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Darkwing
Real Name
Michael Bruce Hardt
First Appearance
Batman: Black Robin
Created By
EmeraldJunkie
Affiliations
Batman Family, Batman Incorporated
Abilities
Skilled Hacker,

Mixed Martial Arts, Skilled in Parkour,

Expert Lock Pick.


Mike Hardt was a member of the Bat family while Bruce and Damian were away dealing with Batman Incorporated after Bruce's return. While Bruce was away, Dick Grayson kept the mantle of Batman, and took Mike in as Black Robin. Being 19 at the time, Mike disliked the name Robin because he associated it with children, so he took inspiration from Tim Drake's Red Robin and became Black Robin. He first appeared in Batman: Black Robin #1.

Mike ran away from home at a young age, and spent many of his teen years on the street, but managed to educate himself in the world of thievery and computers, becoming a skilled hacker and lock pick. He also spent some time in Paris and developed skills in parkour, and also had a brief encounter with Batman Incorporated member, Nightrunner. After arriving in Gotham at the age of 19, an encounter with the Joker would find him in the halls of Wayne Manor, and he would taken in by Dick to be his side kick.

It was soon to be discover that Mike was an angry individual, his years of fending for himself on the streets of western europe had groomed him into a violent person, even almost beating Two-Face to death with his bare hands, and almost killing Bane by driving into him with the Bat Mobile before he could inject himself with venom. Dick finally realized this was due to his younger brother, Max, being killed by a English super villain Dupe, who had shot Max after robbing a bank in Mike's home city of Stonehaven. This lead to Mike visiting different countries in Europe honing his skills before heading to Gotham in search of Batman. After he was wounded by Joker, Mike realized he wasn't worthy of being Black Robin, so he returned to Stonehaven and took up the moniker of DarkWing, inspired by Dick's Nightwing moniker.

After the events of Near Death Experience, Mike is located in Stonehaven, searching for the first Dupe who killed his younger brother to bring him to justice.7

History

Origins

Mike was born in the West England city of Stonehaven. Him and his younger brother Max were the victims of abusive parents, and often found themselves beaten for no reason what so ever. This drove Mike to take his brother out into the city to fend for themselves, hoping to eventually get enough money from pick pocketing to help lead him and his brother to a better life. Sadly, this wasn't to be the case, as when Mike was 15, Max was killed by the Super Villain Dupe, who shot him in cold blood when he tried to stop Dupe from robbing a bank. Devastated, Mike left England and started a new in France, meeting up with several street gangs and honing his skills in lock picking and computer hacking. His new found friends, however, would abandon him when french super hero, and member of Batman Incorporated Nightrunner, discovered that they were planning to break into a bank and steal several million euros. But rather than punish the boy, Nightrunner trained him in the skill of Parkour, which allowed Mike to travel across Paris, and thus France, faster.

After leaving France and journeying into Spain, Mike eventually earned enough money to buy a ticket to Gotham City, in search of Batman, who he hoped would help him find Dupe and have him punished for killing his brother. However, upon arriving in Gotham, Mike was mugged of his money and once again found himself living on the streets. This would not be for long, however, and found himself face to face with the cities worst super crimina, The Joker. After a brief confrontation, where Mike questioned the Joker's name, claiming that "[he] isn't very funny" and angered the Joker, but managed to use his skills to disarm him before he could kill Mike. Joker then said that Mike was going to love it in Gotham, and that he looks forward to seeing him again soon. Dick Grayson, under the moniker of Batman, saw the potential behind Mike, so he took him back to Wayne Manor in order to train him to be his sidekick.

But first, Dick needed to know if Mike could be trusted. During Mike's stay at Wayne Manor, Dick pretended to let him over hear a conversation between himself and Alfred, where Dick revealed he was Batman. Shocked, Mike immediately confronted Dick and requested his help, and explained his story. Being reminded of the tragedy that himself and Bruce had both faced at young ages, Dick realized that Mike wasn't too different from them, so he adopted Mike to be his Robin. Mike stated that "Red and Green spandex really isn't [his] style" so he adjusted the suit to bare similarities to the Batsuit and Nightwing's suit, being mostly black and grey, and featuring small pieces of armor, a utility belt and detective vision built into his face mask. Becoming Black Robin, Mike took his place at the side of Batman, and hoped that he eventually would journey back to Stonehaven to find dupe.

Black Robin

Mike's career as Black Robin would begin with him stopping Poison Ivy from poisoning Gotham and by stopping Mr Freeze from stealing several precious computer parts from Wayne Enterprises, and soon became the talk of the town. He enjoyed the life given to him by Dick. His first few months were relaxed, during the day he could comfort himself in a billionaires money and during the night he could take out his stress on thugs. Mike found himself occasionally going on missions by himself, and eventually found himself on the doorstep of the Penguin. After injuring Cobblepot, Penguin put a price on his head, and soon a variety of thugs, including Falcone, Black Mask, among others, were after Mike, believing the easiest way to get to the Bat, and Penguins money, was to kill him. Luckily he managed to fend off the fiends long enough for Dick to arrive and save him. With most of them locked in Arkham, the rest ran scared, and the bounty was dropped. Mike was safe, for now.

After these events it was clear that the super hero life was taking it's tole on Mike. This became evident when during a bank robbery, Two-Face aimed his gun at a child. Fueled by memories of his brothers death, Mike pounced onto Two-Face and began beating him, screaming out his brothers name has he did it. It would take Dick and Tim Drake to get Mike off of Two-Face and bring him to his senses. Two-Face was nearly dead, and Mike was angry. His thirst for revenge was becoming more and more obvious. He claimed to be calm, saying it was a one off, but future events would say other wise.

