May 22 2012
5. Batman: The Killing Joke – Alan Moore
I tried very hard to avoid putting this on the list. Every list of recommended Batman will feature this and for good reason. As one of the best stories of the Joker, it’s a hard comic to ignore. However, once you throw in Alan Moore into the mix, it becomes something spectacular. Once again, our friend Jim Gordon makes a major appearance. However, this time, things are not all well. The events that transpire are the stuff of nightmares. While it’s notMoore’s greatest tale, it is one that truly cements the Joker as the insane clown prince.
6. Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth – Grant Morrison
Grant Morrison and Batman have a very beautiful and twisted relationship. While The Killing Joke is made of the stuff of nightmares, Arkham Asylum is made of stuff that those nightmares fear. The premise this time is that the inmates have taken over the asylum and demand that the Bat come and play. What ensues is a morbid and haunting tale that touches upon the history of the asylum itself as well the psychology behind much of the rogue’s gallery and even the Bat himself. Paired along with some very creepy and even disturbing imagery, this is a very unforgettable experience. I recommend picking up the anniversary edition which features the original script and notes from Morrison. It’s very insightful on an otherwise almost incomprehensible book.
7. No Man’s Land – Various
This storyline is big. I’m talking 80 issues big. It’s a heavy undertaking for sure, but one that is very rewarding.GothamCityhas recently been struck by a massive earthquake, leaving it completely cut off from the outside world. Batman decides to stay in the city to take care of it as it falls into chaos. The storyline features a large cast and some really great moments that cannot be missed. Luckily, DC recently compiled the entire set of comics involved into trade paperback form. At this point, there’s really little excuse to check it out.
8. Final Crisis – Grant Morrison
Last on the list is another crisis. Masterfully written by Grant Morrison, Final Crisis deals with murder mystery on a cosmic scale, corruption and death of great heroes, and a massive threat to reality itself. While the scale is grand, Batman still plays a large role in the machinations of the tale. So much goes on in the story, that it likely requires multiple readings and lots of supplemental material. However, the trade of FC is still great on its own.
While this is a good start, there’s still so much ground to cover. Here’s a quick list of more suggestions, presented in a mostly chronological order:
Dark Moon Rising – Matt Wagner
The Man Who Laughs – Ed Brubaker
Robin: Year One – Chuck Dixon and Scott Beatty
The Joker: Devil’s Advocate – Chuck Dixon
Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth – Grant Morrison
Knightfall – Various
Batman: Hush – Jeph Loeb
Identity Crisis – Brad Meltzer
Infinite Crisis – Geoff Johns
52 – Various
Batman: The Black Glove – Grant Morrison
Batman: RIP – Grant Morrison
Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? – Neil Gaiman
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