BATMAN DAY: The Best Modern Day Batman Stories!

Hey Everyone.

Paul here…

One of humanities greatest holiday’s, Batman Day, is upon us once again. In honor of this joyous occasion, it’s officially Batman Week here at World’s Best Media! It’s that special time of year when we can all take the time to reflect on the greatness of The Dark Knight Detectve. Like Superman, people will still be telling stories about The Batman, in one form or another, hundreds of years from now (unless of course, mankind doesn’t wipe itself from the face of the Earth in the near future). Characters like Batman and Superman are our modern day gods. Like Achilles or Beowulf, these heroes resonate with people because they’re such primal archetypes.

Even more so than Superman, the tragic tale of a boy who witnesses the brutal murder of his parents, is a fear we can all relate to. The boy made a vow to rid his city of the evil that took their lives, and turned himself into a monster to do it. The tragedy of Batman is that his war can never be won and he knows it. That’s deep, primal stuff. The brillliant simplicity of Batman allows for endless stories and reinventions.

Batman isn’t only my favorite comics book character, he’s by far my favorite character in all of literature. The complex psychology of Bruce Wayne, the greatest group of villains ever assembled, the sprawling urban nightmare that is Gotham City, and a phenomenal supporting cast… it all comes together to form the unforgettable tapestry of The Batman mythology. So in honor of Batman Day, I decided to put together a list of my favorite modern Batman stories. This was harder than you might think, because there are literally hundreds of classic Batman tales. I left out the obvious ones like “The Big 3”: The Dark Knight Returns, Batman: Year One, and The Killing Joke. Including those 3 classics on my list, seemed redundant and obvious, so I decided to focus on some great modern Batman stories. I was able to narrow it down to these amazing tales, that I encourage all of you to check out. Let’s dive in…


Batman: The Black Mirror

Written by Scott Snyder

Art by Jock & Francesco Francavilla

DC has a long history of “legacy heroes”. “Legacy heroes” are characters who take up the mantle of an iconic, classic superhero, when the original cannot or will not continue on. “Legacy heroes” are almost always characters who are close to the original incarnation of the superhero in question, usually a sidekick or a partner. For example, when the original Flash, Barry Allen, died in Crisis On Infinite Earths, his sidekick, Wally West AKA Kid Flash, inherited the role of The Scarlet Speedster. In fact, many fans believe Wally West surpassed his mentor to be the best version of The Flash in the history of DC Comics. Another good example, is when the entire Green Lantern Corp were wiped out (including Hal Jordan), artist Kyle Rayner was chosen to become the only living in Green Lantern in the universe. Eventually, he was instrumental in rebuilding the Corp. We tend tp not think of Batman as a character that ”passes on the mantle”. However, there has been some notable exceptions, like Dick Grayson, that were excellent and unique versions of The Dark Knight.

The Black Mirror took place at a time when, for reasons that are too complicated to get into, Bruce Wayne was MIA as Batman. Dick Grayson a.k.a. the original Robin a.k.a. Nightwing, reluctantly donned the Cape and Cowl to become the new Batman.

Like so many other excellent Batman tales, the story is just as much about Jim Gordon as it is Batman. The veteran Gotham police officer and the rookie Batman, must solve a grisly mystery that hits far too close to home for both men. With amazing art by Jock and Francesco Francavilla, it seems as if Gotham City itself is alive. A dark and hungry thing, ready to devour those that walk it’s streets. This was the breakout story that launched Scott Snyder’s career as one of the biggest creators in the industry. This isn’t the only time you’ll see Snyder’s name pop up on this list, because The Black Mirror was his first step on his journey to becoming one of the greatest Batman writers of all time.


Batman: R.I.P.

