Batman: Knightfall

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If you are new to Batman comic books, you may be wondering what the best Batman comics are. I am going to list graphic novels, which are sometimes a collection of a series of comics. They contain the best stories and the best villains. Enough chit-chat, let us go down the list:

Batman Knightfall Volume 1

The Knightfall storyline is definitely among the best batman comics, and it is a wonder why it took so long for them to compile it into a graphic novel. It introduces Bane, a villain that is both smarter and stronger than Batman. The Dark Knight is so over his head that does not have a prayer in beating him.

Bane’s plan begins with him releasing all of the inmates from Arkham Asylum, including some of Batman’s most notorious enemies such as the Joker and Two-Face. This forces Batman to spread himself thin as he tries to recapture all of the escaped criminals while also trying to maintain order in Gotham City. As Bane watches from the shadows, he sees that Batman is being pushed to his limits and decides that it is time to make his move.

Bane’s first step in breaking Batman is by physically defeating him in a brutal and prolonged fight. Batman, who is already exhausted from his efforts to contain the escaped inmates, is no match for Bane’s strength and is left severely injured. With Batman out of the picture, Bane takes control of Gotham City and declares himself the new ruler. This leads to chaos and anarchy in the city as Bane’s army of criminals wreak havoc on the streets.

Meanwhile, Batman is left to recover from his injuries and is forced to pass on the mantle of the Dark Knight to his former sidekick, Azrael. However, Azrael’s methods are much more brutal and violent than Batman’s, causing concern among the citizens of Gotham. As Azrael’s actions become more extreme, Batman realizes that he must regain his strength and take back his city from Bane’s control.

The climax of the story sees Batman facing off against Bane once again, but this time, he is prepared and has a plan to defeat him. In a grueling battle, Batman is able to outsmart Bane and ultimately defeat him, reclaiming his title as the protector of Gotham City. However, the events of Knightfall leave a lasting impact on Batman, both physically and mentally, as he is forced to confront his own limitations and vulnerabilities.

Make sure that you only read Vol. 1 (affiliate link) and skip volume 2, because it is terrible stuff. Volume 3 is okay too, but it is not necessary to read all three to understand what is going on.

The Killing Joke

The Killing Joke with Barbara Gordon

These are the best Batman comics because they tell the tales of the best villains The Killing Joke is meant to probe the mind of The Joker, who tries to drive Commissioner Gordon into madness by paralyzing Barbara Gordon (Batgirl). It begs the question: can one bad day drive a person mad?

In The Killing Joke, the exploration of the difference between the good guys and the crazy guys is vividly portrayed, extending beyond a brilliant origin story for one of comics’ most iconic villains. The narrative delves into the fundamental aspects that set the sane individuals apart from the ones who have succumbed to madness. It becomes apparent that when faced with adversity, the heroes attain a resolute determination to push back against their circumstances, while those who have lost touch with reality allow themselves to teeter dangerously close to the edge of sanity.

Throughout the story, the contrasting actions and choices made by the characters highlight this dichotomy. The protagonists demonstrate their commitment to justice and the preservation of society’s moral compass, even in the face of personal tragedy or unimaginable trauma. They refuse to allow their circumstances to dictate their actions, instead clinging to their sense of right and wrong.

Conversely, the depiction of the “crazy guys” in The Killing Joke reveals a different path taken when confronted with adversities. The antagonists, compromised by their descent into madness, mirror a distorted reflection of the heroes. Instead of finding strength and resilience, they succumb to the chaos within, relinquishing themselves to their darkest impulses. This contrast underscores the precariousness of sanity and the boundaries between good and evil.

Furthermore, The Killing Joke offers insight into the psychological consequences of these contrasting paths. The heroes, committed to maintaining their sanity, confront their traumas head-on, guided by the belief that by staying grounded, they can overcome their challenges. They strive to find meaning and purpose within their personal struggles, serving as beacons of hope and inspiration.

In contrast, the “crazy guys” delve deeper into their own psyches, embracing the unpredictable darkness that envelops them. The story emphasizes the devastating effects of their choices, as they become twisted and consumed by their deranged perspectives. This exploration of the consequences of madness serves as a cautionary tale, illustrating the destructive outcomes that await those who lose themselves to their inner demons.

Ultimately, The Killing Joke expertly examines the distinction between the good guys and the crazy guys by showcasing the different paths they take when confronted with adversity. Through the characters’ actions and psychological journeys, it becomes evident that the heroes draw strength from their sanity, while the villains surrender themselves to insanity’s enticing grip. This exploration serves as a thought-provoking exploration of the human condition and the boundaries that separate the virtuous from the deranged.

Unfortunately, the only version you can find now is the Deluxe Edition which has been recolored. To me, this is synonymous to repainting the Mona Lisa.

The Dark Knight Returns

The Dark Knight Returns

There is no doubt that if you were to ask a comic store clerk what the best batman comics were, he would bring up The Dark Knight Returns. Written and illustrated by Frank Miller (but looks like it was drawn by a five-year-old) it tells the tale of a retired Bruce Wayne who decides that it was time for Batman to return. When he does, Joker decides to come out of retirement as well.

The Dark Knight Returns is widely regarded as a masterpiece for several compelling reasons. Firstly, it presents a unique and thought-provoking premise by delving into the idea of a retired Batman facing off against Superman. This innovative concept immediately captivates readers’ imaginations, fueling their curiosity and drawing them into the story.

What truly sets this graphic novel apart is its remarkable storytelling. The pages are skillfully crafted, often containing numerous panels that may appear crowded, yet Frank Miller effortlessly maintains a distinct pacing. This meticulous control over the narrative flow ensures that readers are constantly engaged, as each page unravels an intricately woven plot. The masterful use of panel layout and composition allows the story to unfold dynamically, heightening the overall reading experience.

