#ComicBytes: Five of the best Batman comic books ever created
Batman has had an illustrious life. Revered by many as a messiah and feared by even the most heinous criminals, he has always done the right thing, no what matter the cost. Thousands of comics have captured his journey from being a scared little child to 'The Dark Knight of Gotham', but a few have been especially vital. Here are five such stories.
Dick Grayson was the perfect Robin but he quit being a mere sidekick to explore more options. Batman took in the street-smart Jason Todd but unfortunately, his birth mother betrayed him and sold him out to Joker who killed him by beating him up with a crowbar. His death changed Batman's personality and he became reclusive. Jason later reappeared as the anti-hero Red Hood.
This one is more of a Joker story than a Batman one. Alan Moore and Brian Bolland's The Killing Joke explores Joker's probable origin and features him tormenting Jim Gordon and graphically paralyzing Barbara Gordon/Batgirl. It has a movie adaptation as well but I'd recommend reading the comic book. Interestingly, several fan theories suggest that Batman kills Joker in this one.
Batman's origin has been explored a number of times in various media but Frank Miller's Year One does it better than anything else. The 1987 comic book is dark, meaningful, and is considered a timeless classic. It explores the dynamics between Bruce Wayne and James Gordon and boasts of some groundbreaking artwork in a story that features Gordon (not Batman) as the main protagonist.
The Dark Knight Returns is arguably the darkest Batman story ever told. It features a retired Batman in a future crime-infested Gotham. Batman is forced to return to the streets with a new Robin, Carrie Kelley, to fight a street-gang called 'Mutants'. The story culminates with a mind-boggling confrontation between Batman and Superman. A (surprisingly faithful) animated adaptation of the story released in 2013.
"I want you to remember, Clark. In all the years to come, in your most private moments, I want you to remember, my hand, at your throat, I want you to remember, the one man who beat you." -Batman in The Dark Knight Returns.
Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee's 12-issue comic series gets more engaging with every page. Batman: Hush features almost all the iconic Batman villains and even has a great Batman vs Superman fight. From exploring Batman's romantic relationship with Catwoman to introducing a villain as clever as Bruce Wayne, it does everything just right. An animated adaptation of the story will release this year.