Imagine peering into the depths of the criminal mind, unlocking its terrible secrets. I, Professor Hugo Strange, bring you the next generation in crime-fighting technology. The Digitally-Advanced Villain Emulator, or D.A.V.E. D.A.V.E. is made up of the combined psychological profiles of the most diabolical criminals committed to Arkham Asylum. Designed to mimic their very thought patterns, D.A.V.E can be relied upon to better catch these criminals, even anticipate their crimes before they're committed. D.A.V.E.'s artificial intelligence is so advanced, he doesn't even realize he's a computer program.
Hello Gotham, I am D.A.V.E. For years you have listened to the idle threats of criminals who have vowed and failed to bring this city to its knees. Well, I am no ordinary criminal. I am Gotham's ultimate criminal mastermind. And I'm about to prove that even the most heavily secure institutions can't prevent me from committing the ultimate crime, a crime of such scope and genius that soon all of Gotham will be mine.
~ D.A.V.E announcing himself to Gotham City.
D.A.V.E. is an antagonist of the TV show The Batman, serving as the main antagonist of the third season's 13th and last episode "Gotham's Ultimate Criminal Mastermind" and issue #34 of the show's comic book tie-in The Batman Strikes!, "Riddlers, Robots & Wreaking Havoc!".
He was voiced by Jeff Bennett, who also played H.A.R.D.A.C. in Batman: the Animated Series.
D.A.V.E. was created by Doctor Hugo Strange. D.A.V.E. stands for Digitally Advanced Villain Emulator. He's an Artificial Intelligence that has the brainwaves of several Batman villains, this allowed D.A.V.E. to guess correctly most of Batman's moves, and can imitate other villains', such as the initial acrobatic feats the Joker was capable of accomplishing or Catwoman's agile gymnastic routines, or the Penguin's mastery of martial arts, making him a tough opponent to battle hand-to-hand. Its robotic body is light, resilient and flexible enough to take on Batman on far more than equal terms. D.A.V.E. is as knowledgeable as the Riddler and Hugo Strange, giving it the psychological advantage; it can hack into any computer and control every machine it encounters.
This metallic "Frankenstein" was allowed to unleash itself upon Gotham by Strange programming it to "escape" from Arkham, and allowed it to lure and study Batman. Though he had set the ultimate trap for Batman in the Batcave- having deduced Batman's identity via an elaborate process of elimination- which would either expose Batman's identity or kill Alfred, D.A.V.E. hadn't planned on Batman using reverse logic on him. He was defeated when Batman questioned D.A.V.E's own origins as D.A.V.E didn't have an actual origin, even being unaware that he was a computer program. Although D.A.V.E. knew of the origins of others, he didn't know the origin of himself- or even that he wasn't even human. After Batman told him this, it bought him enough time to crush D.A.V.E. under the giant penny kept within the Batcave that had been rigged to crush Alfred in the death-trap. Alfred then stated that D.A.V.E.'s flattened remains would make for the "ultimate addition" to the Batcave's trophy room.
It turned out that Hugo Strange was the one who let D.A.V.E. "escape" in the first place, wanting to pit his creation against Batman as the utimate test and to unveil his identity to all of Gotham and the world. When Batman found out, Strange was arrested for endangering the city and placed alongside his patients in Arkham Asylum.
Riddlers, Robots & Wreaking Havoc!
Despite not appearing again on the show, Issue 34 of the tie-in comic The Batman Strikes! entitled "Shtick Shift" reveals that D.A.V.E. did indeed somehow survive his encounter with the Dark Knight.
After being crushed by the giant penny, D.A.V.E.'s remains were placed within the trophy room with Batman's other case-related memorabilia, where he managed to amazingly bring himself back online and piece himself back together in an imperfect manner, as well as make a stealthy escape that went unnoticed by the Bat Family. The AI was left constantly sparking from his joints and head, the glass framing his face was cracked, his voice constantly glitched in between words, and he lacked his usual labcoat. More importantly, his altercation with Batman had seemingly erased his memory of the hero's true identity and fragmented much of the personalities he had installed- the only one left intact was that of the Joker, leaving D.A.V.E. to actually believe that he seriously was the villain, even adopting his usual laughs and wise-cracking speech patterns. He even wore a purple boutonnière on his chest to emulate the madman and didn't seem to notice (or even care) about others constantly pointing out that he was a machine and not the Joker himself. Another persoality that seemed to stay was the Riddler's persona, intertwined with that of the dominant Joker identity. This resulted in D.A.V.E. structuring corny jokes in the way the Riddler presented his brain-teasers to his victims.
