The Poet

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CV's Top 100 Batman Universe Stories Runner Up List

When I was creating Comic Vine's Top 100 Batman Universe Stories List, I was provided with 126 Batman-related stories.

After 37 users voted, I created the actual list and removed these 26 Stories. For your benefit, here they are!

List items

  • Batman: Streets of Gotham #14-21: Dustin Nguyen is undoubtedly one of the greatest Batman artists of all time, and he teamed up with Paul Dini again to follow up to Heart of Hush. But House of Hush is unique for a Hush story, because it isn't about Batman. Each issue was great alone, but slowly worried me on how a complex Hush plan could be squeezed out of the remaining issues; and in the final pages I realized that Hush had been the main character the whole time. It was Hush who was inadvertently put through an accidental gauntlet of older and more obscure Batman villains; while digging deep into the history of the Waynes and the Elliots, and many other darkened corners of Gotham City.

  • Adventure Comics #462: The Golden Age Batman puts on the cape and cowl one final time, to oppose a villain threatening all of Gotham City. Possessing power enough to overwhelm the entirety of the Justice Society, the odds are against the Batman. Undeterred, the Dark Knight sacrifices his life to save his city, his friends, and his comrades. It's a story that puts a period on the adventures of the Golden Age Batman. One whose ramifications will be felt a universe away, by the Silver Age Batman. In subsequent crossovers with the Justice Society, especially the Golden Age Robin & the Huntress, the death of his parallel counterpart will raise complicated and conflicting emotions in the Batman that remains. Ultimately, the Golden Age Batman's death will even reach as far as DC's Infinite Crisis, as one of the foundation stones motivating the Golden Age Superman's return to the greater DC Universe.

  • #36-40: This is absolutely a must read for both fans of Bane and Jean-Paul Valley. Illustrated by Roger Robinson, the struggle between Bane's desire for revenge and Azrael's sheer willpower is a highly entertaining and violent adventure from the first page all the way to the last one.

  • Batman #400: Ra's Al Ghul releases every single one of Batman's adversaries from both Arkham Asylum & Blackgate prison. Then the fun begins. This isn't the first time Batman has had to run through a gauntlet of his many colorful foes, but this one, hand's down, featured the best art. Cover by Bill Sienkiewicz. Splash page by John Byrne. Individual chapters illustrated by the likes of Art Adams, Brian Bolland, George Perez, and more. This should be the template for every anniversary issue. Big story. Top artistic talent. Something special. This certainly was.

  • Batman #416: Decades of unspoken history between Batman and Dick spill out as Nightwing finally confronts Batman about why he ditched him. An emotional tale that leads to the recent change over as Dick finally took up the mantle of the bat.

  • #1-6: Another story from early in Bruce's career. It shows us his first encounter with Hugo Strange.

  • Batman Special #1: Mike W. Barr re-imagines the Batman origin through a dark looking glass, twisting it and reforging it into the foundation stone for the Wrath. This time, a young boy's criminal parents are gunned down by police, launching the boy on a quest to become a vengeance fueled avatar, targeting the forces of law enforcement, across the globe. When the Wrath comes for Commissioner Gordon, the inevitable conflict between Batman and his opposite number ensues. An intriguing scenario, well executed and illustrated by the amazing Michael Golden. A real forgotten gem from the 80's.

  • Another great Golden Age Batman & Robin story, this time set in World War II, as the two icons crossover with Marvel's Captain America & Bucky. Byrne is, clearly, having fun with this story. It's big adventure from the first page to the last. It's got giant Nazi death machines. A cameo appearance by Sgt. Rock & Easy Company. A "team-up" between the Joker and the Red Skull. Sidekick swapping. And an ending that pays homage to one of the most iconic moments in Marvel history. Good luck getting through this one without a smile on your face.

  • #1-4: I think it is a must read Bane story,it shows a different,more vulnerable side of him,explores his relationship with Ra's & Talia and he gets to do some badass stuff both physically and intellectually.

  • #1-9: A dying Ra's al Ghul has no choice but to beg Batman, his greatest nemesis, for help against a woman who once shared his life, centuries ago. In exchange, he offers the Dark Knight a chance of a lifetime - the ability to speak with his dead parents. But what Batman's parents have to say to him will profoundly affect both the man and the hero.

  • Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight Halloween Special #2: Out of the three Halloween stories they did together, this one struck a chord with me. It features The Mad Hatter which although not necessarily one of the strongest rogues, I have always enjoyed the strange connection he has to Alice in Wonderland. Also, it features a young Barbara Gordon who has just moved in with her Uncle Jim Gordon and the two don't quite get along. Babs runs away and unfortunately is abducted by Mad Hatter and forced to play along in the madness as she fills the role of Alice. There are some nice moments that feature a young Babs at odds with Jim and even a brief appearance from James Gordon Jr. which all have a slightly ominous tone given what will happen to all of them in the future. This all features a wonderful flashback that focuses on Bruce's relationship with his mother and a children's story she used to read to him. The last panel of the story is heart-breaking! Of course, the artwork by Tim Sale is breathtaking as usual! This one shot has some really nice character development and features some usual characters in a slightly different light.

  • Batwing #1-8: A lesser known Bat family member steps into the spotlight and delivers what I believe to be one of the must read new 52 titles. Batwing's origin story is worth a read and Ben Oliver's art is downright stunning. It's no secret I'm a fanboy for the new villain Massacre, and this is what you'll need to read if you want to know more about him as well.

  • Catwoman #12-16: Selina sets out to give something back to the neighborhood, but a new wave of crime brings her even closer to her roots than she ever imagined. This is a tale of Triumph and tragedy.

