By The Poet 399 Comments
He is Vengence. He is the (K)Night. He is a pop culture icon who we have dedicated an entire community list to!
Since Batman first appeared in 1939, he has swopped through over 8436 comics (and several ceilings). As of this moment, Bats is the character with the most appearances on comic vine, so the user PikminMania thought it would be fun to create list of the top 100 stories that star either him or his large family, so here is that list!
I would like to thank PikminMania not only for thinking of this list, but also for letting me take this over. I would also like to thank Liberty for listening for our ideas and suggesting ways of doing this list. I lastly would like to thank my wonderful nominators--espeshelly those who stuck with this list and helped this project move forward (you know who you are). Lastly, I would like to thank entropy_aegis for stepping into the role of Nominator, even though he said he didn't have the time at first.
We had 21 nominators. They include: Backflip, BoyDetective, chalkshark, CitizenBane, entropy_aegis, feebadger, k4tzm4n, Liberty, NewKid, PikminMania, Razza Tazz, RedheadedAtrocitus, ReVamp, shadowknight666, sinestro_GL, TDK_1997, TheGoldenOne, The Poet, Tunsieon, and UpUpAndAway. I would also like to mention Ultim8Roux (who vanished after saying they wanted to be in, but I will list that user anyway).
These nominators nominated 5 Batman-related stories each. Then, the Community stepped in and added 26 additional stories. They also cosigned some stories, but more on that later.
Final Over Voting
Each user was given 5 votes and they could use it however they wanted. We had a total of 36 voters (plus myself), including:
The Man of Yesteryear
The Man of Yesteryear
After that, I added the number of votes for each story to the number of cosigns (after multiplying by 5 so that votes were worth more than cosigns). Finally, I got my top 100 Batman Stories. I hope you enjoy this list! Till next time...
To check out who the 26 Runners up were for this list click on this link!
|1. The Killing Joke|
One of the best pieces of work that was written on Batman, it has since become a classic in the Batman reading, along with Frank Miller's the Dark Knight Returns and Strike again. It is the perfect book to show the relationship between the Batman and the Joker and expands upon the latter character's possible history. It also changed the life of Batgirl, Barbara Gordon, who became paralyzed in the events of the book, which led her to don the guise of Oracle and become, arguably, the primer Computer hacker on DC's earth.
A fantastically brutal arc that featured the breaking of the bat
Another mystery story that focuses on Batman's detective side. Features a lot of Batman related characters and it has stunning art by Jim Lee.
|4. A Court Of Owls|
Batman #1-7: Decades from now, Scott Snyder will be remembered as one of the great Batman writers. I was going to include “Black Mirror” but it is already taken so I went ahead and included the equally fantastic “Court of Owls” which was arguably one of the strongest stories to come out of the New 52s. “Court of Owls” sees Bruce Wayne as Batman struggle against an unknown entity whose relationship with Gotham may predate even Batman. Everything about this arc is fantastic from the writing to the paneling and the revelations and the covers! I can not wait for “Night of Owls”.
|5. The Black Mirror|
Detective Comics #871-881: It's my belief that Snyder is going to go down as one of the greatest Batman writers ever and this is the story arc that will define him. Snyder's story really reflected Batman's typical noir roots, and conjured up one of the most devilish and memorable sociopaths ever introduced to the Batman mythos. The tale of the Gordon's, and how the deal with the return of James Jr. is paramount to the story, and will leave the reader fully empathizing with the emotional impact it has. James Jr. is a nutter, but damn is he a good one. Again, Jock's art is superb, and really emphasizes the noir tone.
|6. Batman: Year One|
Perfectly explanatory why this should be among the top one hundred, for it was a reboot of the Dark Knight mythos following the Crisis on Infinite Earths. New beginnings lead to new interpretations, and its from this issue where we get almost everything we take for granted with the Batman of today.
|7. The Dark Knight Returns|
Redefined the entire Superhero and Comics genre Along with watchmen
|8. Batman R.I.P.|
One of the stories that shows Batman's Batman's will and foresight after he is pushed to his mental and physical limits. Also introduces us to Dr. Hurt.
|9. Under the Hood|
The emotionally powerful return of Jason Todd (alright, just disregard the whole punching dimensions part). Todd is back and his fate at the hands of a cruel Joker with a crowbar has left him an emotional wreck. He's looking to clean up Gotham in his own style, but in the meantime, it never hurts to get a little revenge, right? A must read for anyone even remotely interested in the second Robin, Jason Todd.
|10. Batman the Long Halloween|
Takes place during the early days of Batman's crime fighting career. It's a good mystery story that shows Batman's detective skills and his relationships with Harvey Dent and Gordon.
|11. No Man's Land|
Gotham city has gone through a wave of disease, a hundred days without a Batman, police starting gang wars, a new Batgirl, and complete isolation from the United States. And what does he do? She keeps on going. Detailing the lives of people trying to rebuild a somehow worse than ever Gotham, No Man's Land is a massive story with, dozens of wackos, rogue police squads, and even Lex Luthor. No Man's Land is the story that really got me into Batman. And how couldn't it? It has great characters, great plot, and a very emotional ending, one that even the Joker didn't find fun.
