despite his lapse, he still has both home and job.

Although not as dramatic as some of the other examples in the list, 'Double Talk' is a story of redemption, and shows that despite his jaded outlook on life, Bruce understands that mistakes can be forgiven and that people can be saved.

Sometimes, Batman's best weapon is a gentle nudge in the right direction, not a Batarang to the head.


Child of the Canadian '80s. Fan of Star Wars, Marvel (films), DC (animated films), WWE, classic cartoons. Enjoys debating with his two teenage sons about whether hand-drawn or computer animation is better but will watch it all anyways. Making ongoing efforts to catalogue and understand all WhatCulture football references.