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75 Greatest Batman Stories: #15-11

by  in Comic News Comment

In honor of the seventy-fifth anniversary of Batman, we’re doing four straight months of polls having to do with Batman, culminating with the official 75th anniversary of Batman on July 23rd. We’ve done Batman covers, Batman characters, Batman creastors and now, finally, Batman stories!

You all voted, now here are the results of what you chose as the 75 Greatest Batman Stories! Here are #15-11!

Enjoy!

NOTE: Don’t be a jerk about creators in the comments section. If you are not a fan of a particular creator, that’s fine, but be respectful about it. No insulting creators or otherwise being a jerk about creators. I’ll be deleting any comments like that and, depending on how jerky the comment was, banning commenters.

15. “Mad Love” (The Batman Adventures: Mad Love #1)

In this classic one-shot, Paul Dini and Bruce Timm spotlighted their creation, Harley Quinn, with a spotlight and a look at her origin.

Plus, Harley decides that the only way to make Joker really pay attention to her is to kill Batman for him. She seems poised to pull it off, too, when Batman plays upon her fragile psyche (and what he knows of the Joker’s ego)…





This is an extremely well told story with stunning artwork from the great Timm.

14. “Black Mirror” (Detective Comics #871-881)

Scott Snyder’s first extended Batman story is a twisty tale of Dick Grayson (as Batman) and Commissioner Gordon as they each deal with problems with their past. In Dick’s case, he encounters the daughter of the gangster who killed his parents while Gordon is dealing with the return of his psychologically disturbed son, James (the kid who Batman saved from dying in a fall from the bridge in Batman: Year One). Their intertwined stories make up the 11 issue arc, with short stories combining to form the larger narrative. Snyder is joined by two brilliant artists, Jock (who does the Batman stuff) and Francesco Francavilla (who does the Commissioner Gordon stuff).

One of the most impressive aspects of this story is that Snyder initially was telling the Batman stuff as a main story with the Gordon stuff as a back-up tale and then lost the back-up tales shortly after his run began but still managed to make it all work very well. It is a dark, character-driven work that deals strongly with the idea of whether people can change and how you can always trick yourself into looking past the problems in the people you care about.





13. No Man’s Land (Batman: No Man’s Land #1, Batman: Shadow of the Bat #83-94, Batman #563-574, Detective Comics #730-741, Azrael: Agent of the Bat #51-61, Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #116-126, Robins #67-73, Catwoman #72-77 and Batman Chronicles #16-18)

No Man’s Land was a year-long story that took up practically ALL of the Batman-related titles in 1999. Gotham City was cut off from the rest of the world and devolved into a lawless group of chaos. Luckily for Gotham, Batman and some of Gotham City Police Department’s best and brightest stuck around to fight back and win back the city…






The story was very well constructed and extremely well-coordinated by the Batman editorial staff, with a series of short stories by a rotating staff of creators. The fact that it all made sense was a real testament to editorial.

Go to the next page for #12-11!

12. “A Death in the Family” (Batman #426-429)

A Death in the Family by Jims Starlin and Aparo (with inks by Mike DeCarlo) told the story of Jason Todd’s death at the hands of the Joker.

First the Joker beats Jason nearly to death…


And then more fatally, with a bomb…





This was the story where fans got to vote on whether Jason lived or died and sadly for him, they voted death.

11. “Court of Owls” (Batman Vol. 2 #1-11)

this story is about the revelation that there has been a secret organization controlling Gotham City from behind the scenes called the Court of Owls. They collect and train agents known as “Talons” to do their dirty work. Naturally, they take issue with Bruce Wayne having such an influence upon how Gotham City so they decide to kill off Bruce Wayne. Obviously, Batman takes issue with this and soon finds himself trying to take down the organization.

Greg Capullo is a magnificent action artist and Scott Snyder smartly alternates between the mystery of the Court and all out action sequences where Capullo’s pencils practically explode upon the page. Take, for instance, this sequence where Batman discovers one of the Court’s nests and they try to kill him…





Wow, that is a striking sequence.

This was the re-introduction of Batman into the New 52 and Snyder’s intricate plotting and bold new characters have made it the centerpiece of the Bat-books.