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|First Appearance:||Detective Comics #31|
|Used by:|| Batman|
HistoryA batarang is a roughly bat-shaped throwing weapon used by the Gotham City vigilante Batman as a non-lethal ranged attack alternative to firearms, which he rejects outright due to the circumstances of his parents' murder. The name is a portmanteau of bat and boomerang, and are sometimes referred to as batarangs.
Though they are named after boomerangs, batarangs have become more and more like shuriken with time. The earliest depictions were of scalloped, metal boomerangs which were used to attack opponents and returned to the thrower. Variations of batarangs include those which are able to be opened and closed (presumably so they can 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 Batman began using an upgraded grappling hook device. There are also the remote controlled Batarangs.
Nightwing uses his own modified version of a Batarang, which he often refers to as "Wing-Dings", shaped after a bird. Batgirl (both Barbara Gordon and Cassandra Cain) and the current Robin also use Batman's batarangs, but the latter also possesses his own 'R'-shaped shuriken. Robin has also referred to his weapons as "Birdarangs" on occasion.
The original concept of the batarang was developed by Bill Finger.
Batarangs first appeared in Detective Comics #31 (Sept. 1939) in the same year the character was introduced. They have since become a staple of Batman's arsenal, appearing in every major Batman television and movie adaptation to date. Following the backlash against the camp Batman television series, the franchise has avoided the overuse of the "bat-" prefix, other than the Batcave and Batmobile. Though shown prominently, the batarangs are very rarely referred to by name.
In the movie adaptations of Batman, the batarangs shown match the adapted Bat-logo of the respective movie franchise. Batman Returns also featured a computerized version which could be programmed to fly after specific targets. In Batman & Robin, Batarangs came in different designs.
Batarangs are frequently featured in Batman video games as basic projectile weapons. In Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City, batarangs are essential for numerous tasks. Along with a basic batarang Batman can also use a remote-controlled variant and a sonic batarang used for distracting hostiles.
The 2005 Warner Bros. film, Batman Begins showed Batarangs as bat-shaped shuriken used for distraction rather than as weapons, fitting in with Batman's ninja training. Bat-shaped shuriken first appeared in Batman: The Animated Series, although they never gave it a special name.