Since it’s only a few weeks before we see the big showdown between Batman and Superman, it’s only fitting that we take a look back at the most unforgettable moments of the World’s Finest. We took a close look at some quality Superman comic book moments, so it’s only fitting we offer up the top 5 best Batman moments in comics.
Batman is always on a Chuck Norris level of awesome—just check him out every time he performs an inverted takedown in the Arkham trilogy games, or that emotional scene where he saved Ace in the animated series, Justice League Unlimited. Then there’s Lego Batman saying he doesn’t believe in luck when Cyborg wishes him good luck. Cyborg then proceeds to ask, “What do you believe in?” And Bats goes, “Batman.” How can anything else top that?
Still, we’re here to pay tribute to the World’s Greatest Detective by recalling the best Batman moments in comics, so, no—we won’t be featuring Adam West’s Batusi (although that would have been at the top of the list). In the comics though, here’s what made the cut:
1. Batman has a contingency plan for his own demise.
In Batman R.I.P, some seriously deep continuity mining lead to the introduction (or re-introduction) of the nefarious Doctor Hurt. In a forgotten, seemingly innocuous tale during Batman’s Golden Age, Batman – at the behest of Hurt – allowed himself to participate in psychological experimentation applied through an extended period of extreme isolation. Unbeknownst to Batman, Doctor Hurt used this time to pack Batman’s vulnerable brain with psychological triggers and subliminal suggestions. Decades later, Doctor Hurt – now revealed as leader of the Black Hand and the Club of Villains – began to take advantage of his previously planted, psychological invasion, initiating the complete dissolution of Batman’s mind. In true Batman fashion, it was eventually shown that he had long ago planned for this exact situation should it ever happen, successfully installing a “back-up human operating system” for his brain. What. The. Fudge-sicle.
And then Neil Gaiman writes a heart-wrenching tribute to the Dark Knight in Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader, where Batman’s poignant tale is seen as coming to an end: “You don’t get heaven or hell. Do you know the only reward you get for being Batman? You get to be Batman.”
In this same Batman R.I.P. storyline from Grant Morrison, Batman also gets buried alive, whereby he digs himself out of his own grave by sheer force of will. Those breathing exercises and precisely controlled physical and mental efforts all come in handy when you’re crawling out of the ground, don’t they? “But that’s the thing about Batman,” the comic reads. “Batman thinks of everything.”
He may or may not have killed Joker in The Killing Joke.
In the hauntingly beautiful last panel of Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s masterpiece, we actually see the impossible—Batman laughs. He laughs hysterically alongside his arch-nemesis, and in the brilliantly open-ended conclusion, we never get to find out if Bats offs The Joker or not. It just goes to show you that there are lines that the Dark Knight dares not cross, but when it comes to The Clown Prince of Crime, you will never really know.
3. Batman gives a touching Thanksgiving offering to the bad guy.
In 1997’s The Long Halloween, Jeph Loeb’s trademark of including as many villains into the storyline as humanly possible is vividly clear. But what makes this one of the best Batman moments is that amidst all the KAPOW-ing and bad-guy-smacking, the Caped Crusader leaves a plateful of delicious food down the sewers, effectively sharing a touching Thanksgiving dinner with none other than Solomon Grundy. Batman may be all gloom-and-doom most of the time, but deep down, it’s that magnificent heart of his that truly makes him a hero.
Old Man Bats takes the Boy Scout down—even for just a moment.
Because this article is in preparation for Batman V Superman coming out this March, it’s a must to include the most popular Bats vs. Supes showdown in comic history. When Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns came out in 1986, it showed just how incredibly badass Bruce can get when he’s desperately trying to prove a point. One of the most defining moments in the comic book is, of course, when he took down Clark with carefully calculated blows, just like what you would expect from his genius intellect. Sure—he’s got the suit and a little help from a super-cool one-armed Ollie, but the point is that he did it; he brought the Man of Steel down—and he never let him forget it.
Bruce has always had a way with the ladies—particularly with Selina Kyle.
I know there are tons and tons of best Batman moments out there, but I just had to include this one in the list. As lonely and emo as Bruce always pretends to be, he just can’t resist a certain svelte feline figure. That famous Batman and Catwoman lip-lock in Hush, topped with jaw-dropping Jim Lee perfection, deserves to be pinned up on every Batman fan’s wall. Gotham needs saving all the time, but that doesn’t mean Bats can’t get a little lovin’, right? You go, lover boy—you deserve it.
What are your favorite Batman moments in the comics? Was It when he OMAC-ed the hell out of the whole League, or was it when he bought out the whole Daily Planet just to piss Clark off? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!