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Utility Belt
Utility-belt.jpg
One of Batman's utility belts and some of its contents
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Detective Comics #29 (July 1939)
Created by Gardner Fox
In story information
Type Costume, Equipment
Element of stories featuring Batman

Batman's utility belt is one of the most characteristic portions of Batman's costume. Similar belts are used by the various Robins, Batgirls, and other members of the Bat-family.

HistoryEdit

Batman historian Les Daniels credits Gardner Fox, (the first writer other than Bill Finger to write the adventures of Batman in Detective Comics), with introducing the utility belt concept in Detective Comics #29 (July 1939).[1] In its first appearance, Batman's utility belt "contain[ed] choking gas capsules."[2] Two issues after the utility belt debuted, Fox also wrote the first appearance of a bat-themed weapon, when the batarang debuted in the story "Batman vs. the Vampire" in Detective Comics #31 (Sep 1939).[3]

Up until 1989, most artists drew the utility belt as a simple yellow belt with a buckle and capsules/cylinders around it. In 1986, Frank Miller drew Batman's utility belt with military-style pouches in the Batman: The Dark Knight Returns limited series. This rendition was utilized again in Batman: Year One and used by almost every artist in the Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight comics series. In 2000, the pouches became a standard feature in the depiction of the utility belt.

One feature added to the utility belt in Tim Burton's live-action films, Batman and Batman Returns, was a small motor which would move items from the back of the belt around to the front allowing Batman easier access to his weaponry and tools.[4]

A common gag amongst comic fans is Batman's apparent ability to carry a tool for almost every eventuality on his belt, all prefixed with the word 'bat', such as bat-cookies, bat-milk and bat-shark repellent. Often, especially in the Adam West series, Batman could carry everything needed for a particular scenario, from typical batarangs to a miniature batphone which remotely linked to the one in the Batmobile.

DescriptionEdit

Although seemingly unremarkable in appearance, the utility belt is one of Batman's most important tools in fighting crime. Consisting primarily of a strap and buckle, the utility belt houses ten pouches or cylindrical cartridges that are attached to the outside of the belt. The buckle itself typically contains a miniature camera and two-way radio. A secondary compartment behind the length of the belt houses Batman's supply of batarangs.

Each of the ten pouches or cylinders contains various tools integral to Batman's war on crime, with the cylinders being interchangeable with each other. Through the years, Batman has modified the contents of his belt to accommodate various crime-fighting scenarios.

Most versions of the belt contain security features to prevent anyone other than Batman from opening it. In the 2011 video game Batman: Arkham City Batman's belt is shown to be able to electrocute any villain who even touches the belt, as shown when one of Harley Quinn's henchman took it off in the Harley Quinn's Revenge DLC story. However. this does not prevent characters such as Robin from picking up the belt.

During the events of No Man's Land, Batman made use of a simpler workman's belt with larger pockets due to the necessity of carrying more equipment. After No Man's Land, he designed a new bulkier version of the belt, which resembled the workman's belt he wore but with high-tech upgrades and security measures.

In the animated series Batman Beyond, the belt is incorporated into the batsuit Wayne's successor, Terry McGinnis wears, with features such as the buzz blade belt buckle, and button on the buckle to activate the suit's camouflage system. In one episode where a malevolent computer intelligence named Vance seized control of the suit, McGinnis donned one of Wayne's old utility belts, loaded with vintage equipment, to confront the menace.

In the more recent animated series The Batman, the belt contains highly advanced gadgets that allows Batman to summon his vehicles, thaw him out in case of being frozen, and control his surveillance batarangs. The utility belt incorporates security features to prevent anyone other than Batman from wearing or using it. Batman once extended the design of the utility belt to shoulder and chest for carrying a number of vampire-fighting gadgetry such as garlic bombs, the garlic-treated batarangs, vaccine to counteract the vampiric virus, and presumably sacred items commonly known to enable warding off the creatures such as holy water, Christian cross, and rosary in The Batman vs. Dracula when Gotham had an outbreak of vampirism caused by Count Dracula. The extension of the belt would also create a shape of a cross, resembling a Christianity icon.

