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: Titans Season 3!

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

The DC Comics Universe is a rich tapestry of compelling and memorable characters. Marvel may the best heroes (not counting Batman and Superman), but DC, hands down, has the best villains. Yet for some reason, live-action DC properties always feel like they use the same group of characters, again and again and again and again: Joker, Zod, Batman, Superman, Lex Luthor. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. I’m a big fan of Zack Snyder‘s Man of Steel. However, as excited as I was for that film, I was so disappointed that General Zod was the film’s main antagonist. Superman has so many amazing villains that has never been in a big screen, live action Superman film before. Characters like Darkseid, Mongol, Metallo, FUCKING BRAINIAC! To be fair, I think Michael Shannon is fantastic as General Zod. In fact, I think he is one of the best villains in the DCEU so far. However, I think that changing the villain in Man of Steel would have made a massive impact on how that story was received and how well it worked. Had a badass villain like Brainiac been utilized, an already damn good Superman movie, could’ve been an all-time great comic book flick.

Wow. Um, that got away from me pretty damn fast… Believe it our not, I’m actually here to talk about the new season of Titans on HBO Max. The reason I opened with a rant about my desire to see a more diverse group of DC characters brought to life in live-action, on TV or film, is because Titans scratches that itch big time! Each season showcases a plethora of our favorite DC characters and concepts, many making their live-action debut. It’s one of the reasons Titans is such a big draw for me.

Titans premiered as the flagship show in the now defunct streaming service DC UNIVERSE. It was the first of multiple original series that the fledgling service rolled out over the course of it’s initial launch. It was followed by a Doom Patrol series, the resurrection of the beloved animated show Young Justice, Harley Quinn: The Animated Series, and a great Swamp Thing show that was cancelled before it even premiered, airing only one season (apparently it was WAY TOO expensive, but who really knows?). All of the shows were varying degrees of exceptional. They were all well received by both critics and fans, except for Titans. While the show was considered a success upon it’s launch, it was the only original DC UNIVERSE series that was met with a harsh critical reception. With DC and HBO both falling under Warner Bros ownership, along with the DC streaming service underperforming, Warner Bros was looking to invest additional content and resources and into HBO Max. Titans, Doom Patrol, and Young Justice all made the transition to the new streaming service. Doom Patrol Season 3 debuts in September and Young Justice Season 4 is currently in production.

The infamous “Fuck Batman.” scene.

Titans premiered in the wake of films like Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad. Both highly anticipated DC projects that were criticized for being overly dark and left many fans massively disappointed. When the first trailer for Titan’s dropped, the teaser infamously featured a very angry Dick Grayson, in his Robin uniform, giving some thugs a brutal beating, and declaring “Fuck Batman” at the end if the fight. I think that so many critics and fans were turned off by the sensibilities of the DCEU films and they saw Titans is simply an extension of what they disliked about the DC movies. Another overly serious, ultra dark, violent, superhero tale that takes the joy out of these classic characters. In my opinion, this point was one of the big reasons that Titans wasn’t greeted warmly by critics and certain fans, when it debuted. I personally don’t agree with that particular criticism, but I understand. Regardless, I enjoyed the hell out of season one, I couldn’t wait for season two and it easily surpassed season one by telling a fantastic Deathstroke story.

As much as I’ve loved this show, its biggest problem has always been the story. In the first two seasons, different storylines and character threads don’t always mesh and come together exactly as well as you would want them to, and it can leave the show feeling a little disjointed. I’m very pleased to report that with season three, it seems like Titans has really ironed out it’s storytelling problems to deliver a tight, compelling, and extremely entertaining narrative.

For a guy who is viewed as such a loner, Batman surrounds himself with a rather large surrogate family. He frequently opens his home to people with nowhere to go and in some cases trains and drafts them in his war to protect Gotham City. With the exception of Alfred, Dick Grayson is by far Batman‘s most well-known and interesting partner. Everyone knows who Dick Grayson is, whether they consciously know it or not. When people think of RobIn, the character they have in their head is Dick Grayson. He is the original Robin, but there’ve been many others to take up the mantle of Robin.

While Titans is ostensibly a team/ensemble series, this is the Dick Grayson show through and through. The series opens with a nice, little easter egg comic book reference, after his falling out with Bruce, Dick leaves Gotham and becomes a detective for the Detroit Police Department, he did something similar in the original comic book run. The first two seasons largely focus on his struggle to come to terms with his own personal demons and his complicated feelings about Bruce Wayne. Dick is a very angry young man, especially at the beginning of the series. He knows he has real darkness inside him, which he hates about himself, but he hates Bruce even more for nurturing those feelings and, as Dick sees it, weaponizing them for his own ends. This feeling is only reinforced when he meets Jason Todd for the first time, a young man who introduces himself to Dick as the “new Robin”. The fact that through Bruce just replaced Dick without a second thought, putting another young man in harms way, confirms what Dick has suspected for a long time. He loved Bruce as a father/brother figure and now he realizes he was nothing more than a soldier in Bruce’s insane war. It’s also important to remember that the mantle of Robin was Dick’s to give away, that was a persona, a hero, that Dick created to be Bruce’s sidekick. So it feels like an extra kick in the teeth, when Dick meets his own replacement, decked out in full, Robin regalia.