Written by Grant Morrison

Art by Tony Daniel

Grant Morrison is not only a personal favorite of mine, he’s also one of the best and most celebrated comic writers in the history of the medium. All-Star Superman, Arkham Asylum: A Serious House On A Serious Earth, JLA, if you’ve ever read Morrison‘s work, it will come as no surprise that this is one hell of a weird, fucking Batman story. However, in this instance that’s a really good thing. Batman R.I.P. marks the end of ACT I of Morrison‘s epic Batman run. When I was reading this nightmarish and disturbing story for the first time, it genuinely felt like anything could happen, which is rare when you’re dealing with such a well-known character like Batman. The brilliance of Morrison‘s run, is how he mines some of the most ridiculous and wacked out Batman stories from the late-50’s, 60’s, and early 70’s, (that any other writer would just as soon forget) to tell a truly unique Batman tale. Some fantastic new villains, like demonic Dr. Hurt, and new spins on old dynamics, make this an unforgettable story about madness, evil, and the indomitable will of The Dark Knight.

Batman & Robin: Reborn


Written by Grant Morrison

Art by Frank Quietly

Another fantastic story taking place during Dick Grayson’s tenure as The Caped Crusader. Grant Morrison’s ambitious, and entertaining Batman run, consisted of a broad, 3 Act structure. If Batman RIP was the end of Act I of Morrison‘s epic, then Batman and Robin: Reborn is the beginning of Act II. This story follows Dick as he struggles to fit into his new role as Batman. One The most compelling parts of the story, is the relationship between Dick and the new Robin, Damian Wayne, Bruce’s son. Reborn puts a fun new spin on the Batman and Robin dynamic. Normally, Batman is the dark, brooding one, with Robin as the bright, quipping, colorful, and lighthearted side of The Dynamic Duo. This story completely flips that dynamic on its head. This Batman smiles, tells jokes, and has fun. Damian’s Robin is arrogant, violent, and brutal. Basically the kid is a real pain in the ass

Regardless, he is, after all, Bruce Wayne‘s biological son. To Dick and Alfred, Bruce was family, so they both feel a responsibility to keep Damian on the right path. Both men know that Bruce would want them to watch over Damian, a task that certainly isn’t easy given Damian’s violent upbringing before he came to live with his father. But Dick and Alfred would never give up on the boy because of their love for Bruce. After all, Damian was raised in The League of Assassins, under the tutelage of Tallia and Ra’s Al Ghul. He could kill grown men by the time he was four years old. With Damian, The House’s of Wayne and Al Ghul would finally be united. Talia and Ra’s were grooming him to stride across the world as a modern-day Alexander The Great. Fortunately, Damian had more of his father in him than his mother and grandfather thought. Inspired by his father, Damian chose his own path, even if that meant being branded as an adversary to The House of Al Ghul.

I really enjoyed the dynamic between Dick, Damian, and Alfred in this story. One of my favorite subplots that evolves as the story goes on, is how Damien, who has nothing but disdain for Dick and Alfred, gradually comes to love and respect them both, arguably even more than he loves his father. Add in some gorgeous art by the legendary Frank Quietly (who’s one of my favorite comic book artists), the introduction of one of my favorite and most disturbing modern day Batman villains: the grotesque Professor Pyg, and you’ve got yourself one hell of a Batman comic book. This story is a new era for Batman and it all comes together to make this a must read.


Batman: The Court of Owls

Written by Scott Snyder

Art by Greg Capullo

The Court of Owls marks the beginning of what would become, one of the greatest writer/artist teams in modern comics. Together, writer Scott Snyder and veteran artist Greg Capullo, would go on to create one of the best Batman runs in the long history of the character.

Gotham City is synonymous with The Dark Knight. He knows it’s broken streets and dark alleyways, as well as he knows his own reflection in the mirror. Gotham belongs to The Batman and he knows all it’s secrets. Or does he? After a series of bizarre murders, Batman is blindsided by the realization that a cunning and dangerous enemy has existed and operated right under his nose. This powerful adversary has had its claws in Gotham for hundreds of years, going all the way back to the founding of the city. Bruce Wayne might be the worlds greatest detective and the legendary Batman, but in his hubris, he forgot one of the most important lessons he learned in his years protecting the city: The second you think you know Gotham, is the moment it swallows you into the darkness.

