Batman is one of the most iconic characters in comic history. Some of the greatest creators have worked on his stories of him in the industry, and Batman tales are among the most iconic in comics. He’s the premiere vigilante in DC, and his tales of it have been groundbreaking in many ways. One of those ways is the violence of the stories. As a vigilante, Batman has gotten down and dirty with his villains in some iconic battles.
There have been some violent Batman stories over the years. Creators have pushed the envelope with Batman many times, and these stories are among the most brutal.
10 The Batman: Earth One Graphic Novels Are A Grounded And Gritty Take On Batman
The Earth One series of graphic novels presents new takes on some of DC’s greatest heroes. The three-volume Batman: Earth One series, by writer Geoff Johns and artist Gary Frank, is a worthy addition to that line. The series presented a more grounded take on Batman, with the requisite violence that Johns added to much of his later work.
The story presented a young Bruce Wayne fighting against the worst criminals in Gotham, helped by a more physical Alfred and Killer Croc at times. Frank’s detailed art was perfect for this more violent take on Batman, and the books are dripping with great fight scenes that jump off the page to readers.
9 Batman: I Am Suicide Has Some Hardcore Fight Scenes
Batman: I Am Suicide, by writer Tom King and artist Mikel Janin, pits Batman and his own Suicide Squad against Bane and the inmates of the Santa Prisca prison. The story digs into the minds of both Batman and Bane and also contains some of the best fight scenes in the entire King run, meticulously illustrated by Janin.
From battling gangs of thugs to battles between Bane and Batman and Catwoman, the story doesn’t skimp on the violence. King’s run was full of hardcore fights, but this story put them at the forefront, as Batman and company battled against Bane’s forces.
8 Batman: I Am Bane Pitted Batman And Bane Against Each Other In A No Holds Barred Battle
Batman: I Am Suicide ended with Bane swearing revenge, and Batman: I Am Bane, by writer Tom King and artist David Finch, paid that off. After Bane brutalizes Dick, Tim, and Damian, Batman goes after him, and the two go at it in one of their most brutal fights ever. It’s one of the best action set pieces of the King run, with the two of them testing each other to their limits.
Bane and Batman have had some great fights, but few of them go as hard as this one. On top of that, the book showcases several attacks by Bane, trying to hurt Batman. The story helped set the tenor for King’s run going on.
7 Batman Knightfall Pitted Batman Against His Greatest Foes
knightfall was the big Batman story of ’93 and ’94. Running through all of the Batman titles, the story saw Bane come to Gotham, break the criminals of Arkham Asylum free, and send Batman on a quest throughout the city, trying to apprehend him before facing off against Bane himself. That battle saw Batman’s back broken and the new Batman Jean-Paul Valley step in to battle the villain.
knightfall is full of great fights as Batman runs himself ragged trying to corral his escaped foes. The two centerpiece fights are the ones between Bane and the two Batmen, both of which are violent affairs with two very different outcomes.
6 Batman: Under The Red Hood Saw Batman Battle His Returned Former Sidekick
Red Hood is the most violent members of the Bat-family, a state of affairs stemming from his death at the hands of the Joker. Fans got their first glimpse of the returned Jason Todd as a villain in Batman: Under The Red Hood by writer Judd Winick and artists Doug Mahnke and Dustin Nguyen. From Batman battling Red Hood’s gang to his fights against Red Hood himself, the violence rarely lets up.
This isn’t a Batman story that gets too much into the detective aspects of Batman. It’s slugfest after slugfest, ending with a very personal and bloody battle against the resurrected former sidekick. Red Hood was a premiere Batman villain for a while, and this story showed why.
5 Batman: A Death In The Family Showcased Joker Savagely Killing Jason Todd
Batman: A Death In The Family is an iconic Batman tale. New Robin Jason Todd wasn’t popular with readers, so DC left the character’s fate in readers’ hands. Fans were given a 1-900 number to call to vote on whether he would live or die. Fans chose death, and this story written by Jim Starlin with art by Jim Aparo presented the consequences of that vote.
Joker violently beat Todd with a crowbar and then blew him up. While the violence wasn’t as extreme as it would be in later stories, it was still presented to readers. Even without the graphic violence, it still comes off as horrific.
4 Batman: Endgame Presents Several Bloody Joker Versus Batman Battles
Scott Snyder’s Batman run created some fan-favorite stories, and many of them were rather violent. Of course, any story showing the Batman and Joker is going to get extreme, and Batman Endgame, with art by Greg Capullo, pitted the two against each other in some rather bloody battles. The story began with Batman battling a Joker-controlled Justice League and went on from there.
The last battle between the two in the Batcave is as violent as they come, two long-time enemies ripping at each other like savage animals. The battle ends in a surprising fashion, one which changes Snyder’s run going forward.
3 Batman: Three Jokers Gets Very Violent
Batman: Three Jokers isn’t the most beloved Batman story in recent years, but it is very violent. Revealing the secret of the three Jokers, it pits Batman, Red Hood, and Batgirl against the man, or in this case men, that victimized them. The book reveals in its violence, from the fights against the Jokers to Red Hood shooting one in the head.
Written by Geoff Johns with art by Jason Fabok, Batman: Three Jokers doesn’t skimp on the graphic violence. The story isn’t always the best, but there are some exciting battles throughout the book, and its status as a Black Label book means that Johns and Fabok didn’t have to sugarcoat the violence.
two The Dark Knight Returns Showcases A More Violent, Older Batman
The Dark Knight Returns is one of the most important Batman stories ever. Written and drawn by Frank Miller, the story showcases an older Batman coming out of retirement to clean up a worse than ever Gotham City. Miller presented a revolutionary take on Batman, one who had no problems getting his hands dirty.
Showcasing fights with the Mutant gang and their leader, the GCPD, the Joker, and Superman, Miller gave fans an action-packed, violent comic. This more mature take on Batman drove comics into a new direction and redefined the character for years to come.
1 Batman: The Killing Joke Gave Readers The Joker’s Most Heinous Act
Batman: The Killing Joke is an undisputed Batman classic. Written by Alan Moore with art by Brian Bolland, the story gave readers both a possible origin for the Joker and presented his violent attack on Barbara Gordon. It’s a horrific moment that still sparks controversy to this day. Later in the book, Joker tortures Jim Gordon before he and Batman battle it out.
Moore made a career of pushing the envelope when it came to violence in mainstream comics. The Killing Joke played into it, with its most horrific violence scarring Barbara Gordon and changing the Bat-family for years to come.
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