It’s a difficult and continuing road, but through his experiences with The Titans have put him on the path he was meant to walk. Dick is intelligent, emotionally well balanced, and compassionate enough, to work through these feelings by leaning on other people he cares about. Instead of trying to carry his burden alone, which allows him to become his own man and a hero in his own right, as Nightwing. Leaving Robin behind forever, but still fulfilling his destiny as a superhero. Eventually, he even manages to forgive Bruce, realizing that no matter warped and unhealthy it may have been, Bruce was only trying to help and protect Dick. He was trying to save him and help him in the only way he knew how.

Some of Bruce‘s “parenting” time with Jason.

Jason Todd, the current Robin, on the other hand, is nothing like Dick and doesn’t have any of Grayson’s positive qualities I mentioned a moment ago. He’s not particularly intelligent, he’s reckless, and unable to keep his emotions in check. He also has a big chip on his shoulder, as well as a serious inferiority complex. Sadly, anything Bruce may have learned during his time with Dick, certainly didn’t transfer to Jason, because that kid is a goddamn mess. Curran Walters who plays Jason, has absolutely crushed it since he was introduced mid-Season 1. He plays him like a mix between a live, exposed electrical wire and a lost, desperate puppy. Jason is a key character in Season 3 and Walters brings 100% to a complicated role.

Going into Season 3, Dick has finally come to terms with his past, to become the hero and leader he needs to be, as Nightwing. This new iteration of The Titans have have come together as a formidable team of heroes. They’re working like a fine oiled machine. The Titans have even become quasi-celebrities. Adored by the media and the public for their heroism. Whaddaya know? Turns out is you actually SAVE a few people and don’t level a city in the process, the public actually likes superheroes! Who knew? The active Titans, consisting of Connor AKA Superboy, Kory AKA Starfirfe, Gar AKA Beast Boy, Dawn AKA Dove, Hank AKA Hawk, and Super-Dog Krypto, are thriving as a team with Nightwing at the helm. While some of the mainstays of the team are off screen until later in the season, like Raven and Donna Troy. Things are looking great, which is of course when those old Gotham City demons show up pounding on Dick Grayson’s door.

(Minor Spoilers here, but nothing that hasn’t been shown in the trailers) Tragedy strikes when the current Robin, Jason Todd, is brutally killed by The Joker.

Anyone who really knows the character, understands that Batman handles the death of a loved one poorly, at best. Batman handles Jason’s death just about as badly as you’d expect. It’s a fucking train wreck. He callously throws himself into his work as The Dark Knight, hiding from his grief. The series first introduced Bruce Wayne in Season 2, played by Ian Glenn (Ser Jorrah Mormont from Game of Thrones) and he’s been great in the role ever since. We see a Batman that has serious problems processing grief and instead of dealing with it head on, in a healthy way, he dives headfirst back into being Batman. It’s like he’s escaping from his trauma into this monster of his own creation. Following the death of Jason Todd, we have never seen the character more mentally unhinged and emotionally broken.

There’s a fantastic moment in The Batcave between Bruce and Dick, Dick is horrified to discover that Bruce has already been researching possible “recruits” to replace Jason as Robin. When a furious Dick confronts Bruce about this, looking and sounding like a lost little boy, Bruce almost timidly asks “Do you wanna be Robin again?”. Dick’s reaction is a shocked mix of disgust, pity, disbelief, and genuine concern. The fact that Bruce would even ask him this, shows exactly how far gone, mentally, he really is. It’s almost as if Bruce is experiencing some kind of psychotic break and the gravity of the moment is not lost on Dick. Things get worse before they get better. With Batman off the deep end, a brutal and dangerous new player storms into Gotham’s underworld: The Red Hood.

He’s a compelling and genuinely threatening villain, and if you don’t already know the character, the less said the better.

Following the recent death of her father, former Batgirl, Barbara Gordon, has reluctantly taken on the thankless role of Gotham City Police Commissioner (mainly because no one else was crazy enough to take the job). Like Grayson, Barbara has her own less than perfect history with Bruce Wayne, she’s done with vigilantes and the questionable cycle of violence Bruce perpetuated. So the last thing she wants to do is pick up with Nightwing, where her father left off with Batman, but The GCPD is stretched to it’s limit. Dick isn’t thrilled with the situation either. He thought he put Batman and Gotham behind him to build something better with The Titans. Instead, he’s forced to “step into his Father’s shoe’s” and bring a still relatively green group of heroes into a city where mistakes put you in the morgue instead of the emergency room.

