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75 Greatest Batman Stories: #25-21

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In honor of the seventy-fifth anniversary of Batman, we’re doing four straight months of polls having to do with Batman, culminating with the official 75th anniversary of Batman on July 23rd. We’ve done Batman covers, Batman characters, Batman creastors and now, finally, Batman stories!

You all voted, now here are the results of what you chose as the 75 Greatest Batman Stories! Here are #25-21!

Enjoy!

NOTE: Don’t be a jerk about creators in the comments section. If you are not a fan of a particular creator, that’s fine, but be respectful about it. No insulting creators or otherwise being a jerk about creators. I’ll be deleting any comments like that and, depending on how jerky the comment was, banning commenters.

25. “Batman and Son” (Barman #655-658)

Grant Morrison debuted his years-long stint on Batman with this story arc with art by Andy Kubert and Jesse Delperdang that introduced Damian Wayne, the son of Batman and Talia Al Ghul, who has been raised by the League of Assassins. Talia sends Damian to sow discord in Batman’s world and to also draw Batman to her, to give her one last chance to have Batman join her in ruling the world.

Damian was a fascinating addition, especially his interactions with the rest of the cast (his best attribute as a character has always been seeing how others react to him)…

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In this week’s Comic Book Legends Revealed, I explore how Damian almost didn’t make it out of Batman and Son alive!

24. “There is No Hope in Crime Alley” (Detective Comics #457)

In this beautiful anniversary issue (it’s a weird anniversary, though, something like the 36th anniversary), Denny O’Neil and Dick Giordano introduce both the custom of Batman re-visiting Crime Alley on the anniversary of his parents’ murder as well as the introduction of Dr. Leslie Thomkins, who soon became a key supporting cast member…

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Powerful stuff.

23. “Batman and Robin Reborn!” (Batman and Robin #1-3)

After Bruce Wayne is seemingly killed during Final Crisis, Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely launched a new series, Batman and Robin, starring Dick Grayson taking over as Batman and Damian Wayne becoming Robin. The clever combination has a carefree Batman and a serious Robin. It was a winning combo that also saw the brilliant artwork of Frank Quitely…

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This series kicked Morrison’s Batman run into a whole other gear.

Go to the next page for #22-21!

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20 Comments

Big Grant Morrison day!

I didn’t vote for “Reborn”, but I still distinctly remember all the hype surrounding it. Heck, that’s when I got this avatar. The creative team from New X-Men, All-Star Superman, Flex Mentallo, and We3 were coming in to shake up the pop superhero comic. David Lynch meets Batman ’66. It was fresh, funny, clever, exciting, gorgeous, and even a little moving. Morrison’s economical storytelling is matched by Quitely’s fantastic storytelling at every step. B&R was a great run of comics, outside those Billy Tan issues. Personally, my favorite arc was the conclusion “Batman and Robin Must Die”, but I don’t know if that’s gonna make the list, so I should take this as a vote for the whole era.

Batman and Son was a strong opening arc that reads even better in retrospect. Now that Morrison’s entire epic has been laid out, you can see how early on so many of the threads he would run through the books were apparent here. How Talia Al Ghul’s sudden anticlimaxed disappearance at the end really played into the whole thing, or Joker getting shot in the face, the Zurr En Arrh graffiti, Jezebel Jet, and of course Bruce Wayne’s son, Damian. It(and the two issues after it) is probably the closest to a “traditional” Bruce Wayne Batman story Morrison did until arguably “Demon Star”(which sucked into the Levithan mega arc), but it still has a lot of fun concepts, like Batman’s battle with the ninja man-bat commandos juxtaposed against the museum artwork, or the Bat-rocket silo-jump to stop Talia’s doomsday plan. Kubert is great here, makes me wish he drew more of this first Act of Morrison’s run instead of the awful Tony Daniel.

Leviathan I did vote for. Its an excellent long-form mega arc that combines the darker psychological battles and personal issues of the Bruce Wayne Act 1 with the poppy energetic weirdness of the Batman and Robin Act 2. Many, many, many great scenes, a combination of Morrison’s sharp scripting and Burnham’s incredible artwork. He’s honestly one of the finest artists Morrison had on this book(and that’s say something for a run that had significant contributions from JH Williams III, Andy Kubert, Frank Quitely, Cameron Stewart, Frazier Irving, and Yanick Paquette). Its not just his incredible page layouts or the amount of energy he brings to all his work, but he’s also obviously a huge Batman fanboy. He knows when to reference to Batman Year One Mazzuchelli when Talia kicks a tree as a little kid in training, or to add the Quitely BOOM-BOOM sound effects when they’re doing a Batman and Robin callback. What I wouldn’t give to live in an alternate world where he drew all of RIP, but he did so much good here and I’m grateful for that.

The “Batman & Robin” series is the only part I didn’t like of the Morrison run. Richard isn’t my favorite Robin (or character), so I guess that throws me away every time I want to re-read the story. The rest of the parts were beautiful.

That Bill Finger story is the best. None of the other uses of Joe Chill have had the same impact.

Only two of my choices have shown up so far. I know a lot of them have to be in the Top 10, but it’s still a bit worrisome.

Batman #47 is amazing.

Damn – I really need to catch up on Morrison’s batman. I’m only 3 trades in – and everything I read suggests it only gets better.

Batman and Son was my #10 vote.

InformationGeek

July 19, 2014 at 6:24 am

The only Grant Morrison Batman related thing I voted is Batman and Robin Must Die. Best story he ever did and his run should have honestly stopped there before the run petered out and ended with Leviathan (which is honestly one of the worst Batman comics I’ve read).