What are your favorite Batman stories? Please let us know in the comments below or on social media!

Thanks for reading! Follow us on Twitter @PJWrightWBM, Instagram @worldsbestmedia2017, and our Facebook Page, Worlds Best Media. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, go a long way to supporting World’s Best Media. We really appreciate the loyalty and support shown to us by our fans, so thanks again! Stay healthy and stay safe!

-Paul

MUST WATCH: Beware The Batman!

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

If you’re a frequent visitor to World’s Best Media, you probably already know that I love Batman and Superhero Animation. So I tend to get excited when I hear about a new animated Batman project. Warner Bros. and HBO recently announced a new Batman animated series in the works for HBO Max, called Batman: The Caped Crusader. The new series is being developed by Matt Reeves (the director of the upcoming film The Batman), JJ Abrams, and Bruce Timm (one of the creators of Batman: The Animated Series). There’ve been rumors floating around for a while now that Warner Bros. was developing a sequel series to the beloved and classic Batman: The Animated Series. While Batman: The Caped Crusader is not a direct sequel series or continuation of Batman: The Animated Series, it’s definitely a spiritual successor. When The Caped Crusader was announced Reeves and Abrams explicitly stated that BTAS (Batman: The Animated Series, for all you cool kids) was the new show’s biggest influence. Through the involvement of Bruce Timm as well as this promo art released during The Caped Crusader’s announcement, served to reinforce how much of an influence BTAS will have on this new show. As I mentioned before, Bruce Timm was one of the creators of Batman: The Animated Series and an icon in DC animation, and as you can clearly see in the promo art, which I posted below, Batman: The Caped Crusader is very evocative of the neo noir look of the 90s Batman series.


However, when I read the announcement for Batman: The Caped Crusader, I couldn’t help but think that I’d heard this all somewhere else once before. Which brings me to the main topic of this article, an animated series that you may not have even heard of called Beware The Batman. An extremely underrated animated series that I’ve been wanting to write about for a long time, Beware The Batman. The announcement about The Caped Crusader reminded me a lot of how Beware The Batman was described when it was first announced. Especially because of the comments made by Abrams and Reeves about “reinvention” and “reimagining” the Batman mythos. It was very similar to how Beware The Batman was pitched when first heard about it, just with some keywords turned around here and there. Beware The Batman was “pitched” to the audience as a darker, grittier animated Batman story, that wasn’t going to do the same old thing. The series certainly lived up to the claim, because it isn’t quite like any other adaptation of the character. The core of the show was something we see far too little of, in on screen adaptations of The Dark Knight, Batman: The World’s Greatest Detective. This was still a relatively early days Batman, at least a few years into his grand mission. The series really played up the “World’s Greatest Detective“ aspect of the character, which many of you may know, I fucking love.

The writers weren’t afraid to play up some of Batman’s other underutilized character attributes. For example. I loved how they played Bruce Wayne as a really fucking weird guy. Because of course he would be. This guys lives a pretty fucked up lifestyle, so he’s bound to be at little… off. It wasn’t over the top or anything like that, but this is not a normal dude and i thought it brought out something special in this version of Batman.


Bruce Wayne wasn’t the only character who went through some changes on Beware The Batman. Wherever Batman goes, so goes Alfred Pennyworth. There’s been a slow moving trend over the last 10 years or so, to change Alfred from an elderly butler into a slightly younger, badass in his own right, with a more active role in Bruce Wayne’s war on crime. This version leaned into Alfred’s history as a military combat vet/spy. Beware The Batman drew upon parts of the character seen in projects like the Epix TV series Pennyworth, the Batman: Earth One graphic novels, and arguably Jeremy Irons’ Alfred in the DCEU. In this animated series, Alfred was former MI-6 and his past catching up to him drives a surprising amount of the story throughout the season, but it works.