ContentsEdit

Elements[5][6][7][8][9] of the utility belt at times include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Batarangs:[10] Perhaps the most famous equipment used by Batman, these take the place of firearms, which Batman does not use, as firearms killed his parents. Batarangs are customizable throwing weapons, similar to shurikens, and are collapsible[11] so that a large number of them can fit inside of Batman's utility belt. There are several special varieties of the batarang, aside from the regular type. Explosive batarangs explode once they hit their target. Electric batarangs deliver powerful electric shocks to whatever they come in contact with. These batarangs can electrocute enemies or overload electronic devices.[12] Remote-controlled batarangs[13] let Batman fully steer the batarang via a remote control. These are used when a straight line of sight isn't possible. These batarangs have cameras in them so that Batman can see where they are going.
  • Bolas:[14] Thrown around the feet of Batman's enemies to tie them with a composite-nylon cord. Often causes an escaping opponent to trip. With the push of a button in Batman's glove it can deliver an electric shock.
  • Bat-cuffs:[15] Bat shaped handcuffs, resembling the kind used by Special Forces units. These restraints are made of a lightweight diamond-impregnated nylon overlaying a banded steel core. Using a one-piece design, they slide closed and have to be cut off. Batman has given a special tool with a diamond-edged cutting implement to the Gotham PD for removal.
  • Tracer:[16] Used to track enemies Batman cannot follow closely.
  • Communications device:[17] Often an earbug housed in an ear of Batman's cowl, but sometimes handheld.
  • Line Launcher: A device that shoots out a steel line in both directions making a zip line, or a tightrope to walk on. Seen in the 2009 video game Batman: Arkham Asylum and 2011 video game Batman: Arkham City.
  • Bat-Darts:[18] Tipped with tranquillizers
  • Bat first aid kit:[19][20]
  • Cryo Capsules:[19][20] Small capsules that release a cryonic acid upon the breaking of the shell.
  • Goo gun:[21] A handheld foam projector that fires an adhesive-like substance to incapacitate opponents.
  • Explosive Gel:[22] A foamlike substance which can be remotely detonated for an explosion to demolish walls or hurt enemies. It is contained in a spray device which also acts as a detonator.
  • Cryptographic Sequencer:[23] With this computer-like device, Batman can hack into computer systems, communications frequencies, mechanical locks, etc.
  • Grapple gun:[24][25][26] Used to fire a bat-shaped hook attached to a high-tensile wire line in order to scale sheer surfaces and/or swing across gaps.
  • Night vision bat-goggles:[27] Using Starlite infrared lenses to see thermal output in low light or non-lit situations. Currently built into Batman's cowl.
  • Batlight: A simple but powerful flashlight. Batman uses it in numerous episodes of the animated series, usually when looking for clues, or through private files in the dark. Sometimes replaced by an infrared version that provides illumination viewable only through special eyepieces in Batman's cowl, which allows him to see in the dark without becoming visible himself.
  • Flamethower: a miniature flamethower that was used on BatBane in the "Ghosts of Batman arc"
  • Laser:[28] A strong miniaturized laser used as a cutting tool.
  • Line gun: (Grapnel Gun)[29][30][31] Similar to a grappling hook, the line gun uses a strong clamp attached to a high-tensile wire for scaling surfaces and/or traversing gaps. It can be recovered by releasing the clamp and rewinding the cable. It was based from one that is designed as compact climbing gear for commando units. In Arkham City, Batman receives the untested Grapnel Boost upgrade developed by Lucius Fox after completing AR training mode. It increases the speed of the Grapnel launching Batman high into the air above the target point.
  • Lock pick: Sometimes kept in the gloves instead.
  • Bat Marbles: Rolled down stairs to imitate footsteps. Depicted as a magnetic metal ball in the "Hush" storyline arc.
  • Micro bat-camera:[32] A miniature camera
  • Bat smoke grenades[33] Grenades can contain smoke or any other noxious gas such as anesthesia
  • Rebreather:[34] Allows Batman to breathe underwater or in vacuum. Depending on the writer and/or artist, it may also be incorporated with the gas mask.
  • Smoke pellets:[35] Often used to quickly provide cover for Batman's stealthly exits and entries. Knock-out gas pellets are used as well for non-lethally incapacitating opponents. Lachrymatory and regurgitant agents are deployed by throwing or breaking open the small hardened-gelatin spheroid capsules.
  • EMP Gun:[36] Used to disable any electrical/electronic equipment. As it is too large to fit in the utility belt, it is collapsible and clips to the back of the belt that is normally covered by Batman's cape.
  • Taser: Used by Batman to stun his enemies with an electrical shock to temporarily paralyze them
  • Stun grenades:[37][38] Emits bright light and loud sound to blind and stun enemies.
  • Thermite grenades: An incendiary used to burn[39] through obstacles. In Batman: Year One, the thermite charge ignited accidentally and destroyed the utility belt. Although they are identified as Thermite, it is safe to assume that Thermate is used instead. (The former is a World War II technology which has largely been replaced by the latter.) In Judgement on Gotham (1991), Batman is equipped with a phosphor-based incendiary device.
  • Bat bags: Bags in which to hold evidence.
  • Bat Cookies: In the Scooby Doo episode entitled Scooby-Doo Meets Batman, Batman and Robin gave a batarang-shaped dog treat to Shaggy. Seconds later, Scooby-Doo proceeded to partake of the "bat-cookie" without the knowledge of Shaggy.
  • Bat-Saw used in Batman & Robin to cut through Poison Ivy's vines.[40]
  • Bat-Heater: Mini bat shaped tool used to melt ice.
  • Listening devices: Miniature listening devices or 'bugs', sometimes fired from a modified pistol and used to listen in on criminals' conversations. Used in Batman: The Animated Series.
  • Batrope:[41] Helps Batman slow his descent during rooftop leaps. The Batropes are lightweight and combine the strength of rappelling ropes with the flexibility of a bungee cord. These monofilament de-cel cables tested to 400 lb of support weight. Batarangs are generally thrown to loop around and secure the target.[42] Meanwhile, there's a lanyard attach point[43]
  • Freeze grenades:[44] Seen in the video game Batman: Arkham City.

