2015 may be behind us, but the stories that were released during that year will always be with us! Is that a good thing, or bad thing? I’ll be one of the first people to openly say that I wasn’t too impressed with DC’s offering’s for the year, but I don’t think I’m alone considering DC’s sales for 2015 (check out Brandon’s Monthly Comic Book Sales Report for more details). Despite the duds we endured through, there were some highlights though, and that’s what we’re serving up today!
Below you’ll find three separate categories: Best Batman Themed Books of 2015, Best Batman Themed Issues of 2015, and the Best Non-Batman Themed Books of 2015 (for those of you that are interested in expanding your horizons beyond Gotham City). Now, for full disclosure, we didn’t originally plan on pulling this post together, but we received a few requests, so we had a quick meeting of the minds, and this is what we came up with! Make sure you share your thoughts on the year in our comments section, and if you feel like we missed anything, let us know! Also, in case you missed it, we ranked the Top 25 Covers of 2015 with the help of your votes! Be sure the check that post out as well! And if you’d rather look the future, there are a number of rumors circulating at the moment, so be sure to check out our recent post, DC To Reboot Again?, so you can weigh in on that conversation. Now, without further ado, our picks for the best of 2015!
Best Batman Themed Books of 2015:
Batman & Robin Eternal (Selected by Brandon Mulholand and Cat)
Five years ago, Batman and Robin worked the most disturbing case of their crimefighting careers-bringing down the organization of the ultimate human trafficker, the mysterious woman known only as Mother. At the time, Dick Grayson never quite understood the scope of that case, but now its darkest secrets are coming back to haunt him and everyone else who ever worked with Batman! With Bruce Wayne now lost to them, Dick and all his allies are out in the cold! Who can they trust? Is someone among them not who they say they are? And who is the deadly, silent young woman in black who’s come to Gotham City looking for Batman?
Batman ’66 (Selected by Jay Yaws & Elena Carrillo)
Put on your go-go boots and get ready to “Batusi” back to the Swingin’ ’60s, as DC Comics reimagines the classic Batman TV series in comics form! All-new adventures inspired by the classic Batman television series, including science fiction icon Harlan Ellison’s outline for the series’ “lost episode”-adapted by legendary scribe Len Wein and artist Jose-Luis Garcia Lopez!
Catwoman (Selected by Josh McDonald)
She was Gotham’s Catwoman. Now Selina Kyle is Gotham’s kingpin. After discovering that she’s the heir apparent to the Calabrese crime family, Selina has put aside the life of a high-stakes jewel thief—and occasional vigilante—for an even more dangerous game. Now she’s the head of all organized crime in the city. Her plan? Unite Gotham’s warring families, using their resources to rebuild the city instead of preying on it. But the crown comes at a cost. Not every family is willing to play ball. As her enemies—like the brutal Black Mask and an impostor calling herself the new Catwoman—attack from outside her organization, traitors lurk within. To rule the underworld, Selina must become a creature of the underworld herself. She may have nine lives, but she only has one soul. To save the city she loves, will she sacrifice everything else? Writer Genevieve Valentine and artist Garry Brown radically reimagine one of the DC Universe’s greatest characters! Once this crime saga sinks its claws into you, there’s no turning back…
Gotham Academy (Selected by Brandon Mulholand & Jay Yaws)
Welcome to Gotham Academy! Gotham City’s most prestigious prep school is a very weird place. It’s got a spooky campus, oddball teachers, and rich benefactors always dropping by…like that weirdo Bruce Wayne. But nothing is as strange as the students!
Grayson (Selected by Jay Yaws & Josh McDonald)
Former acrobat. Former Robin. Former Nightwing. Spy. Dick Grayson, now entrenched in the international spy organization known as Spyral, is on the hunt for the Paragon Protocol-metahuman biological organs that grant normal humans supernatural abilities. But the secret lifestyle of a spy isn’t easy… And what exactly is Mr. Minos, director of Spyral, up to?
Justice League (Selected by Brian Warshaw)
When the Justice League investigates a series of unexplained murders on Earth, it leads them to the frontlines of a war unlike any the DC Universe has ever seen-a battle between the two most powerful villains in existence: Darkseid and the Anti-Monitor! Meet Darkseid’s daughter-a mysterious force of evil with a bizarre connection to the Justice League! Plus: The horrible secret of Superwoman’s baby! The ultimate temptation of Batman! Lex Luthor vs. Superman-no holds barred! New villains! New allies! And so much more in the DC event that has been building since JUSTICE LEAGUE #1!
Best Batman Themed Issues of 2015:
Batman #38 (Selected by Brandon Mulholand)
The Joker is back! This time, no more funny stuff. And in the backup story, five Arkham Asylum escapees share their encounters with The Joker!
