The Bat Family, or Bat Squad (also referred to as the Batclan, B-Team, or simply The Bats), is the informal name for a group of persons closely associated with the Batman. Generally the group is made up of costumed vigilantes who either have been trained by Batman or operate in Gotham City with his tacit approval. The group functions like a tactical unit of similarly-minded superheroes who operate in and around Gotham, with Batman as its team leader and, in many cases, its dispatch.
Various members of the group are usually seen interacting with one another and assisting in each other's cases. Although some members occasionally resent Batman’s intrusion into their lives, all respect him as a legend within the superhero community and rarely dare to challenge his authority. Most of the members also have a strong rapport with the Dark Knight due to their long and close relationships with him over the years, and consider him a close friend and ally, and acknowledge that he most likely shares that sentiment, no matter how adverse he is to actually showing it. It has also been implied through Batman's history that the members of this group, particularly members of the inner circle, serve as a surrogate family for Batman and keeps him from slipping too far into his ruthless vigilante persona.
While primarily a solo-vigilante Batman would soon discover that he would need help in his war against crime and, while sometimes enlisting the help of other superheroes, he would eventually gain a protege' in Richard Grayson who would become the first Robin. Following this, the introduction of Ace the Bat-Hound and the appearance of the first Batwoman created the first encarnation of the group.
Following Batwoman's death the Batman and Robin team would be joined by a Batgirl, Barbara Gordon. Through the years Batman's 'family' of vigilante heroes would grow and with each member came varying degrees of effectivity on the Gotham crime rate. Unlike other 'families' such as the 'Superman Family', the 'Marvel Family' or the 'Flash Family' the Bat Family largely does not possess meta-human powers, instead each member is highly trained, sometimes supremely trained, in combat arts, detective sciences and the like to keep on par with other superpowered opponants and allies.
The Bat Family is widely regarded in the superhero community as one of the darkest of the heroing groups, namely because of the group being headed and influenced by none other than Batman himself, but it is also because of this that each member of the group is regarded with respect despite nearly none possessing any meta-human powers. For example each Robin (and by extension Nightwing) nearly always becomes the leader of the superhero team they are in (Teen Titans, Titans, Outsiders, Young Justice, Justice League) and the Batgirls are among the most respected of the female heroing community.
However the team is not without it's black sheep and due to the dark mind-sets of its members a wayward 'Bat' can become a potentially dangerous opponant. A chief example is the wayward Jason Todd, previously the 2nd Robin, who's vigilantism methods do not possess a 'no killing' rule and Batman himself who, from time to time, sometimes falls to the darkness he fights and relies on the rest of his 'family' to bring him back as his 'guiding light'.
Bruce Wayne: The "patriarch" of the team, young Bruce Wayne witnessed the brutal murder of his parents as a child, and used this trauma and his vast personal wealth to travel the world and acquire the skills needed to wage his war on crime and became the first Batman. After returning from his apparent death and disappearance at the hands of Darkseid, Wayne reasoned that his return to the present would be the appropriate time to escalate Batman's war on crime to a global scale. To that end, he revealed to the public that he had been secretly funding Batman's activities for years (stopping short of admitting that he is Batman) and would use a new corporation, Batman Incorporated, to take Batman and his mission across the world.
Richard Grayson: An orphaned child acrobat who originally served as Batman’s first sidekick, Robin, and became Bruce Wayne's ward and later adopted son. As an adult, he took up the identity of Nightwing, and served as protector of Bludhaven, until its destruction. In the wake of Bruce Wayne's apparent death, he began serving as the new Batman. After Wayne's return, Grayson continues operating as Batman in Gotham City while Bruce Wayne himself takes to the world as the head "general" of Batman Incorporated.
Timothy Drake: Another teenage crime fighter who took-up the mantle as the third Robin to assist Batman after the death of Jason Todd. After the last of his living family is murdered, he is adopted by Bruce Wayne. In the aftermath of Bruce Wayne's death and Damian taking up the mantle of Robin, Drake takes the identity of Red Robin to begin a global search for evidence of Bruce Wayne still being alive. Following Bruce Wayne's return, Drake began creating his own global corporation known as the Neon Knights as a support group for homeless and gang-affiliated kids.
Damian Wayne: The son of Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul, Damian Wayne is a brash and arrogant boy. Spoiled, but deadly, he was a trained assassin who has forsaken his mother and birthright to fight alongside his father. Now, as the fifth Robin, Damian works under the guidance of the originator of the role, Dick Grayson.
