Few comic book characters are on the same level as Batman in terms of power, popularity, and history. For a character that’s over 80 years old, there is no shortage of great stories to dive into. But the age-old question in comics must be asked: “Where do I start?”
Have no fear! For those wanting to experience the adventures of the Dark Knight themselves, we’ve created the ultimate comic book reading order to follow, breaking it down by the creators who’ve covered the mainline stories throughout the years. But, to keep this list lean, we won’t go too far back into Bat’s rich history. Instead, we will focus on the modern tales of the Cape Crusader.
To start this Batman reading order off, we go back to 2006 when legendary creator Grant Morrison took control and reshaped how readers see Batman and his adventures forever.
Morrison's influential Batman run delved into obscure aspects of the character's history and psyche to create a bold and mind-bending narrative, unlike anything anyone had seen before. Morrison’s introduction of Damian Wayne, Batman's son with Talia al Ghul, added new depth to the Bat family which is still felt to this day. Each new challenge and villain Batman faced emphasized the character’s boundless intelligence and detective skills, reaffirming that Bruce Wayne truly is the "World's Greatest Detective."
At this point, Dick Grayson takes over as Batman, with Damian Wayne as Robin in the Batman and Robin series.
Batman Incorporated is formed, expanding the scope of Batman’s mission for justice:
During the New 52 reboot, Morrison's run continues within the new continuity with
Scott Snyder's Batman run is revered for its introduction of new villains, such as the Court of Owls, and reimagining of classic foes like the Joker. Snyder's work emphasized Batman's resilience, resourcefulness, and deep connection to the history of Gotham City. By infusing his stories with horror and psychological twists, Snyder created a solid run that’s essential to the Batman reading order.
Batman: The New 52
King focused on Batman's vulnerability and humanity, exploring his complex relationships with Catwoman and the rest of the Bat-family. Most notably, the run is known for delving into the failed wedding between Bruce and Selina Kyle, which further highlighted the character's struggles.
James Tynion IV's Batman run built upon previous storylines while introducing new threats to Gotham City like Punchline, Ghost-Maker, and the Designer. Tynion's run placed a strong emphasis on the Bat-family dynamics, showcasing their importance in Batman's crime-fighting efforts.
By this point Infinite Frontier era begins:
Williamson steps in for a brief 7-issue run where Batman faces a ghost from Batman Inc’s past. While many fans consider Williamson’s run to be mostly forgettable, considering the collection of incredible runs that came before, the story offers a short but fun romp in the Batman reading order.
Zdarsky’s run, so far, has felt like a return to form for Bats. In a short time, stories have explored obscure aspects of Batman’s psyche and history. Most notable was the return of Batman of Zur-En-Arrh, an often-forgotten alter ego of Batman that was created in the Silver Age. With where it's at right now, many readers are excited for what's to come from the current Dawn of DC line of comics.
And there you have it! As many comics as that is to go through, you’re guaranteed to have a wild ride going down this comprehensive Batman reading order. Batman is one of those characters that is blessed to have been written by such a strong list of creators throughout their rich history. Each run has a distinct take on the Caped Crusader, making stories feel fresh and exciting to read. Now, what are you waiting for? It’s time to start reading more Batman comics!