“I’m dying… but I can’t die… I’m not finished yet. And you’re not finished with me.”
This is the one where Batman kicks Superman’s ass. Set a decade after Batman’s retirement, The Dark Knight Returns offers a grim vision of the future of Gotham City. Times are bleak and Gotham is in need of a hero. And Bruce Wayne? Well, he’s been fighting his obsession for a decade. He simply can’t hold out any longer. He puts the suit back on to face off against his oldest foe and his oldest friend.
The Dark Knight Returns is a masterpiece of comic-book storytelling. The pages are packed, sometimes with dozens of panels. Overcrowded, even. And yet, Miller creates a distinct pacing through each page and builds to perhaps the most optimistic ending in any Batman story. Yeah, Frank Miller ends with a touch of optimism.
Look, if you haven’t read TDKR at least five times, you’re no comic book fan. That’s a rule. A law. Now in place. So get on it.
The 25 Batman stories every comics fan should read created by Hilary Goldstein on October 25, 2011
No comic book character has been blessed with as many must-read stories as the Batman. In forming a list of the 25 greatest Batman stories ever told, I read and reread well over 100 books, slowly narrowing the list down to the essentials. These are the books everyone should read; the can’t miss home run tales of the Dark Knight.
There are great Batman stories that didn’t make the list. I love Grant Morrison’s Batman and Robin run, Scott Snyder’s Detective Comics tales, and Jeph Loeb’s early Batman/Superman stories. Their exclusion, and the exclusion of numerous other great reads, doesn’t reflect on the quality of those books. Only 25 could make it. There are dozens of others I simply didn’t have room for on this list.
Six years have passed since I created IGN’s original 25 Greatest Batman Graphic Novels list. And in that time a number of other tales of the Caped Crusader have hit the shelves. Some of those deserved consideration for inclusion, though few actually made the cut. More importantly, our perception of “classics” change over time. I wanted to reread the books already on the list and see which stood the test of time. As you’ll see, one or two fell and one glaring omission went from “off the list” and jumped into the top 10.
In the end, this remains a list of the 25 Batman stories every comics fan should read.
- Batman – The Dark Knight Returns
- Batman – Legends of the Dark Knight 001-214, 000
- Batman – Legends of the Dark Knight 126
- Batman – Dark Victory 00-13
- Legends of the Dark Knight 01-79
- Superman Batman 41-87, Annuals
- Batman 553-662