In the mid 90's to early 2000's, DC was infamous for huge Batman crossovers, somtimes
spanning a year or more, that included not only all of the Batman-specific titles, but
also all of the spin-off titles like Robin, Nightwing, Catwoman, and Batgirl.
Batman: Sword of Azrael*
Though it was released after the events of Knightfall, Sword of Azrael serves as
a prequel to that tale, as it provides the origins for Jean-Paul Valley as Azrael.
Bane, a survivor of the Venom storyline, destroys Arkham Asylum, freeing all of
its prisoners, pitting Batman against the Joker, the Mad Hatter, Poison Ivy, Killer
Croc, the Riddler, and the Scarecrow. By the end of the first book, Bane
breaks Batman's back.
With Batman out of commission, Bruce Wayne turns to Jean-Paul Valley, Azrael,
to take up the mantle of the Dark Knight. But Azrael's sanity quickly comes into
question as he exhibits extreme levels of violence against his foes.
Miraculously, Bruce recovers, and must battle Jean-Paul for the right to wear
the cape and cowl.
Mitefall is a humorous look at how the events of Knightfall played out in
the world of Bat-Mite, as Bane-Mite tries to take over his world.
Zero Hour: Crisis in Time
Zero Hour was DC's attempt to clean up the continuity issues still left over from Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Time is unraveling due to the plotting of Extant, and all the heroes must band together to hold the timestream
together. But even if they defeat Extant, Parallax may help time to fully unravel, giving all of
DC continuity a fresh start. Also seen here is the origin of Impulse, the aging of most of the original JSA,
and Jack Knight's takeover of the Starman mantle. The direct signifigance this has in Batman
continuity is the creation of his status as an urban legend, the erasure of Joe Chill's identification and
capture, and the start of Batman's distrust of Hal Jordan. See my Crisis
or Superman lists for more on Zero Hour.
As he should have done during Knightfall, Dick Grayson takes over as Batman while Bruce
has to temporarily leave Gotham. Knightwing (as Batman) and the new Boy Wonder, Tim Drake,
face off against Two-Face, the villain that Dick failed against in his first battle as Robin.
In Contagion, a deadly virus, The Clench, has been unleashed upon Gotham, and it is up to Batman
to contain the disease while trying to track down the survivors of a previous outbreak,
who may be the only source to a cure. Contagion also contains two issues of Azrael's
In Legacy, Batman attempts to track down the source of the virus. This book also serves as
a bit of a lead-in to Cataclysm.
Batman/Deadman: Death & Glory*
Posessed by an evil spirit, Batman unknowingly massacres a restaurant full of people. With the help of Deadman, he must
now track down the killer, and finding that he himself was the culprit, must then track down and defeat his
Gotham City is devistated by an earthquake so destructive that the city is declared
a No Man's Land by the United States government. This long arc crossed every bat
book and spin-off and brought us a new Batgirl and the return of Bane. By the story's end,
Bruce Wayne must battle Lex Luthor for financial control over the rebuilding of the city.
Batman: The Chalice*
Batman comes into posession of the Holy Grail, and in doing so discovers that his is
the descendant of a Grail Knight from King Arthur's court. He must now defend the
Grail against those who would claim it for their own, most notably Ra's al Ghul.
There are also appearances here by the Penguin, Two-Face, Catwoman, Commissioner
Gordin, and Azrael.
Harley Quinn, the Joker's girlfriend, who had previously only been seen in Batman: The Animated Series, is brought into
actual Batman continuity in her own mini-series, Harley Quinn.
Harley and Ivy collects two mini-series about this particular dynamic duo, Harley and Ivy and Love on the Lam.
JLA: Tower of Babel*
In Tower of Babel, Batman has concocted contingency plans to take out all of the other members of
the Justice League. You know, just in case.
Superman: Emperor Joker
Wonderfully, amazingly, perfectly, awesomely, twisted story. By far one of my favorite Superman stories of all time.
The experience of reading this in single-issue form cannot be re-captured in this graphic novel if for no other reason
than because the halfway-through shocker is revelaed right in the title, but that just means that I can actually tell
you what it's about without worrying I'm ruining anything. Ready for this? The Joker has obtained nearly infinite
cosmic power. Period. The End. That's it. Just let your mind run wild with that one. Characters are introduced here
that last well into the pages of Infinite Crisis. Though not the main-character, Batman plays an absolutely essential
role in this twisted tale.
These two trades explore Gotham City after the reconstruction, as those citizens that
stayed in Gotham during No Man's Land (OGs, Original Gothamites) battle against those that fled
In Evolution, Ra's al Ghul returns to plague the Dark Knight. Though Tower of Babel
actually takes place during Evolution, the events of the former are only
mentioned once in the latter, and the mention isn't signifigant enough
to warrant skipping back and forth when reading these books.
