SUMMER KNIGHTS: BEST BATMAN GRAPHIC NOVELS: PART TWO
Hello Bat fans and welcome to part two of my look at the greatest Batman stories ever told. Last time we looked at the beginnings of The Caped Crusader, this time, we shall look at his end, at least for a time, and his return after a few years in retirement. The Bat fun continues here at All Geek To Me, as we build up to The most exciting film of the Summer, The Dark Knight Rises.
THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS
This was truly a line in the sand for not only Batman, but comics as a whole. Frank Miller wrote a story set in the future, where Gotham has once more been dragged into a crime spree, with criminal gangs and worse, making things hard for the good people of Gotham City. Time then for Batman to come out of retirement, older, thicker around the middle, but still the hardest and most dangerous man in the city. Add a female Robin, shades of ‘the god-damn Batman’ and this dark comic master piece is an absolute must read. Along with Watchmen, this transformed the comics landscape. It was the prime reason that the dark Batman Movie was made by Tim Burton in 1989, and the better Nolan ones in more recent times. This is the Batman we all know and love. Don’t bother with The Dark Knight Strikes Back though, I wish I hadn’t.
This is the first Batman Story I ever read, thanks to my best friend, and regular commenter, Greeny. He was into comics long before I was, and lent me the Knighfall Saga. Very much in a similar vein as The Death and Return of Superman, this is the story of the Bane, a new threat to Batman, who comes to Gotham to challenge Batman, and succeeds in a devious scheme. He tires Batman out, using almost the entire rogues gallery, before finally facing off against the Dark Knight himself, and breaking his back. Batman retires, a new Batman replaces him, a more violent Batman, not afraid to maim or kill. Bruce rehabilitates himself, and eventually comes back, but who will rule the night?. Kinghtfall is not really considered a classic story, in the same way that The Long Halloween, or Batman: Year One is, but will always have a special place on my shelf as my first graphic novel.
Another Elseworlds tale, this time, what would happen if The Dark Knight came into contact with The King of Vampires, Dracula himself? A dark Gothic tale that fits in with the Batman mythos perfectly. Blood Reign is a great read.
ALL STAR BATMAN AND ROBIN
Frank Miller is not the talent he used to be, I think we can all agree on that, however, whilst most people hated his new take on Batman and Robin, I quite liked it. It was different, and wasn’t classic Batman, but I did like the new take on a Dark Knight who enjoyed his job. The God-damned Batman isn’t for everyone, but I laughed all the way through, especially his way of keeping Hal Jordan out of his business. The art work helps a lot too, absolutely beautiful. The story will probably never be finished now, but the first part was an enjoyable, if different take on the Caped Crusader.
ARKHAM ASYLUM: A SERIOUS HOUSE ON SERIOUS EARTH
A dark and disturbed journey into the heart of madness, with art work to match. This is an interesting and demanding graphic novel, and I will admit, I didn’t much like it on my first read through, but I gave it another go, and over time, I have grown to appreciate it and like it. It is unlike the other books on this list, but is defiantly worth your time.
BATMAN: A DEATH IN THE FAMILY
An important turning point in Batman’s history, and a change in tone from the fluffier camper 60’s and 70’s Batman, to a more serious and darker Dark Knight of the 80’s. What starts as a bit of a ridiculous story, The Joker becoming important in the government of a Middle Eastern State, becomes deadly serious, with The Joker killing and important member of The Bat Family. One that was killed by fans vote. I’m trying my best not to spoil things here, just read it.