Bane had developed a new version of his drug, Venom, which was faster acting and it's effects were far more obvious, but it required to be constantly pumped into the blood stream. If not, the user would return to their normal physique, as if they had never taken the drug. Bane was planning on supplying the drug to several thugs and raiding Wayne manor, but Mike discovered his plan before he could execute it. Dick told Mike he was going to deal with it himself, and that after Mike almost killing Two-Face, he should relax. Dick confronted Bane, but found himself over powered by the hulking mass he had become, leading Mike to come to the rescue. With the effects of the new Venom wearing off, Bane was vulnerable, and Mike plowed the Batmobile through the side of the warehouse into Bane, almost permanantely disabling him.

With Two-Face and Bane almost dead, Dick new he would have to do something about Mike. Dick banned him from taking on the role of Black Robin until he could control his rage. Sadly, Mike stormed out of Wayne Manor, and ventured off on his own. He stopped Riddler from destroying Gotham and Black Mask from selling weapons, and even came across Jason Todd, who told him he knew who he was. After a brief discussion, the two of them came under attack by Joker and his thugs, who kidnapped Mike and wounded Jason. Dick arrived at the scene and interrogated Jason, and then looked for Mike. Joker unmasked Mike and discovered who he was, and gave him a long winded speech about how he knew he was going to have fun in Gotham. Mid way through the speech, Dick burst in and startled the Joker, who shot him in the shoulder. Wounding Dick, Joker left, hoping he would bleed out while Mike watched. Luckily Mike's skills in lock picking allowed him to escape from the chains that held him and he gave Dick medical attention. He took the unconscience Dick back to Wayne Manor, said his good byes to Alfred, Jason and Tim, and left. The next morning, Bruce and Damian would arrive home, and ask the question "Where is Black Robin?".

DarkWing

Upon returning home to Stonehaven, Mike made more adjustments to his his suit, adding more bullet proof plates but not restricting the movement. He also added a wrist mounted grappling hook that he could use to swing from roof top to roof top, combined with his parkour abilities, allowed him to traverse Stonehaven with speed. He adopted the name DarkWing, inspired by Nightwing, and began the search for Dupe. After battling the first supervillain the Jester, who was inspired by the Joker, Mike found himself fighting the second Dupe, with the first Dupe either dead or in hiding due to angering the mob. Mob leader Monty Jack took note of DarkWing and realized he would be a problem.

As of DarkWing #5 Mike is currently establishing himself in Stonehaven, operating out of an old Victorian era factory, while fighting off the mob, and villains who bare resembelance to those he fought in Gotham.

Powers And Abilities

  • Skilled Hacker - Mike is an extremely skilled hacker and has the ability to hack into a majority of computer and communcations systems. He uses these abilities to discover Bane's plan.
  • Master Detective - Hardt is a world class detective on par to the likes of Batman. He was rigorously trained by the Dark Knight in everything from escapology to criminology, fencing, stealth, disguise, and numerous other combat/non-combat disciplines.
  • Master of Parkour - His parkour skills are almost unmatched, after being trained by Nightrunner. His abilities allow him to traverse all urban terrain with speed and this ability allows him to get across Gotham and Stonehaven with little effort.
  • MMA Expert - He trained himself in MMA in order to better survive on the streets, and his combat expertise allow him to fight off several armed thugs at once and then beat them into submission. While Batman initially dislikes this, he realizes that it is a skill in their favour and understands that it is best if he uses this skill for good rather than evil.
  • Expert Lockpick - Mike is a master of lockpicking, being able to pick all locks with a bobby pin and a screwdriver. Paired with his hacking abilities, he can break into all buildings with little effort.

Equipment

DarkWing Suit: Mike has had two suits. His first suit he used during his time as Black Robin was a suit constructed out of Nomex fire-resistant, triple-weave Kevlar-lined material that protected him from a majority of small arms fire and knives. But feeling unprocted, he added steel toe capped boots, and more armour panels. Opting for black and grey over red, green and yellow, the Black Robin costume is darker than most other Robin suits. He also stole Batman's spare utility belt and added his own version of Batarangs. After heading back to Stonehaven, he adjusted the suit once more, adding even more armour and wrist mounted grapple hooks. On his chest he originally had a large black bird stretched across, but it painted it red when he became DarkWing. His suit is somewhere between the Batsuit and the Nightwing suit in terms of tailoring.

DarkWing Mask: His mask comes with built in detective vision that not only protects his identity but allows him to see through walls and examine crime scenes. He also has a night vision mode that allows him to see in the dark. That he spends alot of time in.

Wrist mounted Grapple Hooks: Claimed to be inspired by "Some super hero wannabe in new york", Mike added these so he could traverse cities faster. They allow him to grapple to high places and swing from place to place with ease.

DarkWing Boots: The boots are tailor made for parkour and are spring loaded to allow him to jump higher and further. They are also extremely light weight.

Trivia

  • Despite spending almost a year in Gotham, he never met Bruce Wayne, the original Batman, who he had journeyed to Gotham to meet. Bruce and Damian were away further expanding Batman Incorporated.
    • Incidentally, the first thing he see's in Wayne Manor is the painting of Bruce and the Bat family.
  • When he first meets Jason Todd, Jason claims that his Robin outfit was "less motorcycle fetish". This is what Joker says to Jason when he first introduces himself as Red Hood.
  • All of the Villains he encounters in Stonehaven resemble villains in Gotham:
    • The Jester is similar to The Joker. And even announces that he is "Better than the clown prince.
    • Dr Cold is similar to Mr Freeze. However, Dr Cold's story resembles Post-Crisis Mr Freeze's origin story, with him looking for a cure for his wife, rather than the New 52 origin.
    • Dupe, and the second Dupe, could be considered similar to Clayface since they attempt to mimic DarkWing, among others.

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