Moreover, Miller’s characterization of Batman is unparalleled in its dark and moody portrayal of the Caped Crusader. This iteration of Batman became the definitive version, inspiring countless adaptations and interpretations that followed. The brooding nature of the character resonates with readers, who are enthralled by the internal struggles and complexities that define Batman’s persona.

Additionally, The Dark Knight Returns manages to provide an optimistic ending, surprising readers who had grown accustomed to dark conclusions in Batman’s world. This touch of hopefulness stands out amidst the grittiness, demonstrating Miller’s ability to balance a sense of realism with a glimmer of optimism.

One of the most enduring aspects of The Dark Knight Returns is its ability to engage readers across multiple readings. It remains just as entertaining and impactful every time one dives back into its pages. This lasting appeal is a testament to the profound depth and richness of the story, as it continues to captivate and resonate with audiences.

Lastly, The Dark Knight Returns offers a definitive answer to the age-old question that comic book enthusiasts have long debated: Who would win in a battle between Batman and Superman? By expertly crafting a thrilling showdown between these two iconic superheroes, Miller not only satisfies fans’ curiosity but also establishes a benchmark for the superhero genre as a whole.

With its innovative premise, unparalleled storytelling, iconic characterization, unexpected optimism, enduring appeal, and the resolution to a long-standing debate, The Dark Knight Returns undoubtedly earns its place as the greatest Batman graphic novel of all time. It is a true masterpiece destined to be celebrated for generations to come.

The graphic novel is among the top selling (affiliate link) books on the word’s favorite book store. There is a sequel as well for this story, which people truly hate, and you should not even bother with it.

Batman: Year One

How Old is Batman in Year One

Batman: Year One is widely regarded as one of the best Batman stories, primarily for its compelling narrative and unique approach to storytelling. Unlike many other Batman tales, this iconic comic book focuses not on extravagant supervillains or apocalyptic threats, but rather on the raw, gritty reality of Gotham City’s street crime and deep-rooted corruption.

The story brilliantly explores the parallel journeys of Batman and Jim Gordon, as they both arrive in Gotham around the same time, burdened with their own personal struggles and haunted pasts. Throughout the course of a year, they navigate the dark underbelly of the city, facing numerous obstacles and making mistakes along the way. This shared journey forms the foundation of an uneasy partnership that endures throughout their respective careers, portraying a deeply human and complex relationship.

What sets Batman: Year One apart is its emphasis on the characters’ vulnerabilities and their relentless pursuit of justice in a city on the brink of chaos. It depicts Batman and Jim Gordon as flawed individuals, both driven by their unwavering commitment to doing what is right. This exploration of their humanity and their struggles to maintain their moral compasses in the face of overwhelming adversity is what truly resonates with readers.

Moreover, Batman: Year One stands out because it defies the conventions of traditional superhero storytelling. By eschewing the reliance on flamboyant supervillains and grandiose threats, it grounds the story in a stark and realistic portrayal of urban crime. The absence of the usual “marquee villains” allows for a laser focus on the internal and external battles faced by Batman and Jim Gordon.

The storytelling in Batman: Year One is masterful, presenting a compelling narrative that captures the essence of Gotham City as a corrupt and broken metropolis. The artwork and visual style further enhance the overall experience, employing a dark and gritty aesthetic to mirror the tone of the story. This melding of art and narrative creates a hauntingly atmospheric backdrop that immerses readers in the struggle between the forces of good and evil.

Ultimately, the enduring appeal of Batman: Year One lies in its ability to tell a captivating tale of redemption, sacrifice, and the indomitable spirit of those who refuse to surrender to darkness. By focusing on the human side of both Batman and Jim Gordon, and showcasing the relentlessness of their fight against crime in a city consumed by it, this story has earned its place as one of the greatest Batman stories ever told.

Batman: Hush

Batman and Catwoman Kiss

Many people seem to think that The Dark Knight Returns is among the best Batman comics. In my opinion, it is not the best. I feel Batman: Hush is far superior. So much happens in this story arch. Batman kisses Catwoman, and reveals his identity to her. Batman fights Superman as well. The best twists you have to read for yourself, but if you need more reasons to read this masterpiece, know that Jim Lee illustrated the story. For those who do not know, Jim Lee is among the best comic artists around.

The controversy surrounding the resolution of “Hush” stems from the intricate storyline crafted by Jeph Loeb, which revolves around Batman’s iconic Rogues Gallery. In this modern tale, Loeb cleverly employs similar gimmicks as seen in his previous work, “The Long Halloween.” With a new antagonist named Hush manipulating Batman’s old adversaries, readers are left in suspense, eagerly trying to decipher the true identity of this cunning mastermind.

However, it is the resolution itself that has sparked controversy among fans and critics alike. The revelation of Hush’s true identity incited mixed reactions and varied interpretations, leading to fervent debates within the Batman fandom. Some argue that the reveal was a satisfactory conclusion that brilliantly connected the dots throughout the narrative, while others found it underwhelming or even contradictory to previous characterizations.

This controversy stems from the expectations set by the engaging mystery built around Hush’s true identity. Readers invest their time and interest into countless theories and speculations, developing personal attachment to their preferred outcomes. When the resolution doesn’t align with these expectations, disappointment and disagreements arise.

The controversial resolution of “Hush” showcases the subjective nature of storytelling and the fervor it can evoke among passionate fans. While some embrace the unexpected twists and turns, appreciating the fresh perspective it brings to Batman’s world, others yearn for a more conventional or logical conclusion that aligns with their preconceived notions.

Ultimately, the controversy surrounding the resolution of “Hush” is a testament to the lasting impact and fervent discussions that can arise from narrative decisions in beloved comic book storylines.