10 Best Batman Comic Book Crossovers

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10 Best Batman Comic Book Crossovers

DC Comics and Marvel Comics

 Batman is set to team-up with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in a crossover between DC Comics and IDW Publishing. So now is as good a time as any to spotlight the ten best intercompany comic book crossovers starring Batman. 

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HONORABLE MENTION: Batman/Houdini: The Devil's Workshop

DC Comics

This doesn't really count as an intercompany crossover, as Harry Houdini was a historical person who is being used in this story without license, but it is such an excellent comic book that I figured I should take the opportunity to pay it some attention. Written by Howard Chaykin and John Francis Moore and beautifully painted by the great Mark Chiarello (who is currently one of the best editors working at DC Comics - he was nominated for the Eisner Award for Best Painter for this boo), this graphic novel shows Harry Houdini and an alternate reality Batman teaming up in the early 20th Century. 

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10. Punisher/Batman: Deadly Knights

DC Comics and Marvel Comics

After a series of intercompany crossovers in the late 1970s and early 1980s (Batman was beaten to the punch for the first DC/Marvel superhero crossover by Superman and Spider-man), Marvel and DC soured on each other for a decade or so before slowly getting back into the crossover swing of things in the 1990s. This time around, for the most part they handled it in a specific fashion where DC would do one take on the team-up and then a few months later Marvel would do another take on the team-up.

In the case of Batman and Punisher, the initial crossover published by DC Comics took place during the period where Jean Paul-Valley (Azrael) had temporarily taken over as Batman. This sequel series was published by Marvel after Bruce Wayne had re-taken the Bat-Mantle. Luckily, Chuck Dixon was at the time both the regular writer on the Punisher series as well as the regular writer on Detective Comics, one of the main Batman titles. So both characters were handled very well. The art was by longtime Marvel stalwart John Romita Jr. with inks by Klaus Janson (who happened to ink a rather famous Batman series you might be familiar with). The conceit of this one-shot is that the Punisher tracks his old foe, Jigsaw, to Gotham City. While here, the Punisher decides he might as well put the Joker out of everyone's misery. Batman, naturally enough, is opposed to anyone getting murdered, even the Joker, and it brings them into conflict. It's a clever hook for a story by Dixon. 

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9. Batman vs. The Incredible Hulk

DC Comics and Marvel Comics

 One of the very first crossovers produced between Marvel and DC Comics, Batman and the Incredible Hulk aren't exactly the most natural characters to pair together, but the Incredible Hulk TV series was a hit at the time so Hulk was likely Marvel's second-most popular character at the time and Batman held the same spot for DC, so they were put together. It fell to writer Len Wein to come up with a story that could work them both in, and he mostly succeeded, although it was a lot more cosmic than your typical Batman story. The actual Batman/Hulk fight was a bit of a stretch, but the key to the book is the astonishingly beautiful artwork by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez and Dick Giordano. It is so gorgeous that the book's plot barely matters. 

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8. Batman/Spider-Man: New Age Dawning

DC Comics and Marvel Comics

 Similar to Dixon on Punisher and Batman, writer J.M. DeMatteis had written a number of Batman stories by the late 1990s and had had a couple of acclaimed stints writing Spider-Man (including one of the most acclaimed Spider-Man stories ever, Kraven's Last Hunt). So he was a fine choice to do the crossover event between Batman and Spider-Man. The artist on the series was Graham Nolan, then the regular artist on Detective Comics (inks were by Karl Kesel, who worked for both companies). The story teamed the Kingpin and Ra's Al Ghul as the main villains in an epic adventure that took our heroes around the world to stop their foes' evil plan. 

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7. Batman/The Spirit

DC Comics and Will Eisner Studios, Inc.

 For a while there, DC Comics had obtained the rights from Will Eisner Studios. Inc. to create new stories featuring Eisner's famed character, The Spirit. To celebrate this new arrangement (which was temporary - currently Dynamite has the license to The Spirit), DC put out a one-shot team-up of Batman and The Spirit by two of the most popular creators in comics, Jeph Loeb and Darwyn Cooke, both of whom were huge fans of the Spirit (Cooke continues to contribute covers to the Dynamite The Spirit series). J. Bone inked Cooke on the book, which tells the story of Batman and Spirit's rogues teaming up to wipe out all of the nation's cops at a national police convention (where both Commissioners Dolan and Gordon are in attendance). The comic won the Eisner Award for Best Single Issue. 

