Friday, March 18, 2016

Top 5 Fridays: Top 5 Batman Stories

Welcome back to Top 5 Fridays, where were celebrating the release of Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice! Last week, we covered the Man of Steel's greatest stories(check it out HERE), and now it's time for the Dark Knight's turn! Just like Superman, Batman has been around for over 75 years, and probably has more stories with him at the center as he is a man who fights for justice; A modern day Zorro, shaped like a Bat. With such an extensive history of fantastic stories, I possibly could never read them, so these are in my opinion the best I have read. But Enough talk! Let's dive in!
5: Batman Earth One Volume One
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Gary Frank
Who doesn't love a good origin story?  The story is a simple retelling of Batman's origin and first outing as a vigilante. However it has a twist on a few things: Alfred is no longer a Butler but a bodyguard, Bullock is the new cop to Gotham, not Gordon, and in general it feels more realistic. We've had realistic batman stories before, but there's just something that steps it up above the others. Is it the art? While it does look amazing and fits the story extremely well. It actually is the characterization of people we've seen before. For example, Batman here doesn't start his crusade as an honorable cause, he wants vengeance on the man he believes is responsible for his parents death, Mayor Cobblepot. He acts like any human really would in that situation, and you can see the anger and regret in his eyes, which I won't lie freaked me out a little as we often see batman with just white slits for eyes instead. This might be the most human tale of Batman we've had in a long time, and definitely deserves a spot on this list.




4: Batman: Court/City of the Owls
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Greg Capullo
Let's keep the theme of beginning rolling as we roll into the New 52. As Snyder's run on Batman is practically a household name for comic readers at this point, most already know the story, but for those who don't; After Bruce Wayne proposes expansions to the city that will make a better future for Gotham, an evil secret society who has been controlling Gotham since its conception resurfaces and begins to make plans for a night for them to cement their control. This is how you bring Batman comics: Create a new villain to aim at our hero, something fresh and new, but fits a mould to make them seem like they've been there forever. The Court has quickly become fan favorite villains, and villains without being grandiose. They don't need to wear bright colored clothes or set riddle traps to be terrifying.  All they need is a plot that will push practically the whole Bat-Family to their limits, both physically and mentally.




3: Batman R.I.P
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Tony Daniel
This is a way it happened, this is a way the Batman died. This one follows Batman's struggles as an evil organization rises up, with the full intent to end Batman's life through a variety of mind bending tricks. Holy crap is this book twisted. This was my first experience in the mad ramblings of Grant Morrison and even though he was taking on the most human of DC's trinity, the mind bending doesn't stop. We see Batman get dragged through the mud both physically and mentally on this journey until the bitter end. The art fits the madness perfectly. An example is when Batman loses the Bruce and becomes the Batman of Zur En Arrh. The colors of the sky complement the strange new outfit, as we see is made of rags. It's a fun, maddening tale, with an ending that ties the story up perfectly.




2: The Dark Knight Returns
Writer: Frank Miller
Artist: Klaus Janson
Like you didn't expect this story to be on this list! This story revolves around an aged Bruce Wayne, who retired after the death of Jason Todd, in a world at war with one another and gangs run rampant across Gotham City. After witnessing the acts of the Mutant Gang, Bruce decides to don the cape and cowl one last time to save his city from itself. What can I say that I haven't said before? It's a fantastic story with a daring take on the characters of old. The action is amazing, with memorable scenes such as Joker and Batman's final fight in the tunnel of love. The art compliments on the dark world batman comes back to and gives frightening yet awesome appearances to the villains. So why is this not number one? Well while it is a good story, it ironically shows its old age with the allegories to Ronald Reagan, Oliver North, and The Cold War just plastered everywhere. I get at the time it fit the political landscape, but now comic readers really don't care about it, because they didn't live in the time that it was relevant. Despite this flaw, I still find enjoyment in reading the story of a Dark Knight returning.




1: Batman Ego
Writer/Artist: Darwyn Cooke
This story follows Bruce who is questioning his reasons for being Batman after the suicide of one of Joker's lackeys after they ratted him to the cops. Bruce ends up in a mental debate with the Dark Knight himself who begins planting the ideas that not only is he needed but that they need to be much more brutal. Sound interesting? That's because it is. This isn't an action packed thrill ride, this is a character piece that examines what runs through the mind of Bruce Wayne when he is batman, with some dark and gloomy art from Darwyn Cooke. We get to the core of Bruce, trying to convince himself brutality isn't the way, Justice is, with Batman coming back at him with very good points as what happens to people if the necessary steps aren't made and he creates his own villains. I will be honest when I say that I can't recommend this for everyone. Some people like action packed comics against immortal ninjas like in Night of the Owls. Some like dark tales of Batman pushing himself to the limit like in RIP. Me, I like stories that can examine a character in interesting ways. If you want to know what makes Batman the man he is in a moral sense, you might want to give this little story a read.

Thats it for this week's Top 5 Friday! What's your favorite Batman story? Leave a comment and Join us next week as we conclude this Batman vs. Superman themed Top 5s!

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9 comments:

  1. No "Hush", No "Knightfall" & No
    "Under The Red Hood"?

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    Replies
    1. I liked Hush, never read Knightfall, and I've never been a fan of Under the Red hood...SUE ME!

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  2. I see Batman RIP on a lot of these top 5/top 10 Batman stories and I read it when I was younger and I read it probably about a year ago and I just could not get into it either time

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    Replies
    1. it really is a hit or miss book. to me its a hit, but i know quite a few its a miss to

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  3. In no particular order:

    5. The Black Mirror- I know, it's technically a Dick Grayson story, but hey- it's got the Batman Title. Deliciously creepy.
    4. The Killing Joke- Go on, fight me, internet!
    3. Death of the Family- Yep, I'm Scott Snyder trash.
    2. Arkham Reborn- It may just be me, but my favourite Batman stories are the creepy ones. Jeremiah Arkham is rebuilding the Asylum, obsessed over three inmates. But... argh, the ending. I can't tell you!
    1. Zero Year- I could never get into year one; too slow, too unsuperhero-y. Zero Year, though gives us an actual SUPERHERO ORIGIN!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually, that order ended up being VERY particular!

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    2. Is it weird I consider killing joke more a Joker story than Batman?

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    3. Not weird. Because to a lot of people, the killing Joke has the Truest Verion of Jokers Origin.

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