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All The Times Bruce Wayne Went Broke In Batman Stories

For many casual fans, Bruce Wayne is one of the wealthiest guys in comics. It's become a common attribute of his character to have billions of dollars at his disposal. After all, maintaining a playboy lifestyle while moonlighting as a crime-fighting vigilante isn't cheap, especially when something known as the "Bat-Plane" is involved with a particular story.

Batman's done plenty of extravagant things over the years. From buying a bank to save Ma Kent's house in "Justice League" to funding the activities of the League in the animated series of the same name, it's clear Bruce Wayne has no problem throwing money around like it's going out of style. However, that doesn't mean the character's always so flush with cash.

There have been quite a few times over the years when Batman's bank account has been a tad sparse. While he usually still has some money handy, here are some of the times when Batman's had to squeeze a few oversized pennies.

Batman and Robin lose all their dough from embezzlement

The cover page of Detective Comics #105 really says it all. Right there in big, bold letters, it says, "The Batman Goes Broke," complete with an image of Batman and Robin sitting on the Batmobile with a couple of old-timey bindles. In this storyline, Bruce Wayne loses all of his money when the treasurer of his Motor Firm departs Gotham with all of the investors' money, forcing Bruce to pay back nearly $3 million. 

$3 million doesn't exactly sound like a lot for Batman to have on a good day, but losing all of it is enough to devastate his finances. As such, the dynamic duo is forced to get real jobs that pay actual money instead of pursuing their usual crime-fighting duties. Dick Grayson gets a job selling papers, and after a full day of work, comes home with $1.35, which was probably a lot of money when the issue first came out in 1945. Even Alfred helps out by mowing lawns, offering $3.75 for a hard day's work. 

Fortunately, the pair manage to find the Motor Firm embezzler and get all of their money back by the issue's end. It's a good thing, too. It would've taken quite a while for the Bat-family to get all of their money back, only bringing in a couple of bucks a day.

He somehow lost all his money in The Dark Knight Rises

Bruce Wayne may have been a baller for the first two installments of Christopher Nolan's "Dark Knight" trilogy, but for the last half of "The Dark Knight Rises," he loses all of his cash. This happens when Bane (Tom Hardy) and his henchmen lay siege to the Gotham Stock Exchange. While there, Bane hacks into Bruce Wayne's (Christian Bale) accounts via a stolen fingerprint to leave Bruce bankrupt. In a state of desperation and ousted from the Wayne Enterprises board, Bruce puts Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard) in charge, who's secretly working with Bane all along so that the pair can gain access to a converted neutron bomb. 

But until Bruce gets thrown into the Pit, he's broke. They even manage to cut off the power to Wayne Manor shortly after he loses all of his cash. Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman) offers a glimmer of hope, saying that they may be able to prove fraud in the long term, but the real question is how they wouldn't be able to do that in the short term. 

The Atlantic ran a piece after the movie came out detailing why Bane's plan wouldn't work in real life, namely how a terrorist attack on a stock exchange would likely halt all transactions for that day, at least. Still, it's one of the few times in the character's history where he couldn't even afford to keep the lights on.

Thanks to Joker, Batman lost all his money in the comics recently

Whenever Bruce Wayne's money is in jeopardy, the issue resolves itself relatively quickly. However, there was one recent arc where Batman's reversal of fortune actually stuck. 

It's all thanks to the Joker War that overtook Gotham, which at one point resulted in Joker stealing all of Bruce Wayne's money to the tune of $100 billion (via Polygon). Catwoman ends up stealing it back, but she gives it to Lucius Fox, who's unable to return it to Bruce for fear of invoking the wrath of government agencies and the public. Everyone's looking at that money like a hawk, and even though in the past Bruce could funnel funds into his Batman efforts without worry, that's no longer the case. He doesn't have access to any of his cash, which means he's broke. 

This change of affairs continued to affect Batman for some time. In 2021's "Justice League #63," Batman finally asks Oliver Queen who's funding the Justice League, to which he responds he's been covering the tab. Over the past few years, there have been ample stories of Batman being resourceful and discovering that he can be just as effective a crime-fighter when he doesn't have billions of unchecked dollars at his disposal. It just goes to show that Batman doesn't need money to be powerful. He just needs to be the Batman.