Batman may seem like a loner, but he surrounds himself with a lot of surrogate family. So when it came to figuring out who would be Batman‘s partner, the writers chose to buck the trend once again. Instead of Nightwing, Robin, or Batgirl, Batman‘s main partner in crime was Tatsu Yamashiro also known as Katana. Alfred brought her in as potential back up for Bruce. Tatsu was formally a member of both The League of Assassins (where she picked up the alias Katana) and MI-6, a formidable combination. Katana was also Alfred’s protege, Alfred having served with her father in MI-6. Alfred looked at Tatsu as a surrogate daughter. Which makes it almost poetic that he would call upon the woman he sees as a daughter, to help protect the man he sees as his son. Her presence in the story added a unique dynamic that wasn’t present in other animated Batman projects.

Beware The Batman also distinguished itself by not using any of the major Batman villains for the majority of the first and only season. Which I thought that was a really smart and cool way to go. You didn’t see villains like The Joker or The Penguin pop up immediately, which gave the show the opportunity to showcase lesser known villains. Batman has such a fucking incredible rogues gallery, you have to go real far down the list to find a character that is genuinely lame. Kite Man! Yes, there’s a Batman villain called Kite Man! Shockingly enough, in the right hands, even Kite Man is interesting.

So Instead of the usual suspects, Beware The Batman offers up villains like the horrifying Professor Pyg, or Magpie, a thief Bruce becomes infatuated with, or Simon Stagg, everyone’s favorite piece of dog shit industrialist. The overarcing villain for the series was Anarky, a white clad terrorist and madman with skills and fighting abilities dangerously close to Batman’s own.

The writers framed him as the polar opposite opposite of Batman. Anarky, the broken funhouse mirror version of The Dark Knight. Anarky adorned himself in white to Batman’s black, where Batman embraced order, Anarky embraced chaos. Watching Anarky and Batman playing an elaborate game of cat and mouse across the entire season, with Gotham City hanging in the balance, was a hell of a lot of fun.

But Anarky wasn’t the only Big Bad putting Batman to the test over this 26 episode series. The League of Assassins were present early on in the season, which gave Lady Shiva (another awesome, but under utilized Batman villain) some time to shine as the face of The League.

Until about halfway through the season when Ra’s Al Ghul himself enters the fray, menacingly played by The Wire’s Lance Reddick.

As the season went on, some other familiar faces began to pop up, like Killer Croc and Man- Bat. There was also a fair amount of set up dedicated to stories that would have played out had their been second season.

Harvey Dent was introduced in the final few episodes and had already suffered his infamous facial scarring by the end of the season. Presumably setting up Two-Face as the Big Bad for Season 2.

It really is a shame that we never got to see more of this show because the season ended with a cool mystery involving Deathstroke and Alfred’s past once again coming back to haunt him and the people he loves. I would’ve loved to have seen how these writers would’ve interpreted some of Batman’s other classic villains.

The animation style can be a little jarring at first, but it works once you get used to it. I really loved how the shine and texture of The Bat-Suit makes it looks like it’s made out of the same material as the Michael Keaton Batman suit‘s, but has the flexibility and range of motion of a much lighter material. The CGI animation also allows for some choreographed fight scenes that wouldn’t be possible in 2-D animation.


As I wrap it up here, I’ll also add that the show doesn’t really hit it’s stride until Episode 6 “Toxic“. That’s not to say that the first 5 episodes are bad by any means, but Episode 6 was really the one that clicked for me and made me begin to fall in love with the show. So if you plan on giving this series a try, make sure you give the show until at least Episode 6 “Toxic”, it only gets better from there. Honestly, you could probably go straight to Episode 6 without missing that much. Then once you’re really into the show, you can always go back and watch those first 5 episodes.
Beware The Batman: The Complete Series is available to watch on HBO Max, iTunes, and Blu-Ray. If you a fan of superhero animation, I highly recommend you check out this unique hidden gem.

Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @PJWrightWBM or type Worlds Best Media into the search bar, you can also like and follow us on our Facebook page; World’s Best Media. We’re on Instagram @worldsbestmedia2017. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, go a long way to supporting World’s Best Media. We really appreciate the loyalty and support shown to us by our fans, so thanks again! Stay healthy and stay safe!


-Paul