is a roughly bat
-shaped throwing weapon used by the DC Comics superhero Batman
. The name is a portmanteau
, and was originally spelled baterang
. Although they are named after boomerangs, batarangs have become more like shuriken
in recent interpretations. They have since become a staple of Batman's arsenal, appearing in every major Batman television
adaptation to date. Recent interpretations of the Dark Knight finds additional motivation to use the batarang as a ranged attack alternative to firearms
, which he rejects outright due to the circumstances of his parents' murder.
Batarangs first appeared in Detective Comics
#31 (Sept. 1939). The earliest depictions were of scalloped, metal
boomerangs which were used to attack opponents before quickly flying back to the thrower. However, variations of batarangs include those which are able to be folded to fit into Batman's utility belt
, those which can be explosively charged and those which are electrified. A grappling hook made out of a batarang and a rope was common until the mid-eighties when artist Norm Breyfogle
introduced a grapple gun; that tool became the standard in the subsequent animated series and comics, including the 1989 Batman
Other characters and versions
also uses batarangs. Nightwing
, a former Robin, is known to use his own modified batarangs called Wing-Dings
, which are styled after a bird
. Tim Drake
, the third Robin, also possesses his own 'R'-shaped shuriken. In an issue of Teen Titans
(Vol. 3), Drake claims that he hid the costs for shipping a Batmobile
from Gotham City
to San Francisco
in "the batarang budget", which he tells the others is "bigger than you might think". The current version of Batwoman
, who was introduced in the 52
continuity, uses a miniature batarang. Catman
also uses weapons inspired by Batman's and calls them "catarangs". Like Robin, Anarky
, an occasional antagonist of Batman, also makes use of shuriken formed after his own gimmick, the "circle-a
A Throwing Bird is a roughly bird-shaped throwing weapon used by the DC Comics superhero Robin as a non-lethal ranged attack alternative to firearms. They are similar to batarangs. They first gained prominence in the 1997 live-action film Batman & Robin. The Throwing Birds in that particular film have silver edges with a red design. As with Batman, Robin can launch his weapon with a launcher located on his lower arm.
In other media
In the movie adaptations of Batman, the batarangs shown roughly match the adapted bat logo of the respective movie franchise. Following the backlash against the camp Batman television series
, the franchise has avoided falling into the perceived overuse of the bat-
prefix which the 1960s was criticized for. Though shown prominently, the batarangs are very rarely referred to by name, unlike the Batcave
. The Batarang used in Batman
was a foldable metal bat attached to a line and was used to ensnare an enemy's legs and manually drag them back. Batman Returns
also featured a computerized version which could be programmed to fly after specific targets.
In the Justice League cartoon series, Batman employed a variety of Batarangs, including explosive Batarangs and electrically charged variants.
In the Teen Titans animated series, Robin uses similar modified batarangs to the adult Nightwing, referred to as birdarangs. The same weapons are used by The Batman's interpretation of Robin.
Batman Beyond, another animated series, which takes place 50 years in Gotham City's future, has a young high school student donning a high tech version of the batsuit to become the new Batman. This suit, among many other features, has the ability to automatically produce batarangs in the wearer's hand.
The television series Birds of Prey also features batarangs. However these versions are circular and bear the Birds of Prey symbol, rather than the traditional bat shape.
In the animated series Krypto the Superdog, Robbie the Robin uses comical weapons called beakerangs, which are miniature projectiles that contain a highly exaggerated amount of purple incapacitating foam.
In The Batman, a later animated series, the batarangs are mostly depicted as futuristic throwing weapons lined with fluorescent blue, and making a distinct humming noise while flying through the air. They are also portrayed as sharp enough to slice through metal pipes. Batman has from time to time also used them in hand-to-hand combat.
The 2005 film Batman Begins showed them as a simple bat-shaped shuriken, used mainly for distraction rather than as weapons, fitting in with that film's depiction of Batman's ninja training.
While the The Dark Knight uses the batarang in its promotional posters, it is not thrown in the film. As part of Lucius Fox's improvements on the Batsuit, they are altered to be blades that shoot out of Batman's arm. To gain leverage over his fight with the Joker, Batman shoots these blades at him, further disfiguring his already scarred face. His true batarangs are only seen once during the film; when Bruce Wayne puts away his Batsuit after deciding to turn himself in to the police, he takes a minute to pick up and stare at one of his batarangs, and then proceeds to put it away with the rest of his gear.