|First Appearance of The Batman|
#9 "The Long Halloween" (1996-1997) Written by Jeph Loeb, art by Tim Sale - With the success of the "Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight Halloween Specials" by Loeb and Sale, the team reunited and published a 13-issue maxi-series featuring holiday themed storylines with some of Batman's major villains. Set in the early years of Batman's career, Batman tracks down a villain known as Holiday, who kills on holidays.
|Breaking of the Bat|
#7 "Hush" (2002-2003) Written by Jeph Loeb, art by Jim Lee - A 12-issue storyline in featured in Batman #'s 608-619, Hush, is a mysterious stalker later revealed to be Dr. Thomas "Tommy" Elliot, a former childhood friend of Bruce Wayne's, who attempts to destroy Batman by manipulating many of Batman's allies and enemies.
#6 "Birth of the Demon" (1992) Written by Dennis O'Neil, art by Norm Breyfogle - Following the campy 1966 Batman TV show as the 1960's came to a close and the 70's began, Batman was going through some major changes. Under the direction of DC Comics editor Julius Schwartz and with the help of writer Dennis O'Neil and artist Neal Adams, Batman would once again return to his darker roots. With the change also came the introduction a new major villain: Ra's Al Ghul, The Demon's Head! Created by O'Neal and Adams, Ra's first appeared in Batman #232, June 1971, with the story "Daughter of the Demon" the daughter of Ra's al Ghul, Talia and Robin are kidnapped but it turns out all to be a plot by Ra's to prove whether Batman was worthy. "Birth of the Demon" is the telling of Ra's al Ghul's origin and the death of his wife surrounding a story where a dying Ra's sends his forces to search for new Lazarus pits which leads to the ultimate confrontation between The Demon and The Detective!
#5 "Batman: Arkham Asylum (A Serious House on Serious Earth)" (1989) Written by Grant Morrison, Illustrated by Dave McKean, lettering by Gaspar Saladino - A fully-painted graphic novel All Hell breaks loose when the inmates of Arkham Asylum led by the Joker takes over and takes the staff hostage and threatens to kill them unless Batman agrees to meet with them. "Arkham Asylum" is a truly unique and disturbing story and an artistic masterpiece!
#4 "Knightfall" (1993-1994), Quite possibly the longest running crossover storyline in Batman's history with multiple writers and artists contributing to five different titles including "Detective Comics", "Batman", "Legends of the Dark Knight", "Shadow of the Bat" and spin-off titles "Robin" and "Catwoman". The story featured a new villain Bane, who plotted to "break" the Batman, first by releasing the inmates of Arkham Asylum and then beating Batman and breaking his back. The story continued with "KnightQuest" which featured a new Batman: Jean-Paul Valley (now Azrael) and his exploits as he defeats Bane and grows unstable until the conclusion "KnightsEnd" as Bruce Wayne returns and fights Valley for the title of Batman. Bruce wins but ultimately passes on the mantle of the Batman to Dick Grayson concluding the story with "KnightsEnd: Aftermath".
|The Dark Knight Retunrs|
#2 "The Dark Knight Returns" (1986), Written by and art by Frank Miller - This Four-issue limited series tells the story of an aged Batman who comes out of retirement to battle the rising crime-rate of Gotham City, recruiting a young female Robin (Carrie Kelly). Batman goes to extremes in battling a gang called The Mutants, nearly killing The Joker and almost beating Superman to death! Afterward, Batman has a heart-attack and fakes his death.
#1 "Batman: The Killing Joke" (1988), Written by Alan Moore, art by Brian Bolland - This monumental one-shot graphic novel features the origin of The Joker, who started out as a petty-costumed criminal known as The Red Hood, who jumps into a vat of chemicals to escape the Batman but emerges permanently altered with white-skin, green hair and red-lips. Later The Joker attempts to drive Police Commissioner Gordon insane by imprisoning him in a cage at a freak show, then shoots and paralyzes Barbara Gordon (Batgirl, who later becomes Oracle). Batman soon tracks down the Joker but instead of fighting him attempts to offer to help him, putting an end to the madness. Joker declines and instead tells him a joke that actually makes Batman laugh.