75 Greatest Batman Stories: #45-41

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 #45-41!


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45. "Ten Nights of the Beast" (Batman #417-420)

This action thriller by Jims Starlin and Aparo and inker Mike DeCarlo involves the introduction of a soviet super killer known as the KGBeast who has taken an assignment involving killing LOTS of people in Gotham City, including ultimately Ronald Reagan, the President of the United States (who was coming to town for a visit).

The big thing that Starlin wanted to establish in the series was that the Beast was something different than Batman's typical foes - this was a guy that Batman might not be able to beat on his own...

There is an (in?)famous scene in the storyline where the Beast even chooses to cut his OWN HAND OFF to escape from Batman. He then has a gun grafted on to place where his missing hand was!!! Say WHAT?

Ultimately, Batman decides that he has to make a decision he never thought he would have to do to finally take the Beast down.

44. "The Autobiography of Bruce Wayne" (The Brave and the Bold #197)

The first time that we learned that the Earth 2 Batman and Catwoman were married was the same issue that we learned that they had a kid and that Catwoman was killed (which sent their kid, Helena Wayne, into becoming the Huntress), so we never really had much time for background on their romance. As it turned out, it was not until they BOTH had been killed that we finally learned about their courtship, in an issue of The Brave and the Bold by Alan Brennert, Joe Staton and George Freeman.

The concept behind the issue is that the Earth 2 Scarecrow douses Batman with fear gas that makes all of Batman's friends and loved ones invisible to him. He thinks that they've all been killed or taken prisoner. Since he has no more friends to turn to for help, he decides to ask one of his old enemies, Catwoman, for help. As they track the Scarecrow down, though, they begin to bond. First through an awesome moment involving Batman's history of pain...

and then a moment of honesty between a pair of old foes...

Of course, you might be thinking "But if Batman's loved ones disappear, then what happens if he falls for Catwoman?" Well, read the darned comic book! It's a really good one.

43. "The Cult" (Batman: The Cult #1-4)

The Cult was essentially Jim Starlin and Berni Wrightson's attempt to take what Frank Miller did in The Dark Knight Returns and adapt it to both modern times and the then-current Batman continuity.

It involved a man named Deacon Blackfire who has taken over an army of "underworlders." At the beginning of the series, he has captured Batman and has been torturing him to try to break him. He eventually succeeds. Batman eventually escapes but his spirit is practically broken. Gotham City has been taken over by Blackfire's army and many Gotham politicians are killed (with Commissioner Gordon almost killed as well). The National Guard is called in but things seem bleak. However, Batman is able to muster up the courage to conquer Blackfire's brainwashing...

Go to the next page for #42-41!

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