Are you new to the world of Batman? Keen to read some great Batman stories, but finding the sheer amount of comics daunting? Well don’t worry – we’ve all been there!
In fact, often the best way to read great Batman stories is to throw yourself into them. The general rule of thumb is that Batman is one of the great characters of the comic book world, so there are many, many brilliant tales featuring the Caped Crusader.
But going through all the Batman books to find the gems is both costly and time consuming. And why spend money and time searching for gems when someone can recommend them to you?
If you were to ask me what I believe are some of the best Batman stories, I could provide you with 38 suggestions. In fact, I’m going to do that now – here are 38 great Batman stories that you should read!
38 best Batman stories
- Batman: Year One
- Batman: Year Two
- Batman: Year Three
- A Death in the Family
- Batman: Hush
- Batman: Black & White (1-4)
- Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth
- Batman: Haunted Knight
- Batman: The Long Halloween
- Batman: Dark Victory
- Batman: The Cult
- Batman: Ego
- The Knightfall trilogy
- The Killing Joke
- Batman: White Knight
- Batman vs. Predator I – III
- The Mud Pack – Detective Comics #604 – #607
- Shaman – Legends of the Dark Knight #1 – #5
- Venom – Legends of the Dark Knight #16 – #20
- Faces – Legends of the Dark Knight #28 – #30
- Blades – Legends of the Dark Knight #33 – #34
- Batman in Bethlehem
- Batman Adventures: Fear Itself
- Batman: Resurrection Night
- Batman: Child of Dreams
- Batman: Fever
- Batman: A Bullet for Bullock
- Batman: Last Knight on Earth
- Batman/Elmer Fudd
- Catwoman: Her Sister’s Keeper
- Batman: The Cape and Cowl Deathtrap
- Batman: Stories
- The Dark Knight Returns
- The Laughing Fish – Detective Comics #475 – #476
- Batman: Cataclysm/No Man’s Land
- Superman/Batman: Public Enemies
- Batman: The Court of Owls Saga
- Batman: Mad Love
OK, so let me talk about my selections, beginning with Batman: Year One. This is a back-to-basics Batman tale, set during the early days of the Caped Crusader’s career. If you love the film Batman Begins (2005), this is the partial inspiration for that movie, so check it out.
Batman: Year Two takes place during the second year of Batman’s career and sees the Caped Crusader square off with the Reaper. Meanwhile, Batman: Year Three focuses largely on Robin and his relationship with Batman.
Onto A Death in the Family now, which is a truly iconic story in Batman history. The tale focuses on the Joker and Robin and if you know nothing of this story, it provides a shocking outcome that was a game-changer for years.
Now onto Batman: Hush, which is a fan-favourite tale which sees Batman pitted against many of his famous foes. At the heart of the story is a mystery revolving around a new player in Gotham – a masked figure called Hush.
Batman: Black & White (1-4) is the name of a series of Batman short stories produced in black and white. The stories are written and pencilled by various creative teams, and all offer different takes on the Dark Knight. There are four volumes of Batman: Black and White, so if you like one, there are three more to dive into.
Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth is another iconic tale – and one which continues to receive praise, decades on from its first publication. The story sees Batman interacting with various foes in Arkham and is bloomin’ awesome.
Another bloomin’ awesome story is Batman: The Cult. This four-part comic concentrates on a deadly cult that is amassing under the streets of Gotham City.
Next up is a trilogy of tales from Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale: Batman: Haunted Knight, Batman: The Long Halloween, Batman: Dark Victory. These books are without doubt some of the best Batman stories of all-time. The books have a very unique look and feel, and focus on the detective elements of the Caped Crusader’s comic book career.
Batman: Ego is a psychological tale from Darwyn Cooke. If you like Batman: The Animated Series, you will like this book as it borrows a similar aesthetic.
The Knightfall trilogy is another classic, which sees Batman up against many of his rogues, from Joker to Scarecrow. Bane is the mastermind behind this tale – which is a sprawling adventure told over many, many issues.
It’s getting a little repetitive now, but The Killing Joke is yet another classic tale. This one centres around the Joker and is regarded as one of the best Joker stories of all-time.
The Joker is also the focus of Batman: White Knight, only this time he becomes the hero in a rather intriguing tale. And if the Joker is the hero, then Batman has to become the bad guy.
Shaman – Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight is fantastic five-part story which was originally published in the comic, Legends of the Dark Knight. The tale is set during the early days of Batman’s career and as with Batman: Year One, it provided some inspiration to Batman Begins.
Batman vs. Predator I – III is pretty much exactly what you expect: It’s three different stories, which pit Batman against the Predator. All three stories are action-packed and work very well to create a good crossover between the two franchises.
The Mud Pack – Detective Comics #604 – #607 is a four-part story featuring various Clayfaces (yep, there is more than one). It’s a gruesome tale perfect for those who just want to read a good old-fashioned Batman story.
Faces – Legends of the Dark Knight #28 – #30 and Blades – Legends of the Dark Knight #33 – #34 are more tales taken from Legends of the Dark Knight (an excellent run of comics), with the former focusing on Two-Face and the latter focusing on a character called the Cavalier. And sticking with Legends of the Dark Knight, Venom – Legends of the Dark Knight #16 – #20 is also an excellent read about Batman’s addiction to a designer drug.
Batman: Resurrection Night is an epic tale, which first appeared in Batman issue #400. Meanwhile, Batman: Child of Dreams is a Manga Batman story set in Japan and featuring gorgeous artwork.
Batman: Fever sees the introduction of The Ventriloquist and Scarface, while A Bullet for Bullock sees Batman team-up with Harvey Bullock. Batman: Last Knight on Earth is an apocalyptic adventure which includes numerous characters from the wider DC Universe, and Batman/Elmer Fudd is a whacky reimagining of the Looney Tunes characters.
Catwoman: Her Sister’s Keeper is a Catwoman tale, set during the events of Batman: Year One. While The Cape and Cowl Deathtrap and Stories are tales which inspired episodes of Batman: The Animated Series.
The Dark Knight Returns is another classic tale and one that gets mentioned on pretty much every list of ‘Best Batman Comics’ and takes place towards the end of Batman’s crime-fighting career. The Laughing Fish is also a regular on the list of ‘Best Batman Comics’ and features the Joker and some very creepy fish.
Two excellent Batman stories which often get overlooked are Batman in Bethlehem and Batman Adventures: Fear Itself. The former features Damian Wayne (aka the son of Batman), while the later throws the spotlight on Joe Chill – the man who killed Thomas and Martha Wayne.
Next up is Batman: Cataclysm/No Man’s Land – a sprawling story which sees Gotham brought to its knees in a catastrophic earthquake. This story originally spanned multiple issues in Batman comics and provided partial inspiration for The Dark Knight Rises (2012).
Superman/Batman: Public Enemies – the only Superman/Batman tale amongst my recommendations, but a good one. Lex Luthor is the President of the United States and the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight are declared public enemies.
A secret society operates within the shadows of Gotham City and you can find out all about them in Batman: The Court of Owls Saga. An intriguing story which introduces a deadly threat to Batman’s world.
And finally, Batman: Mad Love aka the Harley Quinn origin story. This comic was so good, it was adapted into an episode of Batman: The Animated Series.
I hope this list of Batman stories proves useful. Some of my suggestions are very iconic Batman tales, while others are a little more obscure.
If you don’t want to take on all 38 suggestions, then pick an assortment and see how you get on. I’m confident you will find much to like amongst these suggestions.
And if you have other suggestions/recommendations, please leave them in the comments section for other readers (old and new). Share the knowledge and encourage other Bat-fans to pick up some great stories!