Batman Comics: A Beginner's Reading Guide

Updated on October 30, 2019
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I am a gamer, an Otaku, a sci-fi and fantasy fanboy, a Planeswalker, and an avid reader of comics, novels, and manga.



Comics in the New 52 are generally broken down into related categories, primarily in regards to solicits. The Batman category focuses on the primary characters related to Batman such as Nightwing, Catwoman, Batgirl and others. These are street level heroes without powers, relying on martial skill and gadgets. With few exceptions, these titles take place in Gotham city.

The following is a listing of all titles in the New 52 that fall into this category in order of initial release and alphabetized.

Crossovers listed at the end of the guide.


September 2011 – March 2015
Issues: 1–40, 0, plus 2 Annuals

In the New 52, Barbara Gorden has recovered from her spine injury at the hands of the Joker and has now taken up the mantle of Batgirl.


September 2011 – April 2015
Issues: 1–40, 0, plus 3 Annuals

Of Batman's three titles, this self-titled series serves as his "main" book spawning most crossovers and major story arcs. It also focuses more on his standard Superhero adventures.

This title is great for a number of reasons, but by far my favorite is the introduction of the Court of Owls as a secret society and villains of Batman. Not to mention the great Joker stories "Death of the Family" and "Endgame."

Dark Knight #10
Dark Knight #10 | Source

Batman: The Dark Knight

September 2011 – March 2014
Issues: 1–29, 0, plus 1 Annual

The Dark Knight is, well, the "dark" Batman title. It focuses on concepts more magical and occult with surreal, almost creepy plot lines. It also showcases some of the Bat's more demented and "weird" villains, like Clayface, Scarecrow, and Mad Hatter.

Batman and Robin

September 2011 – March 2015
Issues: 1–40, 0, plus 3 Annuals

Batman and Robin is a great comic showing the growth of the character Damian(the son of Bruce Wayne) and the developing relationship between father and son.

From issues 19-32, the title is renamed to Batman and [Insert Character Name Here]
following his exploits with other characters like Catwoman, Nightwing, Red Hood, and Two-Face.

Batwing #19
Batwing #19 | Source


September 2011 – August 2014
Issues: 1–34, 0

David Zavimbe, Batman Incorporated's Batwing, stars in his own solo series. A Congolese police officer, Batwing is considered the "Batman of Africa" making his series one of the only DC titles to take place outside of the United States.

Following the 19th issue, the book would see newcomer Luke Fox take up the mantle. While this new Batwing doesn't fit the "Batman of Africa" title, most stories still take place internationally, though with stronger ties to Gotham.

Batwoman #23
Batwoman #23 | Source


September 2011 – March 2015
Issues: 1–40, 0, plus 1 Annual

Batwoman typically deals with more supernatural/mythical threats and characters. She maintains strong ties to the DEO (Department of Extranormal Operations) and is one of DC's few LGBT heroes. The dark nature of her stories typically regulates her to "her own little corner of Gotham" giving her few interactions with other member of the "Bat-Family". She also almost never participates in crossovers.

I very rarely talk about art in comics, but Batwoman's art is always stunning.


Birds of Prey

September 2011 – August 2014
Issues: 1–34, 0

It's our token team of Femme Fatales!

The book begins with Dinah approaching an old friend with an offer to join her on a new team, the Birds of Prey. She declines and points Black Canary towards Katana to take her place. A vigilante with some history with Dinah, Starling, is also recruited into the team, along with Poison Ivy.

The roster undergoes several changes beginning with issue #4 with Batgirl guest-starring and eventually becoming a mainstay. After issue #12, Poison Ivy and Katana leave the team. Katana spun off into her own solo book (which unfortunately was poorly written), along with providing her services to the "Justice League of America."

Making up for the loss is the Japanese hero Condor and a former Talon named Strix, the "Birds of Prey" move on with a new writer in issue #18.

This team of Black Canary, Batgirl, Condor, and Strix continues until Birds of Prey's conclusion with issue #34.



September 2011 – March 2015
Issues: 1–40, 0, plus 1 Annual

Catwoman follows Selina Kyle, the cat burglar and sometimes romance of Batman himself. She's a theif, an antihero, and she plays by her own rules. This leads her into conflict with good and buy guys alike. From Batman, to the Penguin, and more.

Detective Comics #1
Detective Comics #1 | Source

Detective Comics

September 2011 – March 2015
Issues: 1–40, 0, plus 3 Annuals

Detective Comics is the grounded Batman title, focusing on mysteries and actual detective work. You'll find more of Gotham, including the GCPD, in this title, as well as villains with a more criminal element such as the Penguin.



September 2011 – May 2014
Issues: 1–30, 0, plus 1 Annual

Dick Grayson has much about his past, his origins, that even her doesn't understand. From following Haley's circus' tour, learning of hidden ties with the Court of Owls, and investigating the murder of his parents to settling down as Chicago's resident vigilante and teaming up with some unusual faces. Nightwing's life is one wild ride right up until it's end.


Red Hood and the Outlaws

September 2011 – March 2015
Issues: 1–40, 0, plus 2 Annuals

A small group of anti-heroes with lots of baggage and dark origins find refuge in their unlikely partnership. After being coerced by Arsenal (former side-kick of Green Arrow) and Starfire, into leading them, Jason Todd and his outlaws engage foes such as reanimated warriors, genetically enhanced xenophobes and unkillable assassins


Batman Incorporated

May 2012 – July 2013
Issues: 1–13, 0, plus 1 special

Bruce Wayne is funding Batman and Batman related heroes through Batman Inc.

