Recently, Darrin did a list of the Top 5 Superman Stories You Should Read. Here’s my (our) counterpart: The Fanatical Five Top Batman Stories To Read. Plus one. Was really hard to narrow it down. But thanks to the help of the rest of the crew, we were able to put our favorites together. Remember, these aren’t necessarily the best, but rather our favorites.
Honorable Mention: Court of Owls
It’s epic, foreboding, and a brilliant start to the New 52 run of DC’s most iconic character. Snyder and Capullo hit it out of the park. Great new enemies (the court and their Talons), and some fantastic twists and turns. The Night of Owls was particularly impressive with the whole Bat Family simply trying to save who they can. Not quite top 5, but don’t miss the Court of Owls, or any of Snyder and Capullo’s run for that matter. Death of the Family was also very intense.
Jim Lee, dude. Jim. Lee. This book is Lee at his finest. A truly beautiful book. You have Batman and pretty much every supporting member from Catwoman, Harley, Huntress, Superman and a few others. All just trying to figure out what is going on in Gotham. I’d be negligent to remiss Jeph Loeb’s brilliant script as well. It’s a wild ride with a number of great moment for the entire cast. A great book for all the members of the Batman cast.
4. Batman and Robin (Morrison)
Not to be confused with other volumes of this title, this is the series by Grant Morrison starring Dick Grayson as Batman, and Damian Wayne as Robin. Bruce is gone, and Dick has to somehow whip the little snot into something resembling a hero. It’s a fun dynamic that’s beautiful to watch as it grows and mature along with our titular characters. A rather dark series, it both looks great and is a great read. If there was every any question if Grayson was a worth successor to the cowl, this series removes any doubt.
3. No Man’s Land
One of the biggest events in Batman’s history, it literally hit all of the Bat Family. A huge earthquake demolished Gotham and the US is unable to rebuild it, and instead quarantines it off. Victims are trapped inside, left to somehow survive. It’s dire, dark, and filled with some great moments of heroism from unexpected characters. It’s not short, either. The whole event is four large volumes long, giving time for the desperation to sink in. There’s many substories within, and no one is coming out of the No Man’s Land without scars. How do you survive in Gotham when law and order is now merely a dream of the past. And where’s Batman when you need him most? Also notable for introducing my favorite Batgirl, Cassandra Cain.
Where do I start with this one? It’s changed the Joker forever. It’s Alan Moore, so that should tell you something. Easily one of the darkest stories I’ve read, it’s not one you read to feel good but rather feel the intensity. The Joker at his absolute finest and most twisted moments that alter the lives of those involved forever. It takes Batman’s biggest enemy and make you simultaneously fear and (almost) sympathize with him.
1. The Black Mirror
My love for Dick Grayson is well known, and this arc is one of the key reasons why. Snyder penned an amazing story, with a great dynamic between Grayson and Jim Gordon. It’s interesting to see Gordon deal with the new Batman. He’s not sure who it is, but he know it’s not the same person he was dealing with before. But, the big reason to read this book is the atmosphere. Snyder channels American Vampire and puts Grayson into almost a horror environment. There’s nightmares, illusions, fire, panic and lose/lose scenarios that put the former Boy Wonder to the fullest test of his abilities. Combined with the talents of Jock and Francesco Francavilla the book oozes style and atmosphere resulting in a story that wouldn’t have worked as well with Bruce under the cowl. With the characters involved, it’s much more personal for Dick. It’s creepy, dire, heartfelt, full of action and a must read or any fan of comics.
There you have it. Our favorite five Batman Stories. Agree? Disagree? Let us know!