Batman is one of comics’ greatest icons, and the Dark Knight has been a household name for a decade. Even in the wake of the MCU’s ubiquity, Batman is still one of the most popular superheroes of all time. Bat books dominate DC’s publishing schedule and it’s had at least one movie per decade since the 1980s, with The Batman set to hit theaters in 2022.
The comics are still Batman’s main home, and he’s had some iconic stories over the years. Like any prolific character, however, some Batman comics are best forgotten. The quality of Batman stories is a swinging pendulum, and bad Bat comics are more prevalent than DC likes to imply.
ten Batman #50 (2016) was a bait and switch that infuriated fans
by Tom King Batman the race was already divisive, but Batman #50 broke new records for fan outrage. Joined by artist Mikel Janin, this issue was heralded as the wedding of Batman and Catwoman, built for months throughout the Batman line. #50 subverted fan expectations in the worst possible way, with Catwoman abandoning Batman at the altar.
His reasoning (put into his head by Holly Robinson and the Joker, both working for Bane) was that a happy Batman was a Batman who wasn’t 100% working. Fans had fallen in love with their relationship and this issue polarized them.
9 Batman: Silence is Overrated
Batman: Hush was a massive deal at the time. Combining the superstar talents of writer Jeph Loeb and artist Jim Lee, it was essentially a “greatest hits” approach to Batman. The comic pitted him against all his greatest enemies and revolved around the central mystery of who the new villain Hush was.
While the art is always beautiful, silence has essentially been relegated to “baby’s first Batman story” status. The central mystery isn’t exactly a puzzle, even with a red herring. The comic had very little impact on the Batman story as Loeb puts away all the toys after he is done with them, leaving silence an almost empty story.
8 Batman #55 (2016) removed Dick Grayson from the game for several years
Dick Grayson is one of the most beloved characters in the Batman mythos. His Nightwing status made him a fan favorite, but his detractors included powerful former DC editor Dan DiDio. DiDio tried for years to get rid of Nightwing and finally succeeded with it. Batman #55, by writer Tom King and artist Tony S. Daniel.
Under Bane’s order, KGBeast shot Nightwing in the head. Dick survived with severe brain damage, changing his name to Ric Grayson. This set up years of Ric stories that fans didn’t want and were only recently undone by Tom Taylor, very successfully.
seven Batman: Tabula Rasa Dropped Hints Bane Was Batman’s Brother
Bane is one of Batman’s greatest enemies. They’ve always had a historic rivalry, but it’s taken a new direction in Batman: Gotham Knights #33-36, “Tabula Rasa”, by writer Scott Beatty and artist Mike Collins. For years, scattered clues have provided clues to who Bane’s father was and this story dropped the bombshell that Bane was Batman’s brother. It was a completely out-of-left-field reveal that caught fans off guard. It would later be revealed that this was not true at all, with Bane’s real father being King Snake. Deception was always an odd choice and it went nowhere, which makes “Tabula Rasa” even worse.
6 Batman: The Widening Gyre Has One Of Batman’s Most Infamous Moments
Kevin Smith’s love of comics is well known and he is one of many Hollywood luminaries to have worked on comics. Smith wrote Daredevil, Green Arrow, and finally had a shot at the Caped Crusader with Batman: The Expanding Whirlwind. Joined by artist and longtime friend Walt Flanagan, the book was plagued with delays, as many Smith projects have been, and featured a moment fans wish they never had.
In The widening vortex, Batman told a story about his first night as a superhero when he revealed himself to the Falcone family in Batman: Year One. The explosives he used apparently startled him and he ended up urinating, which is something no fan ever wanted to think about Batman.
5 JLA: Tower Of Babel Revealed How Evil A Batman Friend Could Be
JLA: Tower of Babel, by writer Mark Waid and artist Howard Porter and Steve Scott, isn’t technically a Batman story, but the pivot of the story rests on his back. Batman’s anti-Justice League plans are stolen by Ra’s al Ghul and used against the team. Although they were able to fight back and defeat al Ghul, it damages the team’s faith in Batman.
The whole ordeal revealed just how bad a friend Batman could be and damage his relationship with the Justice League for years to come. Babel Tower also gave ammunition to Batman fans for whom “prep time” is a mantra, something that has only hurt online discourse around the character.
4 Batman: Endgame Was A Bunch Of Smoke And Mirrors Regarding Joker’s Supposed Immortality
Batman’s rivalry with the Joker is legendary. The Clown Prince of Crime’s attacks on Gotham constantly test the Dark Knight to the breaking point, and Batman: Endgame by writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo put them in their most vicious conflict. The story saw Joker try to convince Batman that he was an immortal force of evil in Gotham by using Dionesium to stay alive for centuries.
While End of Game isn’t really bad, the whole subplot with the Joker never went anywhere. It was an interesting look at the character and it was essentially forgotten, not even mentioned in Snyder and Capullo. Dark Knights: Metal.
3 The Dark Knight Strikes Again Squandered All The Goodwill Of The Original
Writer/artist Frank Miller Return of the Dark Knight is an undisputed classic. With watchmen, he was responsible for bringing a new maturity to comics. When it was announced that Miller was returning for a sequel, fans were in awe. What they got, however, was a story that didn’t make either of them happy.
With Batman teaming up with the other aged heroes of the DC Universe against their enemies, The dark knight strikes again showed the cracks in Miller’s work that would deepen over the years. DK2 was unable to match the impact of its predecessor and was widely criticized.
2 Batman: Three Jokers was a complete failure
Batman: Three Jokers, by writer Geoff Johns and artist Jason Fabok, has been building for years, further compounding the poor quality of the story. Fans were eagerly waiting to see how the Three Jokers mystery would unfold, but what they got was Johns doing a bad Alan Moore pastiche.
The story even invalidated itself at the end, not only removing two of the three Jokers, but making a reveal at the end that took away from the original heart of the story. While the art was amazing, three jokers was pure nonsense and a huge disappointment to readers who had waited year for reward.
1 All-Star Batman And Robin The Boy Wonder Works As A Parody But Nothing Else
All-Star Batman and Robin, The Boy Wonder, by writer Frank Miller and artist Jim Lee, is legendary for its seriousness. The All-Star line was supposed to be DC’s answer to Marvel’s Ultimate line, but where Superman All Star is considered one of the greatest comics of all time, Batman and Robin All-Star is considered one of the worst Batman comics of all time. Jim Lee’s art is a treat as usual, but it often feels like Miller is parodying Batman and it’s hard to know when to take things seriously.
NEXT: 10 Things Batman Could Learn From Superman
10 Anime Characters Who Are Always One Step Ahead
About the Author