|12. Flashpoint: Batman Knight of Vengeance|
#1-3: Out of the world of Flashpoint comes an amazing addition to the world of Batman in this alternate reality re-telling of Batman. While there were dozens of Flashpoint tie-ins, this was the best selling one and after you’ve read it, you can understand why. The basic premise that Brian Azzarello sets up is what if Bruce Wayne was the one killed and Crime Alley, leaving his parents to survive? Thomas Wayne ends up assuming the mantle of Batman and other famous rogues also appear making it seem as though in any reality, Batman must exist. Seeing Thomas Wayne in action as Batman is incredibly thrilling. Watching Thomas and Martha deal with the grief over the death of their beloved son is heartbreaking. Seeing the emergence of Joker is shocking and reading the final pages literally brought tears to my eyes! This is absolutely one of the best and most interesting Batman stories ever told!
|13. Batgirl Year One|
#1-9: Once again, a story that introduced me to a character, immediately making me aware of what that character stood for as well as what the writer was trying to get across. A light-hearted and fun story of a young girl destined for something more. This is a beautiful story and the art is wonderful as well.
|14. A Death in the Family|
Batman #426-429: This story arc completely turned the world of comics on its head. As we all know, though not entirely popular at the time, given the void left behind by Dick Grayson, the fate of Jason Todd would be left to the readers in a poll conducted like any other, resulting in the death of the second Robin at the hands of Batman's arch-nemesis. Though only 4 issues long, the fallout caused by A Death in the Family continued to haunt the Batman as his greatest-ever failure.
Detective comics #854-857: This story introduces us the Batwoman character in a way we haven't seen her and Rucka definitely succeeds to make her one of the main Bat-related characters in the DC Universe.Before this story,Batwoman was a character that has something to do with the Bat-family but nobody was interested in her and after this she became Batwoman and an actual big character.
|16. JLA: Tower of Babel|
JLA #43-46: While Tower of Babel isn't necessarily a Batman story, it is most definitely a story in which the reader can see why a human of flesh and blood such as Batman, can stand with his head held high among Gods. This is not without its problems, because the reader comprehends in this book that Batman can only do what he does in a manner which the other members of the JLA, don't consider ethical.
|17. Batman Incorporated|
What Grant Morrison's whole batman run led up to. Your enjoyment of this really depends on how you feel about Grant. The whole run is a lot of fun, and as always there are some bizarre nods to the more wacky side of Batman's history... like bringing back Lord Death Man from the 60's Batman manga. It should be on the list purely for it's grand scale, and for being the final chapter (for now) of Grant's crazy run.
|18. Batman: Arkham Asylum|
The prisoners of Arkham Asylum have taken over Gotham's mental illness detention center on April Fool's day and demand Batman for the exchange of the prisoners.
|19. Battle for the Cowl|
In the wake of Batman’s death, Gotham City desperately needs someone new to assume the mantle of Batman. While this three issue event penned and illustrated by Tony S. Daniel features a myriad of guest stars, this story is ultimately about the Robins: Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Tim Drake, and Damian Wayne. Arguably, Bruce Wayne/Batman has had the most profound effect on the young wards he took on and raised to fight crime under the mantle of Robin. Battle for the Cowl is basically the Robins duking it out and dealing with their grief and coming to terms with the responsibility they have to continue Batman’s legacy. Arguably, this story leads up to a conclusion everyone saw coming from miles away, but it isn’t really about that. This is a story about the lives the Batman touched and how Gotham City is reeling from the death of Batman as those he left behind battle for the right to wear the cowl!
|20. Batman: Dark Victory|
#1-13: Loeb and Sale follow up the gigantic success to “The Long Halloween” with this sequel that follows the early days of Batman. There is a cop-killer known as The Hangman that is going after Gotham’s finest and Batman must race to figure who this villain is. Typical of Loeb and Sale collaborations, many of Batman’s most famous rogues make an appearance and are all possible suspects. The big reveal at the end will certainly leave you reeling! Sale really outdoes himself on the artwork creating several stunning splash pages! Dick Grayson’s origin story is also told in the final issues of this story establishing him as Robin. Loeb and Sale do a fantastic job integrating him into the world of Batman that they have created. Once again, Loeb and Sale create a masterpiece!
|21. Batman: Year 100|
#1-4: This is not the Batman you're used to. This is not the Robin you're used to. It's not supposed to be. It's a new Batman for a new world. With art that is adored by some and hated by others, this story shows a man reminding Gotham about her once most famous citizen.
|22. Heart of Hush|
Detective Comics #846-850: Technically this can be treated as an arc within an arc since it goes hand in hand with events going on in Batman: RIP but I singled it out as being one of Bruce's most trying events. Not just because it deals with his conflict with Thomas Elliot, but because in the end Bruce's true revelations toward Selina Kyle come out at the end with her near death, which I believe was a perfect reaffirmation to what we learned in the Batman: Hush story arc.
#1-4: Intricate and intimate details are shared of how the bog two really feel toward each other and how they relate. This is a must and a HELL of a fun read for any comic book and/or Batman fan.
