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Added by DeleriumJ on 11 Jun 2011 02:16
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The Best Batman Around

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People who added this item 4 Average listal rating (3 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 0
Batman: Year One - Deluxe Edition - Frank Miller_II, David Mazzucchelli_III
Everyone seems to love Year One, and I can see why. This was obviously a big inspiration for Chris Nolan's Batman Begins, playing up the gritty, realistic, more practical side of Batman and his potential problems as a newly blossoming crimefighter. Keep in mind, Frank Miller wrote this after Dark Knight Returns, so there is a nice, pleasing symmetry to his characters.
DeleriumJ's rating:
People who added this item 118 Average listal rating (73 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 0
Batman: The Long Halloween - Jeph Loeb, Tim Sale
The creators will tell us that this was a follow-up to Miller's Year One mob characters (including Maroni and Falcone, who were used in Batman Begins and Dark Knight). I'm a Jeph Loeb fan, and this book is one huge reason why. My favorite aspect of Batman is the fact that he's a detective, and in many ways this is a classic whodunnit. He also likes to play up the whole Batman/Catwoman relationship, which is always fun. This book also tells the origin of Two-Face, providing one of the very few endings that actually surprised me.
DeleriumJ's rating:
People who added this item 24 Average listal rating (16 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 0
Batman Dark Victory TP - Tim Sale,Jeph Loeb
OK, everyone knows this isn't quite as good as Long Halloween, but I still liked it. A note on Tim Sale: I wasn't the biggest fan at first, but his art really grew on me. He can tell a noir story with panels as well as anyone else I know of. This book is the biggest reason I chose not to include Miller's All-Star Batman and Robin, as this provides Dick Grayson's Robin origin, and I see no reason to mess with that. This is also the book that more or less does away with the whole mafia scene, and ushers in the new age of costumed criminals.
DeleriumJ's rating:
People who added this item 287 Average listal rating (199 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 0
Batman: The Killing Joke - Alan Moore_III,Brian Bolland
This one sometimes gets mixed reviews. Apparently, even Moore himself has admitted it wasn't his best. OK, maybe it isn't mind-blowing, but it's a single issue. It's a real challenge to tell a complete, beginning to end story in a single issue, much less something compelling, different, and containing some degree of literary merit. I feel like this story accomplishes that. Not to mention Brian Bolland's art, which is practically flawless. I especially like his re-colored version. This also includes an important character development for Commissioner Gordon and his family.
DeleriumJ's rating:
People who added this item 21 Average listal rating (16 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 0
Batman: A Death in the Family - Jim Aparo,Mike DeCarlo,Jim Starlin
A Death in the Family made comic book history as the first time the audience decided the fate of one of its characters. Fans got a 900 number and, at 50 cents a pop, voted yes or no to kill Robin. Not surprisingly, and setting a precedent for the internet savagery that has become sewn into our cultural tapestry, the fans voted to kill the hell out of Jason Todd.
While this isn't my favorite writing or art, Jason Todd's murder at the hands of the Joker will prove to reverberate through Batman's psyche in a seriously permanent way. Every time Batman is faced with taking on a new partner, rest assured, someone will bring up Jason. This story also challenges and ultimately strengthens Batman's relationship with Superman.
The second part of this book is the Marv Wolfman introduction of Tim Drake, Jason's decidedly perkier replacement. Sandwiched in between two books challenging Batman on his own, this book helps to remind us how much his friends and allies are integral to the overall story. It also acts as a little bit of a setup for Hush.
DeleriumJ's rating:
People who added this item 68 Average listal rating (43 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 0
Morrison's first Batman story, and supposedly the highest selling graphic novel of all time, is an ethereal, existential, and altogether different kind of Batman none the likes we've seen really before or after. It's obviously meant to be a standalone, really more of an Amadeus Arkham story than a Batman story. Still, it's an important work, and intensifies the Batman/Joker relationship.
P.S. - I found a book the other day by Sam Kieth called Arkham Asylum: Madness. It's pretty short, not much happens, but I thought it might be a really cool interlude for Morrison's Serious House on Serious Earth.
DeleriumJ's rating:
People who added this item 44 Average listal rating (28 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 0
Batman: Hush - Jeph Loeb
Hush is a really fun story, and I mean that as a compliment. Jim Lee is my all-time favorite comic book artist. Lee has a good habit of shattering my expectations, and he does not disappoint with this book. Again, Loeb is obviously enjoying himself with the whole Batman/Catwoman off-and-on relationship. Throw in a Superman and Krypto cameo, not to mention more archvillains than you can count, and you have a really solid story. I also like the story's emphasis on the proliferation of Batman's allies, and how that affects him.
DeleriumJ's rating:
People who added this item 17 Average listal rating (12 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 0
Superman/Batman: Supergirl - Jeph Loeb, Michael Turner
You're about to embark on a very long, very serious story beginning with the Black Casebook, through Final Crisis, and finally ending with the 3rd Batman and Robin book. Supergirl is pure candy. I love the relationship and juxtaposition of thought between Batman and Superman. Michael Turner's art is just fun to look at - simple as that. Sure, for some reason Supergirl has to have her super thong stick out over her pants, but hey, it's not like Batman's and Superman's tights leave much to the imagination. This story will also help set you up for Final Crisis, especially if, like me, you knew very little about the DC Universe going into this. For instance, Motherbox and Mister Miracle. Also, Batman fighting Doomsday clones with a battle axe. Like I said, you've got a big, rough story ahead. Enjoy yourself.
DeleriumJ's rating:
People who added this item 3 Average listal rating (1 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 0