  • #7-8: It's the absolute greatest showcase of Creeper's own twisted brand of heroism as well as his impact on the criminal underworld and ever so volatile relationship with Batman. The ending is heartbreaking in its own way.

  • #1-5: This 5 issue run is a dream come true for Deadshot fans. Awesome feats showcasing his accuracy, plenty of battles, and a better look at Floyd's personal and family life.

  • #654-656 ("God of Battle", "Anvil of War", "Besieged"): This story arc struck a cord with me. The villain in a young child (General) with the mind of a genius who is an expert in military strategy, logistics and tactics. He simply and methodically joins all the gangs of Gotham by treating them as individual nations. The story arc goes into his mind and how and my he makes each chess move. He starts off simply by joining the weakest gang in Gotham killing their leader and taking control. He maintains control by his strategies in successful raids and his complete willingness to kill. Batman is matched in brains by a child but in physical force Batman has the advantage. The arc is also historical as it is the story leading up to Batman's Knightfall. Although not a part of the Knightfall story Arc, Batman is already weakened and tired by fighting all the gangs in Gotham only to have Bane send out wave after wave of adversaries at him. The General it the "tip of the sword" in the Battle that broke Batman's back.

  • Detective Comics #784-786: This is a story I'd wanted to see written ever since DC distilled the multiverse down to just one shared world. The Green Lantern of the 1940's operated in Gotham City. Batman operates in present day Gotham City. Wouldn't it be cool if the two heroes could meet on a case, one that juxtaposes the Gotham City of old against it's modern day counterpart? How would Green Lantern feel about the changes Gotham had gone through in his absence? How would Gotham feel about the hero who once watched over her, but abandoned in later years. Thankfully, Brubaker wondered about these things too, & wrote a fine story that explored those themes, along with a few I hadn't considered. The only question I have now is... what took so long?

  • Detective Comics Annual #2: Setting out on his crimefighting career was not a clear path for Bruce as he figured out a lot of lessons on the way. In this story it shows him before when he became Batman trying to learn some things about detective work from a master. Instead of getting some clear cut patterns, he learns that being on the right side of the law is not a matter of black and white (or black vs. white) but instead often involves shades of grey.

  • GOTHAM CENTRAL #12-15: This is a great story involving the unsung heroes of gotham, the GCPD. In a thrilling, chilling, and suspenseful tale of the Joker versus the GCPD, the Joker begins randomly executing citizens of Gotham with a rifle live. Its up to Gotham's finest to stop him. It's a very dark edge-of-your-seat read.

  • #6-7: After realizing what he has created with the Brother Eye satellite, Bruce leads a group of the less strong heroes to tear it apart from the inside.

  • #1-4: If you ever venture into the battle forums of CV, you'll often see the phrase 'Batman wins with prep' or a variation of it bandered around a fair bit, and arguably with good reason. This is the book that really solidified Batman's place as a Prep Master. Some people often wonder how Batman, a mere human can hang with the Gods of the DC universe, and it is solely due to his intelligence and ability to prepare for anything. This is acknowledged in arguably one of the most epic moments of baddass-ry as Batman springs the trap on 3 White Martians, destroying them with Gasoline after they'd just been wiping the floor with the Justice League. If you ever need a book to prove Batman is a baddass. This is it.

  • Justice League #5: Alright, this is not much of a Batman story arc but it is one of the greatest Batman moments. I may be the biggest Guy Gardner fan but I recognize that many don't like him. Guy was brash, obnoxious and opinionated. He rubbed people the wrong way including his Justice League teammates and even readers. So, when Guy challenges Batman to a fight mono y mono over leadership he takes off his ring and Batman clocks him so hard that he knocks him out with one punch. He then goes off with the rest of the league on their next mission leaving Guy unconscious on the floor. Blue Beetle: Ted Kord laughs so hard he literally lifts up his goggles to wipe the tears form his eyes. Again, it may not be the greatest story arc but it is definitely one of the greatest comic moments

  • #13-15: Batman comes to town to help Dick deal with the threat posed by Blockbuster, the two realize gradually that is no longer hero and sidekick, but equal partners as the two try to take down the criminal empire.

  • Nightwing #25: Not involving Batman directly, Dick and Tim take part in a training exercise that Bruce used on Dick in years past. As they ride the roof of a train while blindfolded, they share their thoughts on life and what they think of Batman.

  • #1-8: The 1991 Ragman eight issue mini-series turned an interesting odd-ball superhero into a masterpiece. This mini-series is one of my favorite all-time stories. This is where Ragman is turned from a costumed vigilante into a super-powered hero wearing a suit of evil souls. Many consider Ragman to be a part of the Batman Universe although I would disagree. I believe Ragman is his own man starting in his own book. That said Batman appears in half of the issues in this story and is critical in helping Rory get control of his suit of evil souls. This is where Rags-n-Tatters is moved to Gotham. Now Ragman is a fixture in Batman's world and has on occasion been it's main protector when the the Dark Knight is away. Lastly, one of the great things about Batman and Superman is they are the approvers. In other-words, when ever there is a new "hero" inevitably they will need to get either Batman's or Superman's approval even if it is begrudgingly. Ragman got the Batman stamp of approval and support. This is a solid pick and one of the best comic series ever.

  • The Man of Steel #3: The first post-Crisis meeting between the world's finest, Superman and Batman, didn't get of to the best of starts. In this story, we see that though both heroes employ very different methods, their objectives are no less the same - a view which matches their highly contrasting personalities, backgrounds, and abilities.