10 Batman Comics Ruined By Their Popularity – CBR – Comic Book Resources

Batman might be DC Comics’ most influential character. However, stories like Hush are overhyped, corroding the hero and his narratives’ quality.
DC Comics has produced many excellent stories over the years, elevating their greatest heroes. Their biggest hero, Batman, has enjoyed some of the publisher's greatest stories, helmed by some of the industry's best talent. These have been held up as some of the greatest comics in superhero history, often becoming the most popular too. However, quite often, a story can become too popular for its own good.
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There are plenty of great Batman stories that every fan should read. However, many tales have been overhyped by fans or overused by the publisher as fodder for future stories. In fact, some stories have even been criticized by their own creators, while fans continue to praise them. As great as Batman is, some of his most popular stories have had a banal influence on comics as a whole.
Spawn and Batman have faced off in three team-up stories, but the two characters first met in Todd McFarlane and Frank Miller's Spawn/Batman. Despite its sequel, War Devil, being a much better comic, Spawn/Batman is the fan favorite in the trilogy.
Spawn/Batman is mostly held together by its art, and doesn't deliver the excellent story its fans like to think it does. Of the many intercompany crossovers featuring Batman, DC's neglected other tales in favor of the Spawn/Batman books, diminishing the quality of books like Batman/Judge Dredd.
The New 52 seeded comics with the idea of a "God Tier Batman," including a story that literally saw Batman become a god. The idea of an increasingly overpowered Batman had become something of a meme in the years before, and the New 52 took this idea to new extremes
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The New 52 was known for its edgy, over-the-top story arcs and was especially lauded for its strong Batman stories. However, as good as the early stories were, indulging the unbeatable, plot-armored Batman was a questionable move.
Despite Elseworlds' many excellent stories, the immense popularity of Gotham By Gaslight overshadowed the rest of the line. Stories like Red Rain, The Doom That Came To Gotham, and Two Faces have taken a back seat to the Victorian era mystery.
While the Elseworlds imprint did have some disappointing stories, the line was rich and diverse. However, Gotham By Gaslight ended up edging out most of its internal competition. Few Elseworlds stories have stayed in print, largely because they never reached Gotham By Gaslight's popularity.
Hush is a solid story for Batman fans. It follows Batman in one of his most complicated and unexpected mystery stories. However, the story is incredibly overrated, often held up as the greatest modern Batman story or the ideal entry for new readers, neither of which is true.
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Hush is a perfectly good read but is largely held back by its end reveal and the threat of a Batman vs Superman fight. It also reminded fans of Batman's unassailable plot armor, with the Gotham vigilante managing to defeat a brainwashed Superman relatively quickly.
One of the most important comics of the 1960s, The Brave and the Bold was a series that teamed up heroes from across the DCU for shared adventures. These could be anything from Hawkman and Aquaman to Superman and Plastic Man. However, the success of its Batman stories coupled with the '66 show changed this.
In the late 1960s, when Batman's inclusion in the title clearly helped boost sales, the series was rebranded as Batman: The Brave and the Bold. As good as many of its issues were, making this change completely defeated the purpose of the series. The original point was to highlight minor DC characters, not Batman.
James Tynion IV's Batman started off incredibly well, successfully setting up a mini-event. The series then went on to introduce a number of new characters to Gotham. However, when the publisher realized the series was a hit, the book devolved into a series of crossover events.
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Over the course of two years, almost every issue of Tynion's book was either an event prelude or part of an event, with few standalone story arcs. Batman fans like breathing room between stories, but the Tynion run, despite being a more decompressed series, was constantly crossing over with other major DC events.
Dark Nights Metal was a fun, epic event that introduced the Batman Who Laughs and the Dark Multiverse to the DCU. The event and its legacy had their issues, though. The series' fixation on the Batman Who Laughs, a walking symbol of DC's tendency to overuse both Joker and Batman, dragged it down from the start.
The Batman Who Laughs started to appear throughout the DCU, suddenly edging out every other Batman villain. The event got a sequel in Death Metal, which prolonged the trend of massive and expensive event series in DC Comics and their continuous reshaping of continuity.
Tower of Babel did more to create the idea that Batman could defeat anyone if he was given enough prep time than any other story in DC Comics. Though it was told in the JLA series, it was and still is a defining Batman story. It's best known as the story where Batman's contingency plans were used to incapacitate the Justice League.
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WhileTower of Babel is excellent, it also escalated the idea of Batman as someone who ruthlessly plans for every eventuality. Batman has always been an excellent strategist, but the fixation on his planning has made him a less likable and even cold character.
The Dark Knight Returns helped redefine Batman within the DCU. The darker, grittier take on Batman and Gotham set the tone for the character going forward and became the go-to comic for new fans to understand Batman. For years, it stood as a stand-out, one-off story.
Unfortunately, The Dark Knight Returns proved so popular that it received a terrible sequel. The series came to represent too much of a good thing, and comics' tendency to milk a good idea dry. The few times Frank Miller has returned to DC since his stories have taken place in this "Millerverse" continuity, with mixed results at best.
Batman: The Killing Joke is often held up as the greatest Batman Elseworlds story and its treatment of Joker is particularly lauded. The story gives the Clown Prince of Crime an origin but it's aged badly enough that not only fans have turned on it but so has its writer, Alan Moore.
Moore looked back on The Killing Joke and its impact on the DCU with regret, lamenting the way it encouraged more grim Batman stories. Due to its iconic status, many readers and creators see the comic as a template even for books in continuity, which was never the intent.
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