Excellent choice! Aint nobody don’t like Batman. Aint nobody.
Problem is, Batman comics are, like, really fucking old. There’s hundreds and thousands of them. And at any given time, there were several different comics featuring the caped crusader running at once! It’s easy to look at it all and be like:
Well, the good news, you don’t have to read all of them. In fact, you can’t. You might think you can, but believe me. You can’t! Don’t even try. Who do you think you are? Nicholas Cage?! You do NOT have to start from the beginning. But where SHOULD you start, then? WELL, I CAN HELP.
The big name to know right now, in terms of the Bat-family world, is Grant Morrison. A very surreal, bizarre writer, GMo (as he’s lovingly called by comic enthusiasts) has been the driving force behind everything going on in Gotham for the past 6 or 7 years! He’s responsible for some of the most controversial events in Batman’s history, as well as several new major characters and villains, including the fifth Robin! So where better than to start off with his run? And lucky you! All the major essentials have been collected into hardcovers and trades!
So, without further ado, your introduction to Batman!
Kind of a collection of Batman stories that GMo has been involved with. This shows the things he’s changed or retconned or introduced, so you can prepare yourself for the ride ahead.
2.) Batman and Son
Now we’re getting this party started! Here we’re introduced to Bruce’s biological son, Damian– one of my very favorite characters. Her’s a huge snot and will be a super important player in the series.
Heeeeere we go! This throws you right into the world and story and mythos that GMo wants to create. Pay attention to every detail starting now, because Morrison is a weirdo who doesn’t believe in extraneous. Eveything means something.
This one isn’t totally necessary, but it helps you understand the character of Damian Wayne a little better– shows you what his purpose is, a bit. And plus, everyone loves Ra’s!
5.) Batman R.I.P.
No we’re getting weird! If you don’t get this one the first time through, don’t fret! This whole run is worth a second read-through, and it’ll make more sense once you’ve read the whole thing and have come back. Just power through– believe me!
6.) Final Crisis
Oh jeeze. This thing. This is not going to make much sense to you at all. It barely makes sense to long-time readers. But the part you need to take in is that, in defeating Darkseid, Bruce Wayne is “killed.”
This one is pretty poorly handled, but has some good moments in the beginning! The way they portray Jason Todd is really unfortunate and over-the-top, but the key thing is that it ushers in the new Batman, Dick Grayson.
A new day has dawned! This might be the start of my favorite time in Batman. I thought the Dick/Damian (also known affectionately as the Double D’s) team was really a wonderful twist. Shame it couldn’t last longer.
The dynamic duo are warming up to each other and getting closer to a huge and bizarre breakthrough. Remember what I said about paying attention to details? Yeah, keep doing that.
Uh oh, getting confusing! This is basically meant to be read alongside the Batman & Robin series, as it is happening simultaneously (albeit in… different times). Our buddy Bruce, as it turns out, was sent backward in time by Darkseid and is jumping forward, gradually, back to today.
Wrapping up the saga of Dick and Damian as Gotham’s Batman and Robin team! Boy, I miss it. Here everything comes together, literally, as Bruce returns to “today” and reclaims his role as THE Batman. What a weird and wild ride it has been!
12.) Batman Incorporated
Batman Inc was a concept I was REALLY afraid of. I did not like the idea AT ALL. But all turned out pretty well, actually. From here you can continue in through all of Batman Inc and into the new 52, which did not retcon Batman’s life too heavily at all (no other hero in DC was safe, however).
All this should give you a feel for the Batman universe. There are a lot of must-reads that have nothing to do with this run, like “Hush,” “The Long Halloween,” “The Black Mirror,” and so on, but I’ll save those recommendations for a later date! For now, this is a good starting point. Make sure you keep wikipedia open next to you, in case you feel lost or have any questions. This is a very “different” run, but will bring you totally up to speed!