Matt Reeves’ The Batman has just hit theaters and the movie is earning praise with each day passing by. What is considered to be the most comic-accurate interpretation of Batman was truly an absolute hit and while Reeves did make a completely original story, reinventing some of the characters in the best way possible, there were a lot of comic book references in the movie.
Now, if Matt Reeves decided to give the comics so much attention, who are we to contradict him? In this article, we are going to give you a short list of the 10 best Batman comics you should read after watching The Batman. These comic books are either referenced in The Batman, or are in a way similar to the movie and its story, which is why you should definitely give them a go.
1. The Long Halloween
Writer(s): Jeph Loeb
Artist(s): Tim Sale
Publication Date: December 1996 – December 1997
June. Billionaire Bruce Wayne reluctantly attends the wedding of Johny Viti, the nephew of Carmine Falcone known as “the Roman”, tyrannical godfather of the underworld of Gotham City. At nightfall, the masked vigilante Batman surprises the feline burglar Catwoman breaking into the trunk of the Italian mobster.
As the thief evaporates in the dark corners of the city, the bat-signal, lit by police captain James Gordon, lights up the sky of Gotham. On the roof of the police station, Batman, Gordon and the young city prosecutor, Harvey Dent, make a pact to pool their assets to permanently bring down the supremacy of the mafia over their city, with the only condition imposed the respect of the law.
Halloween day. Back from his honeymoon in Italy, the Roman’s nephew is shot twice in the head. It is the first of a series of assassinations perpetrated by the mysterious serial killer “Holiday”, whose particularity is to strike every holiday.
2. Dark Victory
Writer(s): Jeph Loeb
Artist(s): Tim Sale
Publication Date: November 1999 – December 2000
It has been several months since the killer known as Holiday was arrested. Holiday was actually Alberto Falcone trying to prove he was more than capable of running the family business. Janice Porter has replaced Harvey Dent as District Attorney and despises Batman’s methods, although Commissioner Gordon tries to change her mind.
Bruce blames himself for letting Harvey become a villain and end up in Arkham Asylum. Batman becomes even more solitary, refusing Gordon and Catwoman’s assistance. Janice Porter authorizes the release of Alberto to house arrest in the custody of his brother Mario, at their father’s old estate. Shortly after, the body of Clancy O’Hara, leader of the GCPD, is discovered hanging from a bridge in Gotham City.
Hanging from his chest is a newspaper article with the title “Holiday liberated” and a hangman’s riddle written on it. Batman questions the Sphinx, the only one Holiday didn’t kill, but he assures Batman that he doesn’t have a clue why Holiday spared him. At the Falcone estate, Alberto begins to hear his father’s voice telling him to continue his job as Holiday.
Soon after, corrupt ex-commissioner Gillian B. Loeb is discovered hanging on the stairs of her mansion, another riddle on her chest. Another corrupt police officer, Inspector Flass is found hanged outside a strip club where he worked as a bouncer. From then on, the killer was nicknamed “the Hangman Killer”.
3. Catwoman: When in Rome
Writer(s): Jeph Loeb
Artist(s): Tim Sale
Publication Date: 2004
Catwoman travels to Rome with the Riddler to meet Don Verinni, the mob boss, and interrogate him about the past of Carmine Falcone, former mob boss of Gotham City. Accused of Verinni’s death, Catwoman is confronted by the Italian mafia, armed with the accessories of Gotham’s supervillains (the Joker’s venom, Mr. Freeze’s ice gun).
To prove her good faith, the thief must steal the mythical ring of the first godfather and offer it to the son of Don Verinni; it therefore penetrates Saint Peter’s Basilica, and opens the base of Michelangelo’s Pietà. Despite fighting Cheetah at the Coliseum, she manages to steal the ring, which she trades to the new Don Verinni for where she can find Louisa Falcone.
She indeed suspects the former godfather of Gotham and his wife to be his real parents. Unanswered, she leaves and is attacked by the Riddler, responsible for all her troubles since her arrival in Rome, accompanied by Cheetah, the Scarecrow and Guillermo Verinni. Thanks to Christopher Castillo, a contract killer, she survived.
The latter also provides her with the answers to the questions that prompted her to come to Italy: Carmine Falcone actually had two daughters; to obtain the godfather’s approval and go and found his own clan in Gotham City, he decided to sacrifice his second daughter. Louisa, however, managed to save her and send her to the United States as well. Catwoman goes back to Gotham, without more certainties, but with a new ring.
4. Batman: Year One
Writer(s): Fran Miller
Artist(s): David Mazzucchelli
Publication Date: February – May 1987
The story tells of Bruce Wayne’s early career as Batman and Jim Gordon inside the Gotham City Police Department. Bruce Wayne returns home to Gotham City at the age of twenty-five, after training overseas in martial arts and science for the past 12 years.
James Gordon, meanwhile, moves to Gotham City with his wife, Barbara, after a transfer from Chicago. The two quickly become familiar with the corruption and violence of Gotham City, with Gordon witnessing the actions of his teammate, Detective Arnold John Flass who assaults an African-American teenager just for fun.