As Grant Morrison will tell you at the beginning of this book, a lot of the material in the following story was pulled from old, mostly obscure Batman stories from the past. This is not required reading, as it is not necessary to understand the story; but I thought it was a good introduction, if only to get more of an understanding of the richness of the Batman mythos.
DeleriumJ's rating:
People who added this item 16 Average listal rating (10 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 0
Batman and Son - Grant Morrison, Andy Kubert
Damian Wayne is an important player in this story, and this book helps to cement his relationship with his father. The Clown at Midnight is a very interesting little meditation on the Joker (though a bit of a sledge hammer of a Kafka reference), and a chapter that every Batman fan should read.
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People who added this item 11 Average listal rating (8 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 0
Batman: The Black Glove - Grant Morrison, J.H. Williams III, Tony S. Daniel
This is the first Grant Morrison Batman story I read, and it's what hooked me to Batman in the first place. I'll be honest: I was a Marvel kid all the way. Later, in my twenties, a guy I worked with recommended this story, and the rest, as they say, is history. The Club of Heroes is a great Ten Little Indians send up, and the art by JH Williams III is edgy and fun.
DeleriumJ's rating:
People who added this item 26 Average listal rating (16 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 0
Batman: R.I.P. - Grant Morrison, Tony S. Daniel
One or two people I talked to were a little displeased with this book. One reason is that you have to read Final Crisis in order to find out what happens to Batman. Well, luckily Final Crisis is good, so just read it, and enjoy yourself :) Two, the whole Zur-en-arrh thing...I dunno... I liked it, some didn't. Make up your own mind. Batman's showdown with Hurt and the Black Glove is still some of my favorite comic book writing, period.
DeleriumJ's rating:
People who added this item 7 Average listal rating (6 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 0
Final Crisis - Grant Morrison, J.G. Jones, Doug Mahnke, Carlos Pacheco
If you're like me, you'll have some trouble figuring out what the hell all is going on. That's OK - just enjoy the ride. There's a book that I couldn't find in the search called Time and the Batman which contains R.I.P. - The Missing Chapter. It, combined with the following few books, will fully flesh out Batman's encounters with Darkseid and his allies.
DeleriumJ's rating:
People who added this item 8 Average listal rating (4 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 0
Batman & Robin, Vol. 2: Batman vs. Robin - Grant Morrison, Cameron Stewart, Andy Clarke
This entry on the list counts for three books: Batman Reborn, Batman vs. Robin, and Batman Must Die! These books tell the story of Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne as they venture to fill Bruce's shoes. A lot of stories come full circle here, including Dick's search for Bruce, the showdown with Hurt and the Black Glove, the return of Knight and Squire, and finally, the return of Bruce Wayne. You'll notice Morrison's fascination particularly with The Killing Joke and Jason Todd's untimely death. This is 90% great, great stuff. I only wish Frank Quitely would have done more of the interior artwork.
DeleriumJ's rating:
People who added this item 9 Average listal rating (6 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 0
Batman: The Return Of Bruce Wayne - Grant Morrison, Chris Sprouse, Frazer Irving, Yanick Paquette, Georges Jeanty, Ryan Sook, Lee Garbett
I recommend reading the Batman and Robin books first only because they will help this one to make a lot more sense. I liked how each chapter seemed to emphasize a different strength of Batman: his physical attributes, his detective skills, his ability to plan ahead, etc. Plus, it's a bit of a jigsaw puzzle, a bit sci-fi...bit of everything. This brings our Grant Morrison run to a close, leading back into Frank Miller.
DeleriumJ's rating:
People who added this item 253 Average listal rating (154 ratings) 8.4 IMDB Rating 0
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns - Frank Miller_II, Klaus Janson, Lynn Varley
Many people will tell you that this is the best Batman book around. Generally speaking, I agree. I never understood why Batman was in the Justice League; other than perhaps, everyone was jealous of his computer. This book helped me to understand his place among Superman, Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter, and the rest of the nearly God-like members of the JLA. Turns out, there are several answers. He's the smartest of the group; he knows everything about everyone, and he knows how to plan to defeat them. Most importantly, he's the guy fighting the battle on the ground, keeping things in order while the rest are up in the sky, fighting aliens or planet-eating planets, or whatever the heck else. This is the tough, badass, take no prisoners, and yet genius dark detective we all want Batman to be.
DeleriumJ's rating:
People who added this item 44 Average listal rating (25 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 0
The follow-up to Dark Knight Returns is frenetic, chaotic, action-packed, and completely insane. I love it. I particularly like what Miller did with the rest of the Justice League - Flash being used as a power generator, Wonder Woman MIA, and - best of all - Superman working for President Luthor in the interest of the "greater good." My only complaint is that Miller didn't do the art himself.
DeleriumJ's rating:
Just as every Superman saga would end with Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?, I feel it appropriate to end the Batman story with Neil Gaiman's sendup. If you haven't read it, there are a bunch of fun little revelations that I won't reveal, but I will say that the ending did get me a little choked up. There are a TON of inside jokes, but isn't that kind of the point? As a side note, I love this book because it also contains Gaiman's three other Batman stories. None of them are great, but it's nice to have a complete collection like that :) I'm glad when editors are considerate that way.
DeleriumJ's rating:

For a few months now, I've been trying to piece together a Batman story that you could conceivably read through, from start to finish, that would more or less encompass his entire career - removing, as much as possible, continuity issues, and, well, the mediocre stuff (for instance, I have no interest in Knightfall whatsoever). That's all a matter of opinion of course, but I hope you like the list anyway :) Let me know if you have any comments, especially regarding any errors I've made in the notes, or additions to the list! (bradleyfilmco@gmail.com)

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