With “Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice” rapidly approaching, I thought this would be a good time to head into the comic store, and browse the dollar bins for some quality Batman reading material.
Sure, there are the famous story arcs like “Year One,” “Knightfall” and No Man’s Land.” And there’s the graphic novels like “Batman: The Killing Joke” and “Arkham Assylum.” But my list features a few stories you probably missed when they first came out.
But to be clear: these comic stories are by no means necessary to enjoy “Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice” in theaters. They’re just good comic stories you might enjoy before or after seeing the movie. Got it? good, and here we go:
Batman and Superman World’s Finest #1-10 (1999)
written by Karl Kesel, with art by Dave Taylor and Peter Doherty. This 10-issue miniseries recounted the first ten years in the uneasy relationship between the premier heroes of the DC Universe. In the book, Superman and Batman meet once a year to commemorate a tragic event. And in each issue, we get to ssee how their worlds have evolved over the years.
World’s Finest is one of those series that always gets overlooked. But I enjoyed seeing a more emotional side of Batman and Superman. And it was interesting how one even affected not just their superhero careers, but their personal lives as well.
Batman vs. Predator #1-3 (1991)
Written by Dave Gibbons, with art by Andy Kubert and Adam Kubert. In this three issue mini-series, The Dark Knight Detective is usually the one hunting down the criminal element in Gotham City. Now, he has become the hunted. This is the battle of the century as Batman takes on one of the deadliest movie monsters of all time, the Predator!
As comic fans know, inter-company crossovers sound good on paper, but they rarely turn out well. But man, when they do, they make this little nerd’s heart skip a beat!
“Batman vs.Predator” was my first inter-company crossover, I was a bit unsure at first. Plus, as a 13 year old, my funds were low. So the $4.95 price tag was a bit much for me then. Luckily for me, DC also printed a cheap-o edition without the fancy cover for $1.95. And with Andy and Adam Kubert combining to do the artwork, how could I pass this up?
As for the story, it is a simple but effective one: Batman fights the Predator and gets his ass kicked. Bt you can’t keep a good Bat down for long….
“A Lonely Place of Dying”
Batman #440-442 and The New Titans #60-61 (1989)
In this storyline, Tim Drake figures out Dick Greyson and Bruce Wayne’s secret identities and tries to get Dick to take over as Robin again. As Time Drake puts it, “Batman has to have a Robin,” and Dick Greyson is the only one who can help Batman. But maybe there’s another option?
After fans killed off Jason Todd (the second Robin) in late 1988, DC Comics didn’t wait long to introduce the third Robin (Tim Drake) in late 1989. Written by Marv Wolfman and George Perez, with art by Perez, Jim Aparo, and Tom Grummett, “A Lonely Place of Dying” made the Batman family whole again.
Batman Secrets #1-5 (2006)
In Sam Keith’s acclaimed 5-issue mini-series, The Dark Knight faces off against his deadliest adversary, The Joker, after the Clown Prince of Crime commits a heinous act that shows how heroes are treated by the media and viewed by the public.
Secrets is rarely mentioned as one of the great Batman mini-series, but in all honesty? Sam Keith’s art alone is worth the price of admission on this one.
Batman Legends of the Dark Knight #21-23 (1991)
The three part “Faith” story arc often gets lost in the shuffle, because it came on the heels of the acclaimed “Prey” and “Venom” stories in Legends of the Dark Knight.
In “Faith,” a man Batman saved (John Ackers) dedicates himself to following in the Dark Knight’s footsteps by transforming a gang of tough youths into a righteous vigilante organization to help clean up Gotham. While Batman condones their actions, Leslie Thompkins condemns not only them…but Batman himself.
The story was written by Mike W. Barr, with art by Bart Sears and Randy Elliott. And again, 13 year old me was struck by a simple yet effective story. “Faith” was also my introduction to the art of Mr. Bart Sears, so I’ll always remember the story for that
Hard to believe this story is 25 years old now, so the three issues may be hard to track down at a comic store. But you should have no trouble finding them online. Either way, its definitely worth the work.