DC Comics has dubbed today Batman Day. The Dark Knight has been fighting crime and serving justice for his 75th year since the 1939 debut of Detective Comics #27. Batman has been a big part of our lives, and was responsible for making us into the comic book fanatics we are today, whether it be through comic books and toys or television and movies. To show our appreciation for the man, the myth and the legend, we have compiled a plethora of Bat-themed lists. We hope that we can inspire you to read more about Batman and his legacy, or even give us some feedback if you agree or disagree with the lists. Sound off below! And click on the picture below to take you to all of our Batman Day articles.
Top 10 Batman Theme Songs
You can usually tell a person’s age depending on the Batman theme song they identify most. The tunes may have altered throughout the year, but the spirit of them is still the same. You could be at at your daughter’s recital, or giving a presentation to your boss, when that Batman ringtone goes off, people smile. Aside from Superman and a few Marvel characters, Batman is part of a select few that have gotten even one theme song, let alone enough to do a top ten. So rejoice in the sound of the Bat, and let us know which ones you liked the best.
10.) Batman Forever
This theme, composed by Elliot Goldenthal, was a distinct departure from the Danny Elfman-produced themes of the Tim Burton films. It’s one of the few good things to come out of Batman Forever. We wish we could count Seal’s “Kiss From A Rose” on here, because that would have instantly shot this up the charts. The use of big, brass instruments gives the theme that epic Batman feeling.
9.) Batman Begins/The Dark Knight, “Molossus”
Composed by Hans Zimmer, this theme was actually slightly introduced towards the end of Batman Begins, and expanded upon in The Dark Knight. The harsh drums and cello is the call to action Batman deserves. In fact, the entire scores to Batman Begins and The Dark Knight are worth a listen if you need to get pumped up for that job interview or test.
8.) Batman: The Brave and the Bold
When The Brave and the Bold first aired in 2008, I was skeptical. All I needed to see was the opening credits to know that this was going to be a clear homage to the Adam West days with a modern twist to it. The upbeat and very short theme song got its point across without much variation or flare, but it was all Batman.
7.) Adam West’s Batman series
Speaking of Adam West, the classic theme from the TV series, which was also used in the Hanna Barbera animated version, is full of butt-kicking goodness, punching sound effects strewn within. The shrill “Batman!” cry heard throughout is the work of an eight-member chorus. It’s the reason the we all sing “Na na na na na na na na…. Batman!” – a true classic theme song in American history.
6.) Arkham City
The 2011 video game, which is heralded as the best Batman game yet, had its own score and “Music Inspired By” soundtrack, headlined by this main theme. It was a blend of Zimmer’s The Dark Knight and Elfman’s whimsical woodwinds, creating a truly awesome mixture for us to glide through Gotham to. Good job by Nick Arundel in using the best elements from two of the greatest theme songs in Bat-history to create something new and exciting.
5.) The Dark Knight Rises
When Christopher Nolan closed out his trilogy, he left us with a lot of questions – and a lot more unexplainable plot holes. That wasn’t the case for Hans Zimmer, who gave audiences the definitive theme song worthy of ending the epic journey. The theme goes through multiple uplifting phases of the heroes journey. Like The Dark Knight before it, Zimmer’s score is a complete package, one that you can listen to the whole way through, with enough variation to feel like a complete experience.
4.) Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
Mask of the Phantasm was a 1993 animated film about Batman’s tangle with a villain who took justice into their own hands, often leading to death for their targets. The theme has a more dynamic feel than the usual animated series theme song, using gospel themes, and more prominent orchestral tones. It may have been a bit too dramatic to be the best theme, but Shirley Walker’s theme fit this film perfectly.
3.) Batman Beyond
Ushering in a new generation, the theme song to Batman Beyond was just as futuristic as Terry McGinnis himself. It’s a far departure from the theme used in Batman: The Animated Series, and that’s what made it work so well. Most people can’t even tell that this Kristopher Carter track is Batman-related at all, but fans raised on the series instantly jam out to the theme. This was certainly not their father’s Batman; he belonged to them.
