Batman has had a historic run under DC Comics’ publishing, with the self-titled series and Detective Comics offering milestone issues. While legacy numbers aren’t followed as closely with reboots and soft reboots galore, it’s still a major landmark when a series hits a centennial issue.
And, unsurprisingly, the Dark Knight has plenty of these issues across his various comic book titles. Batman just reached #900 to a great spectacle, while Legends of the Dark Knight #100 was a beautiful rendition of Robin’s origins.
10 Batman #600
Though it’s one of the lesser-known Batman arcs, #600 feeds well into Bruce Wayne: Fugitive. Batman #600, titled “The Scene of the Crime,” revolves around the hero being framed for murder and confronted by his allies.
This issue does well to up the stakes and drama, as “The Scene of the Crime” pits Batman against Nightwing – the original Robin. Writer Ed Brubaker and artist Scott McDaniel’s work on #600 is an essential build-up piece for the following story arc, and the father/son conflict makes for an exciting conflict.
9 Detective Comics #400
Batman has an iconic rogues gallery, but the more monstrous members of the cast arguably don’t get to shine enough. Detective Comics #400 does just that with “Challenge of the Man-Bat,” seeing Kirk Langstrom attempt to perfect and demonstrate his serum to enhance auditory senses to grim effect.
Story-wise, Frank Robbins’ tale is a fun, pulpy Batman-themed “creature feature,” while also using an element of tragedy for its villain akin to Mr. Freeze. However, #400 is a major centennial also for featuring the pencils of legendary Dark Knight artist Neal Adams. It was the debut of Man-Bat, who was co-created by Adams as well.
8 Detective Comics #600
Perhaps one of the most underrated story arcs from Detective Comics in the 80s and 90s, #600 concludes a three-part story. A writer on Tim Burton’s Batman, Sam Hamm’s “Blind Justice” sees Bruce under police investigation after refusing to allow Wayne Technology to conduct mind control experiments.
“Blind Justice” was a satisfying thriller, and this final issue wraps it up effectively thanks to its characterization of Bruce Wayne. Likewise, it was a great way to explore one of the key figures in training Batman in the form of Henri Ducard. Artist Denys Cowan’s moody art style is also wonderfully fitting.
7 Detective Comics #1000
As far as milestone issues go, Detective Comics #1000 is among the biggest. It’s the comic that gave DC its name and introduced Batman in its 27th issue, and #1000 tells a story spanning the hero’s history – past, present, and future – while introducing the comic version of the Arkham Knight.
DC expectedly went all out for this issue, as the story itself and its creation have an air of celebration about it. A host of writers and artists took part in a 96-page one-shot to emphasize the character’s rich legacy. Detective Comics #1000 is a hard centennial to miss on sheer occasion alone.
6 Batman #400
Ra’s al Ghul is one of Batman’s most compelling rogues, proving to be as dangerous as villains like Joker. Doug Moench and a host of artists put that on display for Batman #400, showing Ra’s unleashing Arkham Asylum and Gotham State Penitentiary inmates.
“Resurrection Night” is a solid Ra’s al Ghul story for showing off his villainous cunning, which is always appreciated. He poses the unique threat of being both a physical and intellectual equal to Batman. It’s an excellent premise for giving the hero a convincing conflict and a worthy adversary.
5 Batman #800
Tom King’s time on Batman might be remembered for its underwhelming pseudo-wedding, but #800 was quite a statement for Selina Kyle/Catwoman. In this finale of the “Rules of Engagement” arc, two of Bruce’s great loves clash head-to-head – Catwoman and Talia al Ghul.
Bruce being left at the altar later in King’s run might sour the impact of this story somewhat, but it was a fantastic highlight of Selina’s strongest traits. She stands firm in her convictions and sees Bruce’s strengths and weaknesses, but loves him all the same without feeling compelled to change him.
4 Batman #700
Grant Morrison stands among Batman’s most celebrated writers, making it poetic that they’d hold the reins to a centennial issue. Batman #700 is the one-shot story “Time and the Batman,” which takes readers across various timelines and incarnations of the Caped Crusader.
Readers see Bruce Wayne’s original take, alongside the likes of Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne. It hits harder within the context of the writer’s seven-year-long run on the character, as it’s a testament to Morrison’s overall theme. Various artists tackled each new iteration of the hero, effectively driving home the notion that Batman and Robin will never die.
3 Batman #900
Having recently taken on Batman as well as his acclaimed duties on Daredevil, Chip Zdarsky’s tenure on the former is looking promising. #900 – or #135 under the current volume – follows Batman traveling through multiverses getting a hand from other Dark Knights to defeat Red Mask.
Fan service can easily feel cheap and lazy, but this issue uses the multiversal angle to great effect akin to Spider-Man: No Way Home. It’s a welcome and delightfully zany change of pace that offers a payoff to the grittiness of Batman’s world. Should this trend continue, Zdarsky could become one of Batman’s best contemporary writers.
2 Batman #500
Bane is the rare comic book example of a villain with immense brawn and brains, making him a terrifying villain in his own right. In Batman #500, however, Doug Moench and Jim Aparo show the brutal final clash between the gradually unstable Jean-Paul Valley and Bane.
Part of the classic 90s Batman arc Knightfall, it’s hard to ignore this centennial’s significance. This wasn’t the finale, but DC chose a momentous occasion to publish one of the storyline’s most riveting climaxes. Jean-Paul’s Batman is one of the most bleakly memorable, and #500 marked a major change in the power dynamics of the time.
1 Legends Of The Dark Knight #100
The Boy Wonder is undoubtedly one of the most influential DC Comics sidekicks, and likely in general. And while superhero origin stories might feel tired out in the modern age, Legends of the Dark Knight #100 is a memorable retelling of Dick Grayson’s beginnings.
It’s only fitting for the original Robin, with revered Batman writer Dennis O’Neil and artist Dave Taylor packing “The Choice” with emotion. “The Choice” is a beautiful story of how Robin first became the missing half of the Dynamic Duo, is an excellent read for beginners, and deeply resonates with longtime fans all at once.
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