As one of the flagship characters in the DC universe, Batman has a large library of series that includes multiple volumes of ongoing series. Part of these series are the only annuals that feature the Dark Knight. In 1982, DC Comics began publishing these annual issues with independent stories from various creative teams and themes.
Unlike the first giant-sized annuals, which featured reprints of older stories from the Golden and Silver Ages, annuals have become a place for creative teams to showcase their thoughts on the Caped Crusader. Some annuals have been average, but there are some that Bat fans should definitely check out if they missed.
10 The Batman Annual # 25 told the story of Jason Todd’s resurrection and how he returned to the DCU
Jason Todd’s return to life was first teased during the Batman: Silence The story of Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee was the story that some thought would never happen. In 2006, linking Underhood Y Infinite Crisis, Batman Annual # 25 tells how Jason returned to the DCU thanks to the ripples in the time stream caused by Superboy-Prime. Six months after his death, Jason came back to life and crawled out of his grave.
The story, written by Judd Winick with art by Shane Davis, also included the original alternate ending of “A death in the family” that Jim Starlin and Jim Aparo wrote and drew for the original story but never used. The annual would put Jason against Batman and the Joker as he seeks revenge.
9 Detective Comics Annual # 7 featured Leatherwing, the 17th century Corsair Batman from Elseworlds
The theme for the 1994 DC Annuals was Elseworlds, featuring different versions of DCU characters that existed on other Earths in the Multiverse. Leatherwing and other characters in this story come from Earth-434 (later Earth-31), a world where global warming and mega-tsunamis created a world covered in water.
In the story written by Chuck Dixon with art by Enrique Alcatena, Captain Leatherwing, his faithful First Officer Alfredo, and stowaway-turned-partner Robin Redblade confront Laughing Man and Captain Felina, a vivacious pirate who are searching for Bat’s Cay from Leatherwing. . The story is a swashbuckling action story with beautiful art and designs that make it a must-read.
8 Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV gave Mr. Freeze a lurid tale of a new origin in the first annual Batman issue in The New 52 Universe.
The New 52 relaunch attempted to update both the heroes and the villains, sometimes including their origin stories. Such was the case of the Batman villain, Victor Fries, better known as Mister Freeze. Unlike the Pre-Flashpoint continuity, the frozen Nora that Victor becomes obsessed with is not his wife, but a woman whose family froze her after she developed a rare heart disease at the age of 25, and stored in Wayne. Enterprises that Victor comes to believe. is, in fact, his wife.
The Annual written by Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV with art by Jason Fabok is by far one of the creepiest retcons to take place during New 52. When Mr. Freeze reappeared in the Age of Renaissance, the story of Victor and Nora it was restored to its original history.
7 The first annual Dark Knight legends perfectly depicted the main series
Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight was a series released in 1989 that featured a rotating creative team, each telling a separate multi-part story, usually about Batman’s early adventures. The first annual, published in 1991 and titled Duel, was written by Dennis O’Neil with art by Jim Aparo, Keith Giffen, Joe Quesada, Tom Lyle, Dan Spiegle, and James Blackburn.
The story revolves around Batman returning to a monastery he trained in as a young man and is told by the Master that he must make a choice, abandon his current path, or fully embrace him. Batman chooses to hug him, which sends him on a strange journey through time, all the while carrying his “burden.” This first annual edition perfectly sums up what the series is supposed to be in both narrative and art.
6 The first annual edition of Renaissance Era Batman paid tribute to the past while preparing stories for the future.
The first annual issue of Batman in the Age of Renaissance was a Christmas theme in which none of the vignettes disappointed. However, the two stories that are definitely worth watching are Good Boy, Ace’s original story, The Bat-Hound, written by Tom King with art by David Finch; and the Batman and Harley Quinn ride in the Batmobile written by Paul Dini with art by Neal Adams.
