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75 Greatest Batman Stories: #65-56

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 #65-56!

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.

65. “Heart of Hush” (Detective Comics #846-#850)

After being the main villain of the storyline that bore his name, Hush had fallen by the wayside as a Batman villain, reduced to basically being a henchman of other villains like the Joker. Paul Dini, though, changed everything in his Heart of Hush story (art by Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs) where Dini brings Hush back to his mastermind days while also spotlighting his surgeon skills by first having him horrifically remove Catwoman’s heart and then to perform surgery on himself to make himself look like Bruce Wayne…




Dini also did some fine work examining Thomas Elliot’s relationship with his family growing up (the mother he tried to kill when he was a kid, only to see her saved by Bruce Wayne’s surgeon father).

64. Bruce Wayne: Fugitive (Batman #603-607, Detective Comics #768-775, Batman: Gotham Knights #29-32 and Batgirl #29-33 plus some other tie-ins here and there)

In the crossover Bruce Wayne: Murderer?, Bruce Wayne stood accused of murdering one his old girlfriends, Vesper Fairchild. The bigger issue is that while there is no apparent motive to outside examination, to those who know Bruce’s secrets, they discover that it appears as though VESPER knew his secrets, as well. Could their friend and mentor really be a murderer? Nightwing, Batgirl, Oracle and Robin have to wrestle with that doubt while still trying to set Bruce free.

Eventually, Batman decides that he has been off the grid for too long and decides to escape from prison as Bruce Wayne and then simply retire the identity and become Batman full-time.

The largest piece of the Bruce Wayne: Fugitive crossover is about Batman’s allies still trying to prove his innocence while he doesn’t seem to care at all. Ultimately, the series becomes about the importance of Bruce Wayne in Batman’s life, which comes to a head when he is hanging out with Catwoman and Batman risks himself to save another crook….





The last Batman crossover by Greg Rucka and Ed Brubaker (Rucka would leave Detective Comics soon after and Brubaker would finish up about a year later, after taking over Detective Comics from Rucka while Jim Lee and Jeph Loeb took over Batman.

63. “Going Sane” (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #65-68)

In this intriguing storyline, J.M. DeMatteis explores just what would happen if Joker DID kill Batman. He theorizes in this story that he would basically go…well, SANE…




Of course, he didn’t REALLY kill Batman and that’s where things begin to fall apart (the art is by Joe Staton and Steve Mitchell).

Go to the next page for #62-59!

62. War Games (Detective Comics #797-799, Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #182-184, Nightwing #96-98, Batman: Gotham Knights #56-58, Robin #129-131, Batgirl #55-57, Catwoman #34-36 and Batman #631-633)

After being fired as Robin, Stephanie Brown decided to try to prove herself worthy of being Batman’s sidekick by using some war games she found designed by Batman that could amount in one of Batman’s agents becoming the head of organizaed crime in Gotham. The thing is, she didn’t realize that Batman wrote the War Game with the intent that he would be controlling things by infiltrating the gangs as Matches Malone. Without him there, everything falls apart. A major moment in the series is when Batman must resolve a hostage crisis by revealing himself on live national television, thereby ruining the whole “urban legend” thing he had going on. By the end of the story, Stephanie Brown paid the price for her mistake.




61. KnightQuest ( Detective Comics #667-675, Batman: Shadow of the Bat #19-28, Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #59-61 and Batman #501-508)

After Azrael took over as Batman, the now-wheelchair bound Bruce Wayne travels with Alfred to rescue kidnap victims Jack Drake (Robin’s father) and Shondra Kinsolving, his girlfriend.

Bruce begins to slowly recuperate, which leads to this awesome sequence when Batman is burst in on by someone who underestimates him because he doesn’t look like a difficult opponent (Denny O’Neil wrote the Search issues the art here is by Ron Wagner)…




Meanwhile, back in Gotham Az-Bats is getting worse and worse as time goes on…

60. “Holy Terror” (Batman: Holy Terror)

In this graphic novel by Alan Brennert and Norm Breyfogle, the world is ruled over by the chucrch. Bruce Wayne discovers some corruption in the death of his parents and ultimately becomes the Batman of this world…




One of the cool aspects of thsi comic was all the nods to non-Batman DC characters like Dr. Mid-Nitw.

59. “Broken City” (Batman #620-625)

In this heavily noir tale by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso, Batman is chasing an armed man who he believes to be a killer when tragedy strikes….




The devastation of this turn of events throws Batman out of whack throughout the rest of the story before he learns the truth of what happened that night.

Go to the next page for #58-56!

58. “Death Strikes at Midnight and Three” (DC Special Series #15)

This prose mixed with illustrations approach was still unique when Denny O’Neil and Marshall Rogers took part in it in the late 1970s with this classic O’Neil story paired with amazing Rogers artwork…




57. “Faces” (Legends of the Dark Knight #28-30)

In this Matt Wagner storyline, Two-Face has decided to build his own freak show…




However, what he doesn’t realize is that not everyone sees being a “freak” the same way as him.

56. “Resurrection Night” (Batman #400)

In the final issue of his run on Batman, Doug Moench is joined by an all-star team of artists (including George Perez, Art Adams and Joe Kubert) to tell the story of what happens when all of Batman’s enemies are broken out of jail/Arkham at the same time?

The comic has a very memorable Bill Sienkiewicz cover, so I thought I’d share you a snippet from Sienkiewicz’s chapter of the story…




Wow, Sienkiewicz was definitely ahead of his time.