Grappling gunEdit

The grapple (or line) gun[45][46] (or Batcable[47]), normally allows Batman to scale up or rappel down tall buildings, or swing[48] between Gotham City skyscrapers on successive lines.

A rifle-like grappling gun first appeared in Frank Miller's Batman: The Dark Knight Returns #1. However, the now standard hand-held version of Batman's grappling gun first appeared in the 1989 Batman film. It gradually replaced the batarang and a rope in the comics after artist Norm Breyfogle introduced a grapple gun in Batman #458 in January 1991. That tool became the standard in the subsequent animated series, comics, films, and video games such as Batman: Arkham Asylum.

Similar to a grappling hook and speargun, the line gun uses a strong clamp attached to a high-tensile wire for scaling surfaces and/or traversing gaps. It can be recovered by releasing the clamp and rewinding the cable. It was based from one that is designed as compact climbing gear for commando units. In emergencies with small and powerful explosives he cannot defuse in time, Batman has used the gun on occasion to fasten the explosive to the gun's line clamp to launch it away to explode at a hopefully safe distance.

A magazine of explosively-propelled darts attach to de-cel jumpline reels secured with braking and clipping mechanisms inside the grapnel gun sleeve. "Smart" acceleration motors within the grapnel dart head enables attachment to light aluminum, steel, or concrete masonry. The dart is also engineered for snap-on mini-carabiner or high-test de-cel line, and the state-of-the-art industrial retracting motor attached to the reel is powerful enough to lift several hundred pounds.

In other mediaEdit

Batman (1989 film)Edit

This grapple gun[5][49] was a spring action, speargun-like device that shot a grappling hook and, when needed, paralyzing gas.