As Dick and Barbara re-establish their fragile partnership, the new Commissioner reveals that Dick and The Titans aren’t the only “consultants” she’s been forced to work with. Straight out of “Silence of The Lambs”, while currently incarcerated in Arkham Asylum, The GCBD has been utilizing the skills of one of the world’s best criminal psychologists and profilers, Dr. Jonathan Crane, better known as The Scarecrow.

Some might find the “Hannibal Lector” angle a little derivative, but the show manages to get away with it because it’s so damn fun to watch. Crane is played by Vincent Kartheiser, better known to audiences as Pete Campbell from Mad Men, Connor from Angel, and a slew of various roles on the big screen. Kartheiser really makes the role his own. We’ve never quite seen the popular Batman villain portrayed like this. I don’t want to SPOIL too much, so if you don’t want to know anything, skip down to the next paragraph where you’ll see “END SPOILERS”….

….

….

…. I wont go into specifics about the role of the character in the series. However, when it comes to the level of danger he presents, some fans tend to think of Crane as a pretty minor Batman villain. But anyone who’s played the video game, Batman: Arkham Knight, knows that Scarecrow is capable of being a massive, city-wide threat that we tend to only associate with characters like The Joker, Ra’s Al Ghul, or Bane. Dr. Jonathan Crane is not to be underestimated.

END SPOILERS

After 2 seasons largely focused on Dick Grayson’s journey from Robin to Nightwing. Now in Season 3, the series has come into his own and Nightwing’s return to his hometown, along with the rest of The Titans, couldn’t have come at a more difficult time. As Dick and his team try to live up to the legacy of Batman as Gotham’s protector’s, a violent and formidable new threat has emerged from the Gotham underworld. A criminal who may have a much deeper and more personal connection to Dick and Bruce than either of them could have imagined. If you’ve ever thought about giving Titans a chance, now is the time to do it, because the series has never been better.

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

Awesome Art From The Upcoming BATMAN Story Arc From DC Comics: JOKER WAR!

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

It’s been an open secret in the world of comic books that The Joker knows, and has always known, that Bruce Wayne is Batman. He just doesn’t care. It wouldn’t be funny for him to sneak into Wayne Manor in the middle of the night and put a bullet in Bruce Wayne’s head while he’s sleeping. It’s Batman who he’s interested in, Batman is his playmate.
Well after years of teasing it looks like The Joker is finally going to pull the ripcord on pretending he doesn’t know that Bruce Wayne and Batman are the same man. He’s finally going to play that Ace up up his sleeve. This awesome art from Jorge Jimenez gives us a little preview of things to come in the upcoming Joker War storyline. It certainly looks like The Clown Prince of Crime is not holding back.

To add another interesting wrinkle to the story, The Joker’s got a new girlfriend and her name is Punchline. The Joker and Harley has been consciously uncoupled for several years now, with Harley Quinn leaning more into hero than villain territory these days. So it looks like Mister J. has moved on to a woman who is more interested in keeping up with his bloody, homicidal antics. We’ve only seen a little bit of Punchline in the current Batman comics, but expect her to play a bigger role as we get closer to Joker War. Here’s more beautiful art by Jorge Jimenez, who designed Punchline, so you can get a better look at the character and how she is different from Harley Quinn.

Joker War will be written by James Tynion IV, the current writer of DC’s monthly Batman comic. Tynion’s been doing excellent Batman work at DC for several years now, on books like Detective Comics and his current run on Batman. He also worked closely with Scott Snyder, arguably the greatest modern Batman writer, on Snyder’s Batman books as well as co-writing multiple issues of Snyder’s recent run on Justice League. This storyline has been teased for awhile now and we’ve been treated to sneak peeks at The Joker while he’s planning his masterpiece.


As you can see in the images below, any doubt about how much knowledge The Joker really has about Batman and his family, is quickly erased…

Because of the national health crisis, there haven’t been any new monthly comic books shipped to vendors over the last few weeks. Regular comic book distribution to Comic Book Store‘s and apps like ComiXology, is expected to begin again in mid-May, in a few weeks. So the release dates of storylines like Joker War, that were supposed to start at the end of April or the beginning of May with Batman # 95, No loolike a late May or early June beginning for the joker war. Fortunately however long it takes, things will get back on track. This is definitely going to be a big story for the Batman franchise so look for more coverage when Joker War begins in late May or June. I know I’m excited!

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. 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,