This Original Graphic Novel By Brian Azzarello took a darker look at one of the greatest villains in comics.
|25. Batman & Dracula: Red Rain|
Since Batman was invented, one question remained in people's heads; Who would win? Batman or Dracula? Well, after so many years it was answered in Batman: Red Rain, an Elseworlds published in 1991. This comic was written by comic legend Doug Moench and was drawn by Kelley Jones. This comic was great since every page was full of great twists, amazing artwork, and a brilliant story. Batman: Gotham By Gaslight may have invented the Elseworlds, but Red Rain was the first to perfect it.
|26. Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?|
Finally, this story shows what it would be like at the end of The Dark Knight's career. This is pretty much the last batman story if there ever would be one. What would happen if the Batman's story ended? Who would go to his funeral? Who would mourn him? What would people say about him? It answers a lot of interesting questions you've never realized you wanted to know.
|27. Batgirl Rising|
Batgirl #1-7: Stephanie Brown is a refreshing contrast to the normal pathos that drives the defenders of Gotham City. Yeah, she has her baggage but for the most part she is so enthusiastic about becoming Batgirl (after already assuming the mantle of Spoiler and a Robin) that it is hard not get caught up in her great spirit, snarky backtalk, and wonderful inner monologues. Stephanie Brown routinely makes me laugh out loud as Batgirl. Her relationship with Damian is also brilliant. This arc also does well to focus on Barbara Gordon coming to terms with her role as Oracle and her feelings for Dick Grayson. This arc is a wonderful mix of superhero fun and emotionally complex characters working through their issues.
|28. A Lonely Place of Dying|
The introduction of Tim Drake is one of the most important occasions in the life of Batman. The book ranks amongst the top 100 however not for that reason, I placed it in my top 5 because of the way it questioned and revised the reasoning behind why Bruce really needs a Robin. Some had argued that Bruce needed a beacon of hope, or that Bruce simply wanted to train the next superhero too take over him, but no, Wolfman story concludes by reflecting that Robin is essentially to Batman because it keeps him cautious, keeps him alive.
|29. Batman: Ego|
Ego is really a physiological trip for the Dark Knight. It showcases an arguement between Bruce Wayne and Batman regarding who he really is, what his purpose is, what methods he should be using to put an end to crime and his true motivation for doing so.
|30. Batman: Return Of Bruce Wayne|
Batman: Return of Bruce Wayne is hit or miss mini-series. Some people hate it, others love it, but it is unarguably one of the most important stories of the last half decade as it sees the final return of Bruce Wayne from his perceived "death" at the hands of Darkseid, one of the most powerful villains in the DC Universe. Whether people liked the fact the twist of Batman walking through time, suffering from Amnesia or not, it definitely brings something different to the table.
|31. Dark Knight, Dark City|
Batman #452-454: This story I believe to be important and deserving to be in the top 100 due to the fact that it was one of DC Comics' first attempts to explain connections between Barbatos, Bruce Wayne, Batman, and Gotham in general. I see it as an inspiration and prelude to the Batman RIP story arc.
|32. The Case of the Chemical Syndicate|
Detective Comics #27: How can the best stories not include the very first one?
|33. Kingdom Come|
Kingdom Come shows a Batman who has never given up, even in old age and will go to great lengths to protect the city of Gotham. Bruce Wayne (Batman) will not let anything stop him. I doubt even the grave could hold him back. The first story arc stays true to who he is and is an excellent story.
|34. Nightwing: Freefall|
Nightwing #140-146: Freefall is arguably the definitive Dick Grayson story. It really defines Dick's plays within the world and highlights what separates the light hearted, and optimistic Grayson from his brooding mentor. It's a delight to read, and the interaction between Dick and the expanded universe is more enthralling that the stellar fights.
|35. Robin: Year One|
#1-4: I really love this story, the story of the first year of the first robin surely has to be included. Some can be put off by the cartoony looks of it, but beyond that, this is a great tale showing robin learning his place, Bruce learning some responsibility and Alfred learning to balance his relationship with Bruce and dick. throw in just enough villains getting just enough space within the plot (freeze, hatter, two-face) and it's up there in my top 5.
|36. Fifty Years Anniversary|
Detective Comics #572: Batman has been refered to as "The World's Greatest Detective", but he is not the only one who has possessed that title. In celebrating 50 years of Detective Comics, one of my favorite crossover events occured to allow Sherlock Holmes and Batman to meet. It is one of my favorite batman stories. It is a pure mystery adventure which draws from Detective Comic's original roots. There is no magic in this comic (unless you count Elongated Man's powers) only a story which is wonderful even 26 years later. It has some great twists and turns and a magnificent group of creators. Very epic comic!
|37. Gotham by Gaslight|
It is the very first 'Elseworlds' story DC did, and it remains one of the best. Mike Mignola's dark artwork sets the perfect tone for any Batman story, and let's face it, how cool is it to see Batman fighting Jack the Ripper? Not to mention the completely different reaction from the Victorian times to this 'Bat-Man.
|38. Dark Knight vs. White Knight|
Batman & Robin #20-22: There is something about Dick and Damian as Batman & Robin that really works for me. This story comes from one of their final adventures together before Bruce takes up the cowl once more. This story introduces “The White Knight”, a complicated villain who attempts to clean up Gotham by making it a heaven on Earth. The imagery of the story and the villain’s rationale help make one of the most memorable stories from the recent “Batman & Robin” title.
|39. Batman & Son|
Batman #655-658: This arc is of note mostly because of the introduction of Damian Wayne into the Batman canon. Grant Morrison takes the seed of a plot point introduced years ago in “Son of a Demon” and creates Damian Wayne, one of the finest modern additions to the Bat family. The story itself also features a Man-Bat army and Talia at her crazy finest!