2.) Batman Returns
The year was 1992 and Danny Elfman was beginning to make a name for himself in the film score circles with great work on movies like Dick Tracy and Beetlejuice. Elfman’s sound was distinctly gothic, fitting the terrifying story of Batman Returns to a tee. As the opening credits roll, we are treated to a look at the sad journey of Oswald Cobblepot that Burton had created for us, amplified by the frantic pace of the theme song in the background. Since then, Elfman’s has reproduced the same style in almost every theme song he’s done, turning it into more of a cliché over the years, but after twenty years, his Batman theme is still practically untouchable.
1.) Batman: The Animated Series
The famous theme song, accompanied by one of the best introduction sequences of all time, of Batman: The Animated Series takes the title of Best Batman Theme Song. Taking clear inspiration from the aforementioned Burton films, TAS theme song was created by Shirley Walker – who, coincidentally enough was Burton’s conductor for the films. The student definitely became the master, and together, the two perfected the Burton theme. The brass is more pronounced, and the subtleties of the film theme were lost in favor of a more crisp overall sound.
Collecting:Batman (vol 1) #655-658, follow-up on #663-666
Original Release Date: 2006
Publisher: DC Comics
Character: Batman, Talia al Ghul, Damian Wayne, Robin (Tim Drake)
Writer: Grant Morrison (All-Star Superman, Final Crisis, Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth)
Art: Andy Kubert (Flashpoint, Origin, Marvel 1602)
SCORECARD (each category ranked on a 10-point scale):
Storyline – 7
Art – 9
Captivity and Length – 6
Identity – 7
Use of Medium – 8
Depth – 7
Fluidity – 7
Intrigue/Originality – 10
The Little Things – 8
Overall awesomeness – 8
Note: Be on the look-out for our film review of Son of Batman, which is loosely based off this book, soon.
Since the first issue of Batman in 1940, the Dark Knight has always had a Boy Wonder. Of course, the flamboyancy with which the character of Robin has been portrayed over seventy years ago has no place in the current era of comic books – especially in a Batman book. The Batman that we see in Batman and Son has lost one Robin to another team (Nightwing to the New Teen Titans) and buried another (Jason Todd), only to see him return from the dead (check our Batman: Hush review to catch up) as the sociopath Red Hood. So, suffice to say that even though he has let in a new ward, Tim Drake, into Bat-family, he’s had a fair amount of hesitation when allowing another child into the fold. What if he didn’t have a choice? What if this next recruit was his son – and not just any son, but the grandson of the Demon’s Head, Ra’s al Ghul? Enter Damian Wayne, son of Talia al Ghul.
Many avid readers know who Damian Wayne is. He’s the smart-ass, strategic and combative genius, groomed from his birth as a test tube baby to rule the world. Oddly enough, the character of Batman’s son was first brought up in an Elseworld (non-canon) title, Son of the Demon, in 1987. Here, though, he makes his first appearance in DC Universe canon. For those of us that followed his entire character development, up to and including his death in Batman Incorporated (which also came at the hand of the Cruel Grant Morrison), Batman and Son is a loud, annoying reminder is just what a little shit Damian can be. He is spoiled and disrespectful, and unfortunately has the skills to back up a lot of his bravado.
The fact that he’s a pain in the ass isn’t all his fault. He has been bred to believe that he is the perfect genetic specimen and heir to taking over the world, so I guess a little precociousness is in order. Talia more or less dumps her own son in the lap of Batman because she can’t control him. In the most fiendish plot yet, she drops this little WMD in Wayne Manor to distract Batman while she causes all sorts of havoc on the side. It’s a pretty clever plot twist that really has no consequence on her end. A bulk of the focus is on Damian’s assimilation to the Bat-family. Spoiler – he does a very poor job at fitting in. Being trained by the League of Assassins doesn’t exactly prepare you for life with a benevolent father and pseudo family that Gotham offers Damian. Damian immediately spits on everything that Bruce stands for as a defender of the night. As endless as the Wayne’s wealth is, it is still nothing compared to being heir to the Demon Head.
