Batman V3: Rebirth (2016)

In June 2016, the DC Rebirth event relaunched DC Comics’ entire line of comic book titles. Batman was rebooted as starting with a one-shot issue entitled Batman: Rebirth #1 (August 2016). The series then began shipping twice-monthly as a third volume, starting with Batman vol. 3, #1 (August 2016). The third volume of Batman was written by Tom King, and artwork was provided by David Finch and Mikel Janín. The Batman series introduced two vigilantes, Gotham and Gotham Girl.

DC Comics ended the Rebirth branding in December 2017, opting to include everything under a larger “DC Universe” banner and naming. The continuity established by Rebirth continues across DC’s comic book titles, including volume one of Detective Comics and the third volume of Batman.

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Batman Family (1975)

The Batman Family ran twenty issues from September-October 1975 to October-November 1978 and featured solo and team-up stories starring Batgirl and Robin. The lead story in the first issue teaming Batgirl and Robin was originally intended for publication in an issue of 1st Issue Special. The series additionally featured reprints of Golden Age and Silver Age stories. Many issues of Batman Family featured Batman supporting characters such as Alfred Pennyworth, Vicki Vale, the Elongated Man, the Huntress, and Ace the Bat-Hound. Writer Bob Rozakis introduced the Duela Dent character in issue #6 (July–August 1976) and revived the original Batwoman in issue #10 (March–April 1977). The series began featuring only new material as of issue #11 (May-June 1977)  and Man-Bat began appearing as a regular feature. Batman Family converted to the Dollar Comics format with issue #17 (April–May 1978).

Batman / Grendel (1993)

A two-part Batman/Grendel crossover, Devil’s Riddle and Devil’s Masque, was written and drawn by Wagner and colored by Wagner at the time of the Comico series, but was delayed by Comico’s bankruptcy. It was finally published by DC in 1993.

The story assumes that Hunter Rose and Batman live in the same fictional universe and are contemporaries. Bored with Argent the wolf and the NYPD, Hunter Rose comes to Gotham City to challenge the city’s protector to stop him before he commits an audacious crime. Hunter Rose becomes increasingly impressed with Batman but is still able to pull off his crime. However, Batman’s interference proves to be more trouble than he expected and Grendel winds up unintentionally endangering the life of a child and indirectly causing the death of a person he did not consider an enemy. Grendel and Batman’s final battle ends with the assassin just barely escaping Gotham, his arm broken by the Dark Knight in the process.

Although this story can be seen as out of continuity, Hunter Rose is depicted with a broken arm in the “Devil’s Advocate” short, featured inGrendel: Black, White, & Red.

Sword of Azrael (1992)

Azrael first appeared in the 1992 series Batman: Sword of Azrael as Jean-Paul Valley.

He then became a supporting character in the monthly Batman titles, eventually taking over the role of Batman through the “Knightfall,” “Knightquest,” and “KnightsEnd” story arcs. One of the creators, Denny O’Neil, admitted to having difficulties with Azrael’s transition from villain to hero: “If I’d known he was to become a monthly character, I might have set him up differently … The problem is that I had to turn a bad guy into a real hero, not just an anti-hero or lead. It’s possible to do that, but it’s difficult to retain the original characterization. You almost have to change his personality.”

Superman / Batman (2000’s)

Superman/Batman was a monthly series published by DC Comics that features the publisher’s two most popular characters: Superman and Batman. Superman/Batman premiered in August 2003 and was an update of the previous series, World’s Finest Comics, in which Superman and Batman regularly joined forces.

Superman/Batman explored the camaraderie, antagonism, and friendship between its titular characters. Jeph Loeb, the series’ first writer, introduced a dual-narrator technique to present the characters’ often opposing viewpoints and estimations of each other, which subsequent series writers have maintained. Before the 1985 limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths, the two iconic characters were depicted as the best of friends. Frank Miller‘s landmark series The Dark Knight Returns was the first DC story that depicts the heroes at odds with each other, as opposed to pre-Crisis incarnations. This dynamic became DC Universe canon with John Byrne‘s The Man of Steel, a Superman reboot published in 1986.

