Batman is one of the most popular superheroes ever introduced by DC Comics. Since its first release, Batman has been featured in several series, graphic novels and even movies. A wide array of Batman comics has also been released as spinoffs of the core Batman titles to feature new characters that are unique in their own rights. Here is a list of 25 batman comics that every Batman enthusiast should own:
“Hush” (Batman #608-619, 2002-2003)
Hush is one of the best selling Batman stories of all time. Introducing the villain named Hush, it is a mystery book that is packed with fight scenes.
Batman and the Monster Men (2005-2006)
This comic book was written by Matt Wagner and is another flashback to the childhood days of Batman. It also allows readers to know more about the battle of the Caped Crusader against the first super villain in the Batman series, Dr. Hugo Strange.
“Shaman” (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight#1-5, 1990)
This comic book is another interesting entry on this list because it features interwoven stories from the training of Bruce Wayne until he became Batman. It also tells the tale of his battles against the cult that performs human sacrifices in Gotham.
Batman: Birth of the Demon (1992)
Written by Denny O’Neil, this comic book tells the story of Ra’s al Ghul, one of the most dangerous villains in the Batman series. This character is different from other foes in the sense that like the superhero, he also intends to cure the ills of Gotham.
Batman: The Black Mirror
A New York Time’s #1 Bestseller, in “The Black Mirror,” is a series of brutal murders that pushes Batman’s detective skills to the limit and forces him to confront one of Gotham City’s oldest evils. Helpless and trapped in the deadly Mirror House, Batman must fight for his life.
“The Last Arkham” (Batman: Shadow of the Bat#1-4, 1992)
One of the most famous Batman comic books, The Last Arkham introduces the psychotic character of Mister Zsasz who is known today as one of the most dangerous villains in the Batman series. It is an interesting story to explore because it dwells on the madness of the asylum led by Jeremiah Arkham.
Batman: Ego (2000)
Batman Ego is another Batman comic book that aims to analyze the character of Bruce Wayne, from the most obvious aspects of his character up to the finest details of his psychological makeup. It features not a heroic Bruce Wayne but a Bruce Wayne who is wholly controlled by his id and attempts to stop crime by way of lethal justice.
“The Eye of the Beholder” (Batman Annual #14, 1990)
Unlike other Batman comic books that tell the origin of Two-Face, this one centers solely on Harvey Dent without any regard for the other characters. It begins with how he, Gordon and Batman came together and decided to stop crimes in Gotham altogether.
“The Court of the Owls/Night of the Owls” (Batman #1-11, 2011-2012)
Written by Scott Snyder, this comic book is said to be one of the best superhero comics of the decade. In the opening of this book, the writer introduces the Court of the Owls as a cult that has been playing around with Gotham for decades. Bruce Wayne learns about it, dismisses the idea, until he finally learns of their plan to take over the metropolis.
“Prey” (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #11-15, 1990-1991)
Prey is a Batman comic book that gives a fresh take on the first battle of Batman against Dr. Hugo Strange. Unlike other books of its kind, however, it comes with an entirely different tone and plot because Strange is portrayed as a renowned psychologist who ventures into a television crusade to analyze the psyche of Batman for the public.
Batman: Year 100 (2006)
Written by Paul Pole, Year 100 is another Batman comic book that is set in the future version of Gotham. It centers on a tyrannical government that aims to create both terror and havoc in its citizens to destroy the metropolis. It completely takes out everything that most readers know about Batman and replaces it with what the Pope has in mind about the superhero.
Gotham by Gaslight (1989)
This comic book places Batman in the shoes of Jack the Ripper. It is basically a Victorian era detective story that features a variety of mysteries that will surely capture the interest of readers. It also blends some historical facts with the fantasy tale of Batman, and features some of the masterpieces of Mike Mignola.
“Batman Reborn” (Batman & Robin #1-6, 2009-2010)
The story of Batman Reborn starts after the events that took place during Batman R.I.P. It is known for its concise narrative and for its obvious emphasis on the sharp dialogues between and among characters. Unlike other Batman comic books, this book incorporates more humor than violence and mysteries.
“Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?” (Batman #686, Detective Comics #853, 2009)
Written by Neil Gaiman, this Batman comic book opens at the wake for the dead Batman. Unlike most stories written by Gaiman where it is the author who narrates the tale, it is the Dark Knight himself who narrates the entire story in this comic book.
Batman: Black And White (1996)
Considered the most unique Batman comic book on this list, Black and White is an anthology that tells different stories written by different artists and writers, including Neil Gaiman, Matt Wagner, Howard Chaykin, Bruce Timm and Brian Bolland. The stories told in this anthology are generally more poignant than other Batman stories.
Batman: The Man Who Laughs (2005)
This comic book recounts the first battle of Batman with Joker. It is packed with violence and action and is exciting to read because of its several narrative twists. Considered the modern Joker epic, The Man Who Laughs features both the psychotic side and the playful side of Joker.
Strange Apparitions” (Detective Comics #469-476, #478-479, 1977-1978)
Strange Apparitions is considered one of the best Batman comic books in terms of plot. It features villains such as the Joker, Deadshot and Hugo Strange and is filled with action. In this comic book, the three villains try to explore who the man behind the mask is.
“A Death in the Family” (Batman #426-429, 1988-1989)
This comic book written by Jim Starlin delves into the death of Jason Todd, also known as the second Robin. In this story, Todd is said to have been captured by the Joker and was blown up after being locked inside a shack, but was eventually brought back from the dead by DC.
Batman: Dark Victory (1999-2000)
Dark Victory was written by Jeph Loeb and serves as the direct sequel to The Long Halloween. It explores the transformation of Harvey Dent into Two-Face as well as the ramifications of the city’s new super villains. It also centers on the new serial killer who poses threats on the city and the origins of Robin.
Batman: The Cult (1988)
Written by Jim Starlin, The Cult features not only a Batman who is at the mercy of a villain but a Batman who is beaten and bloodied all over.This unforgiving and dark story does not reflect the typical romantic feel of most Batman comic books. Rather, it presents to it’s audience a Batman that is broken both physically and mentally.
Batman: The Long Halloween (1996-1997)
A murder mystery, this comic book narrates in detail the case of “The Holiday Killer” who murders people every major holiday. It basically explores the relationship of Lieutenant James Gordon and Batman, as well as the story of how the once honorable Harvey Dent became Two-Face. It features a supporting cast of classic characters.
Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth (1989)
This is the only Batman comic book that incorporates the pacing and prose of gothic literature during the 19th century. It begins with Batman being forced to get into the asylum to suppress the riot after joker leads an upheaval against the nuthouse of Gotham. This book characterizes the rouge of Batman not as inherent villains but as maladjusted members of the society.
Batman: The Killing Joke (1988)
This comic book was written by Alan Moore and tells the life story of Joker before he became the psychotic menace in the Batman series. The narrative lets readers have some sense of compassion for this villain as it narrates how he wasn’t really born evil but only became a victim of his tragic world.
“Year One” (Batman #404-407, 1987)
This comic book centers on the return of Bruce Wayne to Gotham after having a formal training abroad for his war on crime. He arrives in the United States and becomes a vigilante, then meets James Gordon who also shares the same struggle as his—to clean up the city.
The Dark Knight Returns (1986 – 1987)
Written by Frank Miller, the story of The Dark Knight Returns starts with the elder Wayne watching his city getting overrun by villains called The Mutants and finally deciding to go back to his old crime-fighting ways. He is backed up by Carrie Kelly, the female version of Robin.