Bruce Wayne is a whole lot of things—billionaire, playboy, secretly Batman—but he's also one of the DC Universe's most prolific dads. That's right, saving Gotham City is all well and good, but our buddy Batman has never met an orphan he doesn't want to adopt, legally or just metaphorically. That’s true even in most of his out-of-continuity tales, like his recent Elseworlds-inspired animated movie, Batman: The Doom That Came to Gotham. In the movie, much like in the comic that inspired it, we learn that Bruce has taken in three very different orphan children, who assist him on his travels and with his studies. They’re not Robins, and that’s not exactly unusual—Bruce’s children aren’t always Robins. But whatever you call him there’s no disputing that the man’s managed to amass a whole flock of wayward wards over the years. Here are seven of the most important.

1) Dick Grayson

Batman's original Boy Friday, the very first Robin, Dick Grayson, was Bruce's "ward" upon his initial introduction back in the '40s. Things stayed like this for quite some time, with the two of them galavanting around fighting crime and absolutely no one calling Child Protective Services about a teenager being put in harm's way. Then, as the continuity of the DCU began to develop (and Crisis-level events began reshaping it), Dick began to grow up and to move on to other roles outside of Gotham. He became Nightwing and eventually was replaced as Robin by a new orphan.

Despite this, however, Dick was actually officially adopted as Bruce Wayne's son—multiple times in multiple stories, even!

2) Jason Todd

Alas, poor Jason Todd. While his legacy as the dubiously moral Red Hood far and away outshines his life as Robin, he did spend some years acting as Bruce's new ward after Dick left home. Jason falls in a weird spot for this, because his introduction actually straddles the continuity-altering events of Crisis on Infinite Earths—meaning he sort of got two unique introductions with two unique sets of personality traits.

In the Post-Crisis world, Jason was—regrettably, famously—not around long enough to be formally or legally adopted by Bruce. Still, even with all their bad blood, we've seen time and time again that Jason really did view Bruce as a father-figure. Check out the whole Under the Hood saga for more on that.

3) Tim Drake

Tim stands apart from the other Robins for a number of reasons, but for the purpose of this list we've got to emphasize that he was definitely not an orphan when he first began working with Batman. That and he's actually maintained the Robin mantle longer than anyone else—there's a reason why so many fans will passionately defend him as their Robin!

Unfortunately, having a living mother and father didn't last very long for him—at least, not in their original continuity. Following the untimely death of Tim's biological family, Bruce eventually did legally adopt him, but it took a while for that to actually come to pass. Specifically, that story can be found in the “Face the Face” arc, which featured Tim and Bruce going up against Harvey Dent.


4) Duke Thomas

A recent addition to the mix is Duke Thomas, who was one of the leaders for the group of fledgling (unsanctioned) Robins who cropped up in Gotham during Bruce's mysterious absence. You can read all about that in the We Are Robin series, and then follow Duke through other books like Batman & the Signal.

Duke lost his parents to Joker venom and has functionally been moved into Bruce's care—though not in any legal sense.


5) Cassandra Cain

Cass Cain first came into the Gotham scene during the “No Man's Land” storyline where she was introduced as a mysterious, mute, highly trained fighter. The daughter of assassin David Cain and the lethal Lady Shiva, Cass's life was largely tragic and brutal, but thankfully she was able to meet and connect with Barbara Gordon who eventually passed the Batgirl mantle on to her.

For a while, Cass was really more Barbara's ward than she was Bruce's, but Bruce did eventually get the paperwork signed to have Cass officially adopted as a Wayne.


6) Stephanie Brown

Steph first came onto the scene as Spoiler, a dubious moral teenage vigilante who befriended Tim Drake during his early days as Robin, but her life didn't stay that simple or cut and dry for very long. Steph briefly took up the Robin mantle herself for a while—before being fired by an angry Bruce. She also died for a while. Don't worry, she got better and eventually graduated to becoming Batgirl. Through much of this, Steph maintained a semi-strained relationship with Batman himself, though she's certainly a part of the family after all these years. She may not have the legal paperwork to prove it—yet—but she still counts.

7) Carrie Kelley

She may be from Earth-31, but how could we leave Carrie Kelley off this list? The Robin of the Dark Knight Returns universe, Carrie was brought into the fold after an aged Batman rescued her from muggers. Like Tim, Carrie also had a biological family who was around (though mostly absent), which negated the need for Bruce to formally adopt her. But she's still a Bat-Family member, through and through.


And Let's Not Forget Damian Wayne

We’re focusing on orphans and wards, but it's easy to forget that Bruce actually does have a biological son. Ironically, their relationship may have needed more work and effort on both of their parts than any of the others. This is largely because Damian was kept secret from Bruce for the majority of his childhood and then unleashed on him by his mother, Talia al Ghul, in an effort to bring Batman down. It almost worked too, except Bruce and Damian eventually figured out a way to live with one another and actually behave like a (honestly still pretty dysfunctional) family. Bruce and Damian's relationship will be explored on screen for the first time in an upcoming movie called The Brave and the Bold, which we can only imagine will feature all kinds of chaos in the best way possible.

Batman: The Doom That Came to Gotham is now available on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray and Digital.

Mason Downey writes about comics, movies and superhero history for Look for more of his work on GameSpot, IGN and Polygon and follow him on Twitter at @rustypolished.

NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this feature are solely those of Mason Downey and do not necessarily reflect those of DC Entertainment or Warner Bros., nor should they be read as confirmation or denial of future DC plans.