|40. Batman Black And White|
#1-4: Some of the greatest comic makers got the chance to produce one, short B & W Batman-story. The range of stories is as colorful as you`d probably expect from an anthology. There are grim, psychological, action filled, and scary stories in these books. Some of them, naturally, aren`t as masterful as the others, but even those ones are better in various levels, than what you can find from TEC or Batman every month. They`re different, and not as restricted by continuity as you`d expect. The talent in these stories comprised of Chris Claremont, Paul Dini, Bruce Timm, Joe kubert, Dave Gibbons, Gene Colan, Marie Severin, Walter Simonson, Daniel Torres, Mike Mignola, Neil Gaiman, Dwayne McDuffie and dozens of others. This anthology-series isn`t an epic. It`s a tale of Batmans ordinary life, and tells about him, and his influence. In this one, he is truly Batman.
|41. Batman: Noel|
Nothing if not beautifully drawn. Batman: Noël is a cleverly constructed story that adapts the work of Charles Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol' to the world of Batman. One very appealing aspect of several Batman publications is the personal inner-demons that Batman has to overcome in order to feel worthy of the role of Gotham's protector - a concept explored here with the help of a whole cast of familiar supporting characters from the Batman mythos
|42. Batman: War On Crime|
A simple story that serves to re-enforce the core concept of the Batman character, the big draw here is the incredible art by Alex Ross, finally presented in a format that truly showcases the man's work. Batman has never looked more real, his world more authentic. It's a shame that we can't get a book like this every year.
|43. Batman: The Cult|
#1-4: Once upon a time, before both Marvel and DC just made cash grabs by selling mediocre stories in fine dressing, the "Prestige" format was reserved for only the best stories, art, and creators. Teaming up Starlin & Wrightson on Batman was exactly the kind of project that called out for the "Prestige" format. Starlin gave us a new adversary for the Batman, and Wrightson... what can I say? Just amazing. Wrightson's passions may lie in the horror genre, but, in my opinion, his is one of the 10 best versions of the Batman. Seeing him doing the artistic honors on a four part "Prestige" format mini-series was a helluva treat.
#1-4: Sets the stage for Brubaker’s run on “Catwoman” which I believe to be the finest run of Catwoman ever written. Anodyne’s immediate plot is a serial killer who is targeting prostitutes. However, “Anodyne” also deals with Selina coming to terms with Catwoman and returning to a life she had long thought abandoned.
|45. The First Batman|
Detective Comics #235: Let's be honest, when people think silver age they think very silly comic books that never really stood out as good unless they had some ridiculous gimmick. Well, this story was made in the silver age, and sounds like it has a silly gimmick but it is still great. The story is that Batman finds an old tape, his father's diary and Batman costume and discovers (after watching the tape) that it was worn by Bruce's father Thomas Wayne during a costume party. After finding out that crime boss Lew Moxon kidnapped Batman's father at the costume party, which ultimately amounted to Lew ordering a hit on Thomas Wayne by hiring a certain Joe Chill, Batman decides to open the Wayne murder case once again to bring Lew Moxon to justice. I don't want to ruin the ending, but it is certainly dark compared to most other silver age comics.The comic builds on Batman's origins greatly (and rightfully so, since it was written by Batman co-creator Bill Finger) and is full of great art.
|46. Final Crisis|
I think final crisis should be on the list since its the "Death" of Batman. Without Final Crisis you wouldn't have stories like Battle for the Cowl, The Black Mirror, Pretty much the entire Red Robin series, Morrisons Batman and Robin run.. I could really make a list of how many stories this one effects the DCU let alone just the Batman family/universe. I know its a love/hate story like the other crisis' but I believe it deserves consideration in light of all the great stories that spun from it.
|47. Red Robin|
#1-5: The start of brilliant series. This first story arc was great, and showed that now Batman was gone, (set after RIP), Time Drake was now the 'World's Greatest Detective'. He is the only one who believes that Bruce isn't dead, and makes it his mission to set out to prove it. For fans of Tim, this whole series is a real treat, and the stories that follow couldn't be more recommended.
|48. War Games|
I am glad that I was allowed to use all three acts of this story, because it really is one of the biggest and best Batman epics out there. Gotham is having the worst gang war, with the city literally set on fire. But with [virtually] all the mob bosses in Gotham dead or missing, the big players are about to change, along with the rules to the game. But everything that is happening in Gotham seems all too familiar to Batman, and with such limited help from both his dwindling allies and the police department, Gotham may just loose a few heroes.
|49. The Dark Knight Strikes Again|
That's right, the Dark Knight Returns. Much lambasted as an inferior sequel, let's forget Frank Miller and the Dark Knight Returns for a moment and think how we might have responded if, out of the blue, this irreverent tale of an arse kicking bats and the mad, crazed, post punk world he lives in fell into our laps out of the blue? What would our response be then? Having our minds freaking blown. That's what.
|50. Batman and Robin|
#1-16 (Morison's run): Let me start by saying that Grant Morrison is certifiably insane and that’s a very good thing! As a side effect of his Batman RIP saga, Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne became the new Batman & Robin. They have to struggle a bit, but eventually they make a fantastic dynamic duo. Morrison’s run on Batman & Robin sees the emergence of a terrifyingly grotesque villain Professor Pyg, the return of Jason Todd as the Red Hood as he creates a dynamic duo of his own, a wonderfully horrific tie-in to Blackest Knight, Talia at her crazy best, a terribly violent homage to the classic Jason Todd crowbar death scene, and the groundwork is laid for understanding the mystery of Batman’s death. The artwork changes quite a bit, but there is definitely something for everyone! The last page of Morrison’s run on Batman & Robin sets up one of the biggest events to hit Batman ever in the announcing of Batman Incorporated! Love him or hate him, Grant Morrison’s run on Batman & Robin is definitely one of the best story arcs in Bat-history!
