Top 10 Best Batman Comics of All Time
Top 10 Best Batman Comics of All Time: When it comes to comic book heroes, Batman is undoubtedly one of the most popular and enduring characters of all time. From his first appearance in Detective Comics #27 in 1939, the Dark Knight has captured the imagination of readers with his combination of detective skills, technology, and fearless determination to fight crime. With so many great Batman comics to choose from, it can be hard to know where to start. That’s why we’ve put together this list of the 10 best Batman comics and Graphic Novels of all time, so you can dive into the world of Batman and experience some of the greatest stories ever told.
Top 10 Best Batman Comics of All Time
The Dark Knight Returns
“The Dark Knight Returns” is a comic book masterpiece that depicts a decade-old retired Batman who comes out of retirement to confront his oldest foe and friend, Superman. Set in a grim future of Gotham City, where crime is rampant and the city is in dire need of a hero. Bruce Wayne’s obsession to fight crime takes over and he puts the suit back on. Miller’s storytelling is exceptional, with a distinct pacing in each page and an unexpected optimistic ending. It’s considered the greatest Batman graphic novel of all time for its entertaining and defining portrayal of the dark and moody character of Batman, its ability to answer the question of “Who would win, Batman or Superman?”, and its lasting impact on the character’s characterization till today.
Batman: The Long Halloween
“The Long Halloween” is a mystery story that takes place in Gotham City, where a holiday killer is on the loose and has the entire city on edge. Each issue covers a different holiday as the year progresses. The story explores Batman’s early career and the changing status quo of Gotham City. It features a mysterious killer, appearances by notable villains, striking visuals, and an imperfect resolution to the case. The story’s strength lies in its ability to make even the most insignificant characters, such as Calendar Man, appear intriguing and essential to the plot. It’s considered one of the best-told mysteries in Batman’s long history and a must-read for fans of the character.
The Killing Joke
“The Killing Joke” is a comic book that explores the Joker’s origin story through flashbacks as Batman attempts to stop the Joker from corrupting Jim Gordon’s mind. The story is appreciated by fans for its portrayal of the Joker and Batman as mirror images of each other, both driven to their professions by the loss of loved ones. The comic’s legacy is cemented by its ambiguous, Soprano-like ending that leaves the reader unsure of what exactly happened. It’s one of the best Joker origin stories and highlights the complex relationship between the two iconic characters, as they are unable to bring themselves to kill each other.
In the “Knightfall Saga,” Bruce Wayne is forced to take a break from being Batman when Bane breaks his back. During his absence, Jean-Paul Valley takes over as Batman but becomes excessively violent, causing the public to lose trust in the Caped Crusader. This story arc is significant in Batman continuity as it shows Bruce Wayne recognizing the need for help and support. It also serves as an important moment of realization for Bruce Wayne, as he begins to understand the limitations of his abilities and the importance of trust in allies. This story also introduces some key members of the Bat family to fans.
Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth
“Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth” is a 1989 graphic novel that takes readers on a surreal journey inside the infamous Arkham Asylum, home to some of the DCU’s most twisted villains. The story follows Batman as he navigates the winding halls of the asylum during a riot and encounters iconic foes, all while uncovering the twisted history and possible supernatural forces at play within the facility. Written by Grant Morrison and illustrated by Dave McKean, this is a unique and unforgettable odyssey for both Batman and readers alike. It is a powerful and visceral experience to walk the halls of Arkham Asylum, confronting the deranged killers and madmen that reside there and this graphic novel is as close as one would want to get to that experience.
Batman: Year One
“Year One” tells the story of who would stand by Batman’s side as he fights crime dressed as a bat. Batman and Gordon arrive in Gotham at the same time, both carrying personal struggles. They form an uneasy partnership throughout the year, despite making mistakes. Instead of focusing on a major villain, the story centers on the struggles of trying to do good in a corrupt city. It’s a story about street crime and corruption, rather than relying on over-the-top villains or threats to destroy Gotham. It’s the story of the impossible battle that Batman and Jim Gordon can never fully win.
Batman (Vol. 1): The Court of Owls
“The Court of Owls” is a story arc that follows Batman as he faces a mysterious organization that has emerged in Gotham City. He soon discovers that the Court of Owls is connected to his grandfather, Alan Wayne. This story arc stands out as it presents a formidable challenge for Batman, as the organization is made up of many powerful and immortal members, making it difficult for him to emerge victorious. It’s a refreshing change from the typical Batman story where the Dark Knight easily defeats his villains and makes the readers appreciate the effort he puts in to overcome this challenge. The Court of Owls storyline is a compelling and thrilling tale that showcases the detective skills and perseverance of Batman.
Batman: Dark Victory
In his 3rd year as a vigilante, Batman investigates the murders of GCPD officers by a serial killer known as Hangman, while Two-Face engages in a turf war with the Falcone crime family. “Batman: Dark Victory” not only tells a Batman story, but also serves as an origin story for Dick Grayson, aka Robin. Through Robin’s perspective, fans see a new side of Batman as a mentor and father figure. The level of chaos is high as many criminals in the Arkham Asylum break out, adding to Batman’s already difficult task of finding the serial killer and re-capturing the escaped criminals.
Batman: Under the Red Hood
In the comic storyline “Under The Red Hood,” Jason Todd, who was murdered by the Joker, is resurrected and becomes the antihero known as the Red Hood. He sets out to take revenge on both the Joker and crime boss Black Mask, who is aided by a group of super villains. The story highlights Batman’s adherence to the “No-Kill” rule, as he prevents Todd from killing the Joker, which ultimately allows for more lawlessness. Black Mask also serves as a convincing antagonist, adding depth to the story with his role as a crime boss.
Jeph Loeb’s “Hush” is a modern Batman story that uses clever gimmicks similar to “The Long Halloween.” The story follows a mysterious new villain named Hush, who manipulates Batman’s rogues gallery in an effort to ruin the Dark Knight’s life. The resolution may be controversial, but the journey is what makes this story one of the 25 must-read Batman books. The story also explores the Batman/Catwoman relationship in depth and features notable artwork by Jim Lee, which may be his best work during his time at DC Comics.