Barbara Gordon: The niece and adopted daughter of Gotham police commissioner James Gordon, Gordon became the initiator of the current Batgirl mantle after donning a Bat-themed costume to a costume ball. After she was left paraplegic by the Joker, she became Oracle, the information broker to the DC Universe, and founded a covert team of female operatives called the Birds of Prey.
Cassandra Cain: A martial arts prodigy and daughter of the assassins David Cain and Lady Shiva. Batman and Oracle groomed her as the next Batgirl. After abandoning this role due to being influenced by Deathstroke and her father and drugged, she briefly became leader of the League of Assassins before being freed by Timothy Drake. She has since been legally adopted by Bruce Wayne as his daughter and initiated the creation of the Network; a support network for the Bat Family. Following Batman's will in the event of his death or disappearance, Cassandra willingy handed over her Batgirl mantle to Stephanie Brown before leaving Gotham City. Timothy Drake is revealed to have been in regularly contact with her, implying that she is now an anonymous agent to Batman in Hong Kong.
Stephanie Brown: The daughter of the criminal Cluemaster, Brown became a teenaged superhero known as the Spoiler to thwart her father's crimes and became Timothy Drake’s love interest. Upon Drake's temporary retirement as Robin, she replaced him as the fourth hero to use the name. Following being fired for failing to follow Batman's orders she was tortured by Black Mask and faked her death on the request of Dr. Leslie Thompkins before returning to Gotham and fighting alongside Batman and his team once more. In the aftermath of Cassandra Cain abandoning the role of Batgirl, Stephanie takes up the costume in the midst of trying to live a "normal life" and fights crime as the new Batgirl.
Alfred Pennyworth: The Wayne family butler and confidant to the Batman Family; raised Bruce Wayne after his parents were killed and continues to see to his well being by providing personal support to members of Bruce's inner circle.
Selina Kyle: As Catwoman, Selina Kyle was one of Batman's early adversaries. In later years, she became his frequent love interest and defender of Gotham City's East End. One year after the events of Infinite Crisis, she retired (allowing Holly Robinson to take the mantle of Catwoman) and gave birth to a baby girl named Helena. Following a series of kidnappings of her baby, Selina gives her daughter up for adoption and returns to being Catwoman.
Katherine "Kate" Kane: After being dismissed from the military for being lesbian, Kattherine Kane lived a directionless party-girl heiress life until a chance encounter with Batman inspired her to find a new calling in life, later adopting the mantle of Batwoman.
Helena Bertinelli: The Huntress is the daughter of a slain mafia family. She rejected crime and took to patrolling Gotham as an antiheroine whose initial extreme measures earned her Batman's ire. Now serving as an agent of the Birds of Prey, Helena as since tempered her methods some and earned Batman's respect as an affiliate.
Onyx Adams: Originally a member of the League of Assassins now reformed, Onyx was hired as Orpheus' bodyguard and protector. She took up his position as gang leader after Orpheus' death. A bond developed between Onyx and Cassandra Cain. After the events of Infinite Crisis she has remained an active vigilante and a contact of Oracle
Hiro Okamura: A 13 year-old genius from Japan, Okamura was recruited by Kon-el and Timothy Drake after he successfully created the composite Superman/Batman ship that saved Earth from a kryptonite meteorite. He now works with Batman to create custom-equipment and weapons, replacing Harold Allnut.
Batman and the Bat Family have a strong (though secret and unofficial) working relationship with the Gotham City Police Department.
James Gordon: One of the oldest associates in Batman's war on crime, and one of his most important, Gotham City Police Commissioner James Gordon was one of the few remaining honest cops in Gotham on the advent of Batman's career. Quickly becoming commissioner of the department, Gordon attempts to rid Gotham's police of corruption while secretly supporting and assisting in Batman's activities to clean up Gotham City and protect the innocents.
Renee Montoya: Once a highly respected member of the Gotham City Police Department's Major Crimes Unit, Detective Renee Montoya left the force after becoming dissillusioned with the failures of the system. Mentored by a dying Vic Sage, he left her with the role as the new Question and his legacy as a crime-fighting detective. She is an ally of both Batman and the Huntress, a trusted friend to James Gordon and Harvey Bullock and is a former lover of the second Batwoman, Kate Kane.
