75 Greatest Batman Stories: #20-16

by  in Comic News Comment
75 Greatest Batman Stories: #20-16

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 #20-16!


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.

20. “Joker’s Five-Way Revenge” (Batman #251)

Denny O’Neil, Neal Adams and Dick Giordano bring the Joker into a new era with his story, which firmly re-established the Joker as a deadly villain.

Adams is just astonishing in this issue, right from the first page…

but he has other epic pages, like when the Joker gets the drop on Batman…

or this legendary shot of Batman in fast pursuit of the Joker…

Perhaps not since his very introduction had a single story been more important to the success of the Joker as a comic book character.

19. “Batman and Robin Must Die!” (Batman and Robin #13-16)

The conclusion of Grant Morrion’s Batman and Robin run also works as a resolution to the stories introduced during his Batman run as well as the Return of Bruce Wayne. Professor Hurt, who looks just like Thomas Wayne, has returned to Gotham City to take over Thomas Wayne’s life. The Joker, though, has issues with Hurt and the Black Glove going back to Batman R.I.P, so this story involves the Joker working WITH Batman and Robin – in his own peculiar way, of course. Frazer Irving’s artwork on this series is electric. Ultimately, Doctor Hurt appears to have the upper hand…

The final issue of the arc is a one-off issue with art by Irving, Cameron Stewart and Chris Burnham (who we didn’t realize would end up playing such a key role in the rest of Morrison’s Batman run at the time).

18. “Dark Victory” (Batman: Dark Victory #1-14)

Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s Dark Victory is a sequel to their classic The Long Halloween. It gives a resolution to the character arcs introduced in both Batman Year One and Long Halloween, as another mysterious killer stalks Gotham City, this time hunting down Gotham City police officers. Plus, Two-Face wages war against the remnants of the Falcone crime family.

Perhaps most importantly, though, this series shows Loeb and Sale’s depiction of the slow transformation of Batman’s mission from one of just taking on criminals to one where he is fighting more and more outlandish villains. In addition, Loeb and Sale show the introduction of a key figure in the Batman mythos…Robin!

After the darkness of the Long Halloween, Dark Victory allows for some light to shine through, and light in the midst of all the darkness is all the more powerful.

Go to the next page for #17-16!

17. “Robin Dies at Dawn!” (Batman #156)

Bill Finger, Sheldon Moldoff and Charles Paris gave us this striking Batman story that stands out as a strong story NOW but REALLY stood out in the early 1960s when it first was released.

The basic idea is that Batman takes part in an experiment in sensory deprivation. The result are some messed up hallucinations…

The rest of the story involves Batman’s inability to put what happened in his hallucination out of his mind. How can Batman fight crime when he is constantly imagining Robin dying? Well, he had better get with the program or else he might end up seeing Robin die for REAL!

16. “To Kill a Legend” (Detective Comics #500)

This anniversary story by Alan Brennert and Dick Giordano has the Phantom Stranger show up and tell Batman and Robin of a world where Thomas and Martha Wayne have not yet been killed. The Stranger gives Batman the opportunity to save their lives. Robin tags along and once there, he discovers that this world is unique in that it has never had ANY heroes of any kind…

This brings us to the heart of the matter. Does Batman save his parents and likely deprive this world of its only superhero? Robin has a problem with that idea…

It’s a tragic question and one it is probably unfair for Robin to ask of Batman, but it is an interesting one nonetheless. How it all resolves is really impressive on Brennert’s part – very cool stuff.