Batman ReturnsEdit

The grapple gun[5][50][51] from Batman Returns was based on the first model from the 1989 Batman film. It was revised around the handle. Now, it had more chrome parts. The launcher was now at the lower part, but on the upper surface and it was operated with the thumb.

Batman ForeverEdit

The look of the grapple gun[5][52] changed dramatically for Batman Forever, to fit with the new[53] Batman (Joel Schumacher directed instead of Tim Burton, and Val Kilmer was the star instead of Michael Keaton). Now, it was more powerful and could cut through hard steel and rock, as seen in the opening bank sequence.

Batman & RobinEdit

The grapple gun[5][54] from Batman & Robin was very different from the one from Batman Forever. It can be attached on Batman's glove or the utility belt. The 90 m rope it launches can carry as much as 400 kg.

The Dark Knight TrilogyEdit

The grapple gun[55][56] from Batman Begins was propelled with compressed air works with a magnetic grappling hook. The 31st climbing cable was tested on a load-carrying capacity of Template:Convert/lbScript error. Keeping with the realistic depiction of Batman in this series, the reel of cable is built into Batman's suit instead of the gun - Batman must manually clip the line to his belt buckle to propel himself upwards after firing the hook. Stun pellets which Batman uses against Bane in The Dark Knight Rises.

Batman: The Brave and the BoldEdit

In Batman: The Brave and the Bold, the latest Batman cartoon, the Caped Crusader uses a very different version of the grapple gun. It is in the shape of a bat and fires the bats head which attaches to something then pulls Batman to it.

Bathound uses a belt similar to the Batman in Brave and the Bold in which there is a bat grappling hook along with sleeping powder.

Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham CityEdit

A new array of gadgets and a sophisticated utility belt are introduced in the award-winning video game Batman: Arkham Asylum. As well as the standard Grappling gun and Batarangs, among this belt's contents are explosive gel (a foamlike substance which can be detonated for an explosion to demolish weakened surfaces), a batclaw (a peripheral for the Grappling gun; used to pull objects down from mounts or towards the player), a Line Launcher (device that shoots two horizontal hooks in opposite directions, creating a zipline) and a cryptographic sequencer (hacking device used to short-circuit computerized security systems and tap into shortwave radio communications), as well as Sonic Batarangs and Remote-Control Batarangs. During the game's sequel, Batman: Arkham City, another belt is introduced to players, this one featuring military-like webbing pouches. Along with numerous upgrades to the previous game's gadgets, new belt contents include a Remote Electrical Charge (device that shoots small electric bolts capable of stunning enemies and powering machinery), a firearm disrupter (which, at close range, automatically disables most small arms, as well as disarming bombs), smoke pellets and two ice grenade projectile weapons invented by Mr. Freeze. When Batman asks Alfred to send him the Line Launcher, Alfred asks if he ever tried building bigger utility belt (in order to carry all his gadgets), which Batman confirms he did make a bigger one, but it was too heavy and slowed him down. While playing Tim Drake/Robin Harley's Revenge, while investigating Batman's disappearance, Robin finds a group Harley's henchmen examining & and talking about it (one henchman even dares another to pick it up), who are unable to take or move it thanks to security feature, which sends a surge of electricity thru anyone who picks it up, other than Batman himself or his allies (such as Robin or Nightwing) from obtaining it or accessing its contain (thus keeping it out of the wrong hands). Robin defeats the henchman and deactivates the security feature and takes the belt with him while he searches for Batman. While playing as Batman in Harley's Revenge, Batman loses his utility belt while trying to saving one of the GCPD officer held hostage by Quinn, where one of Harley's henchman removes it after Batman is knocked out by Harley, only for the security function to activate giving him a shock that forces him to drop it, where it remains until Robin retrieves it. After saving Batman, Robin gives his utility belt back to him, allowing Batman to hunt down Harley Quinn and put an end to her plan of revenge. Also each one of Batman's DLC character skins have utility belt that match the design of utility belt's worn by each incarnation of Batman the skins represent.

ReferencesEdit

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