Zur-En-Arrh’s sleek Batman costume first appeared during the Silver Age of comics, and it’s arguably the Caped Crusader’s best look.
Batman has no shortage of awesome outfits and tactical suits, but there’s no denying that the Dark Knight’s best look is the colorful Batman by Zur-En-Arrh suit. With bright red pants and a cropped shirt, yellow sleeves and a purple cape and hood, this costume that made its first appearance in the Silver Age is definitely a real eye-catcher. While it might not be the best for hiding in the shadows, it’s a sleek and flamboyant ensemble that dares you not to stare at it.
Zur-En-Arrh’s Batman made his first appearance in the 1958 story “Batman — The Superman from Planet X!” of Batman # 113 by France Herron and Dick Sprang. The problem is the perfect encapsulation of the wacky adventures the Caped Crusader frequently found himself in during the Silver Age of Comics. This Batman is the alter ego of Tiano, an alien from the planet Zur-En-Arrh who oversees Batman’s activities on Earth and has modeled his look on the Dark Knight. Tiano transports Bruce Wayne to his home planet to fight an army of robots. When Batman discovers that being on the planet Zur-En-Arrh grants him the same powers as Superman, he and Tiano are able to easily fight the robots. Although Tiano hasn’t made another appearance in the comics, the memory of his incredible outfit lives on.
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While this wacky look could easily have been considered an obscure novelty look from a time when the comics weren’t taken seriously, Zur-En-Arrh’s Batman actually made a much more grounded comeback. During Grant Morrison’s tenure writing Batman comics from 2006 to 2013, he incorporated many of the dumbest stories from times past from the Batman comics and brought them back, reshaping them to fit the current canon. The term “Zur-En-Arrh” first appears as a trigger phrase during an isolation experience that Batman undergoes, and is based on a poor hearing of the words “Zorro in Arkham”, which the father of Bruce Wayne had spoken the night he was shot and killed. “Batman of Zur-En-Arrh” was then established to be a backup personality that Bruce Wayne developed in case his mind was broken, which was the case in the “Batman RIP” story.
Morrison doesn’t just drop the phrase like an Easter Egg for fans, but his story actually brings back the classic costume. After Batman is hit with hallucinogenic drugs, his enemies use the trigger phrase “Zur-En-Arrh” to drive the Dark Knight mad. He ends up on the street and makes a makeshift costume that perfectly matches Tiano’s Silver Age outfit. Gone are the dull blacks and grays and the casual blues that Batman usually wears. This costume is bright and colorful and looks like a billionaire playboy’s fashion should. Meanwhile, Bruce also adopts the character of Batman from Zur-En-Arrh, who is more violent and completely sheds any remnants of Bruce Wayne’s personality. He is finally able to regain his senses with the help of a hallucination that takes the form of Bat-Mite, another wacky creation from the Silver Age.
Unfortunately, once Batman’s spirit is restored, he reverts to his usual boring costume. the Batman by Zur-En-Arrh costume made a cameo appearance during The LEGO Batman Movie, and the story of the Silver Age was told in an episode of Batman: the brave and the daring, complete with colorful outfit. Hopefully he will reappear in the comics someday, where he fits perfectly with the futuristic neon style of Gotham City in Future State. It would help fans realize that he really is the best Batman costume, and DC will make it its permanent costume in all media. After all, who wouldn’t want to see Robert Pattinson wearing red, yellow and purple on the big screen?
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