We have covered so much ground in the past few weeks now, but there is so much more to come. After a break of a couple of weeks, it is time to jump back in after I took some time to play Arkham Knight. There are so many more good and essential books, there are so many in the coming posts, especially a few fan favorites that we will see here in this post.
We last left off we followed Batman through some of his darkest times, Knightfall, No Man’s Land and when he was accused of murder. Now we jump into a new time in Gotham, with a newer villain to take over. The Black Mask has been absent in this chronology. He is a great villains who has been around for a long time and finally got the chance to shine and he really does in the coming volumes, but let’s begin and see where this list takes us. You can see the beginning of the chronology below.
Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee working together? This must be a dream come true. You kind of know what to expect when you get into a book written by Jeph Loeb, a great story that is deep and a whirlwind of different characters that all make sense for the story. Just like the Long Halloween and Dark Victory. To me Jeph Loeb really knows Batman and I wish he would have a long tenure writing Batman, because he really knows and cares about the character.
Hush is a story about a new villain in Gotham, a new villain who is pulling all the strings and he has most of Gotham’s Rogues working for him. But there is so much more to this story. Twists and turns of all kinds and even some very emotional moments in the story. Batman is brought to the breaking point. There are so many things good about this, I really want to spoil the book, but I will not do that.
In 2006, I was out of comics and looking for a way back in and I was handed this book by a good friend. I could not put this book down, I had to buy the second volume just hours after buying the first. After I read Hush, I was back into comics and what followed was Infinite Crisis and then Under the Red Hood and here we are now nearly 10 years later and I am big time comic book nerd again. It is all thanks to this book. Which does not speak to how great the content is, it is one of the best Batman stories.
Batman: Death and the Maidens
This is a very cool Ra’s al Ghul story that almost feels like it could take place anywhere on the timeline. But it does seem to fit shortly after Hush. The story itself is very good, Greg Rucka can really write a decent Batman story. This is beautifully done and the art is very well executed and compliments the powerful story. In this story a dying Ra’s al Ghul offers Batman the opportunity to speak with his dead parents. In exchange he asks for help against his daughters who are destroying his Lazarus Pits.
This is a story about the characters of Batman, Ra’s Al Ghul and R’as estranged daughter Nyssa. This is a very character driven story. If you are not familiar with Ra’s daughter Nyssa, watch Arrow, for some reason they use her, in a different and extremely cool way. But this story is a little different and she really pretty awesome.
There many powerful moments in this book and regardless of the timeline, it is worth a read. Maybe not essential but totally worth a read. It is totally one of better al Ghul stories. Pick it up and give it a read.
Batman: Broken City, As the Crow Flies, Hush Returns
Some follow up books from Hush that lead the main a couple of main event stories. As the Crow Flies, Batman faces off with “Scarebeast”. Broken City, Batman investigates the murder of Elizabeth Lupo, believed to have been killed by Killer Croc. Hush Returns, well by the title you can kinda get an idea of what happens, for the record, the art is really not great, the cover is cool. These stories are not bad, Hush Returns being the worst of the bunch.
This is one of the most epic pieces in the Batman Great Gotham crossovers series. Black Mask takes center stage, as does the war on drugs and gang wars across Gotham. One of the most interesting parts of this series is the character Stephanie Brown, who is the character Spoiler. In the story and this is a minor spoiler, she becomes the first female Robin. This is after Tim Drake is forced to resign at the request of his father. But Black Mask gets a hold of her after she is fired for breaking Batman’s rule.
This is the last of the big Great Gotham crossovers before the New 52, of course 7 years before the New 52 began.
Batman Under the Red Hood
Hush was just the beginning, here is the pay off. These days most DC comics fans know who Red Hood is, considering he now has his own comic with Arsenal. But this is pretty much where it all begins. I do not want to spoil Hush, but that story got the ball rolling. Jason Todd is Red Hood, that is a surprise in the story, but these days everyone knows that because he has become a bigger part of the DC Universe as we will see down the line a little.
This story is one that really could be made into a movie, it is a fan favorite and it could be because of the heart it has. Batman is brought to the emotional edge. During these stories I’ve shared Batman endures so much and it is mostly from his past. These are some of the best Batman stories told in his history. Writers like Judd Winick and Jeph Loeb have done a great job to put a good story into Batman books. This story is an essesntial even moving forward into the New 52, it is still relevant, even post Convergence. So read this if you have not.
Batman War Crimes and Batman Red Hood: Lost Days
War Crimes fits between Volume 1 and 2 of Under the Red Hood, if you read them separately. It is worth a read, but not really needed, otherwise they would have put it into the combined edition of Under the Red Hood.
Red Hood: Lost Days is a very cool book written by Judd Winick. It takes place after Death in the Family and right before Under the Red Hood. It is a really good read and we get to see how Jason Todd and see what he went through in his journey back to Gotham.
These are some of the best Batman books out. Hush and Under the Red Hood are essential books to read, you could skip everything between. But I would read Hush and then pick up Under the Red Hood for sure.