Just reread Morrison’s Batman and Robin and it’s great. That opening arc is a great start, but I actually voted for later arcs instead. I liked Revenge of the Red Hood, the second arc, as we slowly see Damian start to acquire respect for Grayson. And the Batman vs. Robin arc has Deathstroke controlling Robin’s body…that’s just such a great comic book plot. Creating Damian’s one of the best thing’s Morrison’s ever done.

No speculation about the rest of the countdown.

Amazing that Bill Finger’s writing in the 1940′s is (rightfully) ranked with the best of Grant Morrison’s work today. Also great to see “There Is No Hope In Crime Alley” crush “War Games” on this list.

I honestly didn’t like Batman, Inc.. I found it rather boring and forgettable. The only reason I read it was because the issue where Damien died wasn’t going to be included in the third volume of Peter Tomasi’s “Batman & Robin”. That being said, the rest of Morrison’s Batman run is really great, and “Batman: R.I.P.” was one of my top 10. I didn’t even think about his “Batman & Robin”.

Good list, I do not think there are any ‘bad’ entries in this segment.

“There Is No Hope In Crime Alley” marks another story from 1989′s Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told. I wonder if there will be any story from that collection that does not make this list.

I accepted Didio’s invitation to quit DC when his Nu52 launched. When I learned that Batman Incorporated was ending I started to buy the series (mostly as discounted back issues) because it more or less continued from the old continuity. Of course I knew Robin was going to die, but it was still awful to see it happen. He was so damn likable with his kitten and cow in the Batcave…

I voted for “The Origin of Batman” written by Bill Finger. As Brian says, it is “brilliant.” As we all no doubt feel, Finger definitely does not get the credit that is due him as co-creator of Batman, and for devising the tragic impetus for Bruce Wayne to wage his lifelong war on crime.

Both “The Origin of Batman” and “No Hope In Crime Alley” were in collected in The Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told, bringing that count to seven.

Aaaaand the influx of Morrison stories come. Not a fan.

I love the Crime Alley stories, two by O’Neil, one by Barr (post-Crisis), but obviously the most original one is this first one. I love that Batman actually ends that story smiling, back when he did so every now and then, unironically.

I always thought the ending of the Joe Chill story was kind of dumb. First of all, his subordinates take his rantings at face value immediately, believing he caused Batman to come into being just because he said so, then they gun him down before getting the chance to learn who Batman really is. What idiots.

As I was getting back into comics I had heard a little bit about Damian before I ever started reading Morrison’s run. “Batman has a kid now? That’s really dumb.” #657 was an interesting issue for me in that regard. I absolutely hated Damian for the first half it, Bruce took him down a peg, and then I started to kind of like him. I was pretty much sold on the idea towards the end of #658. And then he got blown up. Geez.

I had to exercise great restraint to not include the entirety of Morrison’s Batman and Robin run on my ballot. I limited myself to one story from it (the last story), but I could have flipped a coin if I really wanted to. Dick and Damian had an instant chemistry to their pairing that sucked me in right at the first issue, and I had a great deal of fun following them. Their time together was all too brief, but what a moment under the sun it was. Damian was right, he and Dick were the best together. I’m glad those two had one final moment together.

Speaking of, I voted for the Leviathan arc. I limited myself to two Morrison stories, and this was the longest of the bunch, so it got a vote. It edges out Batman and Son as my second favorite part of Morrison’s run with Batman and Robin getting the top spot. The events and the scale of this story are so completely nuts, but that it works as well as it does is a testament to Morrison’s control over it. A story like this had to be firmly rooted in familiar, recognizable themes (lovers quarreling, family legacy, fate vs. self-determination). If it hadn’t, it would have come dangerously close to “Morrison going too far up his own arse” territory. The fake out at the end of the first issue of volume 2 of Batman Inc was an obvious one, sure, but in hindsight it was so cruel knowing what lay ahead. I was sad to see Damian go, but Morrison and Burnham gave him a fantastic send off. He went out like a champ.

And speaking of champs, Chris Burnham won me over very quickly. His style reminded me of Quitely’s at first, but it didn’t take long for him to establish himself as an individual presence in my mind. He became one of my favorite artists as this story went on. So much so that I think I was more eager to see his art than I was to read Morrison’s story, and I was completely into and enjoying the story.

“The Origin of Batman” fro Batman #47 was my #1.

Nothing else even comes close.

There is No Hope in Crime Alley was my #1

The large number of excellent expansions, retellings and variations inspired by Batman’s origin is evidence of its power and potency. There have been several on the list so far and there will certainly be more. It’s apparently a well of wonderful stories that seems to never run dry. It is this one, more than The Origin of Batman, more than The First Batman, even more than To Kill a Legend, though, that delights and astonishes me every time I read it. Perhaps because the title is a lie

I know that Morrison changed a lot in Batman but I think this change wouldn’t get the WB approval :D

“Batman and Son” (Barman #655-658)

Slight tipo, loving this series, filling up with tons of old stories that I didn’t know about and feeling the Sting of my age as I read about “classic” stories I read the day they came out lol.

Finger’s “Origin of Batman” story holds up so well that it got reused pretty much as is in the Batman: Brave & The Bold ep “Chill of the Night.” (They did add the Phantom Stranger and the Spectre taking bets on whether or not Batman would kill Chill, but they needed a “team-up” to fit the show concept. Thankfully, it’s more or less a frame story element.)

This was kind of the point where it started going “WTH are you doing to Talia, Morrison?”

Yeah, for better or for worse, Morrison really took Talia from a sometimes-heartless but still sympathetic character whose flaws could mostly be blamed on her upbringing to basically a sadistic, manipulative monster. He does have a habit of doing that: Deciding on a particular depiction of an established character and just going with it, even if it goes against a lot of previous stories. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t (like, in my opinion, the way he turned Magneto into a genocidal madman in “New X-Men”).

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