|51. Batman: The Man Who Laughs|
I'm just going to say it, this book is too often compared to The Killing Joke. It's a shame too, because this book not only has great art and story, but great characters. It wonderfully portrays both Bruce's drive and Joker's twisted psychology, challenging how insane he truly is.
|52. Batman and Robin|
#1-7: I'll confess, the first issue left me unimpressed. Damian was a brat and we dove yet again into Batman's feelings about the tragic loss of his parents at a young age. But then something special happened, the book introduced a villain that would give this story so much more depth. Not only was the villain himself worth checking out, but the impact he would have on both Damian and Batman is worth experiencing. I can't wait to see where this goes after the events of issue 7.
|53. Batman Confidential|
#1-6 ("Rules of Engagement"): If you are in to a tech savvy Batman then this is for you,great series opener which showcases a war for corporate supremacy in arms manufacture between Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor.Expect badass battles.
|54. Batman: Tales of the Demon|
This collection shows the evolution of Ra's Al Ghul and examines his relationship with the dark knight.
|55. Bruce Wayne: Fugitive|
Continuing on from 'Murderer?', and not being complete without it, this is another great Batman epic in the same vein as 'No Man's Land', 'War Games' and 'Knighfall' etc... and while It suffers from being fairly long-winded in places and never reaching the highs of some of the other long story-arcs (or it's prequel, in my opinion), it still deserves to stand alongside them in this list. It's also interesting to see some of the interactions between between Batman and other characters during this desperate time for him.
|56. Bruce Wayne: Murderer?|
This story really shook things up for the Batman comics, had Bruce broken his one golden rule of no killing? It is a great, action-packed story which flows at a great pace and is just the right length. It's really interesting to see a Bruce/Batman who is not in control, doesn't have a plan and who's trusted relationships are crumbling. Like a lot of the best best Batman tales, it revolves around a mystery, it captivates and keeps you reading. While everything isn't wrapped up here, It also sets the scene for the 'Fugitive' story-line, where the mystery continues.
|57. Emperor Joker|
The world is broken, and nobody seems to know what's wrong. It isn't even until halfway through this Nine Issue story that The Joker is revealed as the cause. But we get to see the world shaped in the Clown Prince of Crime's image, and it's as interesting as it is terrifying. In the end, it's also one of the Joker's easiest defeats. He is beaten simply by the idea of Batman that he can't erase from his head.
|58. Knight and Squire|
#1-6: I must say I enjoy the idea of a british Batman and robin. This mini-series had a lot of british humor in it (some of which went over my head) and yet was enjoyable. I liked this series. Paul Cornell and Jimmy Broxton gave playful insight into a duo we haven't seen a lot.
|59. Lovers & Madmen|
Batman Confidential #7-12: What kind of person becomes a joker? This 6-issue arc retells the Jokers origin story with a new twist: he is now a violent, depressed nomadic assasin from out of town looking to put a little light back in his life. An arc to remember!
|60. The Deadly Numbers Game! and "The "Batman Nobody Knows"|
Batman #250: A rather fun-take on the Batman, where children exchange their rather imaginative accounts of Batman, one more wacky than the last. The idea presented in this comic book from the 1970s has branched out to various forms of media, and remains an important issue in the Batman universe, exploring how the youths of Gotham see him - a topic that is not considered often enough.
|61. The Jokers Five-Way Revenge!|
Batman #251: In what may be THE quintessential Joker story, writer Denny O'Neil and artist Neal Adams take the Joker back to his roots in murderous fashion. After having being depicted as a harmless buffoon due to the Comics Code Authority and self censorship for many years previous, O'Neil and Adams reinvigorated the character, showing him as a murderous and very real threat to the Batman. Re-establishing the relationship between the two protagonists and reaffirming the character as a very real threat, this version of the Joker inspires every appearance of the character to this day.
|62. Broken City|
Batman #620-624: The central focus of this story revolves around the murder of a woman. Batman being the great detective he is, embarks on a trail in which he embraces several twists and turns until finally being able to identity the culprit behind the murder. The story is unpredictable and keeps you guessing all the way through, which is exactly what any die-hard comic fan wants to have in a comic such as this. Azzarello's characterization for Batman is dead-on and flawlessly executed. This is classic Batman the detective solving strange and bizarre murder cases we all know him to be. The art is by Eduardo Risso whose style here is very neo-noir. It's not my favorite art I've ever seen, but I think it's absolutely perfect for this comic. It sets the tone of the comic and reflects the dark, gritty feel Gotham City is known for. I would recommend this comic to all comic fans who like a good murder story. You can pick this up and jump right into it without having to have read anything else prior to it. This is something that should be in any Batman fans collection.
|63. The Clown at Midnight|
Batman #663: A quintessential Joker tale on par with the Killing Joke IMO,this story is unique in that it is written as a prose,it shows Jokers new murderous transformation,further explores the concept of super sanity and ends his relationship with Harley Quinn.
