Batman: 100 Greatest Moments: Highlights from the History of the Dark Knight
Review by KC Carlson
Published to tie into Batman’s 80th anniversary, this 304-page hardcover from Chartwell Books, written by Robert Greenberger, possibly has more facts in it than the Bat-Computer! Plus, Batman: 100 Greatest Moments: Highlights from the History of the Dark Knight contains much detail on creators, publications, and various Robins (not all dead), as well as a bit of behind-the scenes history to add to your Bat-Enjoyment! Holy cape and cowl!
The first great Batman Moment is pretty obvious: The First Origin (from Batman #1). We all know it it by heart! Batman’s parents, Thomas Wayne and his wife Martha (who’s not actually identified by name here), are gunned down by a (then-unknown) assailant (also not identified by name). We don’t actually learn Young Master Wayne’s first name until panel 8, where we see an adult Bruce Wayne preparing himself to be a Master Scientist. Thankfully, there are only four more panels until the huge black bat (also unnamed) flies through the now-famous open window. That’s history for ya!
(Modern comics have usually done better explaining details like this, but then again this short sequence would most likely have been expanded by several pages to account for today’s modern storytelling.)
There are actually 100 great Batman Moments in the book! There’s a very lengthy table of contents, which includes these categories: Origins, Creating The Mythos, The Batman Family, Allies, Friends and Lovers, Enemies (the longest list, hmmm…), and Out of This World. Most entries have a full page of comic art presented to illustrate the topic, usually with a short paragraph explaining it and identifying the creators.
Speaking of which, I’m not mentioning the Bat-series creators much here — mostly because there are so darn many of them (and they’re also so good). Be advised that the book itself is jam-packed with creator credits (although it could use an index…).
The mythology outside the world of comic books is also included, with looks at Batman’s appearances in film, television, movie serials, (acclaimed) animation, toys, collectibles, and pretty much anything you can imagine. There’s also an attempt to explain the “slew of orphaned Robins” that’s actually confusing to me (and I used to edit the Legion of Super-Heroes).
If you’re looking for a fun read, that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and generally does a great job keeping the history straight, Batman: 100 Greatest Moments is the book for you!
Greenberger’s other books in this series/format include Justice League: 100 Greatest Moments, DC Comics Super Heroines: 100 Greatest Moments, DC Comics Super-Villains: 100 Greatest Moments, and elsewhere, Stan Lee’s How To Write Comics (co-written with Stan Lee.) He’s also written over a dozen Star Trek books, as well as edited the Star Trek comic book adaptations for eight years. I don’t know what the name of Bob’s bat is. Sorry. (The publisher provided a review copy.)