Harvey Bullock: A longtime adversarial member of the Gotham City Police Department, Lieutenant Harvey Bullock has grown to respect Batman, however begrudgingly. Bullock is one of Gordon's most trusted officers and was a longterm partner to former Police Detective Renee Montoya.
Jason Bard: An officer of the Gotham City Police Department until he was crippled in a shooting, Bard became a private investigator and dated Barbara Gordon until her own crippling at the hands of the Joker. Following Batman's one year absence from Gotham, Bard was hired to be Batman's daytime liaison.
Becoming fed up with the politics and practices of the Justice League, Batman formed the Outsiders to have his own unit to perform on his terms. Drifting through various incarnations, Batman restarted the team and operated as its leader until his abduction by Darkseid. In the wake of his death, he charged Alfred with assembling and maintaining a new team of Outsiders in an attempt to replace all of the individual skills of Batman through the various members.
Tatsu Yamashiro: Having witnessed the deaths of her husband and children at the hands of her Yakuza brother-in-law, Tatsu mastered the art of the samurai and left for America where she intended to use her talents to fight for justice and revenge. She took the codename "Katana" after the sword that she wielded, the mystical sword known as the Soultaker.
During her quest for vengeance she crossed paths with and assisted Batman (Bruce Wayne), later becoming recruited by him as a founding member of the Outsiders.
Brion Markov: When the country of Markovia was invaded by the usurper Baron Bedlam, Prince Brion was endowed with super powers by the science of Doctor Helga Jace in an attempt to repel Bedlam. With the powers of the planet Earth, (which includs gravity, earth control, lava blasts and superstrength) Prince Brion was aided in his efforts by Batman (Bruce Wayne), Metamorpho, Black Lightning, Katana and Halo. After Bedlam's attempts at usurpation was put down, Prince Brion moved to Gotham City where he learned how to better use his abilities unde the tutelage of Batman, eventually becoming a founding member of the Outsiders.
After surviving a trap where he was trapped warping through time by Darkseid, Bruce Wayne returned to Gotham to begin a new phase in his war on crime by creating a global network of "Batmen" to broaden his activities.
Cyril Sheldrake: Originally the Squire to the first Knight, Cyril took his father and mentor's place as the Knight after his death. He is the Batman-varient of England.
Beryl Hutchinson: A young lady with a preternatural gift for all languages. She and her family took Cyril Sheldrake in after his father died. Following Cyril's recovery and acceptance of the mantle of the Knight, Beryl joined him as the Squire, the Knight's traditional sidekick.
William Eagle: Formely the sidekick Little Raven, Eagle became Chief Man-of-Bats and a masked protector to local reservation when his son was still a young boy, demonstrating great skill in the field as both a hero and a physician. Eventually his son became his sidekick Little Raven and later graduated into his own persona, Raven Red.
Jiro Osamu Operating as the second Mr. Unknown after his mentor, the first Mr. Unknown, was slain by his nemesis. Osamu now serves as a probationary member of Batman Incorporated as their Tokyo agent.
Bilal Asselah: A native Parisian and French citizen. Bilal's Muslim upbringing makes him a minority, living in a nearly exclusively French Algerian Muslim neighborhood, Bilal and a friend were caught in suburban riots that led to his friend's involvement in extremist groups. Bilal believed in his convictions and was not an extremist, leaving him safe when his friend became a suicide bomber. Taking solace in parkour and free-running Bilal became an superb athlete, able to fly through the rooftops of Paris and run up and down its buildings. Unable to sit idly by while wrongdoings went unpunished and criminals endangered and tempted the innocent and pious, Bilal had to take action. Donning a mask and becoming a crime fighter called Nightrunner.
Don Santiago Vargas: A successful and accomplished hero known as El Gaucho in Argentina. Vargas is a former lover of Kathy Kane.
George Cross: Known as the English vigilante, the Hood, Cross is a wealthy environmental activist and masked crime fighter modeled after the legend of Robin Hood and stories of Gotham City's Batman.
Dark Ranger: The Australian member of the Club of Heroes and originally called the Ranger, he had a partner called Scout much like Batman's Robin. Over time the Ranger began to utilize more technology and tried to match the growing aggression of his foes by rechristening himself "Dark Ranger." Armed with a non-lethal pulse gun and with his handy jet pack, Dark Ranger was a successful hero in Australia before being killed by fellow former Club of Heroes member Wingman at John Mayhew's island retreat. Scout has since taken the mantle of his mentor as the new Dark Ranger.
