The wait is nearly over for Matt Reeves’ The Batman to hit theaters. The highly anticipated film looks to offer a fresh take on the iconic DC Comics character. Fans are wondering what is in store for this new Gotham and want to prepare any way they can. Like with all comic book movies, the best way to do this is with the source comics. There are plenty of Batman comics that can hold fans over until March 3rd. From seeing a young Bruce Wayne learn what it takes to be Batman to The Riddler tormenting the city, here are 10 comics to read in preparation for The Batman.
10. Detective Comics #27
While this classic comic from 1939 may not have any direct connection to Matt Reeves’ The Batman, it is still essential reading. This comic marks the first appearance of Batman. The character seen in these pages is much different from the character he would later be known as. For starters, he carries a sidearm and is closer to a private eye than a straightforward vigilante. This comic book has aged surprisingly well, and reading it makes it no surprise why Batman has become so famous. This comic is excellent to read in preparation for any Batman project, even if it isn’t a direct inspiration.
9. Joker’s Asylum: Penguin
The Joker is known for many things, namely being an unreliable narrator. Joker’s Asylum: Penguin is a series of one-shots, each focusing on a different member of Batman’s rogue’s gallery. The twist is each story is told from the perspective of The Joker. Regardless of whether he is telling the truth or not, Joker’s Asylum: Penguin offers a dark look into the psyche of The Penguin. Over the last 30 years or so, thanks in part to Dany DeVito’s take in Batman Returns, the character has become more than just a gimmicky bird-obsessed baddie. This story is the culmination of this, as it shows him a ruthless mob boss who will stop at nothing to climb on the top. Not a ton is known about Colin Ferrel’s take on the character in Matt Reeves’ The Batman, but it is looking to be similar to this version.
8. Catwoman: Her Sister’s Keeper
Frank miller’s classic Batman comic, Year One, not only showed a young Bruce Wayne, but it also showed Selina Kyle fitting into her role as Catwoman. Catwoman: Her Sister’s Keeper serves as a companion piece to this story and focuses more on Kyle before and during the events of Year One. The tale shows the turmoil and tragedy Kyle felt early in her life and how she deals with it in her own way. She is more than a sultry foil for Batman; she is a cunning and intelligent woman who does the best with the cards she has been dealt in life. Zoe Kravitz’s Selina looks to be lifted straight from the pages of Year One and Her Sister’s Keeper, so this is an excellent place for fans to familiarize themselves with Catwoman before seeing the movie.
7. Catwoman: When In Rome
Like Her Sister’s Keeper, Catwoman: When In Rome is s spin-off of another Batman comic that featured the character. Catwoman was a prominent character in The Long Halloween, although she wasn’t as prominent in the sequel Dark Victory. In the latter, she leaves Gotham for a few months. When in Rome shows what she was up to while Batman hunted The Hangman Killer back in Gotham. Selina travels to Italy with The Riddler to discover the secrets of the Falcone Crime Family. Selina is trying to escape from under the shadow of Batman, yet finds this increasingly difficult as by association, so many people only see him when they see her. This story offers an interesting look at the relationship between the Bat and the Cat through Selina’s eyes.
6. Batman: Zero Year
Zero Year showcases Bruce Wayne in his first year as Batman. The young man has more or less let go of his Bruce Wayne persona and fully adopted himself as Batman. He couldn’t care less about the name Wayne and even went so far as to move out of Wayne Manor. Batman also nearly got shock therapy in an attempt to permanently erase Bruce Wayne from his mind, leaving only the Bat. This mission-obsessed and angry hero seems to be the primary inspiration for Robert Pattinson’s take. If this wasn’t enough, the primary villain of the story is The Riddler. It seems like huge inspiration is taken from this Batman comic, and fans owe it to themselves to check it out.
5. Batman: Hush
Hush has been praised as one of the best Batman comics since it was first released. The story follows Batman as he tracks down the mysterious villain who murdered his childhood friend. The story is filled with twists and turns and takes everything fans know about The Dark Knight and his rogue’s gallery and flips it on its head. The Riddler plays a part in the story as a cohort for the killer known as Hush and holds dark and sinister secrets. Even if not to prepare for Matt Reeves’ The Batman, fans should seek this story out as it is one of the best Batman tales ever told.
4. Court of Owls
The rumor mill surrounding The Batman is at full force. One of the biggest speculations is that Batman will face off against the Court of Owls. Whether this rumor is true or not, the source comic could offer some insight into the film. One thing that is known about the film is Bruce Wayne discovers dark secrets about his family. The trailers show that Riddler is targeting the Wayne family for some reason, and Alfred has been keeping the reason from Bruce. Court of Owls shows something similar. Bruce discovers the Waynes have deep connections to the history of Gotham and the deadly Court. The Court may or may not show up, but the comic certainly laid some groundwork for the film regardless.
3. Penguin: Pain & Prejudice
This comic offers the deepest look into the damaged and tormented psyche of The Penguin fans had received to date. The miniseries Penguin: Pain & Prejudice follows Oswald Cobblepot from a child up until the deadly Gotham crime lord. Penguin and his criminal empire look to be a large part of Matt Reeves’ The Batman and its inevitable sequels. The character is even earning an HBO Max spin-off. this comic is the perfect place to learn all there is to know about one of Batman’s most famous foes.
2. Batman: The Long Halloween
Whenever the topic of best Batman comics is discussed, The Long Halloween is sure to be brought up. So many pieces of Batman media, including The Dark Knight, owes so much to this story. The 13-issue series follows Batman as he tracks down the elusive Holiday Killer, a killer that only strikes on holidays. Matt Reeves has stated that his Batman movie will heavily focus on the character as a detective solving a deadly crime. Out of all the Batman stories, this one is the best example of him being The World’s Greatest Detective, so it should make for a perfect companion piece.
1. Batman: Year One
Frank Miller’s Year One is one of the comics that reinvented the character in the aftermath of the Adam West series. The story follows Bruce Wayne during his first year as The Caped Crusader. It shows him learning to control his rage and put his newfound skills to good use as a crime fighter. James Gordon is also a primary character, as he is shown cleaning out the corruption of the GCPD from the inside and eventually moving his way up to the commissioner. The relationship and uneasy alliance that forms between the two leads is the basis that other forms of media use. This comic is one of the best comics ever and is a perfect way to prep for The Batman.