There have been a few different visions of what Batman looks like in a future where the mortal Bruce Wayne has to step down due to old age or an untimely demise. Batman Beyond might be the most prominent example, which sees a young lad named Terry McGinnis step in while the elder Bruce Wayne doles out orders at mission control. Later on, Terry is revealed to be a clone of Bruce, created by the government in hopes that the world would always have a Batman. Though that revalation is pretty heavy, overall Batman Beyond is somewhat optimistic about the future. The same can't be said for Batman in Bethlehem.
Published in Batman issue #666 (really), this story by Grant Morrison and Andy Kubert envisions a Gotham watched over by Damian Wayne, the biological son of Bruce Wayne and Talia Al Ghul. In current-day comics, Damian is still just a boy, albeit an extremely violent, ruthless, cunning and arrogant boy. He's one of the more compelling youngsters to call themselves Robin, vacillating rapidly between badass and extremely annoying at the drop of a hat. He doesn't seem like the best fit to take on the role of Batman, but in the alternate future of Batman #666, Bruce Wayne is dead and Damian doesn't have much of a choice.
Damian is definitely as skilled or moreso than the other crimefighters in Gotham, but there's one crucial difference: Damian's a cheater. When a rival "Batman" shows up in Gotham and starts wreaking havoc, Damian is more than ready.
Bruce Wayne's Batman would never dream of rigging all of Gotham with traps and explosives just in case it might come in handy. But Damian, raised as an assassin by his villainous mother, believes that the ends justify the means. He'll do anything and everything to protect Gotham, continuing his father's work even though dear ol' dad would probably not approve of his methods.
The fact that Damian sometimes kills bad guys if he deems it necessary isn't the most distinctive part about the character. That would probably go to the part where Damian made a deal with the devil.
As he explains to what appears to be an emissary of Satan dressed as a false Batman, upon Bruce Wayne's death Damian made a blood pact with the Prince of Darkness. Though Damian gained supernatural abilities (including rapid healing), it was at the cost of his own soul.
That was just one of several possible futures for Damian, but one thing remains certain: Damian will go to absolutely any length to do his job. In an issue of Justice League: Generation Lost, we see a superhero team a century in the future that still includes Damian.
The Lazarus Pit, as you might remember, is a restorative pool that grants the user eternal life at the cost of their sanity. Though we don't get to see much of this Mecha-Damian in the comic, it's definitely in line with the one we see in Batman #666. In both cases, Damian shows that he's willing to make a terrible (and maybe unwise) sacrifice in order to keep Batman alive.
And just for fun, here's Damian as Batman in the universe-spanning event book Multiversity, making out with Lex Luthor's daughter Alexis.
That doesn't seem right, but you know... it doesn't seem wrong, either.
Batman's never been one to dabble in the arcane; he much prefers to deal in real-world technology and artifacts than unreliable and unpredictable magical artifacts. But in the right circumstances, Batman will use anything at his disposal to save the day. That's what he has to do in Cullen Bunn and ChrisChross' Sorcerer Kings, a delightful if underseen arc that kicks off when the Superman of our time is thrown into (yet another) alternate future. But instead of an apocalypse of the nuclear or machine takeover variety, this one's a tad different.
As Wizard Batman explains it, the big-league evil warlocks and witches got together and pooled their resources. United, they made an incredible an horrific sacrifice in the name of power: They offered up the sun. Of course, a dead star in the middle of the solar system would mean imminent death for pretty much all life on the planet, so it was up to a few magic users to finagle a way out of that sticky situation. The good guys were able to revive the sun, but it came back in a very different form. This new sun emitted what's basically a permanent electromagnetic pulse, rendering all past and potential future electronic devices useless. Another side effect: The potency of magic all over the world has increased tenfold. Which explains why Batman started investing so heavily in potions and wards as opposed to chemical repellent for aquatic predators.
Fans know that one of Superman's big weaknesses (besides the big K) is magic. So while Supes isn't invulnerable anymore, he is able to banish a horde of Solomon Grundys by hoisting his blade into the air and wishing for it really hard. If that sounds weird and a little rad, just wait til you see where the remaining Justice League meets up:
Oh, yeah. The old-school Hall of Doom. Joined by DC Comics magic users and an ultra-grizzled Aquaman, Batman is trying to find a way to fix the world by fixing the past. The original Superman of this world was killed in the opening pages of the arc, which is why "our" Superman gets brought into the mix. All the while, "our" Batman is back on regular Earth trying to figure out just what the hell happened to Kal-El.
It's a pretty fun story as long as you're willing to roll with the World's Finest out of their element. It's especially cool to see what Batman comes up with when he doesn't have his classic arsenal of gadgets to rely on.
Yes, that is Batman's dragon. That dragon, the giant black beast spewing blue fire, is Batman's new "Batwing." Why they haven't already made a movie out of this is still a mystery to this day.