Editor’s Choice:The Five Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told
With Batman turning 75 this year I thought I would share my top 5 greatest Batman stories ever told from my point of view. We all have our favorite stories from the Dark Knight and here are mine. Some are single issue stories and some compose of many issues to tell the story.
#5- A Death in the Family.
This one was huge for me. As a young reader I got my first taste of death in a comic book and this one was huge. For the first time in comic book history, fans got to decide the fate of a major character. “A Death in the Family” ran in Batman #426-429 and would change how the world would react to a tragic event in comics. The media went nuts over this story arc and fans essentially sentenced Jason Todd to death. This one is well worth the read as we also get to see Batman switch to the dark side of his consciousness.
This entire story arc was amazing. Not only did this offer some insight into the mind of Batman, it also started to ask questions on a former Robin. The story ran from issues #609-619 and included a star studded cast of all your favorite villains from Batman’s past. Written by Jeph Loeb and illustrated by comics superstar Jim Lee in which Batman sets out to discover the identity of a mysterious mastermind using the Joker, Riddler, Ra’s al Ghul and the Dark Knight’s other enemies – and allies – as pawns in a plan to wreak havoc.
The thing that got me going was the mystery surrounding the disappearance of Jason Todd as his body is no longer in the grave. This tale really get the blood flowing and the overall impact is excellent. We all know that super heroes do not stay dead and this is proof of just that. This is an excellent read and a must own story. Not only do I have the single issues, I also have the trade as well.
#3- The Worlds Finest
This story got my attention fast as I was and still am a Batman AND Superman fan. Team-ups have been a mainstay in the DC Universe for ages and adding these two together in their own series was long overdue. This first arc deals with Luthor running the country as the President of the United States. He put a price on both Batman and Superman and the end result was heroes and villains trying to take our guys out. You really get a sense that Batman and Superman are best friends and the story was extremely entertaining. I know this is a story concerning the top 5 Batman stories but trust me, you need to read this one. Sure Batman shares the limelight but the payoff is well worth it. The story arc runs from issue #1 to issue 6. Check it out and I promise you it’s not like the travesty we now have in the New 52 series.
#2- Batman #497
Knightfall was hugely successful for DC Comics and the entire story arc is one for the ages. The stand out issue for me is the actual breaking of the Bat. In this issue Bane beats Batman to a pulp, and when Batman refused to beg for mercy, Bane takes Batman and breaks his back over his knee. The pinnacle conclusion for this first arc was amazing. Batman was defeated in a way that would force anyone else who tried to fight evil to basically say screw it. Batman was down, broken in half and out of commission. DC has never done a story quite like this before. Sure you had the Superman Vs. Doomsday thing going on but that was different. In this issue Batman did not “die” but was defeated by a major villain and was hurt badly, which included his pride. The kicker to this is Bane beat Batman is his cave, right under Wayne Manor. This is indeed a book for the ages and the story was brilliant.
#1- The Dark Knight Returns
It’s always difficult to narrow down the top five stories for anything but with Batman, it’s especially difficult. My counterpart already posted his top 5 and coming in at number 1 is the killing Joke. That story is indeed a must read and it too comes up on my list. For this article I wanted to pin point another great Batman story that always seems to come in second to the Killing Joke; The Dark Knight Returns.
This story was originally issued in a 4 issue limited series and later that same year was re-issued in a now famous collection. The reason why this story comes in at number 1 for myself is the overall tone and direction of the books. Batman comes out of retirement to fight crime and is thrusted against the Gotham City PD, the US Government and even an old friend. His return also awakens and old enemy named the Joker and Bruce also brings in a new Robin. The story is fantastic and is set in the future (1986) and Batman is pushing 55. Frank Miller did not hold any punches with this story and every Batman fan should read this at least once in their lifetime.