Batman may just be the most popular comic character of all time. Fans never hesitate to rattle off their favorite Batman stores. This typically includes classics such as Dark Knight Returns, Year One, The Killing Joke, and so on.
And Batman isn’t hurting for quality modern stories, either. Scott Snyder’s authorship has taken the character to heights in recent years that yesterday’s fans could never have imagined.
However, there are many Batman stories that have fallen into the shadows and gotten overlooked. Wondering what they are? Don’t worry: we’re about to shine a Bat-signal on the best of these forgotten tales!
The premise is ghoulishly perfect: when Ra’s al-Ghul sees how close Batman is to destroy all of the remaining Lazarus pits, he strikes a deal. If Batman will leave one pit for his nemesis to use, then Ra’s will allow Batman to speak to his dead parents from beyond the grave.
It’s a cool and compelling start to the narrative. Along the way, we’ll find out more about Ra’s and be introduced to some new family members, including daughter Nyss. If you’ve ever wanted more info about one of Batman’s greatest nemeses, this story is a perfect place to start!
Buy Batman: Death and the Maidens
Sometimes, it takes a great writer to make a silly premise really shine. And this is the case with Batman: Venom, a story which asks us, “what if Batman got hooked on drugs?”
This may sound like a bad public service announcement, but it actually turns into a really keen exploration of our favorite hero. What does one of the strongest characters do when he’s not strong enough? And how far is too far when it comes to saving lives?
These are the questions this great comic explores. And, of course, this is the introduction to the drug “venom,” which would soon be fueling Batman’s nemesis, Bane!
Buy Batman: Venom
Part of our attraction to Batman and his world comes from the fact that everyone is so over-the-top. However, every now and then, it’s fun to see what happens when the “normal” world meets Batman’s world.
If that’s your cup of tea, then you’ll love Dead Reckoning. Written by comics legend Ed Brubaker, this comic seems at first like Hush or The Long Halloween: a complex mystery filled with familiar rogues.
However, Brubaker subverts expectations by focusing on how the lives of normal people are often destroyed by Batman and his villains. Not only is the story itself fantastic, but you’ll never look at another Batman comic the same way again!
Buy Batman: Dead Reckoning
We often see Batman as someone who is fully in control of himself and the situation. But what if all that changed? This is exactly what Jim Starlin wanted to discover in Batman: The Cult.
The premise is both dark and simple: Batman is captured by a charismatic cult leader. He is tortured and brainwashed and eventually gives in to the brainwashing!
We get to see Batman pushed to his limits in terms of both strength and morality. And at its best, this comic forces us to question just how much Batman is also party to brainwashing in the name of justice when it comes to his young sidekicks.
Buy Batman: The Cult
Comics are great because we get to see our favorite characters brought to life by various writers. For instance, have you ever imagined what Batman would be like if he was written more like Hellboy?
In The Doom That Came to Gotham, we get a Batman tale that is written (though sadly not drawn) by Hellboy creator Mike Mignola. It’s a bit of an Elseworlds story, as it is set in the 1920s and features a weird mixture of Gotham and the occult.
The final result is an utterly unforgettable work. However much you love Batman, you’ve never seen Gotham City like this!
Buy Batman: The Doom That Came to Gotham
We get to see Batman getting close (perhaps too close) to killer Victor Zsasz in his attempt to figure out how the villain seemingly committed murder while being locked in Arkham. However, the way Batman chooses to do this is by getting himself committed to Arkham Asylum as an insane person!
This ratchets up the tension nicely, as Batman must not only unravel the mystery at hand but survive being thrown into the lions’ den of his worst nemeses. In a legacy filled with cool Arkham stories, this remains one of the absolute best!
Buy Batman: The Last Arkham
Yes, Virginia, we said “sequel.” This is written by Batman legend Paul Dini and helps to further explore the character of Thomas Elliott. In this way, the sequel actually adds to our enjoyment of the original work.
We also get fun scenes with Catwoman and Zatanna, and there are even some great cameos by the Justice Society of America. Basically, this is a great, character-driven follow-up to an amazing comic that offers great insight into older events while providing a gripping new story. Go check it out today!
Buy Batman: Heart of Hush
There’s nothing wrong with returning to old favorites. But in our opinion, it’s worth diving into the deep end of the long box to explore everything about your favorite characters.
If you’d like to help your friends discover these awesome comics, be sure to share!