Blackest Night – Batman (2009)

Who Burns Who is a Blackest Night tie-in featuring the Batman Family, written by Peter Tomasi and illustrated by Ardian Syaf. It’s published in the three-issue Blackest Night: Batman mini-series. The story deals with resurrected agents of the Black Lantern Corps attacking Gotham through personal ties with its heroes, wielding dangerous power rings that reanimate them and feed off life energy through human hearts. There is a companion piece written as part of the Morrison’s Batman saga titled Blackest Knight, dealing with the resurrection of Bruce Wayne.

Batman/ Judge Dredd – Judgement on Gotham (1991)

Judge Death makes a dimensional jump to Gotham City, murdering two lovers and a police officer. Batman defeats Death, who flees in spirit form. Among the remains of his host body, Batman finds a dimensional jump belt that he accidentally activates, transporting him to Mega-City One, where is confronted by Mean Machine Angel. As Mean Machine attacks Batman, they are both confronted by Judge Dredd. Mean Machine flees to Gotham using the belt, then wanders into the city looking for Judge Death.

Batman - Judge Dredd Judgement on Gotham  NM 5
Batman – Judge Dredd Judgement on Gotham NM $5

World’s Finest (1970’s)

World’s Finest featured Superman and Batman team-ups until issue #197. Noted Batman artist Neal Adams first drew the character in an interior story in “The Superman-Batman Revenge Squads” in issue #175 (May 1968). The title briefly featured Superman teaming with heroes other than Batman in the early 1970s beginning with issue #198 (November 1970). That issue featured the first part of a two-issue team-up with the Flash. The series reverted to Superman and Batman team-ups after issue #214, initially with a unique twist, featuring the children they might one day have, Superman Jr. and Batman Jr. These characters, billed as the Super-Sons, were co-created by writer Bob Haney and artist Dick Dillin in issue #215 (January 1973).

Superman: Speeding Bullets (1993)

Baby Kal-El crashes into Earth, where he is discovered by Thomas and Martha Wayne. The couple decide to adopt Kal-El, and name him Bruce. One night, Thomas and Martha are gunned down by a mugger. Bruce incinerates the mugger with his heat vision and discovers his superpowers, but it is too late to save his parents. He decides to hide his powers in shame.

Bruce decides to create a secret identity for himself many years later. As the Batman, he begins to brutally strike back at the criminals in Gotham. Meanwhile, criminal Lex Luthor is on the run and is caught in a horribly disfiguring accident. Lex becomes this dimension’s version of the clown prince of crime, The Joker.

Bruce is eventually persuaded by Lois Lane that a more hopeful superhero is needed than his dark, violent Batman persona, giving rise to his new, more heroic identity of Superman.

Superman: Speeding Bullets NM $12
Superman: Speeding Bullets NM $12

Detective Comics (1970’s)

Writer Dennis O’Neil and artist Neal Adams had their first collaboration on Batman on the story “The Secret of the Waiting Graves” in issue #395 (Jan. 1970). The duo, under the direction of Schwartz, would revitalize the character with a series of noteworthy stories reestablishing Batman’s dark, brooding nature and taking the books away from the campy look and feel of the 1966-68 ABC TV series. Comics historian Les Daniels observed that “O’Neil’s interpretation of Batman as a vengeful obsessive-compulsive, which he modestly describes as a return to the roots, was actually an act of creative imagination that has influenced every subsequent version of the Dark Knight.”

 O’Neil and artist Dick Giordano created the Batman supporting character Leslie Thompkins in the story “There Is No Hope in Crime Alley” appearing in issue #457 (March 1976). Writer Steve Englehart and artist Marshall Rogers produced an acclaimed run of Batman stories in Detective Comics #471-476 (Aug. 1977 – April 1978), and provided one of the definitive interpretations that influenced the 1989 Batman movie and would be adapted for the 1990s animated series. The Englehart and Rogers pairing, was described in 2009 by comics writer and historian Robert Greenberger as “one of the greatest” creative teams to work on the Batman character.  From issue #481 (Dec. 1978 – Jan. 1979) through #495 (Oct. 1980), the magazine adopted the expanded Dollar Comics format.