Katherine "Kathy" Kane: Heiress to the Kane fortune and an agent for the intelligence agency known as Spyral, Kathy Kane became the heroine known as Batwoman to seduce Batman and discover his identity, however in the process she fell for him and actively defended him from her employers until her death at the hands of the League of Assassins.
Jean Paul Valley: A genetically modified assassin of the Order of St. Dumas who once replaced Bruce Wayne as Batman when he was badly injured by Bane. Valley defeated Bane, but grew increasingly paranoid and violent. Bruce was forced to reclaim the mantle of the Bat. Valley returned to the Azrael identity and attempted to regain Batman's trust. After many years, he managed to find his way back into Batman's graces and served as an "Agent of the Bat" until his death.
Harold Allnut: Formally working for the Penguin, Harold was an aide of Batman's who helped design, make, and repair many of his gadgets in the Batcave. Harold was later killed by Hush.
Gavin King: An agent of a shadowy organization that had outfitted him with crimefighting equipment and training to become the vigilante known as Orpheus. He became one of Batman's agents and posed as a crime boss in Batman's attempt to control Gotham's underground gangs, but was later killed by Black Mask.
Sasha Bordeaux: Bruce Wayne's former bodyguard and a former partner and lover. She is now Black Queen of the government organization called Checkmate as well as a partial OMAC cyborg.
Jason Todd: A troubled youth apprehended by Batman while attempting to steal the tires off the Batmobile. Recognizing promising skills in the youth, Batman took Jason in and trained him to become the second Robin. He later was killed by the Joker on a quest to find his mother. Six months later, he was resurrected in a damaged state before being healed by Talia al Ghul. He went on to adopt the identity of the second Red Hood, an identity previously held by the Joker. Sent on a tour of the Multiverse with Donna Troy and Kyle Rayner, Todd briefly adopted the identity of Red Robin after meeting the Batman of Earth 51, before seemingly abandoning that identity and costumed heroism altogether once more.
Some time later, Jason attempted to take the mantle of Batman by force after Bruce Wayne's apparent death, but he was stopped by Dick Grayson. He has since resumed his role as the Red Hood, recently terrorizing Gotham and the new Batman and Robin.
Harvey Dent: The former District Attorney of Gotham City and ally of Batman, following a facial disfigurement and release of a split personality, Dent became known as the villain Two-Face. He was deemed cured after his facial reconstruction surgery by Dr. Thomas Elliot. Dent was requested by Batman to watch over Gotham City during his one year absence with Robin and Nightwing. Dent's style of justice has been more brutal than Batman's precision-style vigilantism. Upon Batman's return to Gotham, a series of grisly murders of several members of Batman's rogues gallery forced Dent to seccumb back into his Two-Face psych.
Leslie Thompkins: A life long friend of Thomas Wayne and Bruce's godmother. She is a strict pacifist and used to run a rehabilitation clinic for criminals and drug addicts. While always disapproving of his violent methods in stopping crime, she had a falling out with the Batman after Stephanie Brown's apparent death.
Ace the Bat-Hound: A German shepherd with a black mask covering most of his head. Ace served as a guard dog in the Batcave and later as a companion to Harold Allnut. Ace has not appeared since the "No Man's Land" earthquake.
Musketeer: Formerly the "Batman" of France, the Musketeer killed his arch nemesis in battle and was committed. Now a celebrity, having sold his story of success, failure and healing as a book and potential movie. Somewhat of a sellout who has expressed a desire to remain retired from heroics, the Musketeer still came out to Gotham City to help Batman alongside his fellow former members of the Club of Heroes.
While many sources would say that the "family" was first formed with the formation of the partnership between Batman and Robin, Bruce Wayne actually first received the continuing support of his butler, Alfred Pennyworth, in creating the foundations for the Batman persona and continued assistance in supporting Batman behind the scenes as emotional support, and medical and technical assistance.
Other superheroing groups feature the presence or the distant influence of the Bat Family. With groups like the Justice League, Teen Titans and the Outsiders always featuring at least one Bat Family member, sometimes two. Even the experimental Justice League Elite contained a Bat Family member, although this was unknown to the other members.
The Bat Family train around many scenarios; scenario 327 has one of the team acting as a 'damsel in distress' to destract as the rest of the team ambushes the opponent.