Batman The 8 Best Comic Book Arcs From The 2010s

Batman: The 8 Best Comic Book Arcs From The 2010s

With over 80 years of Batman and his celebrated stories, the 2010s still managed to bring a collection of excellent comic book arcs.

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Batman The 8 Best Comic Book Arcs From The 2010s

Characters like Spider-Man and Batman have the privilege of being regarded as two of the world’s most beloved superheroes, and that reputation is backed up by many of the stories they feature in. Popularity doesn’t inherently equal quality–at times it can even hurt–but the Dark Knight has had some consistently well-written comics, especially for a character that’s existed for over 80 years.

The 2000s started bringing in Batman’s “modern classics,” but the last decade also brought in some worthy story arcs. Some inventive writing approaches and even new villains made for tales that bring something memorable to the pantheon of the Batman mythos.

8 The Black Mirror

Batman The 8 Best Comic Book Arcs From The 2010s

While it’s not always the first to come to mind, especially since Scott Snyder’s New 52 Batman run performed so well consistently, his The Black Mirror arc before the reboot deserves more praise. Taking place with Bruce Wayne still out of the role of Gotham City’s Batman, Dick Grayson temporarily takes over in a grisly detective-thriller story. Along with artists Jock and Francesco Francavilla, a vividly grim mystery plays out over the course of a few distinct cases that somehow tie together to the overall arc’s final antagonist.

Barbara’s brother/Gordon’s psychologically disturbed son comes back into the city and throws a new dynamic for the main cast to deal with, and it’s arguably the best story with Grayson in his Batman tenure and gives a thrilling new perspective to tell a tale of the Dark Knight. Having him as Batman brings a new POV on how Gotham looks.

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7 The Court Of Owls

Batman The 8 Best Comic Book Arcs From The 2010s

Right after The Black Mirror in Detective Comics, Snyder started his Batman run with one of the best mainline arcs for the character in recent memory with The Court of Owls. The Court of Owls and Talon are perhaps the best modern supervillains to be added to Batman’s mythos, adding a new dimension of challenge to the brooding superhero that not many new entries have.

For centuries, Gotham’s “Illuminati” operated in the city’s shadows manipulating the wealth and crime keeping progress from permanently taking shape. The World’s Greatest Detective prides himself on knowing everything that goes on in Gotham–and justifiably so to a degree–but then he’s shown something he’s been completely unaware of his whole life that knew the city better. It flips conventions on their head and introduces a new apex predator to Gotham that systematically picks apart Batman both physically and psychologically.

6 White Knight

Batman The 8 Best Comic Book Arcs From The 2010s

Outside of mainline canon, Sean Murphy’s alternate timeline/canon story arc White Knight for DC’s Black Label imprint proved to be one of the best takes on the character in comics in recent years. Along with his striking, signature gothic art style, Murphy writes his own self-contained Batman universe where he tastefully uses several pieces of the Dark Knight’s celebrated lore to play within this thrilling new sandbox.

With this first entry in his maxiseries, the story gives a fresh, exciting take on the long-running Batman/Joker dynamic in a way the main universe likely wouldn’t. A spotlight is shined on an increasingly unhinged Batman after the loss of Jason Todd and the dying long-time father figure and mentor Alfred Pennyworth, even doing a surprisingly good job at painting a version of the Joker that’s more sympathetic and a victim.

5 Death Of The Family

Batman The 8 Best Comic Book Arcs From The 2010s

In a callback to the classic A Death in the Family arc in the ’90s, Snyder’s (first) big return for Batman’s greatest villain was in Death of the Family. At the beginning of The New 52 reboot, the Joker went missing early on in the pages of Detective Comics. This arc was significant, but also was a primer for what would come later.

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Nonetheless, this storyline presented a chilling return to form for the Joker against the Batfamily. The Clown Prince of Crime resurfaces to give Batman a reminder of his complacency since his absence, believing that eliminating his family is necessary to keep him focused. It presents the villain slipping into even grimmer new lows, taking his warped obsession down with it.

4 Zero Year

Batman The 8 Best Comic Book Arcs From The 2010s

While comic book origin stories can generally feel played out by now–namely for already established characters–the Zero Year arc was an engaging and inventive new take on Batman’s beginnings for this rebooted DC universe. It also came right after Death of the Family, so it served as a great cool-down and transition story before the colossal event that would immediately follow.

Zero Year sows the seeds for Joker in Endgame, playing on one of the villain’s (possible) origins, while simultaneously giving a thrilling plot to involve the Riddler as a central antagonist. He’s an excellent threat to incorporate for young Batman, and the No Man’s Land-like setting is an exciting way to up the stakes, forcing the Dark Knight to adopt a guerilla-vigilante style.

3 Endgame

Batman The 8 Best Comic Book Arcs From The 2010s

After the palate cleanser that was the Zero Year event, Endgame put together an explosive story for Snyder and Capullo to cap off their run on the Joker in their Batman series. Things involving the Joker can definitely run the risk of oversaturating, but this narrative manages to paint an intensely personal conflict, while also packing it with intense action set pieces.

Joker’s gotten somehow even darker, becoming even more hyperviolent than he already was. The writing and the art bring out some striking and haunting visuals for the supervillain, drawing on straight-up horror scenes. It’s an arc that manages to prove worthwhile and spotlights this relationship in one of the most aggressive ways fans have seen thus far, becoming one of the best comics with Joker in the last decade.

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2 Curse Of The White Knight

Batman The 8 Best Comic Book Arcs From The 2010s

In Murphy’s direct sequel for his Black Label universe, Curse of the White Knight continues–and completes–the Joker’s direct presence in this world and continues to make refreshing twists on conventional lore. The Joker exploits a war veteran Jean-Paul Valley into going on a crusade against Batman to rule over Gotham.

This narrative borrows from and gives an exciting new rendition of Knightfall, with this supervillain Azrael fighting for supremacy to be the rightful Dark Knight. Curse also continues a well-written blossoming relationship between Bruce and Harley, surprisingly, and flips what fans have come to know about the Waynes. Real, dire consequences come from the arc’s conflict with an enticing look at what’s to come for this universe by the end.

1 The Rise And Fall Of The Batmen

The Rise and Fall of the Batmen is the big, overall arc that collects all of James Tynion IV’s run on Rebirth-era Detective Comics, offering a solid Batfamily experience. This story chronicles the beginnings of a team that eventually becomes the Gotham Knights. It’s a sweeping narrative that collects over 1,000 pages and puts Batman and key members of his supporting cast further towards the center.

Kate Kane/Batwoman becomes a vital member, as well as Cassandra Cain/Orphan getting an emotional spotlight that makes for an investing subplot. Tim Drake/Red Robin also gets worthy recognition, as it’s become a sad trope that he’s frequently forgotten in comics, and even manages to make Clayface a hero and genuinely sympathetic character.

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