|64. Batman Adventures: Mad Love|
Based of the acclaimed Batman: The Animated Series, this 64-page special is responsible for intruducing Harley Quinn, who went on the become one of Batman's most popular opponents. If nothing else, it should be included for that. Aside from that you get some great insight into Joker's manipulation techniques and his desperation in having the Batman all to himself.
|65. Mortal Clay, Love Bird|
Batman Annual #11: Alan Moore takes an unflinching look into the mind of one of Batman's more obscure foes, Clayface III. Preston Payne started out as a pretty pathetic character, but his pathos reaches new heights of greatness with this story. On the surface, this is a love story, one between a psychotic murderer and a mannequin. It follows all the usual beats of a relationship gone bad. Payne experiences the blush of new love, and the inevitable passion that follows. His monumental insecurities, though, lead to jealousy, murder, truth, pain, loss, and ultimately, the kind of complacency one is resigned to, when clinging to a loveless union. Batman shows up for the tragic finale, but even though his appearance is relegated to a few pages, the Dark Knight has his own character arc to follow. One that sees him play the familiar role of protector, then cast as the rival in the eyes of his deranged foe, and finally, the savior. It's a classic Alan Moore story, and a nice deep look at a Batman rogue that, sadly, rarely gets the attention he deserves.
|66. Batman/Grendel Devil's Riddle|
#1-2: A great company crossover featuring Matt Wagner's indie comic great, Grendel, in an intellectual chess match with the Batman. Grendel makes for an awesome adversary for Batman. Throw in some strong dialogue, stylish artwork, and well defined characters, and you've got one of the finest Batman "team-up" books ever crafted.
|67. Batman: Birth of the Demon|
This collection provides a look at Batman and Talia's relationship, Ra's attempts at fathering a heir, and an in depth look into the motivations of the man known the world over as the Demon Head
|68. Batman: Cataclysm|
Cataclysm is an event that shook the foundations of the Stat Quo, and it culminated in what is the event known as the "Breaking of the Bat", in which Bane ends up breaking Batman's back, forcing the latter to somewhat retire and Jean-Paul Valley, to become the new Batman.
|69. Batman: Gates of Gotham|
#1-5: This story is a perfect jumping on point for Snyder's run on Batman and is perfect for giving little tidbits about Gotham's history that even as fans we were not aware of. Plus, it was a wonderful prelude to what Bruce now faces with the Court of Owls in the current Batman books. Highly recommended to be an all time top 100 I say!
|70. Batman: In Darkest Knight|
This is an Elseworlds title that gives a whole new spin on the Batman origin story, albeit an original one with Bruce receiving Abin Sur's Green Lantern ring instead of Hal Jordan. I believe it is an excellent addition to the top 100 as a "what if" to all those who would wonder what kind of superhero Batman would be had he become a Green Lantern.
|71. Batman: Nine Lives|
One of the most effective Elseworlds ever written, this tale features a hard-boiled detective named Dick Grayson on the beat trying to figure out who killed local Kit Kat Club proprietress, Selina Kyle. This story manages to play on long-standing Bat-conventions while creating something wholly new. The noir tone is perfectly captured and the artwork is stunningly appropriate. Many staple Bat-character make an appearance in one way or another in this story that makes me extremely glad that the Elseworlds imprint existed for a time.
|72. Batman: Sword of Azrael|
#1-4: In this four-part series, we are first introduced to Jean-Paul Valley. This would be the begining of a rocky path which would lead to the Breaking of the Bat and Jean-Paul becoming the newest Dark Knight.
|73. Catwoman: Selina's Big Score|
I never understood Catwoman's character until I read this. It was very sleek, noirish, and completely fitting to the modern interpretation of Selena Kyle's character, providing a wonderful look into her mind as well as a kiss-ass heist story as well.
|74. Catwoman: When in Rome|
#1-6: I must say I haven't read that many Catwoman books, but I really enjoyed Catwoman: when in rome. It has wonderful art and the story is very enjoyable. It finds Selina Kyle entangled in an adventure involving the Falcone crime Family, the Riddler, a blond, the Cheetah, Joker Venom and so much more! There are a lot of amusing moments in this series. Even being a Riddler Fan I love it when Selina kicks him off a boat into the harbor. Nice adventure.
I love both the Red Robin and Batgirl Rising series. I included this story-line to give a nod to both of them as it includes a mini-crossover. Above everything else - these stories are fun. They stand up as two of the best bat-family orientated runs, and so deserve a place up there. Everyone should read the whole Red Robin series and Brian Q Miller's Batgirl.
|76. The Laughing Fish!|
Detective comics #475: A classic story which helped to cement Joker's title as Batman's #1 Rogue. It was also adapted for Batman: the Animated Series
|77. Hush Beyond|
Batman Beyond #1-6: The first animated series I ever saw was Batman Beyond and the first graphic novel I ever read was Hush. I love both stories, so the combination of both concepts is very fun. Although it does have its faults (for ex: art work), it is a nice way to start an introduction to the Beyond Universe.
|78. Joker: Last Laugh|
The basic concept is this: The Joker, thinking he is going to die, wreaks havoc across the DC Universe. I just love the idea of a Jokererized DC universe. Its just so fun!