“As I read EndGame, I get the feeling that Scott Snyder is telling me the wickedest bedtime story in the history of forever.” – Brandon Mulholand
Batman ’66 #21 (Selected by Jay Yaws)
There’s a new villain in town and even Batman’s rogues gallery trembles at his name: Lord Death Man! Soon, the Dynamic Duo are jetting off to Japan to track him down. The classic villain from the 1960s Batman comics and manga gets the BATMAN ’66 treatment. Don’t miss this landmark moment in Bat-history!
“Great storytelling, plain and simple. There’s nothing about this issue I didn’t like. Pick it up, read it, enjoy it, repeat. Few comics tell their stories so succinctly, so perfectly, and with such high craftsmanship that the opportunity to experience it needs to be seized when it arises. I loved it on my first read, and I loved it even more on my second.” – Jay Yaws
Batman ’66 #30 (Selected by Jay Yaws)
BATMAN ‘66 comes to a close as we unleash cover artist Michael Allred on the entire issue! Mobs of villains arrive in Gotham City for what appears to be a full-blown Criminal Convention. But one bad guy is not happy with how he’s being treated, and decides to tip off Batman and Robin. Will even this valuable bit of information be enough to help the Dynamic Duo overcome the overwhelming odds?
“Balancing story and self-referential humor, this is one of the most fun, concisely told stories I’ve read this year, perhaps even since I began writing for the site. The action is exciting, every joke lands, and there’s plenty here to warrant multiple readings. If you want a single example of what makes Batman ’66 so great, one story to give someone who isn’t sure what this series is all about, give them this. It is all 120 episodes and 36 issues of previous Batman ’66 tales condensed into one exciting package.” – Jay Yaws
Batman & Robin Eternal #7 (Selected by Brandon Mulholand)
The investigation goes global. What answers about Mother are hidden at a ballet in Prague? Grayson, Bluebird and Cassandra Cain are going to find out or die trying.
“Genevieve Valentine lends her talents to Batman&Robin Eternal and completely nails it! Add to that the artistic stylings of Alvaro Martinez (who wasn’t on my radar till now) and you have a duo that delivers an unbeatable tour de force. Valentine provides deep character building moments coupled with genuine suspense, while Martinez provides hauntingly beautiful art that easily guides the reader through this fully realized world.” – Brandon Mulholand
Catwoman #45 (Selected by Josh McDonald)
In the wake of a tragedy, Selina and Eiko try to pick up the pieces. Can they each control their side of the turf war when a shocking development in Selina’s quest to find Batman is revealed?
“Valentine’s Catwoman is everything I want it to be: sexy, smart, and a damn good ride! This is the best we’ve ever seen Selina Kyle!” – Josh McDonald
Convergence: The Question #1 (Selected by Elena Carrillo)
STARRING HEROES FROM THE PRE-FLASHPOINT DCU! Two-Face is fighting another world’s Harvey Dent, and it’s up to Renee Montoya as The Question to help him beat the odds.
“Rucka… sets up the characters in a way that makes them instantly awesome and wholly relatable. The Convergence formula of world vs. world is used to a unique advantage in that it’s not Telos’ invader who is coming to challenge our protagonists for supremacy, but Harvey Dent who’s looking to make trouble in the hopes of putting an end to his disordered life. Buy this and revel in it!” – Elena Carrillo
Gotham Academy #10 (Selected by Brandon Mulholand)
“Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble!” To investigate a suspicious student, Olive and the gang join the school production of Macbeth! But is the play haunted?
“This book hits the perfect sweet spot for me. It has just the right amount of humor, scares, and references to make it stand out as a truly great issue. Add Karl Kerschl’s outstanding visuals to the mix and this becomes an unbeatable tale. The creative team proves once again that they understand the world of Batman almost better than any other team out there right now. They strive to recognize the past while also forging ahead to create something new for the future. I’d even go so far as to say that it epitomizes the best of what a comic should be. If you thought this book was nothing more than a couple of teenage girls at a boarding school, you are sorely mistaken. I can’t recommend this book enough. If you don’t at least pick it up and give it a chance, you only have yourself to blame.”
Gotham by Midnight #9 (Selected by Josh McDonald)
As the Midnight Shift is dragged in for interrogation by Internal Affairs, Dr. Tarr makes a startling discovery that might change everything for Corrigan and The Spectre. But will it be too late?
“It’s been almost exactly a year to the day since I’ve given a comic book a 10/10 review. This book deserves every bit of it… because, emotionally, this book just gets me where I live: Corrigan is shaping up to be a truly tragic figure with a harrowing burden, and although not all the truths have been revealed at this point, the action can only escalate toward a finale of cataclysmic and tragic proportions.” – Elena Carrillo
Gotham by Midnight #10 (Selected by Elena Carrillo)
After the shocking ending of the Internal Affairs investigation into the Midnight Shift, Drake and Corrigan find themselves on the run from the GCPD! Can Corrigan face The Spectre once and for all in order to save Drake—and all of Gotham City?