The other story from the annual worth mentioning is Stag, from the creative team of Steve Orlando and Riley Rossmo, which serves as a prelude to Orlando’s. The Shadow / Batman Cross. The annual embraces the spirit of what should be a great annual issue and sums up the spirit of the holiday season as it does so.
5 The Second Rebirth Annual teased what it might have been like if Bruce and Selina had ended the wedding in the ongoing series.
The second Rebirth Era Batman Annual is probably the closest to fans of Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle’s romance and Earth-2 story, barring the return of Pre-Crisis Earth-2. Tom King and Lee Weeks’ story Date Nights and Last Rites pokes fun at what might have been if Bruce and Selina had married.
In the story, one of the earliest encounters involves Catwoman breaking into Wayne Manor and stealing the Batmobile and crashing it into Porky’s Bar, just one of many callbacks to the Looney Tunes crossover also written by King. The two continue their courtship ritual, eventually marrying and having a daughter, Helena, who takes on the role of Gotham’s caped protector and Bruce passes away of old age, not before leaving one more surprise for Selina.
4 Legends of the Dark Knight Elseworld Annual puts the Dark Knight in the world of Citizen Kane
The iconic movie Citizen Kane was the inspiration for 1994 Legends of the Dark Knight Elseworlds Annual written by Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn and art by Joe Staton. The 1920s noir is a different twist on the Dark Knight, offering a two-for-one deal in the reveal at the end.
Beginning with the deaths of Harvey Dent and Bruce Wayne, the story is told through the eyes of Dick Grayson, who is investigating the case. Instead of Bruce Wayne as Batman, in this story, it is revealed that Bruce was not Batman; rather, it was Harvey Dent. This final reveal puts a nice twist on the Batman mythos, but keeps the reader guessing throughout the story.
3 The annual Elseworlds Shadow Of The Bat took place in a world where Batman was the ultimate authoritarian
The 1994 Elseworlds theme was a perfect opportunity for the Batman writers to explore the many possibilities of the Batman concept. In the Bat shadow delivery, the story took place in a world where Bruce Wayne, in response to the murder of his parents, becomes an authoritarian ruler of Gotham City by day, and Batman, who makes sure his rules are followed and obeyed, under the appearance of protecting citizens at night.
The twist in this story was that it was the members of his rogues gallery, led by Anarchy, who fight against the corruption and tyranny of Bruce Wayne and Batman, who not only rule through fear but also by drugging the water supply of Gotham This annual, from veteran Batman writer Alan Grant with art by Tom Raney and Joe Staton, is a chilling look at a path not taken by regular continuity.
two The Fifth Annual Batman Issue Revealed The Origin Of One Of The Emerging Characters From The 2020 Joker War
During the Joker War event, which ran through the Bat-Family books in 2020, one of the most interesting new characters was the anti-hero / vigilante Clownhunter who was obsessed with killing the Joker and his followers. Created by James Tynion IV and Jorge Jiménez, Clownhunter was the alias of Bao Pham, whose parents were killed by the Joker at his family’s restaurant when he was 12 years old.
During the events of the Joker War, Bao decides to take matters into his own hands, becoming a Clownhunter and using a baseball bat with a Batarang to protect The Narrows, killing Joker’s goons in the process. Although his first appearance was in Batman # 95It was not until the annual that its origin was said.
1 The 1987 annual is one of the few Batman stories written by Alan Moore
In 1987, Alan Moore and George Freeman teamed up to bring readers closer to the story, Deadly clay, with Preston Payne, aka Clayface III. In the story, Payne recounts his last encounter with Batman and how he risked everything for “Helena,” a store mannequin whom he calls the love of his life. Believing that “Helena” is cheating on him with Batman, he attacks and nearly kills Batman, but stops short when he sees in Helena’s eyes that she is glad that men are fighting for her affection.
In the end, Batman helps Payne, returning him and Helena to Arkham with Clayface contemplating divorce, then dismissing the idea and commenting that she cannot live forever. This annual is one of the few times that Moore wrote Batman outside of the classic, The Killing Joke, and shows your expert understanding of the character.
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