For the past ten years, Batman has been giving audiences some incredible adventures to follow. Be they be on the big screen, with movies like The Dark Knight Rises, small screen escapades like Batman: Under the Red Hood, or in the virtual world with games like Arkham City, DC has been treating their flagship character well. With Joker coming out this week, we decided to take a look at the best Batman stories to come out from the last decade. So, let's kick things off with...
Kicking off this list is the crossover no one wanted, but we're glad that it exists. When a device causes the Heroes in a Half Shell to be transported into Gotham City, The Dark Knight must team up with them to stop the combined efforts of Ra's Al Ghul and The Shredder. You'd think that maybe the Ninja Turtles wouldn't work so well with Batman, but the story embarrasses the oddness of it all. Having Batman play off the various Turtles leads to some great moments, and the artwork perfectly captures the dark esthetic of Gotham City and the Cartoony world of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It's worth checking out for fans of either franchise, especially if you've seen Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Not to be confused with Frank Miller's Universally panned All-Star Batman and Robin, the first tale from Scott Snyder's All-Star Batman see's the titular hero taking a cross-county road with his old pal Two-Face, in an attempt to cure his disfigured facial features.
However, Two-Face has hired some of Gotham's deadliest criminals to stop him. Like the best stories featuring Harvey Dent, it's the conflicting personalities that create a lot of tension. While Harvey wants to help Batman in curing him, Two-Face doesn't want to make it easy. Add the incredible artwork by legendary Marvel artist, John Romita Jr., and you get one hell of a good time.
When Batman was "killed" during the events of Final Crisis, he was actually sent back in time. Now, the Dark Knight must travel from various time periods in order to get back to the present. However, it's revealed that he's also been infected by some cosmic energy that turns Batman into a ticking timebomb. While the ending gets too bogged down by this plot thread, it's the journey leading there that makes this a must-read. Seeing Grant Morrison taking Batman through the various eras in time makes sure every chapter feeling unique and fresh and having a different artist for each issue adds to this.
While Batman has had a lot of Robins over the years, Damian stands out by not just being Bruce's biological son but also being taught by the ways of the League of Assassins by his grandfather, Ra's Al Ghul. What makes this story stand out is the constant conflicting ideals of Batman and Robin.
Batman has a strict no-kill policy, yet Damian doesn't want to follow that. This conflict adds problems when a new villain called NoBody tries to ply the dynamic duo apart. Peter J. Tomasi's story may not be as dark as some of Batman's other tales, but it does make for a fun read that features Batman and Robin.
The Joker is one of the most psychotic characters in pop culture, but what would happen if he had become sane? In one of the first installment of DC's new Black Imprint, Writer/Artist Sean Murphy answers that question by having Joker turn the city, and his allies, against him through politics. After taking a drug that cured Joker of his insanity, the former Clown Prince becomes the politician Jack Napier and turns the city against him, via a political campaign. Murphy wanted to tell a story that would flip the Batman/Joker dynamic on its head and it works. Batman becomes more and more frustrated that Napier is doing more good than he or Bruce Wayne has ever done by exposing and fixing Gotham's corruption, and Jack smugly enjoys taking down the Bat on his own terms. It just goes to show that politicians can be just as dangerous and powerful to a hero as any Super Villain.
Similar to Marvel's now-defunct Ultimate Universe, DC'S Earth One Graphic Novel line-up features some of the most recognized writers re-telling the early years of it's greatest Super Heroes. This story focuses on a much less experience Bruce Wayne as he attempts to fight against the corrupt Mayor Cobblepot.
Not only that, but Harvey Bullock is a former police TV host, and Alfred is his mentor. Geoff Johns isn't afraid to mess with the established formula and makes it fit into the world of Gotham City.
After his last encounter with Batman, The Joker wages a full war against his archenemy, and he isn't' playing around. He sends the Justice League after Batman, who have all fallen under Joker's Venom, but infects all of Gotham City with the Toxin. Batman has to stop the Clown Prince of Crime, even if it costs him his life. While Joker has waged war on the Dark Knight before, it wasn't on the same level as sending an entire city after him. Seeing the Dark Knight outwit his old foe creates a lot of great action, and the Batman/Joker dynamic is just as fantastic as the best comics that stars these two opposing forces.
Just because it doesn't star, Bruce Wayne doesn't mean it's not a great Batman Story. While Bruce is away with Batman: Incorporated, Dick Greyson takes over as Batman for Gotham City. While there, he uncovers a villain who's selling weapons to the black market. While it starts up simple enough, things get complicated when someone from Gordon and Barbara's past becomes with the whole affair. We won't spoil who it is, but it's a character that's far darker than any person Batman has faced. Well, at least one that isn't named Joker. It's a shocking twist that you won't see coming, and the artwork by both Jock and Francesco Francavilla makes for some truly haunting imagery.
For years, Batman has had numerous young sidekicks join him in his battle against crime. However, the Joker feels like having all of these kids around has made him sloppy. So, Joker takes it up to himself to eliminate his Bat-Family as a way to get the Dark Knight back on track.
It's a scheme that's as psychotic as it sounds, and only the Joker could have come up with. It's another excellent story that pushes Batman so far that he ultimately starts to fall under the Jokers trap.
It was the story that put Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo on the map. To kick off the start of the New 52, Snyder and Capullo had Batman going up against the Court of Owls, a cult that has been hidden from Gotham for years. While Batman has faced the League of Assassins, the Court is an ideal. They wish to take over Gotham and have been doing so for years. Snyder's excellent writing and detailed Characterization helps give The Court depth beyond your standard bad guys, and Capullo's artwork makes each member and intimidating foe. It makes for a fantastic story and one of the all-time best Batman comics.