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6. Planetary/Batman: Night on Earth

DC Comics

Soon after it had launched, DC Comics purchased Wildstorm Comics, the company that put out Planetary, so this isn't technically an inter-company crossover, but it is close enough for me to count. Planetary is about a group of inter-dimensional archaeologists who investigate rifts in reality. In this story, written and drawn by the regular Planetary creative team of Warren Ellis and John Cassaday, someone is altering reality itself in Gotham City. The Planetary team shows up to see what the problem is when the man who is altering reality alters it so that they are now sharing the same Gotham City as the one with Batman in it. Batman then fights the enforcer of the group, Jakita Wagner. While they fight, though, reality keeps changing so that the Batman Wagner is fighting constantly changes. From the then-current Batman to the Batman from the 1960s TV series, who sprays Wagner in the face with "Bat-Female Supervillain Repellent." Batman continues to change and it is amazing how well Cassaday is able to capture the different evolutions of Batman

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5. Batman/Judge Dredd: Judgment on Gotham

DC Comics and Fleewy

While DC and Marvel had crossed over for a while in the late 1970 and early 1980s, by the early 1990s, the practice had fallen out of favor a bit. DC returned to it in a big way in 1991 with this book and another book that we'll see later on the list. In the case of this Judge Dredd/Batman book, John Wagner and Alan Grant had been popular writers on the Judge Dredd series in England for a number of years (Wagner even co-created the character period) when they also got a gig writing Detective Comics. They ultimately ended up splitting writing duties, with Grant going solo on Detective and Wagner going solo on Dredd. So they were perfectly matched to co-write a story of Batman being transported to the futuristic world of Mega City One, where "Judges" punish lawbreakers. Judge Dredd arrests Batman for the illegal drugs Batman carries in his utility belt. Batman differs with Dredd's idea of justice. Eventually they have to team-up to stop a villain who has escaped Mega City One into Gotham City. The art was by former Judge Dredd artist Simon Bisley. This series would be followed by a few more Batman/Dredd crossovers over the years. 

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4. Batman/Hellboy/Starman

DC Comics, Mike Mignola and Dark Horse Comics

 With his stunning, moody artwork, Mike Mignola had made a name for himself on Batman comics despite only drawing a few of them before he began to devote his time to his creator-owned series at Dark Horse, Hellboy. In this crossover, Mignola teams up with writer James Robinson for an awesome adventure involving Mignola's creation, Hellboy, Robinson's creator, the modern day Starman, Jack Knight...and Batman. The resulting comic reads as if it were just another Hellboy mini-series or an arc on Starman - that's how well the whole thing flows together. 

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3. Batman/Grendel: Devil's Riddle/Devil's Masque

DC Comics and Matt Wagner

Like Mignola, Matt Wagner is an accomplished Batman comic book creator and is acclaimed not only for his art on Batman-related titled but his writing, as well. Grendel is his epic series about the ever-changing character known as Grendel, who has become more than one person over the years, but most famously was the master criminal known as Hunter Rose. The series began at Comico and while still at Comico, Wagner began work on a Batman/Grendel crossover.Due to Comico going out of business, it did not get released until 1993, by which point Wasgner had taken Grendel to Dark Horse Comics. In this two-book series (the first book is dubbed Devil's Riddle while the second is dubbed Devil's Masque), Hunter Rose pits himself against the Dark Knight in an attempt to challenge himself - he might have bit off more than he could chew, though.

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2. Batman vs. Predator

DC Comic and Dark Horse Comics

This was the other crossover that, like Batman/Judge Dredd: Judgement on Gotham, was released in 1991, signaling a mini-boom of crossover books. Written by Dave Gibbons and drawn by Andy Kubert (with his brother Adam on inks), the three-book series is just what it describes - a Predator alien comes to Gotham City and Batman has to try to stop it. His first attempt left him nearly dead, so in the second issue, Batman returns...wearing a fancy suit of armor (reminiscent of the outfit Batman wears at the end of Dark Knight Returns) and ready to rumble. DC and Dark Horse (who have the Predator license) were lucky to have the Kubert brothers juuust before they both hit it big at Marvel Comics (going their own ways, Andy to X-Men and Adam to Wolverine). 

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1. Batman and Captain America

DC Comics and Marvel Comics

 Batman and Captain America is a wonderful over-sized one-shot written and drawn by John Byrne that is based around the concept of setting a book early in the published careers of Batman and Captain America and then having the characters all appear and act like they did back then, seamlessly weaving the characters together to the point where you could have sworn that Batman and Captain America DID have a Golden Age adventure that everyone just forgot about. The best sequence in the book involves the Joker realizing that the Red Skull is not just a colorful villain like him, but an outright NAZI! 

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Cronin, Brian. "10 Best Batman Comic Book Crossovers." ThoughtCo, Dec. 9, 2015, thoughtco.com/the-best-batman-comic-book-crossovers-327091. Cronin, Brian. (2015, December 9). 10 Best Batman Comic Book Crossovers. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/the-best-batman-comic-book-crossovers-327091 Cronin, Brian. "10 Best Batman Comic Book Crossovers." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/the-best-batman-comic-book-crossovers-327091 (accessed November 18, 2017).