Best of the Bat: The Best Batman Storylines

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As Batman celebrates his 75th birthday in 2014, we look back on some of the brightest moments in the history of Bob Kane and Bill Finger’s prized creation and has made him one of the most popular characters in fiction. Happy birthday, Batman. Hope you survive another 75 years!

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An older Batman comes out of retirement to bring back justice to Gotham in The Dark Knight Returns

The Dark Knight Returns

Writer/artist Frank Miller placed a much older, retired Bruce Wayne and placed him in a future ruled by mutants and criminals. Missing the adrenaline rush of the hunt, he dons the cowl once more, but doing so triggers the re-emergence of old foe The Joker from a catatonic state. The return of Batman also brings him into direct conflict with Superman, apparently a government stooge in this future. Miller’s masterpiece is a must-read for any comicbook fan.

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When Bruce Wayne first dons the cowl in Batman: Year One, he isn’t sure yet if he can trust Lt. James Gordon

Year One

This time just serving as writer, Frank Miller re-examined Batman’s origins with artist David Mazzuchelli. Weaving Bruce Wayne’s story with a then-young Lt. James Gordon who has just arrived in Gotham and learns how corrupt the police department is. We see a Batman who has just returned to the city after years spent training and honing his skills. Instead of the grizzled veteran crimefighter, this Batman is young, unsure of himself, and prone to mistakes.

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The Killing Joke sees Batman deal with The Joker’s twisted plot to drive him and Commissioner Gordon as nutty as the clown has become

The Killing Joke

When Alan Moore took on the challenge of giving The Joker an origin story, he also took the clown on a mad crime spree. A victim of unfortunate circumstance, artist Brian Bolland skillfully shows the unnamed comedian’s descent into despair as he aches to provide a better life for his wife and unborn child. Years later though, Joker systematically attacks the psyches of both Batman and Commissioner Gordon, pushing each to the brink of their sanity by whatever means necessary.

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Mobsters in Gotham are but one of Batman’s problems in the noir tale of The Long Halloween

The Long Halloween

Returning to the “Year One” era early in the Bat’s career, writer Jeph Loeb and artist Tim Sale tell a year-long crime drama in a film noir style. A serial killer is attacking Gotham mob boss Carmine “The Roman” Falcone and his associates, but only on holidays. Imagine Batman in the setting of The Godfather and you get a taste of what The Long Halloween is about. The inevitable tragedy in this story, that is the final fate of District Attorney Harvey Dent, is made even more painful after the threeway pact he makes with Gordon and Batman in the early chapters.

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A who’s who of Batman villains are on display while a new one is introduced in Batman: Hush


Jeph Loeb teamed up with superstar artist Jim Lee for this tale of the emergence of a new Batman villain named Hush who has a long standing history with the Wayne family. A multitude of Batman villains guest star, even as Batman brings in allies like Nightwing, Huntress, Robin, and even Catwoman into the fold. This was the first story that considered returning the then-slain Robin Jason Todd back to the land of the living, and helped make The Riddler into a more significant foil for The Dark Knight.

For more Bat-goodness, check out this link on 10 Really Cool Fan Made Batman Items.

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