Following the events of Knightfall and Knightquest, Bruce Wayne considers retiring the Batman persona - but changes his mind once he sees the chaos caused by the stand-in Batman, Jean-Paul Valley. This story arc is particularly important as Bruce traverses down the path to once again earn the cape and cowl, but controversially under the guidance of Lady Shiva. The scenes where Batman finally regains the mind of the Bat, and when Jean-Paul Valley releases the mantle of the Bat are two very powerful scenes that have stayed in the minds of many Bat-fans, including this one.
The world has turned it's back on all Superhero's. Darkseid has implemented his most insidious plan ever by turning the people the superheroes protect against the superheroes themselves. The arc is great but one thing that stuck me about this was Batman and Robin. Robin gets beaten to a pulp and hospitalized and later gets himself a shotgun. There is something about Robin walking around with a shotgun that just seems wrong. This is the story arc that leads to my favorite Justice League with Batman in command to Guy Gardner's dismay.
|81. Nightwing: Year One|
Nightwing #101-106: Nightwing, the first Robin, has always been somewhat at odds with his mentor after leaving him to become his own man. Year One goes back to his origins and allows the reader to understand what the essence of Nightwing is and his relationships with other members of his "family".
|82. Red Hood: Lost Days|
#1-6: I saw that “Under The Hood” was already taken so I wanted to include another fantastic story featuring Jason Todd which fills in what exactly happened to him in the time between coming back to life and assuming the mantle of Red Hood. No one writes Jason Todd quite like Judd Winick. Jason Todd’s second life is one of the greatest modern additions to the Batman storylines. This particular story really establishes the tenuous mental state of Jason Todd with some nice retcon in the end setting the stage for Batman Hush.
|83. The Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul|
This is an awesome, touching, crazy, kick-ass, emotional story about fathers and their children. Alfred, Bruce and Dick and Tim and Damian, of course, but also about Ra's Al Ghul, Talia, and a surprise addition at the end of the story. The heart of the story deals with the Robins who duke it out and learn to work together. Those boys have so much emotional baggage that it makes for a powerful story. Throw in the league of assassins, hired hitmen, and Ra's Al Ghul's quest for a younger vessel for his consciousness and you've got yourself one crazy ride. On top of all that, there is rumored implications for the effects of this story to be seen in upcoming Batman Inc. storyline!
|84. Riddle Me That|
Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #185-189: My favorite Riddler story and honestly coming from me that means a lot,this story gives you everything a Riddler tale should give.A badass,non goofy,criminal mastermind who is not afraid to get dirty and the best part Riddler actually won and made a fool out of Batman.If only there were more quality Riddler stories like this.
|85. Secret Origins Special|
There are a lot of great origin stories for Batman's rogues. This is not the first series of its kind to provide a window into how they became the crazies they are today nor will it be the last. However, it is one of my favorite collections. Written by Neil Gaiman and Alan Grant, among others, this story examines Penguin's, Two-face's and Riddler's origins stories. I really like this because it is fun while still being realistic. When is a Door?
#1-3: One of the finest Elseworlds productions ever written! This features Barbara Gordon in the spotlight as a wealthy heiress and the stubborn, rebellious daughter of Jim Gordon. Set in the turbulent 60s after the election of JFK, Barbara Gordon becomes a vengeance seeking vigilante after the death of her mother (sound familiar?). She is joined by her boyfriend, a circus acrobat, who fights by her side (you may recognize him too)! To reveal anymore of the plot would be too spoil the surprise of an Elseworlds production but there are many twists and turns as Batgirl and Robin are thrust into the spotlight with beautiful lush artwork by Dan Brereton!
|87. Who Knows What Evil?|
Batman #253: This is a simple "Batman busts counterfeit ring" story. Or it would be, if not for the inclusion of The Shadow. It's no secret that the creators of Batman were influenced by the Shadow's pulp adventures in crafting Batman's stories. In the 1970's, DC had the publishing rights to the Shadow. It just made sense for the influence to meet the influenced. The Shadow mysteriously keeps to the background for most of the issue, as one would expect, but at the very end, the two icons share a little face time. The Shadow clearly passes on the torch to Batman, taking pride in the accomplishments of the hero he helped to inspire. The two would meet again a few months later, but that story sucked ass.
|88. Last Batman Story!|
Batman #300: David V. Reed takes the Golden Age Batman & Robin on a career capping adventure, one that finds the original dynamic duo pitted against the syndicate to end all syndicates, Spectrum. It's an adventure that carries our heroes from the Gotham City of the future, all the way across the country, with a detour into outer space. Along the way we get tantalizing hints to the eventual fates of classic rogues like Joker and Two-Face, as well as the particularly intriguing disappearance of the Riddler, his final puzzle unsolved. The finale finds Bruce Wayne contemplating giving up the mantle of the Batman. He's done all one man can do, and lived to see Gotham City change in ways he never could have dreamed. A political future looms before him, and the possibility of marriage to the woman he loves. Reed leaves the ending ambiguous, with Wayne on the brink of a decision about his future, while reflecting on his past.
|89. Batman in Bethlehem|
Batman #666: Set 15 years in the future, Bruce Wayne is dead, Dick Grayson is gone, and Alfred is a cat leaving Damian Wayne to assume the mantle of Batman all by himself. This futuristic romp is bleak and violent as we see one possibility of the Batman that Damian would become only a few issues after meeting him for the first time. He is at odds with the current commissioner Barbara Gordon who hates him because she believes he killed a good friend. Armageddon is about to fall upon Gotham at the hands of the last remaining member of “Three Ghosts of Batman” who claims Satan himself as his father. Damian is not his father and admittedly he is not as good as Dick Grayson either, but Damian is self-aware and so he staves off Armageddon from coming to Gotham in the bloody violent manner you would expect from a child raised and trained both by the League of Assassins and The Batman.