Somehow D.A.V.E. found his way to the Riddler's newest hideout and, proclaiming that he was the Joker all the while, challenged the Prince of Puzzles to a contest to see who the better villain was. Riddler was confused and disinterested until the robotic imposter revealed that he had managed to capture Batman and imprison him within a massive plastic container like an action figure. If Riddler managed to win, D.A.V.E. would allow him to keep Batman and do whatever he pleased with him. Relishing the chance to test his intelligence against an AI and capture his greatest foe, Riddler accepted. The two villains began their contest by luring in the attention of Robin and Batgirl through Commissoner Gordon, informing them of Batman's capture. Both sidekicks were made to seperately navigate a building filled with death-traps while getting directions by answering the jokes and riddles of the villain assigned to them (D.A.V.E. being Batgirl's guide and Riddler with Robin). Whichever villain killed their prey was the winner, although neither noticed Batman using acid-pellets from his utility belt to melt the plastic casing around him.
Both heroes eventually avoided the traps set for them and broke into the control room where Riddler and D.A.V.E. were arguing about each other's methods. With Batman already free from his prison, Robin took out the Riddler with a single jump-kick, knocking him out. D.A.V.E. moved in to slam Batgirl with an overhead smash, but the young heroine quickly rushed him and electrocuted his already damaged chest with a taser. The shock short-circuited the mechanical villain, sending him crashing to the floor in a heap. While the Riddler was most likely sent to Arkham Asylum, it is unknown what the heroes did with D.A.V.E. afterward. Although this is the villain's only appearance in the comics, his fingers and limbs are still seen twitching after Batgirl shocked him, indicating that he may not have been fully destroyed, leaving D.A.V.E.'s true eventual fate unknown.
Powers and Abilities
Not only am I smarter than you, Batman... I am faster and stronger.
~ D.A.V.E. as he overwhelms Batman with a barrage of hits and punches him from one rooftop to another.
Don't let my appearance fool you, Batman. My mind is most human. Or should I say, superhuman?
~ D.A.V.E. as he battles Batman.
Being a machine, D.A.V.E. naturally has a very durable metallic body and packs immense strength. He stands taller than Batman and since he possesses the knowledge and skills of all of Batman's enemies up to that point, D.A.V.E. can not only match but surpass Batman when it comes to fighting skills, as shown during all three of their first encounters where Batman was mostly on the defensive, unable to land a blow or even hurt D.A.V.E., giving him more trouble than any villain beforehand and beating him three times consecutively, also unique to D.A.V.E. among the villains in the series.
His computer mind also allows him to think considerably faster than a human, able to find a four-digit password in seconds and granting him higher intelligence than Batman, especially since he has data on just about everything relevant in the city, which allowed him to uncover Batman's true identity.
You probably want to know how I uncovered your secret. It was simple, really. Using information readily available to anyone, I began by narrowing down Gotham's population of 750,832 males. Those not falling inside the Batman's probable age range of 18 to 36 were eliminated. Medical records revealed body type matches. Tax records indicated those who possess the wealth and resources to create his technology. But the true key to the puzzle was deducing who of the remaining candidates had motive to become the Batman. After all, every great hero must have an origin. And once Gotham's ultimate criminal mastermind put it all together, the answer was obvious. Bruce Wayne, son of the late Thomas and Martha Wayne. [D.A.V.E. shows newspapers on the Batcave's screen, the front pages showing Batman's parents following their deaths]
~ D.A.V.E. reveals how he came to find the truth about Batman.
Whether it's coincidence or intentional, D.A.V.E.'s eyes are the exact same as Brainiac's three-orbed triangular symbol, but reversed. Since D.A.V.E. and Brainiac are highly powerful and extremely intelligent machine-like organisms and fairly big threats towards their respective heroes, it's possible Brainiac influence D.A.V.E.'s creation.