Lazarus Pit

Lazarus Pit
Publisher DC Comics

A Lazarus Pit is a fictional natural phenomenon appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. Lazarus pits are primarily found in the Batman titles and are commonly used by Ra's al Ghul for their restorative powers.

Fictional history

Ra's al Ghul accidentally discovered natural pools of restorative chemicals while trying to cure a sultan's dying son. He dubbed them "Lazarus Pits", after the Biblical figure who was raised from the dead. A side effect of the pit's restorative abilities revealed itself as the revived prince went mad and killed Ra's al Ghul's wife, Sora. Blamed for his wife's murder, Ra's al Ghul was left to die, buried in the desert, but was soon rescued by his own tribe and a boy named Huwe. Afterward, he used the tribe to gain vengeance for what happened to him and proceeded to call himself the "Head of the Demon".

For centuries, the pits prolonged his life as well as the lives of his uncle and the boy Huwe. He eventually killed the boy, and his uncle went missing. From that time he alone used the pits until he fathered two daughters, Nyssa and Talia. Nyssa has used the pits from time to time but it is unknown if Talia has done so.

It was not until he met Batman that others learned of the existence of the Lazarus Pits. Others who have either discovered or used the pits include Jason Todd, the second Black Canary (Dinah Laurel Lance), the Riddler, Cassandra Cain, Lady Shiva, the Joker, Kobra, Nora Fries, King Snake, Duela Dent, Wonder Woman, and Oliver Queen.

Kobra's Lazarus Pit from DC Special Series #1. Art by Michael Netzer (Nasser).

Kobra analyzed and duplicated the chemical composition of the pits and used this information to build his own network, something Batman would discover during their very first meeting. The unique chemical composition of Kobra's Lazarus Pits enabled him to control the minds of those he resurrected.

Bane and Batman destroyed nearly all the pits. Supposedly only one pit still exists, but there are actually five. The first belongs to Ra's al Ghul's daughter, Nyssa, who discovered a way to use the pits indefinitely (originally each pit could only be used once). The second is located in the Batcave, created by Batman after he learned that the Pits were necessary to maintain the stability of the world, but wanting to keep it out of the reach of Ra's. A third exists high in the Himalayas, the one used by Black Adam to revive Isis. A fourth Lazarus Pit was revealed to exist in the Australian outback, and the fifth is in Tibet.[1]

In "The Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul", it is revealed that Ra's al Ghul has access to a "Fountain of Essence", which has similar abilities but does not appear to confer insanity on the user. Having returned to life in a crumbling body, Ra's seeks a permanent young one to take as host, and he chooses his grandson, Damian. After a fight with the Sensei, who claims to be Ra's al Ghul's father, Batman is stabbed with a cane in the chest and pulls the Sensei down into the pit with him. Because Sensei is healthy, he is killed by the chemicals in the Pit, but Batman is healed fully and rejuvenated.


In the 52 limited series, week 6, Booster Gold enters Rip Hunter's lab to find a chalkboard filled with cryptic clues. One clue was, "The Lazarus Pit RISES."[2]

Powers and composition

Lazarus Pits are composed of a unique unknown green chemical blend that bubbles up somewhere within the Earth's crust to the surface at key points on Earth, typically at the junction of ley lines. The substance possesses the ability to rejuvenate the sick and injured, and even resurrect the dead. The pits also decrease the age of the user depending on how long they stay submerged in the pit. If a healthy person goes into the pits, they will be killed in most instances.

In addition to the pits' regenerative uses, their power has also been used as a weapon. When Nyssa confronts the Injustice Society, she claims that the staves wielded by her soldiers "channel the power of the Lazarus Pits" and have the ability to destroy both Solomon Grundy and Gentleman Ghost.[3]

Side effects

Though Lazarus Pits are undeniably powerful and useful, they come with side effects, both of which happen immediately after the user emerges. The user becomes temporarily insane (although when it was used on the Joker, it temporarily rendered him sane[4]) and gains increased strength for a brief period.


Each of the Lazarus Pits can only be used once for each person. However, Ra's al Ghul's daughter, Nyssa, discovered a way to make the Lazarus Pits last indefinitely, though it has been known to have side effects too. Nora Fries was transformed into a lava-based being and driven permanently insane after using one of Nyssa's pits.

Notable uses

The Lazarus Pits have been used by multiple characters throughout the Batman universe, which include:

Alternate continuities

Superman/Batman: Absolute Power

During an alternate timeline where the original members of the JLA had been killed, Batman never existed as the Waynes never died, and Superman was absent while travelling through time after trying to restore history, Ra's al Ghul conquered the world without Batman to oppose him. Seeking to restore the timeline, Superman recruited Bruce Wayne for aid, restoring enough of his conscious memory of his time as Batman, and using a Lazarus Pit to resurrect Green Lantern, the Flash, Aquaman, and the Martian Manhunter using their skeletons. Though the resurrections were imperfect, creating undead copies of the men they had formerly been rather than complete resurrections, due to short exposure time and the length of time that they had been dead, the heroes lasted long enough for Superman and Batman to confront Ra's and defeat their enemies to restore the timeline to normal.

Superman & Batman: Generations

In Superman & Batman: Generations, after a retired Bruce Wayne makes his way to the League of Assassins' secret headquarters, Ra's al Ghul offers Batman a chance at immortality as he has discovered a means of gaining true immortality (without the madness) from one Lazarus Pit. The process requires two souls to enter the Pit at once, with one soul perishing while the other is imbued with youth and immortality without needing to return to the Pit. Ra's does admit that it cannot be predicted which of them will emerge from the Pit. Batman accepts Ra's' offer as his only alternative is to be killed by Ra's' men. It is Batman who survives the process, which has now restored his youth and vitality, slowed his aging process and renders him effectively immortal (He is not, however, a "true" immortal; in the year 2919, Wayne tells Superman that the effects of the Pit are wearing off, so that he is now aging again, albeit slowly and only one year for every century that passes).

In other media



Video games


In the Batman Begins novelization (which has more backstory added by Dennis O'Neil), a reference to "The Pit" appeared in Ra's al Ghul's journals. The Pit's history (chronicled in a manuscript Bruce photographs at an Olympus Gallery in New York City after returning home) matches its history in the comics. However, there appears to be only one. The side effects of being immersed in the Pit (madness and violence) are still present.


  1. Batman Annual #26 (August 2007)
  2. 52 #6 (June 14, 2006)
  3. JSA Classified #7 (March 2006)
  4. Dixon, Chuck (w), Aparo, Jim, Cebollero, John (a). Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight 145 (September 2001), DC Comics
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