Prep homework for Dark Knight Rises
July 15, 2012 5:45 AM   Subscribe

Which 10 Batman comics should I read before watching the Dark Knight Rises? What should be my preparatoy homework before watching the movie?

With the Dark Knight Rise 5 days away, I want to read some related comics but I have limited time. Which are the key Comic issues to get myself to better appreciate the Dark Knight Rises.

I have already read Dark Knight Returns and have just started Knightfall. No Man's Land is huge and so I don't think I would be able to complete it in time.

Which are the issues you recommend to read?
posted by manny_calavera to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (8 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Oh god don't bother with Knightfall. Or at least don't expect anything than a middling cash-in story with some really improbable (I know, I know) twists. Seriously, if you want to know about the whole Bane thing, save yourself the time and effort and just read the Wikipedia entry on that storyline.

Dark Knight Strikes Again is a fun book, politically aware book but as a "sequel" to DKR it falls short. It's from before Miller went all weird and conservative (i.e. Lex Luthor's character design is unmistakably Dick Cheney) so the politics aren't as abhorrent as his more recent stuff.
The Long Halloween and Dark Victory are great, cinematic books.
Year One is a classic everyone should read.
Arkham Asylum gives a lot of great insight into the fact that Batman may be as crazy as his rogue's gallery.
The Killing Joke covers a lot of the same psychological ground as Arkham, but to the opposite effect.
Grant Morrison's recent "Batman R.I.P." storyline is a lot of fun.
posted by griphus at 5:54 AM on July 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

(Okay, reading up on Knightfall a bit, it wasn't as cynical a ploy as I make it out to be, but it's still not a great story.)
posted by griphus at 5:57 AM on July 15, 2012

Best answer: You don't need to read any comics, just rewatch Batman Begins and Dark Knight. It's not as if the movies adhere strictly to the comic book stories, so other than reading comics to enjoy the comics, reading them for background material is a moot point. Also keep in mind that no one has seen the movie yet, so what comics might fit best with it is open to question.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:02 AM on July 15, 2012 [4 favorites]

Like Brandon Blatcher said, there's no real need to read Batman comics to enjoy Nolan's movies because, while he takes inspiration from bits and pieces of the canon, he's definitely doing his own thing. That's one of the reasons I enjoy his movies so much: they are Christopher Nolan Batman Movies, not Batman Movies By Christopher Nolan. That said, here are some that I very much like that are easily obtainable.

Batman: RIP. The entire Morrison run is a lot of fun, starting with Batman And Son, but RIP is just damn fun and has some of the best Joker of the last few years. Shame about Tony Daniel's art, but what can you do? The followup The Return of Bruce Wayne and subsequent Batman Incorporated material are among my very favorite DC comics of the last few years.

Batman Annual 14 has never gotten a proper reissue, and I have no idea why not. It's the definitive origin of Two Face, told in the same style as Batman: Year One. It features art by Chris Sprouse before his style became superdefined and the scripting by Helfer is quite good.

Joker by Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo is a nasty, nasty piece of work. I found it very compelling, but it can be hard to take.

There are also some artist-centric collections using the titles Tales of the Dark Knight and Legends of the Dark Knight, and the Marshall Rogers volume has one of the definitive arcs, centered around Silver St. Cloud, the love of Bruce Wayne's life, at least through the 1970s.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 6:28 AM on July 15, 2012

Find the "Over the Edge" episode of Batman: The Animated Series (or rather, The New Batman Adventures).
posted by synecdoche at 6:58 AM on July 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Batman: Venom talks about the drug Bane uses to gain beyond average strength. As long as you're reading this stuff, you should also check out Batman: Gothic :)
posted by the_ancient_mariner at 9:10 AM on July 15, 2012

There's also Batman: Sword of Azrael, which introduces Jean-Paul Valley, the character who takes over for Batman post-Knightfall (and eventually becomes Azrael,) although he's not going to be in the new film and unless you're a total continuity geek like I used to be, it's not really worth the investment.
posted by griphus at 9:14 AM on July 15, 2012

Yeah, The Dark Knight Returns is pretty much required reading for anyone interested in the modern instantiations of Batman, cinematic or not. It's perhaps the most major turning point in Batman's history. It came out right in the middle of Crisis on Infinite Earths--which you don't need to read--at which point DC rebooted their entire continuity. Year One is the first Batman story after Crisis and it's written by... Frank Miller. DKR isn't part of the main continuity, but Miller obviously brought certain elements from DKR into the main canon as he took over authorship, particularly the darker tone. Things had gotten pretty campy in the 1960s, and though they tried to change that a bit in the 1970s, it was really DKR that turned things around. And revived sales of the title for the first time in decades. If you haven't read DKR, it's hard to say that you can really get what's going on with Batman these days. It's the jumping off point for everything that's happened since 1986.

But you can definitely skip DKRA. I mean, dammit.

Other than that, the Nolan movies show clear debts to both Long Halloween and Dark Victory. You should also probably read Moore's The Killing Joke, which in 1988 did for the Joker what DKR did for Batman. Again, while not technically part of any particular continuity, the ideas in that story have made their way into the mainstream stories.
posted by valkyryn at 1:38 PM on July 15, 2012

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