The Best of Batman in 2017

Abel Loza Abel Loza
Expert Contributor
January 5th, 2018

If you give me the chance, ill talk your ear off about comic books. As the legend states, "Abel's first words were 'Batman.'" #TeamBatman

The Best of Batman in 2017
Movies
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Batman had a great 2017, even by his standards. It seemed as though Batman was all over the place (once again). Batman was in comic books, movies, video games and television even more than usual, which made it a really strong year for the Caped Crusader brand. So, before we completely close the door on 2017 and look forward to the great comic book events (namely Batman events) which await us in 2018, let's take a break and look back at the year Batman. Our Batman expert Abel Loza breaks down some of the best and most important Bat-events in 2017 and compiles a list of his ten favorites of the year.

Batman had another great year. Although it seems that Batman always has a great year, I can't remember a previous year where so much active, and classic Batman content came out. It looks as though the likes of Scott Snyder, Tom King and, yes, even Ben Affleck, have grown the brand and cult of Batman and helped cement his status as one of the real American pop culture icons.

Because of this, I compiled a list of ten of my favorite Batman “things” from the past year (just like I did last year) and tried to explain why they were so good. This list includes all of the Batman I consumed over the past year, which provides for comic books (series and single issues), movies, television, and games that I believe made the best year for Batman yet.

MORE NEWS FROM THE WEB

With so much Batman to consume this year and as much as I would have loved to encompass all things Batman into this list, it is almost impossible to keep up with everything that came out in 2017. From the Tall Tale second season game, Batman: The Enemy Within, to the fourth season of Gotham and everything in between, I’m sure I might not have added your favorite thing into this list. So if I missed something that you think I left off this list,  please let me know in the comments below.

Honorable Mention: The Lego Batman Movie

Courtesy of Warner Brothers and DC

For many, the best Batman movie of the year was The Lego Batman Movie. Because 2017 seemed like such a long year for many, some will forget that The Lego Batman Movie came out in 2017. But I’m here to remind you, that it did.

Expanding out of the very successful 2014 The Lego Movie, The Lego Batman Movie explores Batman’s relationship with Joker, and more interestingly, the relationship between Batman and Bruce Wayne, perhaps better than some of the live action counterparts have done before. Of course, Bruce Wayne gets lonely, and The Lego Batman Movie explores that aspect of the Bat-mythos.  

Will Arnett gave an excellent performance as the Dark Knight, one that will bring up anytime there is a conversation about the best Batmen. If you haven't seen The Lego Batman Movie do it!

#10 Batman and Harley Quinn

Courtesy of Warner Brothers and DC Comics

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Although the Warner Brother animated movie was sold as more of a Harley Quinn movie (and it did not have the best reviews from critics), long time Batman fans were happy to find out that longtime voice of Batman, Kevin Conroy, would be behind the animated cowl one more time in 2017. Along with Conroy, longtime producer and part creator of Batman: The Animated Series, and co-creator of the Harley Quinn character,  Bruce Timm would also be attached with the project as a writer of the animated movie.

Although not the greatest of animated films, for longtime Batman fans (especially those of the animated series), it was great to see Bruce Timm working with Kevin Conroy and with Harley Quinn, a character that he helped create all those years ago. Just for the nostalgia alone (and a great appearance form Swamp Thing), Batman and Harley Quinn are worth a watch.

#9 Justice League Dark

Courtesy of WB Animated and DC Comics

The second animated film on this list, Justice League Dark was an adaptation of one of my favorite comic book runs of all time, of the same title. (Check out my original review of the animated movie HERE). In case you are not aware of what Justice League Dark is, JLD is a group of some of the most potent magic or occult based characters, which help combat the black magicians and evil demons in the DC universe. Zatanna, John Constantine, Deadman and in this movie Batman, have all been apart of the team at some point in time.

