DC Comics produced some of the best Batman stories of all time in the first decade of the 21st century. DC put their best writers and artists on books like Batman, Detective Comics, batman and robin and dozens of other Batman titles that hit comic shelves that decade.
While writers like Jeph Loeb and Grant Morrison were crafting incredible scripts for “Hush” and “RIP” artists like Jim Lee and Frank Quitely were making those legendary stories with beautiful interior artwork. Unsurprisingly, the art on the outside of the books was just as appealing as the art inside, with memorable covers illustrated by Alex Ross, Dustin Nguyen, Tony Daniel, and more.
10 Batman #666 By Andy Kubert
Written by Grant Morrison and illustrated by Andy Kubert, Batman #666 appropriately presents a dark version of Gotham’s future. The world is a vile, dangerous place and the global temperature has risen dangerously high. In this future, Damian Wayne assumes the role of Batman after selling his soul to Satan.
The cover for this issue perfectly sums up the story inside: Damian’s Batman — dressed in a new trench coat-styled Batsuit — towers over a Gotham City in flames. In the main continuity, Damian was obnoxious, spoiled, and dangerous. Becoming this Batman, however cruel or violent he was, felt like a possible path the character could one day take.
9 Gotham Central #1 By Michael Lark
The mythos of Batman has always been larger than the man himself. central gotham was an incredibly unique comic book series that explored the officers and detectives of the Gotham City Police Department. Gotham City is such a rich environment. It would be criminal to view it only through Batman’s eyes.
Long-time Batman allies like James Gordon and Harvey Bullock took a backseat, allowing characters like Renée Montoya and Maggie Sawyer to shine. Michael Lark provided the cover of issue #one, which depicted the cast of relatively new characters standing in front of the Bat-Signal. The cover represents the direction of the series: this is Batman’s world, but it’s not about Batman.
8 Batman #685 By Alex Ross
The cover to Batman #685 is distinct as it doesn’t feature Batman at all. Instead, Catwoman takes center stage. The Batman logo is even covered by the word “Catwoman.” The cover was beautifully illustrated and painted by Alex Ross. Catwoman, sporting her her famous costume designed by Darwyn Cooke, sits in darkness, illuminated by the glowing diamond clutched in her paws.
Batman #685 furthered the plots of several ongoing comic storylines, including “Hush Money” and “Faces of Evil,” wherein Hush attempted to steal Batman’s identity. Catwoman — as the suggested cover — was the star of the issue, aiding Nightwing and Robin in apprehending Hush.
7 Batman #688 By Tony Daniel
After Bruce Wayne seemingly died during the events of Final Crisis, Dick Grayson stepped up to fill the role of Batman. It was a role he’d been offered several times before, most notably after Bruce’s back was broken during “Knightfall.” Dick had always been hesitant about becoming Batman, mostly because he’d spent his young adulthood trying to escape his mentor’s shadow from him.
This was a new era for both Dick Grayson and Batman comic readers. Even the villains noticed something different about Batman. The cover to Batman #688 is stunning and incredibly detailed, with rain falling over Dick’s cowl. He had the look, but this issue was all about proving he could truly be the Batman.
6 Batman: Gotham Knights #1 By Dave Johnson
Batman: Gotham Knights was an ongoing comic book series published in the early 2000s that focused on various members of the Bat-Family in anthology stories. The series featured many great covers but the cover of issue #one was the most memorable. In an all black-and-white image, Batman was illuminated by the Bat-Signal’s light.
The line work by Dave Johnson is so clean and distinct. Sometimes less is more, and in the case of Johnson’s art, fewer lines are better. The lack of lines doesn’t mean the cover is any less detailed. Batman often looks his best from him when peaking out of the shadows in a silhouette and the cover to Gotham Knights #one prove it.
5 Batman and Robin #1 By Frank Quitely
Bruce Wayne was presumed dead, and Dick Grayson was forced to become the new Batman. As if filling the shoes of the World’s Greatest Detective wasn’t stressful enough, Dick had to mentor Damian Wayne — a new Robin who brought plenty of his own challenges.
batman and robin, written by Grant Morrison and illustrated by Frank Quitely, explored the rough relationship between Dick and Damian. Both were considered the sons of Batman, whether in blood, or in legacy. Throughout the series, their rocky relationship strengthened, and the two developed a close bond. Quitely’s cover art for issue #one is bright, striking, and establishes a very different Dynamic Duo.
4 Batman: Streets Of Gotham By Dustin Nguyen
Like legendary artist Alex Ross, Dustin Nguyen’s painted artwork stands out from the majority of comic art. Using a unique blend of watercolors, shadows, and textures, Nguyen crafts perfect depictions of Batman and Gotham City.
Nguyen has worked on many Batman titles, providing interior art for series like Li’l Gothamand cover art for series like batman eternal. Nguyen provides both for Batman: Streets of Gotham #one. Everything about this cover is so quintessentially Batman. The sky, the cape, the gothic architecture, and the Bat-Signal all contribute to what’s one of the most satisfying covers of the decade.
3 Batman #676 By Alex Ross
Alex Ross provided many covers for the Batman series in 2008 and 2009, but the one that stood above the rest was his cover to Batman #676. The “Batman RIP” arc began in this issue, continued until issue #681, and included many references to Grant Morrison’s other DC work. Batman battled the organization known as Black Glove in the real world, while fighting off inner demons in his mind.
Ross was certainly no stranger to the Batman character, having illustrated the Caped Crusader in successful graphic novels like Justice and kingdom come. The image of Batman emerging from his cape proved Ross’s artwork could easily be hung on walls as collector art pieces.
two Batman: The 10-Cent Adventure By Dave Johnson
Batman: The 10-Cent Adventure was a one-shot that kicked off the “Bruce Wayne: Murderer?” storyline. This issue called back to many classic stories like Year One and Batman’s first appearance in Detective Comics #27. Bruce struggled with guilt, and felt he could be doing more.
Although the cover for this issue is stylistically simple, it’s one of the most visually striking covers of the era. Many Batman covers use the basic concept of Batman exposed in spotlight. This cover, however, puts Bruce in the spotlight, with Batman’s shadow exploding out from behind him. The choice of red, black, and white makes the entire image pop.
one Batman #619 By Jim Lee
“Hush” is considered one of the best comic book stories of all time thanks to the incredible work of Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee. “Hush” felt like its own graphic novel even though it was published as part of the main Batman series. The 12-issue arc featured many of Batman’s rogues—like the Joker and Poison Ivy—as well as allies like Catwoman and Superman.
The arc was beautifully illustrated by Lee with inks by Scott Williams and colors by Alex Sinclair. The trio collaborated on each of the 12 covers, but it’s the cover of the final part, Batman #619, that stands above the rest. Jim Lee is one of the all-time greatest comic book artists, but he’s the master when it comes to wraparound covers.
10 Best Versions Of The Joker From The Comics, Ranked