10 Most Underrated Batman Comic Book History Arcs

Warning: this article contains spoilers for The Batman.

The Batman, starring Robert Pattinson as the Dark Knight, gives fans a fresh take on the iconic superhero. The movie borrows elements from some of Caped Crusader’s most famous comic book arcs as well as some of the most underrated. The film is set in the second year of Batman, at the center of the classic but often overlooked Second year scenario from the late 1980s.

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Some of Batman’s most underrated stories focus on the character’s psychology and reality, with complex stories from legendary comic book creators like Grant Morrison and Neil Gaiman. Others elaborate on Gotham City in the macro and Batman and supporting characters, building one of the biggest worlds within the larger DC Comics Universe and the entire superhero genre.

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Second year


Batman wields a gun and The Reaper's scythe.

the Second year scenario of Detective comics #575–578 in 1987 had some influence on the new film, as that is the time period in which the film is set. With outstanding art by Alan Davis and some of the most iconic Batman covers of all time by Todd McFarlane, it deserves far more praise.

This Batman arc remains somewhat understated compared to other major storylines from the same period, such as First year and The black Knight Return, but his influence is key in the live-action and animated adaptations of the character. For example, the villain of the story, the Reaper, has a clear influence on the Phantasm of The mask of fantasy Animation Film.


Dark Knight, Dark City


Batman spins as the Riddler hides in the shadow of Dark Knight, Dark City

Dark Knight, Dark City is an underrated arc from the ’80s that combines one of Batman’s greatest villains and the supernatural in a way the movies have largely avoided. The Riddler summons a great bat demon in a story perfect for Mike Mignola’s signature art style.

Dark Knight, Dark City is easily one of the best Riddler comics in the way it presents a new take on the classic character, and it also gives Batman a huge challenge in Barbathos, the demon he hasn’t really faced since the period. 70s horror.

Death and the Maidens


Batman appears in DC Comics.

Death and the Maidens is a 2003 miniseries that deserves a second look from readers. Featuring artwork by Klaus Janson, part of some of the best Daredevil comics of all time, this series embodies the grit and grimness synonymous with modern Batman.


Greg Rucka’s story pits Batman against two of his greatest enemies, Ra’s Al Ghul and his daughter, Talia. The series explores the family history of the villains, which is essential for fans of the characters and useful in understanding their future, especially through Damien Wayne.

blind righteousness


Batman and Robin walk together in DC Comics.

blind righteousness is a little-known story from 1989 that should arguably deserve much more consideration given its artistic pedigree. Written by Sam Hamm, screenwriter of the first Batman film, with art by Denys Cowan, it’s a jaw-dropping story about Batman’s legacy.

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Bruce Wayne recovers from a debilitating injury while another man takes his place as Batman (a story arc heralding Azrael’s move as the Dark Knight a few years later) as Wayne accepts his duty of Caped Crusader.


Gothic


Batman goes into battle in DC Comics.

Batman: Gothic is easily one of the best Batman comics of the 1990s, though it’s not as well-known as other major stories of the era. it should definitely be with a story by Grant Morrison and art again by Klaus Janson.

This flashback to Batman’s very early career continues the series of key story arcs that reimagine the late ’80s superhero debut, pitting him against a brutal villain called Mr. Whisper with hints and a patented invention of Morrison.

Venom


Batman Venom Blanket

Batman often fights his worst instincts in the comics, but in Batman: Venom, he is fighting the influence of a toxic drug. Batman uses venom, the same compound that gives Bane his immense strength, with dire consequences.


Batman has everything to fight crime, but this story shows that he has limits. This story may also impact the new movie and its sequels, as it looks like Batman is using some sort of amplifier in the final battle.

What happened to the Caped Crusader?


One of the best and most underrated Batman comics of the modern era is written by Neil Gaiman. In this surreal and gripping storyline, Gaiman imagines the end of Batman after his apparent death in Final crisis.

Batman revisits much of his past, allowing artist Andy Kubert to draw Golden and Silver Age versions of Batman’s best comic book villains. The story pays homage to the character’s entire history the same way Alan Moore did Superman in his seminal story. “What happened to tomorrow’s world?”

Batman: City of Crime


Batman prepares for battle in DC Comics.

Batman: City of Crime explores the true impact of crime on people and society in a way that Batman comics rarely do. Written by David Lapham, the creator of the indie comic strip Stray Bullets, it is a sober and haunting work.

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The story shares some similarities with the new film, as Batman investigates a missing woman. The trail leads him to a complex conspiracy involving the town’s most powerful figures, just like in the movie.

Selina’s big score


Catwoman prepares for a heist in DC Comics.

One of the best Batman-related comics that arguably doesn’t deserve the attention it deserves is Selina’s big score, a graphic novel by writer and artist Darwyn Cooke from the early 2000s. This story gives perhaps the funniest and most iconic take on one of Batman’s most important secondary characters.

Cooke’s distinctive art style creates a modern and timeless take on Catwoman, which heavily influenced the comic versions that followed and seems to have had some influence on the latest screen iteration of the new film.

Ego


Batman Ego by Darwyn Cooke

Ego is arguably the most underrated Batman comic. With story and art once again by Cooke, this iconic 2000 graphic novel took the artist from animation to comic books that delve into the psychology of Batman in a unique way.

Building on the ethos established in iconic storylines like First year, Cooke creates a psychological thriller that pits Batman against Bruce Wayne and delves into the question of who the real Batman is, a question that many modern versions of the character explore in comics and movies.

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