Batman and Son is only four issues long, and its length really shows. We get to see the reason that the League has Man-Bats at their disposal, a legion that they still use. Yeah, Man-Bat ninjas are a little far-fetched, but these are Man-Bats we’re talking about in the first place. The set-up to the big reveal that Batman is the father was taken at face value; no DNA test, no genetics scanning, not even an episode of Maury was thought of to determine the truth. I find that hard to believe from the world’s greatest detective. By the time Damian and Batman are introduced to each other, we are half-way through the story. I also thought a lot of the internal monolog and the quips by Batman felt totally out-of-character, like lines that were supposed to go to Dick Grayson. Maybe the familiarity Batman has with Talia gives him loose lips, but it feels wrong throughout the book.
Damian’s character often give off mixed symbols throughout the story. He obviously wants his father’s approval, he rags on how lame everything about his father is. Kicking Tim Drake’s ass and taking up the mantle of Robin is a sweet yet super creepy way to try to gain Batman’s affection. When Damian takes the law into his own hands to thwart an enemy, he definitely goes too far. I know that Bats has to play by a different set of rules when dealing with the League of Assassins, but everybody seems to handle Damian’s extreme measures with much more grace than I expected. The ending seems like the typical cop-out ending where we experience the ambiguous deaths of the bad guys. This is far from the end of Damian, but this arc didn’t leave us wanting more of him (again, hindsight is 20/20).
At the crux of it, Batman and Son has a lot more shock value if you don’t know who Damian Wayne is, but for the majority of us that have watched him grow as a Robin and a person (my personal recommendation for Damian’s character growth is the New 52 story Batman & Robin Vol 1: Born to Kill arc), Batman and Son is a painful reminder of what an insufferable d-bag Damian started out as. After reading this, I often wonder if Dan Slott used Damian’s character as inspiration for the pompous Otto Octavius Spidey in Superior Spider-Man. Even with the great panels that Andy Kubert has crafted, Batman and Son can be summed up in a few pages. The fact that Batman has a biological son after all the decades of questionable relationships with young men is enough to warrant picking this up, but don’t expect to be blown away by Prince Wayne’s debut.
The mythical A+: Classic comic book material. Belongs next to your copy of The Notebookand The Joy of Cooking.
A: Would definitely recommend to all comic book readers. Even more so to fans of the genre or characters
B: Enjoyable read. Fans of the genre or characters will especially like.
C: Non-essential read. Can be enjoyable for fans of the genre or characters, but likely for only one or two events in the books.
D: Unenjoyable book. Read at your own risk. Might find satisfaction if major flaws are overlooked.
F: Please don’t buy this book. Donate your money to a local comic book writer’s workshop instead to inspire future generations to write something better than this trash.
Pick of the Week:
Black Widow #1 – A
If you’re looking for a kick-ass superhero book, pick this up. Black Widow has always been a character worthy of her own series; an ex-KGB and current Avenger, Natasha Romanov is shrouded in mystery and has the skills to take on anything. The art in Black Widow is amazing, giving off the feel like the whole story is being told through the lens of a spy, with extreme color detail (nod to Phil Noto!). I’m instantly sold on just how bad this chick is as she takes on two cases with ruthless efficiency. Not much developing yet in terms of a plot for this arc, but the issue itself is thoroughly entertaining with just enough detail to make you pine for the next one. – S
Dark Horse Comics
Star Wars #13 – C
The beginning of a five part spinoff story starts with Star Wars #13 this week. The topic – Vader’s revenge! Sounds cut throat and exciting right? Well… not so much in this issue. Following events in the previous 12 issues, Vader is out to force choke the life out of everyone who played a part in allowing the double crossing Bircher to take command of the Devastator. He recruits young Imperial ensign Nanda to chauffer him around the galaxy on his vengeance quest. While I enjoy the prospect of Vader violently using the force on others as an anger management technique, I can’t help but feel that this theme is overplayed. Through the entire issue there was only one moment in which readers experience the “Vader moment,” and even at that it only spanned two pages. The most intriguing and exciting potential for the next five issues are the elite, black-ops Stormtroopers (that have no record of ever existing) and what they will bring to Vader’s foes. The story has me interested, but not on the edge of my seat. I hope we get to see more out of Nanda and that Vader jumps into action soon. – T