Although not a member of the original comic book run, Batman plays an integral part in the animated movie in bringing together the team together to defeat Destiny, the antagonist of the film. Maybe it's because this animated film put two of my favorite things in comic books together, Batman and the magical occult world of DC, but I was a sucker for this movie, and it did an excellent job of introducing this sometimes underrated part of the DC universe to a bigger audience. For that reason, it made my top 10 list.

#8 Batman #23

Courtesy of DC Comics

Tom King’s entire run in 2017 could have been on this list, but that would have been too easy to do. So I decided to pick out a few of the best single issues that came out this year in Batman. The first one that I had to pick is Batman #23, The Brave and the Mold. In this “one-shot” story, Batman and Swamp Thing (two of my absolute favorite characters in the DC universe) are forced to team up to try and solve the crime of an unnamed man in Gotham City.

Along with the almost perfect art from Mitch Gerard, Tom King can tell the story of how two very different heroes and “people” deal with the death of a father. Batman #23 reminds you that Batman is unlike any character and how his “one rule”, is what fundamentally separates him from not only the villains but from other heroes in the DC Universe. King also writes Bruce a weak point in his character, and that is the ability to look beyond everything else if that means helping someone who is also dealing with the death of a parent. This bites Batman in the end of the story and is ultimately disappointed and broken. Perhaps takes this as a learning moment and gets better as Batman.

Batman #23 was one of the best single issues of the year and adds enough Swamp Thing that now I'm hoping King writes a weekly Swamp Thing and Batman series. A man can dream.

#7 Dark Knights: Metal

Courtesy of DC Comics

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If I had to sum up Dark Knights: Metal in one word, that word would be Crazy. If I could use the second word to describe Metal, it would be Fun. This has been such a crazy, fun run so far that explores different aspects of the universe that nobody has ever thought of studying and the entire DC universe is better for it. Dark Knights: Metal follows Batman as he uncovers metals that unleash evil Batmen from across the world into the main DC earth. These evil Batmen mirror The Flash, Cyborg, Aquaman and the Joker.

I, as many others, were huge fans of Snyder and Capullo’s run on Batman, and we were sad to see them leave the main title. So it was a great news when it was announced that the creative team would come back and work on a Batman mini-series. All of us longtime fans of Snyder and Capullo were really excited to see what they could come up with. Fans of Batman will be happy to see that there are now plentiful versions of Batman that will keep us entertained for years to come.

Although Metal hasn't finished its run, the few issues that have been released this year have already made it worthy of making this Batman top ten lists.

#6 All Star Batman

Courtesy of DC Comics

Just like we talked about with Dark Knights: Metal, Scott Snyder had left the main Batman run in 2016 to pursue other ventures, but with the fact that he continued to write on TWO different Batman series this year, it goes to show that Snyder was not done with the Dark Knight just yet. In All-Star Batman Snyder was able to write a three fantastic Batman stories that ran parallel to the central title continuity, which gave Snyder a bit more room to work with villains that he might not have had the chance to work within the main Batman title.

Although all three arcs were fantastic, the last story arc “My First Ally,” might have been Scott Snyder’s greatest Batman story he has ever written. “My First Ally,” explored the relationship between Alfred and Bruce in a way that no one, not to my knowledge, has done before. It is an emotional story that makes you appreciate the father/son relationship that the butler and the crime fighter have. Because of that, All-Star Batman is a must read for any Batman fan was one of my favorite Batman things of 2017.

#5 Batman #36

Courtesy of DC Comics

Another one of Tom King’s books, Batman #36 “Superfriends” encompassed the energy, tones and great storytelling that King has done on his run thus far into a single issue which made it easy for me to pick for this list.

What I have enjoyed form King’s run so far is how vulnerable and human he has made Batman. Although the most human of all superheroes (in DC or Marvel), one could argue that Batman is the coldest and calculated of them all. King has done an excellent job exploring the inner working of the human being that is Bruce Wayne.

In Batman #36, King took the straightforward premise of telling your best friend of your upcoming nuptials and added a “Superfriends” twist to it. If you haven't started or haven’t been sold on King as a writer, I suggest reading Batman #36, and that will change your mind immediately.