5. Batman: Hush
Writer(s): Jeph Loeb
Artist(s): Jim Lee
Publication Date: October 2002 – September 2003
Batman flies to the aid of a boy, whose father is extremely wealthy, kidnapped by Killer Croc and Catwoman takes the opportunity to steal the ransom of the kidnapping. Batman then sets off in pursuit but his rope is cut. He then falls heavily and a group of delinquents, taking advantage of his weakness, violently attacks him, putting his life in danger.
To operate on the batman, Alfred Pennyworth then calls on a childhood friend of Batman, Thomas Eliott. The operation is a success. Batman then discovers that Poison Ivy is manipulating Catwoman and used her to steal the ransom. He flies to the aid of Selina Kyle. An ambiguous romance then forms between them and Batman reveals his identity to her. He then tries to interrogate Killer Croc but he escapes. Batman then sets off in pursuit, participates in his capture, but cannot interrogate him.
6. Batman: Zero Year
Writer(s): Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV
Artist(s): Greg Capullo, Rafael Albuquerque
Publication: June 2013 – July 2014
The story begins with Gotham City being destroyed by a flood, and Batman having been declared dead. The first arc of the event, titled “Secret City”, has its events five months before the flood, and begins with Bruce Wayne’s return to Gotham City, after a long time away and having been declared dead.
He dons a disguise and fights Red Hood One, and discovers he has a lot to learn if he wants to fight the new generation of costumed criminals plaguing Gotham. Bruce reunites with his maternal uncle, Philip Kane (Uncle Philip), but refuses to take control of Wayne Industries.
In a flashback, Bruce’s father shows him a black sphere (a visual mapper) created to show a three-dimensional map of the interior of any location. Edward Nygma, Philip’s strategist, suggests that Philip kill his nephew, Bruce Wayne.
7. Batman: Night of the Owls
Writer(s): Scott Snyder, Tony S. Daniel, Kyle Higgins, Peter J. Tomasi, James Tynion IV, Judd Winick, et al.
Artist(s): Greg Capullo, Tony S. Daniel, Jason Fabok, Rafael Albuquerque, et al.
Publication Date: April – May 2012
Bruce Wayne is back as Batman after being away for a while. In this event, he chases an owl-like assassin known as Talon, who will take him as his target. As his investigation progresses, Batman accumulates information about the assassin’s motives, uncovering a hidden truth tying Bruce’s own family to Gotham City’s murky origins.
8. Batman: Under the Red Hood
Writer(s): Judd Winick
Artist(s): Doug Mahnke, Eric Battle, Shane Davis
Publication: November 2004 – February 2006
The Joker captures Jason Todd aka Robin, Batman’s ally, and tortures him until Batman arrives to save his apprentice. The rescue fails when the building explodes. Five years later, as Batman struggles to recover from the death of the second Robin, what appears to be a gang war breaks out in Gotham.
The baron of the underworld, Black Mask, indeed sees his activities attacked by a newcomer masked called Red Hood. The latter gradually takes control of the drug trade by ensuring the protection of the traffickers of the city against Batman and the current leader, Black Mask. His methods are extremely violent and end up triggering the beginning of an escalation.
It eventually emerges that Red Hood is actually Jason Todd, the former Robin, brought back to life thanks to Ra’s al Ghul. Red Hood goes after the Joker and, in an abandoned apartment, subjects him to the same violence that the prince of crime had made him endure.
Batman arrives and saves his old enemy as the apartment explodes, but Red Hood vanishes without a trace. In the Batcave, Alfred asks Batman if he should remove the Jason Todd memorial. Batman refuses, saying nothing has changed.
9. Gotham by Gaslight
Writer(s): Brian Augustyn
Artist(s): Mike Mignola
Publication Date: February 1989
Nineteenth century. Bruce Wayne, a young aristocrat returns from a stay in London. He travels with his uncle Jake who leaves London for obscure reasons. In Gotham, Bruce Wayne takes on the appearance of Batman to fight the underworld and will have to solve a series of bloody murders that plague the city’s prostitutes.
10. No Man’s Land
Writer(s): Jordan B. Gorfinkel, Greg Rucka, Chuck Dixon, Scott Beatty, Paul Dini, Bob Gale, Devin K. Grayson, Kelley Puckett, Larry Hama, Bronwyn Carlton
Artist(s): Greg Land, Andy Kuhn, Yvel Guichet, Alex Maleev, Dale Eaglesham, Frank Teran, Phil Winslade, Damion Scott, Dan Jurgens, Mike Deodato, Tom Morgan, Mat Broome, Sergio Cariello
Publication Dae: January – December 1999
Gotham City is suffering the aftermath of a 7.6 magnitude earthquake. In response, the U.S. government declares Gotham “no man’s land”, destroys all bridges leading to the island, and sets up a military blockade to prevent people from entering or leaving. The Gangs and various Batman villains have struggled over the years to take control of the city.
Police Commissioner James Gordon and several members of his department, who nickname their troop the “Blue Boys”, stay behind to protect the civilians. Oracle and Huntress are also inside. Bruce Wayne left town to pressure the government into continuing to help Gotham, but he failed.
Gordon and his men await Batman’s return, but he has been missing for months, leading the police to believe he has abandoned Gotham. A disappointed and bitter Gordon blames Batman and refuses to even say his name.