#17-Batman Knightfall (Vol. 1)
Released April 1993-August 1994
Knightfall as a whole was very long. Extremely long. A bit too long that I still can’t believe I was able to get through all three volumes, literally in hurricanes and massive snowstorms. Thinking back on the story, the first part of Knightfall, “Broken Bat” has earned my spot on #17 of the best Batman stories! Volume one of Knightfall is another of those tales showing a scenario where Batman is beaten down physically and/or mentally. This time though, a newer villain is behind Batman’s misery. Bane, a criminal master-mind spending most of his life within a prison, is hellbent on “breaking the bat” and taking over Gotham city. Along with his friends named after famous sixties bands (Zombie, Trogg, Bird, I never made connections before), Bane attempts to control the criminal underworld by using his wit and (more importantly) a very addictive steroid called Venom. Initially, Bane’s plan is very successful. Releasing all the inmates within Arkham Asylum wears Batman down. All of this excellent build up finally reaches a breaking point (yes) in that now iconic moment where Bane “breaks the bat” by, well…breaking his back. Bruce Wayne, still recuperating from the injuries inflicted on him by Bane, is not the one who takes down Bane. Jean-Paul Valley, some might know him as Azrael, is able to take him down in a very epic standoff, donning the Batman’s cape and cowl! But that leads into a different story that I am not willing to tell.
Overall, Knightfall should be credited as introducing a very interesting villain, Bane, into the mix of Batman villains. Using both brain and brawn, he had come relatively close to single-highhandedly beating Batman down in a near successful tactic. But, he of course found more popularity in television and movies, such as Batman: TAS and The Dark Knight Rises. Regardless, Batman Knightfall should be one of those essential Batman books that people should pick up for the great impact it had on the character at the time.
#18-All Star Batman and Robin: The Boy Wonder
Alright, alright, I get it. “What the heck is wrong with your mind, Galactic?” “This junk is actually one of your favorite Batman stories?” “What? Are you damn stupid? This is a god**** terrible book!” (Like anyone would care.) Yes, that’s right. I place All Star Batman and Robin: The Boy Wonder at #18 on my favorite Batman stories. I couldn’t resist, it was just asking for it. Maybe this is one of Frank Miller’s gritty stories gone wrong but you just can’t take it seriously enough to go and put it on your list. What instance of this book draws me into it’s eccentric charm? I have absolutely no clue. On my list of favorite Batman books, this is probably the most messed up Batman story I’ve read. But I actually still did love it. Contrary to popular belief, I actually did creepily find myself intrigued by Batman’s constant mocking and abusiveness towards Robin. And the first question I should ask myself is “what in God’s name is wrong with me?” Of course, this problem leads on to The Dark Knight Strikes Again which you will be thankfully not be seeing on this list. Jim Lee also had some pretty stunning artwork (whichever way you choose to look at it). I found myself enjoying his work on that spread sheet of the batcave. I liked how the story plays out. When you think of The Dark Knight Returns Batman, you don’t picture this jerk prancing around Gotham actually having the time of his life beating up petty thieves and psycho paths.
Eh, draw your own conclusions with this story. I enjoyed it. I think I will call my guilty pleasure.
#19-Batman Arkham Asylum: A Serious House On Serious Earth
Released October 1989
Grant Morrison is a writer I slowly grow more and more fond of with each story I read by him. And as I read his stories, I readily embrace the Grant Morrison storytelling that I grow to know and love. Tenderly holding the comic in my hands and stroking the binding, I can’t help but say to myself “yep, Grant Morrison wrote this”. This one is no exception either. Arkham Asylum: A Serious House On Serious Earth, explores the relationship between Batman and his sweetheart Arkham Asylum. At the very beginning of the story, Batman muses that every time he walks through the gates of Arkham Asylum, he feels like he’s coming back home. And who knows to give him a grand entrance better than his entire rouge’s gallery! This is truly a great story depicting Batman feeling hopelessness. While he tries to deal with the inmates who he claims to be insane, Batman soon begins to question his own sanity. Along with this story, comes another subplot focusing on Amadeus Arkham, the original man running Arkham Asylum. There is plenty to praise and fear as he descends towards his own madness. Near the ending, the Joker tells Batman when the “asylum” or the outside world becomes to much for him to take, there is always a place back “home”. While scary as it is, it keeps readers thinking if this is really true. Grant Morrison does an excellent job at crafting a story showing people an entirely new way to look at Batman and Arkham Asylum. And it’s popularity still holds to today. In 2009, Rocksteady had won considerable acclaim for Batman Arkham Asylum, a videogame loosely based on the graphic novel.
Although I am a bit critical on Dave McKean’s art for being too abstract, it helps in making a very creepy tale. Arkham Asylum is a story that will keep you entertained the whole way through.
The 20 Best Batman Stories (Of GalacticEmpire78)
Alas, Batman Day has come and gone and Batman still hasn’t used his utility belt to turn back time (still counting on that). If it wasn’t obvious, I’d say I am a relatively enormous Batman fanboy. Some might even say I verge on the fangirl side (*cough* Zamelot). However, to celebrate the Detective’s 75th year of serving justice, I decided to list The 20 Best Batman Stories of All Time! In GalacticEmpire’s eyes. You are being warned now, SPOILERS AHEAD!
So, without further a due, let us cut a rug like Adam West’s Bat-Dance and begin the countdown!
#20-Batman Year One
Writer: Frank Miller
Artist: David Mazzucchelli
Batman Year One has stood as one of the most (if not the) prominent stories to read and have in your Bat collection. A modernized retelling of Batman’s first appearance in Gotham after the events of “Crisis On Infinite Earths”, it is important to note that this is more of a Jim Gordon story. And rightfully so. After reading this comic, I have come to the full realization of how much of a bad-ass Commissioner Gordon was in his younger days. Especially in that scene where he crashes Flass’ car, gives him a taste of his own medicine (even allowing for a fair fight!) and leaving him half-conscious and naked in the snow. He is not screwing around about justice guys. Another admirable take in Year One was depicting a world before Batman’s rogues gallery. In a way, it does seem weird having a Gotham without Batman’s insane foes. From the start until the end of the story, it’s nothing but Batman and Gordon cracking down on crime lords and drug dealers threatening people’s everyday lives. The GCPD is just as corrupt as the organized crime, which makes Gordon’s work a lot tougher. An interesting point that Year One begins to bring up is while both Batman and Gordon do clean up most of the crime and corruption plaguing Gotham from before, are they the ones that are bringing the city into a darker path as more twisted enemies start popping in?
With great art by Mazzucchelli fitting in with Frank Miller’s gritty story telling, Batman Year One is definitely a comic everyone should probably read.
Batman Day With GalacticEmpire
Almost midnight? But..Batman Day can’t be over yet?!? I’ve barely just begun! There’s still Batman from the sixties, and TAS along with Batman Beyond and Justice League, and, and REREADING MY COMICS, and wearing my masks around?? And the fanboying on the verge of being a fangirl part? I bet he has something in his utility belt to reverse time.