The plot centers around Batman and Robin battling Robin's mother Talia al Ghul and her organization Leviathan. Robin's growth as a character and his relationships with both his mother and his father are what make this title really shine.

Talon #12
Talon #12 | Source


September 2012 – March 2014
Issues: 0–17

Spinning out of the court of owls, Talon follows Calvin Rose, a defector from the Court of Owls group of master assassin's. The series lasted 17 issues and generally focused on Calvin's life on the run from the court and struggling to stay alive and free.


Harley Quinn

November 2013 – April 2015
Issues: 0–16, plus 1 Annual

Ah, Harley. Sweet, demented Harley. This series is as wild, funny, random, and violent as the Clown Princess of Crime herself. Taking up new residence in Coney Island alongside an equally "odd" supporting cast, Harley does what she does best. Get into trouble.

"Harley was certain she could have it all: She could be the world's best landlord, protect Coney Island from the scum of the Earth, woo Mason Macabre, work her day job as a psychiatrist, volunteer at the puppy shelter...but that's a whole lot of spinning plates, and eventually they're bound to start breaking! What happens when a psychopath cracks up? Is it possible for Harley to go even more insane?!" Credit: Amazon.

Grayson #1
Grayson #1 | Source


July 2014 – March 2015
Issues: 1–8, plus 1 Annual

Following the close of the Nightwing series and Forever Evil, Dick Grayson must abandon his publicly revealed Identity as Nightwing. Faking his death, he becomes an agent of the mysterious Spyral organization, Batman's man on the inside.


Arkham Manor

October 2014 – March 2015
Issues: 1–6

Issue 1 Solicit Reads:

"When catastrophe strikes Arkham Asylum, where will Gotham City house the world’s most dangerous criminals, and when inmates are found murdered, what is Batman prepared to do in search of justice? Arkham’s madness comes home in ARKHAM MANOR! A bold new series brought to you by the mad minds of Gerry Duggan (Deadpool, Nova) and Shawn Crystal (Deadpool, Wolverine and the X-Men)."


Gotham Academy

October 2014 – April 2015
Issues: 1-6

Issue 1 Solicit reads:

"WELCOME TO GOTHAM ACADEMY! Gotham City’s most prestigious prep school is a very weird place. It’s got a spooky campus, oddball teachers, and rich benefactors always dropping that weirdo Bruce Wayne. But nothing is as strange is the students!
Like, what’s up with Olive Silverlock? Is she crazy or what? Where did she go last summer? And what’s the deal with her creepy mom? And how come that Freshman MAPS is always following her around? And is she still going out with Kyle? P.S. Did you hear the rumor about the ghost in the North Hall?!
GOTHAM ACADEMY is a new, monthly teen drama set in the shadow of Batman and the craziness of Gotham City, with new characters and old plus a secret tie to Gotham’s past…"


Gotham By Midnight

November 2014– March 2015
Issues: 1-5

"The new series will focus on Jim Corrigan (aka the host of the Spectre) and deal with the supernatural and horror in DC Comics’ already darkest city. The series will spin-off from Batman Eternal, where Corrigan has been teaming up with Batwing in the literal Gotham Underground."

Source: DC Comics/blastr

Batman: Zero Year

Holy Origin Story Batman!
The Zero year event covers Bruce Wayne's first run-ins with the Red Hood Gang and Harvey Dent. This is before Batman became Batman (you don't want to miss that transformative moment), before the Batcave and Robin, The Joker and the Batmobile. Gotham City goes dark, power cut by The Riddler, just days before a horrific super-storm. Not only do we see Batman, Six years before present day, but we catch an early glimpse at Nightwing, Green Arrow, Batgirl, Superman, the Birds of Prey, Catwoman, Batwing, Batwoman,The Flash, Green Lantern (John Stewart), and Jason Todd (Red Hood).
Collected in Batman Vol. 4: Zero Year - Secret City and Batman Vol. 5: Zero Year - Dark City for the main story, and DC Comics: Zero Year for the tie-ins.

Night of the Owls

The Court of Owls make their move against Batman and his allies.

  • Red Robin with the Teen Titans
  • Batgirl
  • Nightwing
  • Catwoman
  • The Birds of Prey
  • Batwing
  • Even the Red Hood!

All participate in this Gotham-wide attack.

Death of the Family

The Joker has it in his mind that Batman is getting soft. That his allies are holding him back and Joker misses battling Batman at his best. So he concocts the most insane plot to teach Batman this lesson, possibly at the cost of his allies' lives.

Each Bat-Ally is carefully secluded and uniquely tortured to achieve the best effects. Eventually the whole batcrew is brought together at a dining table, like a thanksgiving feast, for the Joker's plan to finally come to fruition.

Side note: Joker does some seriously $&%^#@ up #&$%&% to Harley Quinn.


"Gotham City is and always has been a crime-free utopia, where the heroes are celebrated through the streets of one of America's best cities. Batman is a universally beloved vigilante clad in white. His sidekick is Selina Kyle, otherwise known as Catbird. Who—or what—has created the Dark Knight's alternate hometown?"

Detective Comics Vol. 5: Gothtopia collects the primary issues of this event, but it doesn't seem to contain the tie-in issues that make it a crossover. This missing issues are:

  • Batgirl 27
  • Catwoman 27-28
  • Birds of Prey 27-28
  • Batwing 27-28



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    • Taranwanderer profile image


      4 years ago

      Very helpful hub - especially for those who are new to the New 52 collection. Superman and Batman have taken on such different looks that it's important to investigate their origins again.


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