Batman is one of DC Comics’ most iconic characters. Along with Superman, his popularity ranks up there in the comic book mainstream today. While Batman has continually had his ups and downs over the past decade, there have been some really great stories to come out of the Batman mythos over that time. For today’s list post, I plan to introduce you to some of these stories. We are going to stay fairly recent this time around and avoid the usual “top” Batman stories like Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One or Grant Morrison’s Arkham Asylum. These are going to focus on the more recent stories in the Batman timeline.
- 5) Under the Hood – There was nothing more traumatic to Batman then the loss of the second Robin, Jason Todd. The loss of Jason is something Batman considers to be his biggest failure, and has a consistent reminder of that failure in the form of a glass case displaying the Robin costume of Jason Todd. All of that comes to a head in Under the Hood. In this story Jason Todd has returned from the dead, I will not spoil the surprise as to how this happened since it is in the final part of Volume 2. The reason that this is such an important story is it means that Batman has to face his failure head on. However, I believe that leaving Jason Todd dead would have been a better move.
- 4) KnightFall – Back in the mid-ninties, DC was on a mission to kill or severely disable several of its top heros. None is no more memorable than the Death of Superman storyline. But like I said before, Batman and Superman are probably equal in popularity so if they did something drastic to Superman, you can expect it to happen to Batman. So it came to pass that DC came up with a new villain for Batman named Bane. Bane was a hardened criminal that had been used for experiments for a new drug called Venom. This drug gave Bane superhuman strength. Bane set is sights on Batman and formulated a plan to bring him done. This ended with Batman having his back broken. A new Batman emerged, if only for a temporary time, and eventually defeated Bane. The KnightFall/KnightsEnd trilogy is a must for any Batman fan. Available in a three part paperback edition.
- 3) Hush – Jeph Loeb has written some of the best Batman stories ever to grace a comic book’s page. While many will argue that Hush is not one of those, I disagree. While it is definitely not Mr. Loeb’s best work it is good work none the less. In Hush we learn more about Bruce’s mysterious past. More importantly we learn about his friend Thomas Elliott. After a near fatal fall as Batman, Bruce calls on Tommy, who is a world renown surgeon, to fix his injuries. After Mr. Elliott returns to Bruce’s life a lot of Batman’s enemies start targeting him in weird ways and not always directly at Batman. The mystery of Hush is never fully solved by the time everything is wrapped up but you are left to wonder, is Thomas Elliott really Hush? This story is available in a two part paperback edition or the hardcover Aboslute Edition.
- 2) War Games – Ever wonder what Batman does when he is not flying over rooftops? No, he is not running around pretending to be a clumsy playboy billionaire. War Games gives insight into this side of Batman. When the recently fired Robin (Stephanie Brown aka Spoiler) takes it upon herself to implement one of Batman’s plans all Hades breaks loose. What ensues is the biggest gang war Gotham has ever seen and not everyone is making it out alive. Available in a three part paperback editions this story makes some major changes to the Batman family.
- 1) Face to Face – After the events of Infinite Crisis all the DC books did a jump to one year later. The first Batman story of this post-Infinite Crisis world is by far the best Batman story in probably the last 10 years. Batman returns to Gotham to find that someone is killing the most deadliest of criminals and all evidence points to Two-Face who has not been seen since Harvey Dent had surgery to repair his face. Batman and Robin work to solve the mystery and utilize new methods that they worked on during the year abroad. The series ends with a major (but good) change to the Batman and Robin relationship. Available in paperback in a single volume.