Detective Comics #27 – A
This is not your average “special anniversary” issue. With DC celebrating 75 years of the Dark Knight in 2014, Detective Comics #27, which was the original comic that the Bat-Man appeared in dating back to 1939, is a great way to ring in the year. This issue is full of mini-stories, both feel-good and reflective, that explore a different aspect of Batman’s history. All are thoughtful and put a smile on my face, with Gregg Hurwitz & Neal Adams’ nostalgic story stealing the show. You can tell that the creative team that worked on this book had fun making it, and I had fun reading it. – S
Batman Black & White #5 – A-
Bringing back this collection of short stories about our vigilante hero is the best idea DC has had for a long time. Each issue is a series of vignettes about the Bat. All of the writers and artists so far have been a hodgepodge of the comic book elite. Issue five does not disappoint. I guess what I find so appealing is the old gumshoe approach that they have taken. The first story by Ivan Brandon puts us in the middle of a training exercise between Alfred and the bat. Several of the other stories focus on how clever Bruce Wayne is when he is tracking his prey. “Cat And Mouse” by Keith Giffen and “Hope” by Jimmy Palmiotti are great detective stories. My favorite, hands-down, is “I Killed The Bat” written by Blair Butler and illustrated by Chris Weston. This twisted tale of a cartoonist turned murderer will put a vicious smile on your face by the end of story. – J
Forever Evil: Arkham War #4 – B
The Bane we all know and love is back. With the Justice League out of commission by the Crime Syndicate, the Gotham rogues are left to pick up the pieces of territory. This arc reminds me a lot of No Man’s Land, where Gotham plunged into chaos and the rogues all fought over the remaining territory. All villains are scheming and plotting to get the upper hand over one another, but no tag team is more fun to watch than Bane and Talon. This issue is a full-out Battle Royal between the Gotham baddies that can get clustered at times, but well worth the price of admission. With Freeze and Scarecrow unleashing their own mind-controlled Talons, I can’t wait for the next one. – S
Batman/Superman #7 – C
Batman and Superman are in a colossal fight to death. Bats has been fitted with cyborg technology from the alien villain Mongul. He has been turned into a playable character in a global video game. Over 90 million gamers are in control of the Batman and are hell-bent on killing Superman. The overall story is a bit trite, but the artwork of Brett Booth gives this issue a vibrant look. This issue felt rushed, but if you’re in the mood for a quick mindless read with pretty pictures this is your choice. – J
Lil’ Vampi #1 – C
Li’l Vampi, a one shot by Eric Trautmann and art by Agnes Garbowska, follows pre-teen Vampi in her new adventures in Stoker, Maine. The puns from vampire, werewolf, and monster lore are cleverly put throughout the book. Vampi is a loner who doesn’t really get along with her peers because she is… well, weird. Her story reminds me a bit of if Buffy had taken place in her late elementary/ early middle school years. Vampi plays detective to the morbid in the town of Stoker. But her pet cat, Pantha is a good distraction from the social mishaps she endures. The best part of this book is Pantha, particularly when he turns his litter box into a miniature replica of the Pyramids of Egypt. Overall, I felt the story was a bit confusing, especially for the young targeted audience. The story bounces between the actual happenings of Vampi to her diary, without much warning, which could be confusing to new and young comic book readers. I do have to say the art was very well suited for the genre, of course, with cover work from Art Baltazar. This was a decent read, but definitely was out-shined by other releases this week. – A
Sex Criminals #4 – A
Across the back of issue four reads “For Mature Readers Duh,” something that readers should definitely take heed of. This is not the book you read with your friends. It’s raunchy, and foul, and my mother would be ashamed of me, but I love it. The story is written superbly by Matt Fraction, the writer behind the acclaimed Hawkeyeseries (ongoing!) and it focuses on two young lovers, Suzie and John, who can freeze time when they orgasm. This issue introduces us to Her and the sex police. It’s crude humor of the best kind and I can’t get enough of Sex Criminals. It’s only been four issues so I implore you to catch up, but only if you can handle that type of humor. – S
The Walking Dead #119 –B+