#4 Batman Annual #2

Courtesy of DC Comics

I’m a grown man Batman Annual #2 had me at the point of tearing up. The concept of having the world’s greatest detective with dementia is a story I didn't know I wanted. King has quickly become not just one of my favorite Batman writers of all time, but one of my favorite writers ever, the period for his work with deep personal issues and how that works with characters that we don't see as emotionally deep (see not only Batman but The Vision and Mister Miracle).

Perhaps my favorite thing from Tom King’s run so far on Batman is, King is exploring the vulnerable side of Batman, which I mentioned in the entry above, and this issue has been the best example of that. King has done a fantastic job in exploring and expanding that already deep relationship between Catwoman and Batman, and Batman Annual #2 is the cherry on top of this great “engagement” story that King is running with. If King keeps pulling out annual issues like this, I can't wait for the one in 2018.

#3 Justice League/Will Ben Affleck leave or stay

Courtesy of WB and DC

No matter what you thought of the actual movie, the news regarding Justice League and whether or not Ben Affleck is staying as Batman took up a majority of not only nerd news but entertainment news in 2017. No other franchise has divided fans and critics alike, more than the DC Extended Universe. Critics seem to hate it (41% on Rotten Tomatoes), while many fans seem to have enjoyed it (sitting with a 78% on the audience score, higher than The Last Jedi Audience Score).

The “is he or is he not,” aspect of the Affleck news has opened up some dialogue as far as who will be the next person to wear the cowl and has kept Batman in the national press. Perhaps even more interesting than that, the debate on whether or not the upcoming Batman should be a big-time actor, is far more interesting, in terms of if the character of Batman being able to carry an unknown actor to the top of the box office (here is an old article talking about who could be the next Batman).

Because of the fact that the world has continuously talked about Justice League since BvS, that is why this movie was one of the most buzzworthy Batman news items of 2017.

#2 Batman/Elmer Fudd Special #1

Courtesy of WB and DC Comics

Tom King had a fantastic year.  Along with his Batman run (which we mentioned above a couple of times) and his already all-time great run Mister Miracle, King has written has had one of the strongest years of any comic book writer this decade. To add on top of already a great year, Tom King and artist Lee Weeks created one of the best unique stories that nobody ever asked for, but glad we got in Batman/Elmer Fudd Special #1.

Since WB owns DC, the powers that be decided that it would be a fantastic idea to have crossover comics between some of our favorite Looney Toons and DC superheroes. Most, failed to meet expectations, while some (Batman/Elmer Fudd) became an instant classic. Only King and Weeks could write such a story where we take Elmer Fudd seriously as not just as a character, but as an assassin. They did a fantastic job in being able to translate such a goofy character like Elmer Fudd into the very dark and real world of Gotham City. It was some of the best writing I have ever read.

This could never become an on-going series, but ill always has this issue to hold me over. Batman /Elmer Fudd Special #1 was an amazing read, and for that, it makes this list.

#1 The Button

Courtesy of DC Comics

Few things this year in comics had as much impact as Josh Williamson and Tom King’s The Button.The Button felt like an epic 14-part crossover mini-series, yet it was only done in four issues and only had two main characters crossover. For such a big task, King and Williamson did a fantastic job in continuing the story that was started in Flashpoint and was brought back in Rebirth. Batman and the Flash rip through time and space chasing Eobard Thawne across the DC Universe.

Although the Flash was the character who was most affected by the events of “rebirth”, Batman seemed to get the character who went through the most in the events that transpired in The Button. Bruce was able to see his dad one last time and finally get to the letter that Thomas sent Bruce during Flashpoint. Also, along with the Bruce and Thomas story, the Reverse Flash vs. Batman fight in The Button is the best fight in comics this year. The Button also expanded the universe once again to include all interactions of the different characters from across different universes and also validated the events of the very popular Flashpoint storyline.

For the reasons I listed above (and many others that I didnt), The Button was the best thing that the character of Batman was in in 2017 and became an instant classic. Here are links to my initial review of The Button, HERE and HERE.

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