Officer Down finds Comissioner Gordon shot thrice in the back, and Catwoman
is the only witness.
Bruce Wayne is found with a dead Vesper Fairchild in his arms and is arrested for her Murder.
Unfortunately, the Batman is his only alibi. Rather than reveal his dual identity, Batman
decides that the only obvious course of action is to drop the Bruce Wayne persona alltogether,
since of course Batman is the real man and Bruce Wayne is the mask.
Batman is backed-up by bat-buddies in bulk, including Bruce's bodyguard, Sasha Bordeaux.
Batman: Harvest Breed
During an investigation into horrific killings, which lead him back to Viet Nam,
Batman becomes so out of control that he even attacks Commissioner Gordon.
Batman tracks down the terrorist that attacked Wayne Enterprises ten years ago in a quest
that even takes him as far as the Taj Mahal.
Hush gives us a brilliant new Gotham villain. An amazing story that features a wide cast of DC characters,
including, perhaps, a brief glimpse of Jason Todd? Hush will play a major part in Batman's life from this
point forward. The Absolute Edition collects both Volume 1 and 2 in an oversized slipcase edition, which
looks just lovely on a book shelf.
Arkham Asylum: Living Hell*
Warren White, "The Shark," thinks he can beat his rap by pleading insanity. A transfer of the
case to Gotham City wins him his plea, but lands him in Arkham. Now "The Fish" must contend
with the likes of the Joker, Two-Face, Poison Ivy, and Killer Crock.
Batman: Death and the Maidens*
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 (yes, plural), who are destroying
his Lazarus Pits.
Batman: Broken City
Brian Azarello and Eduardo Risso, writer and artist for Vertigo's 100 Bullets,
bring us an excellent Batman tale, as the Dark Knight investigates a woman's body
found in a Gotham landfill.
Batman: As the Crow Flies*
In As the Crow Flies, the Batman faces the terrifying Scarebeast, manifested by the partnership of Scarecrow
and Penguin. Under the Scarecrow's influence, Batman receives visions of Jason Todd.
Batman: Hush Returns*
Hush Returns, bringing more confusion as to his true identity and motivations.
Jeph Loeb's run on Superman/Batman was epic and amazing.
In Public Enemies, Superman and Batman work together with and against almost every current DC hero to conclude
the presdiential reign of Lex Luthor, who, with the final words of this book, foreshadows the coming of a Crisis.
Supergirl reintroduces Kara Zor-El as Superman's Kryptonian cousin and also brings us a return of Harbinger as
Supergirl struggles to find her place in the world, first being taken in by the Amazons of Paradise Island and then
In Absolute Power we are shown Superman and Batman on multiple Earths and in multiple timlines.
They begin the story as the ruthless rulers of a conquered Earth as an uprising of heroes joins together to battle them,
an uprising of heroes that includes Uncle Sam, the Human Bomb, Phantom Lady, the Ray, Doll Man, and Wonder Woman. But when
Wonder Woman kills Batman, and Superman kills her in return, the Superman of Kingdom Come must step in to help set things right.
The story contines with appearances by Kamandi and Tufta... Cinnamon, Bat Lash, El Diablo, Jonah Hex, and Scalphunter...
Darkseid, Metron, and Etrigan... Sgt. Rock, and the Easy Company... the Blackhawks... and even Ra's Al Ghul and the Legion
of Superheroes. Consider this a fantastic refresher on the breadth of the DC Universe as we lead into the beginnings of Infinite Crisis.
In addition to bringing together all of the stories that go back to the beginning of Public Enemies,
Vengeance brings us the extra special bonus of referring back to one of my favorite storylines of all time,
Superman Arkham / Emperor Joker. I wish so badly that DC would release this story in trade. If they did,
it would definitely go on this list. Vengeance also ushers in the return of Bizarro, Batzarro, and almost
every other incarnation of Superman or Batman that has ever existed or been imagined (including the Superman
of Red Son and the Batman of Batman Beyond).
At his father's request, Tim Drake quits as Robin. Subsequently, his girlfriend, Spoiler,
takes up the Robin mantle against Batman's wishes. Eventually Batman agrees to train her, but
when she fails, and he fires her, Gotham goes to hell as Spoiler enacts Batman's never-to-be-used
contingency plan that would hope to unify Gotham's criminal element under Matches Malone,
one of Batman's alternate personas. Unfortunately, Spoiler is unaware of Matches's true
identity, so that part of the plan is not enacted in time, resulting in a bloody gang
war. By the end of this tale, Batman will alienate all of his allies.