Wearing a mask to protect their identity and the identity of those they care for. A common reason for a vigilante to don a mask. This one is a bit different because it’s a dog. A dog that impressed Batman and Robin so much they made it a member of the team. So why the mask? What kind of dog, besides a very good dog, is that impressive? Let’s find out!
Ace Wilker was a regular German Shepard who lived with engraver, John Wilker. One day, John went missing and Ace went looking for him. His path crossed that of the dynamic duo, Batman and Robin. The two took the lost dog in and sought out its owner while trying to solve the case of a kidnapped engraver. Ace wound up chasing the two out of the Batcave and ended up helping them on adventures. Due to having a rather distinct mark on his face, Ace was given a mask to keep his identity secret.
Soon, Batman and Robin had put together that Ace belonged to the engraver they’d been searching for. While following a lead, Ace reacted ferociously to several suspects which gave Batman the clue he needed that these men must have been involved in John’s kidnapping. Due to his skills with engraving, he’d been taking and forced to help in a money counterfeiting plan, thankfully Ace was able to bring Batman and Robin to where he was kept and they were able to rescue John. Reunited at last, Ace gave up crime-fighting… for a time.
John’s appreciation for what Batman and Robin had done for him and Ace along with his job keeping him busy, he allowed Ace to stay with them from time to time. Ace would prove a great help in Batman’s war on crime. When criminals would bring in ideas using dogs, Ace was at the front lines to go undercover for Team Batman. Whether masked or unmasked, Ace was a helpful friend in keeping Gotham and the rest of the world safe.
Eventually John’s work would move him from Gotham, knowing Ace had a good life in the city. John would leave Ace in the care of Bruce Wayne, who he knew had contact with Batman and Robin to make sure they’d have access to him if the need ever arose. Now living with the Caped Crusader, Ace would have even more strange adventures such as being granted Krypto the Superdog superpowers for a time due to Bat-Mite. He’d team up with Batwoman and have several adventures on his own. He’d even get his own Batsignal with the use of a high-pitched receiver that would let him know when Batman needed him.
Ace, along with several other characters would disappear long before the Inifinite Crisis but it wasn’t until after that even that another dog would take on the mantle of Bat-Hound. A seeing-eye dog named Dog helped a man named Black Wolf out. When Batman was dealing with criminals within Black Wolf’s tribe, Dog would help Batman out. Sadly, Black Wolk would die soon after this but Batman would adopt Dog and rename him Ace, becoming the new Bat-Hound.
Helping out on occasional cases, Ace and Batman would often spend their time enjoying each others company in the Batcave. When Batman has his back broken by Bane and he left to recover. Ace would go and live with Harold, the Batcave technician. He loved playing with a mechanical mouse built for him. After Gotham becomes a No Man’s Land, Ace is not seen for a long time.
In the New 52, Bruce Wayne obtains a dog for his son Damian. At first the two do not get along but eventually a strong bond is formed. Damian names this dog Titus but he is also called Ace as a nickname, particularly by Bruce.
There you have it! Ace the Bat-Hound tends to hold a strange place in the Batman legacy as both a cute idea and one that just tends to disappear after awhile. Will Titus last long as the latest Bat-Hound? Only time will tell. Either way, we tend to get a Bat-Hound at some time or another. Either way, there’s an Ace watching over an old Bruce Wayne in the animated world. So we have that. See you next time!
Suggested Reading & Viewing
Batman: Brave and the Bold