|90. Batman: Harley and Ivy|
#1-3: Yeah, I know it is not as dark as many of the other choices on the list and I really wanted to have the Kingdom Come choice instead but I could not resist this gem. It is not a solid Batman story but this is a list of the best stories in the Batman Universe and I love the refreshing comedy that is brought out in the dynamic of Harley and Ivy. They are great characters together. Somehow when Cat Woman is brought in the mix it is not as good but this is a wonderful three issue series and I believe it is a great selection for this Batman Universe list.
|91. Batman: Joker's Asylum|
Batman is a brilliant character, dark, but honourable, the best Gotham has too combat the darkness that beseeches it. However, in many ways, it's his Rogue's Gallery that is the most compelling part of his mythos. Joker's Asylum is great because it provides 5 short little looks into the lives and minds of Batman's most prominant adversaries. In particular I value it highly for it's expansion of Ivy, and how it matures her origins and purpose within live to something more deadly, on par with the likes of Two Face, Joker and the Penguin.
|92. Crisis on Infinite Earths|
Crisis On Infinite Earths was an important storyline for all characters involved, but with the death of the Golden Age Robin and The Huntress, it left an indelible mark on the Bat-Family and lovers of these characters. It highlighted some beautiful character moments between Batgirl and Supergirl and showed the humanity of Batman, relegated to basic crowd control when faced with such a seemingly overwhelming cosmic foe. Crisis is very much a story that left its mark on every member of the Bat-Universe, past, present and future.
|93. Face the Face|
If you ask a comics fan who Harvey Dent is, chances are that they'll say Two Face. That's not the case in this story. Harvey Dent has not only been repaired both physically and mentally, but was also Gotham's protector when Batman and Robin are away. When Batman returns to Gotham and doesn't show Harvey the thanks that he thinks he deserves, he may just go over the edge. With a thrilling mystery, emotional trails for Bruce, Harvey, and Tim, and some very important changes to the Batman mythos, this story is a must read to all Batman fans.
|94. Fool's Errand|
Robin #85: It is from the Batman Dies crossover which mostly went otherwise unnoticed by Batman fans. It was mostly a pretty weak stunt, but in issue #85 of Robin the Joker looks back on his life and figures that there must be multiple Robins and if there are multiple Robins that there must be multiple Batmans. Its an interesting look inside the mind of the killer as he wonders about just how many times he has killed Batman
|95. Earthly Delights, Scenes from a Work in Progress|
Batman & Robin #26: I scarcely know where to begin with this one. Its a tale that shaped the possible future for Nightrunner in the DC Universe. It gave him a Joker who avoids being a cheap imitation by being self aware of his identity as a cheap imitation. David Hine took some of the core ideas of Batman, and rewrote them into a whole new world. In France. Arkham Asylum is, in my opinion, outdone by Le Jardin Noir. Certainly a breakout at Arkham is very very very bad, and certainly the place itself is essentially a well of psychosis; but the breakout of simply four inmates from Le Jardin Noir causes the entire scope of reality in Paris to be so far fractured, that within two days, the entire city was declared a Disaster Area. It was chock full of Dada symbolism, and created oodles of as-of-yet-untapped potential for the so called 'Batman of France.'
|96. Midnight Train|
Batman Chronicles #1: Although most of this issue is pretty ordinary, there is a backup tale of Commissioner Gordon trying to make it home on the subway before it is hijacked by gun wielding thugs. The inclusion of the Huntress in Gordons' quest to reclaim the train brings up memories in Jim of what happened to Barbara, when the Joker paralyzed her. A simple, beautifully written and illustrated tale that gets to the heart and the humanity of Gotham's real protector, James Worthington Gordon.
|97. Batman: Son Of The Demon|
The story shows us Batman's relationship with Ra's al Ghul and Talia.
|98. The 500th Anniversary Celebration|
Detective Comics #500 ("To Kill a Legend"): This one's really interesting. Batman having the opportunity to stop his parents' murder is very intriguing and plays out pretty emotionally and realistically. Also, it further goes to show just how destined Bruce was to become Batman, no matter what. This is what he was meant to do and what Gotham needs him to do.
|99. Half a Life|
GOTHAM CENTRAL #6 – 10: The first introduction of Renee Montoya and Crispus Allen into the series and also the first arc of Greg Ruckas'. This was before Montoya became the Question and Allen became the Spectre and we see Greg Rucka leave his mark on both characters. The characterisation throughout this series on all characters is brilliant, but Half A Life shows off the crackling dialogue to its best and highlights Montoya in the reveal of her lesbianism, which had been kept a secret up until this point. This arc showed a new maturity to the bat universe and expanded the bat universe into deep and dark corners more befitting a HBO show than a comic book.
|100. Officer Down|
Commissioner Gordon has been shot! Catwoman is the only witness. This is an interesting story, that actually doesn't feature Batman very much at all. While he mopes at his friend's hospital bed it's up to Robin, Nightwing, Oracle, Batgirl and Azreal to solve the case. There are some good moments between Bruce and Alfred here, and the G.C.P.D. get a real chance to shine with some issues based solely around them, showing they don't always need The Batman to get their job done.