Excuse me a moment while I put my foot in my mouth, because TWD just shut me up with their latest issue. After a forgettable #118, we join our Survivors back at Alexandria as they regroup and prepare to defend themselves from Negan’s retaliation. We seem to have found a soft spot in Negan, as he killed one of his own when they try to sexually assault a POW a few episodes ago. That all seems to fade, though, as we get a reminder why we hate/love him so much. – S
Adventure Time: The Flip Side #1 –B
Adventure Time: The Flip Side may seem like a children’s book and, although it isn’t as popular as superhero comics, the first issue was enjoyable. It’s lighthearted, easy to follow, and good for some laughs at any age. If you are as big fan of the T.V. show as I am, you will enjoy reading this issue as you watch Finn, Jake, and Beemo take on a rather interesting and unexpected adventure. There isn’t anything dire going on – no threat of planetary destruction which only our heroes can prevent and no grand mystery that is looming over our heads. It’s about a group of friend going on an adventure because that’s what they do best. This book is humorous, enjoyable, relaxing, and just plain old Mathematical! I look forward to the next issue. – E
Marvel NOW Point One #1 – A-
This issue is designed to introduce multiple new arcs that all begin in the next few weeks. Point One is a great read throughout; some of the series will pique readers interest and some will not. Unlike the weekly previews publishers come out with that have only two or three pages, each of these stories actually have a starting and ending point. Especially engaging are the Black Widow and Ms. Marvel series. It’s about time we see some kick-ass women in comic. This isn’t your average variety comic, this is a collection of stories about Marvel’s soon-to-be front-running comics and they deserve your attention. – S
All-New X-Factor #1 – B
Serval Industries wants is open for business, their model, “we just want to help people.” But the real special thing about Serval Industries is their business associates – superheroes! Polaris has recruited Gambit to work for the seemingly noble and industrious Mr. Snow. Why shouldn’t a powerful, cutting-edge company recruit mutants?! What could go wrong?!… The concept put forth by Marvel and Peter David has got this reader very interested. I haven’t seen a concept like this explored in comics before. The theme is very down to Earth and jives very well with all us grownup nerds out there working a 9-to-5. The plot balances predictability and mystery nicely and the characters in focus are well selected. For casual Marvel fans, like me, I appreciate the effort to put well-know, but very dynamic characters into the story. I see a lot of potential in the follow up issues. I expect to see many more familiar faces and I can’t wait for the plot to gain additional depth. I recommended this issue for anyone out there interested in Marvel, but doesn’t necessarily know the entire cast and crew of Avengers vs. X-Men. – T
Avengers World #1 – B-
Unlike the current Avengers title,which centers around intergalactic epidemics, Avengers World takes the series back down to Earth, quite literally, as the Hand (again, no relation to the Foot) emerges as the threat. All your favorite Avengers are in action, with Captain America and Bruce Banner getting a majority of the spotlight. Banner is very witty and sarcastic throughout the issue and is instantly my favorite character. There’s a lot that happens here, and it’s great to see Marvel put out an Avengers book that focuses on what’s going on down here instead of out there. – S
Deadpool #22 – C-
After an intriguing last issue, Deadpool #22 keeps the momentum going with Deadpool tracking a traitor amongst S.H.I.E.L.D. A special All-Star appearance by Agent Coulson keeps the book fun and exciting; even his ’62 Corvette, Lola, is part of the action. There is not a lot of intrigue here, as most of the story is made of up situational humor. That being said, it is a Deadpool book, so it’s around the lines of what I was expecting. – S
GPA by Publisher:
DC Comics: 2 A’s, 1 B and 1 C, averaging out to a 3.25
Marvel Comics: 2 A’s, 2 B’s and 1 C, averaging out to a 3.20
Independents: 1 A, 2 B’s and 2 C’s, averaging out to a 2.80
Funniest Panel of the Week:
Epic Panel of the Week:
Cover Art of the Week:
That about wraps it up for our reviews this week! Look for next week’s previews coming soon. Any comic books you didn’t see reviewed that you want reviewed? Any grades you didn’t agree on? Let us know in the comments!
All images taken from ComiXology app and the credit for them goes to the respective publishers; thanks to IDW Comics, image Comics, Dark Horse, Boom! Studios, Dynamite Entertainment, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.