Among the many roles and monikers given to Batman, perhaps the most well-known title is that of the Dark Knight Detective. Batman’s primary skill is his analytical ability, and he uses this to investigate crime scenes and suss out the identity of the perpetrator. There’s a reason why he first appeared in Detective Comics #27 by Bob Kane and Bill Finger after all.
However, Batman is also known to get into punch-outs with clowns, crocodiles, and alien super-beings. That doesn’t require a lot of detective work, and many readers often deliberately seek out comics that actually involve Batman functioning as a detective and not just a crimefighter.
10 Batman: The Three Jokers Forces Batman To Look Into The Heart Of The Joker
Batman: The Three Jokers by Geoff Johns and Jason Fabok confronts Batman, Batgirl, and the Red Hood with a frightening reality – that there is more than one Joker. In fact, there has been for a long time. The three Jokers, dubbed the Clown, the Comedian, and the Criminal, each has a different motif and can be recognized more by their work than anything else.
Over the course of the tale, Batman tries to discern where each of the three Jokers came from and how to deal with this terrifying discovery. Meanwhile, the three Jokers are planning something new and horrible for Batman and his allies of him.
9 Detective Comics: Faces of Death Sets Batman Against The Macabre Dollmaker
Tony S. Daniel made sure that Detective Comics had a strong start in the New 52. The Joker returns only to have a mysterious figure cut off his face and leave it as a calling card.
This mysterious figure is the Dollmaker, and, over the first few issues of the series, Batman has to figure out who the Dollmaker is, where to find him, and how to stop him. Meanwhile, the Dollmaker’s horrifying and mangled creations frequently show up to try to kill the Caped Crusader.
8 Batman: The Black Mirror Sees Dick Grayson Try His Hand At Detective Work
Batman: The Black Mirror is a tale by Scott Snyder, Jock, and Francesco Francavilla that puts Dick Grayson’s detective abilities to the test. This was during the period where Dick was still acting as Batman even though Bruce had already returned. This was one of Dick’s last stories of him as Batman before returning to the Nightwing identity in the New 52.
In this tale, Batman has to discover the source of pilfered super-villain weapons that have been popping up across Gotham. It also has him come face-to-face with a serial killer he never expected: James Gordon Jr.
7 Batman: The Black Glove Sets Batman On The Trail Of A New Villain Organization
Batman: The Black Glove is a story by Grant Morrison, JG Jones, and Tony S. Daniel. This story sees Batman teaming up with a group of young and rich superheroes to hunt down a killer while reflecting on the search for his parent’s murderer, Joe Chill, during his earlier days as Batman.
This story leads to Batman discovering the Black Glove, an organization of rich and powerful elites who have made it their mission to finally see Batman dead within one year. This leads directly into the legendary batman rip story.
6 Batman: Earth One Volume 1 Follows The Earliest Days Of Batman
Geoff Johns and Gary Frank put a new spin on Batman’s earliest cases with Batman: Earth One Volume 1. This is the first graphic novel in their Batman: Earth One series, and it sees Batman trying to develop his detective skills as well as his crime-fighting arsenal.
A large part of the story is Batman and Jim Gordon hunting down a serial killer that is revealed to be the monstrous “Birthday Boy,” whom the Penguin also uses to take care of underlings who have outlived their usefulness.
5 Batman: Dark Knight, Dark City Has Batman Trail A Far Darker Riddler
The perpetrator of Batman: Dark Knight, Dark City is known from the get-go. Instead, finding him and discovering his goal are the challenges. This story, by Peter Milligan and Kieron Dwyer, finds the Riddler leading the Batman down a grim rabbit hole with crimes more violent and bloodthirsty than the usual for Riddler.
The mystery at the heart of it all is the ritual that the Riddler is using Batman to conduct. Riddler seeks to summon a demon called Barbatos, and he wants Batman to be his prime sacrifice for Barbatos.
4 Batman: The Man Who Laughs Retells Batman’s First Meeting With The Joker
The first meeting between Batman and the Joker is reimagined in Batman: The Man Who Laughs by Ed Brubaker and Doug Mahnke. A string of violent and gross murders have begun across Gotham, and it’s up to Batman and the GCPD to discover the perpetrator.
Of course, this perpetrator is the Joker, but just unmasking the Joker isn’t enough. The Clown Prince of Crime is not easy to catch, and discovering his motivations means diving into a chasm of madness.
3 Batman: Hush Requires Batman To Discover The Identity Of A Dangerous New Villain
A new villain arises in batman hush by Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee. Coordinated attacks from Killer Croc, Clayface, Poison Ivy, and others have Batman on the back foot. Each scheme seems to point at Batman’s personal history of him as Bruce Wayne somehow, and there is a recurring motif of a trench coat and surgical bandages.
The mastermind behind these attacks is Hush, a silent watcher whose face is covered in surgical bandages. But, who is Hush, and how does he know that Bruce Wayne and Batman are one and the same? That’s for Batman and the readers to find out.
two Batman: The Court Of Owls Has The Dark Knight Looking For Evidence Of The Court’s Existence
The Court of Owls is the first story in Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s run of Batman. Something is shifting in Gotham City, and whispers from the criminal underworld hint at the coming of an old Gotham urban legend: the Court of Owls.
However, Bruce looked into the Court of Owls a long time ago and believes them to be a myth. An attack on Bruce Wayne by a man called Lincoln March seems to convince Batman otherwise. The challenge is for Batman to find the Court of Owls when they’ve been hiding in Gotham for decades.
1 Batman: The Long Halloween Finds Batman Hunting Down A Holiday Killer
Batman: The Long Halloween is a story by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale. A new serial killer has emerged in Gotham City, and he or she strikes only on special occasions. This mysterious murderer is dubbed “the Holiday Killer.” Batman investigates the most likely suspects such as the Riddler, the Joker, and Calendar Man, but none of them fit the bill.
At the heart of this is a drama between the Falcone Family, the Maroni Family, and District Attorney Harvey Dent. While the identity of the killer is “revealed” over the course of the story, the true Holiday Killer is up for debate to this day. Even Batman doesn’t know who the Holiday Killer really is.
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