“Is it hyperbole to say this book is head-and-shoulders above awesome? No, because it’s the truth. This series is rare and special in an ocean of tights and laser beam eyes–and this issue exemplifies why. Fawkes knows exactly where to cut a scene and where to let it breathe, and how to intersperse multiple storylines without it feeling like a formulaic stall. Everything in this book is organic and the result is a reading experience that feels seamless. Add to that Ferreyra’s luscious art and it feels like cinema you can hold in your hand.” – Elena Carrillo
Harley Quinn #23 (Selected by Cat)
It’s all-out action on two fronts as the Gang of Harleys must split up to tackle two missions at the same time! Zena Bendemova’s vendetta against Harley has to be stopped before innocents are caught in the crossfire…and they have to bust Mason Macabre out of prison before he gets killed! There’s no way Harley will be ready for this shocking twist ending, though…
“This is the bloodiest, most violent issue of Harley Quinn yet, but it’s only mildly gratuitous: much of the gore serves the story well and even though I’m no fan of Mason Macabre, I found myself fearing for his life. You also won’t want to miss being in on the cliffhanger turn of events. Even knowing what’s coming, I didn’t exactly see it happening quite like this!” – Elena Carrillo
Injustice: Year Four Annual #1 (Selected by Elena Carrillo)
Tom Taylor (EARTH 2, Superior Iron Man) returns to the series he launched for this one time special event that kicks off the story you’ll see in the upcoming INJUSTICE: GODS AMONG US: YEAR 5. In his efforts to maintain world peace and wipe out crime, Superman has locked up all of Earth’s villains, as well as his enemies (including the Green Lantern Corps), in an undisclosed, impenetrable facility. Now, a surprising new prisoner may have discovered how to free himself and everyone else from this previously inescapable location.
“The wonderful cover by Bruno Redondo is a bit misleading, but Year Five is going to have a stellar storyline based on this set-up and you won’t be disappointed. If the gods and monsters of the last year and a half jaded you a little on what this book has to offer, I can’t encourage you more to pick up this Annual and see if you might not be tempted to dip a toe back into the proverbial Injustice pool.” – Elena Carrillo
Justice League #44 (Selected by Brian Warshaw)
Darkseid versus Anti-Monitor! A corrupted Superman versus Lex Luthor! Myrina Black versus Grail! This chapter of “Darkseid War” has it all—plus an ending that will change the League forever!
“The art is nothing short of stunning, and the plot is quite engaging. This issue finally brought the fight I had been so desperately longing to see.” – Terry Miles Jr.
Midnighter #6 (Selected by Josh McDonald)
Midnighter’s always lived his life believing nothing could ever hurt him-but that was before he let someone he cared about into his world! When a mysterious enemy targets the family of the man he loves, all bets are off…
“Midnighter is a bloody good time, and Orlando delivers every step of the way! If you want an all-encompassing book that will keep you invested, this is it!” – Josh McDonald
Best Non-Batman Themed Books of 2015:
Buffy/ Angel & Faith: Season 10 (Selected by Josh McDonald)
The romantic scene for Buffy and friends amps up in unexpected ways. But personal lives are soon put aside to deal with demons, both real and intangible. Spike struggles with vivid dreams of murder, and Buffy journeys into his mind, discovering the terrifying new face of evil . . .
Faith can’t resist a Deepscan mission in South America when she discovers that it centers around finding missing demon hunter Riley Finn. Faith and Riley have a past, and the girl has got a guilty conscience. When it becomes clear that a tribe of jungle-dwelling vampires are significant to Riley’s disappearance, Faith and her team have to call on their rusty Slayer skills! Across the Atlantic in London’s Magic Town, Amy the Rat has been seeking favors, and Angel is on alert–he knows the witch is after more than she’s letting on . . .
Constantine the Hellblazer (Selected by Elena Carrillo)
The creepy Mr. Rumor and his mysterious employer have executed a hostile takeover of New York’s hottest supernatural nightspot! Now, only John Constantine can help Papa Midnite sneak into his own club to rescue the deadly magical artifacts inside. How is Mr. Rumor’s scheming connected to the destructive magical force that’s been brewing in NYC since our series began? It’s the Hellblazer’s business to find out.
Darth Vader (Selected by Jay Yaws)
The original Dark Lord of the Sith stars in his first ongoing series! Ever since Darth Vader’s first on-screen appearance, he has become one of pop-culture’s most popular villains. Now, follow Vader straight from the ending of A NEW HOPE (and the pages of the new STAR WARS comic book) into his own solo adventures — showing the Empire’s war with the Rebel Alliance from the other side! But when a Dark Lord needs help, who can he turn to? As Vader pursues a very personal vengeance against the Rebels and investigates the Emperor’s secret machinations, he clashes with weapons scavenger Aphra and deadly Battle Droids, and returns to Geonosis to build an army. But some very powerful people don’t want him to learn the truths he seeks! Guest-starring Jabba the Hutt, Boba Fett and more!
Omega Men (Selected by Brian Warshaw)
The Omega Men are back in an all-new series! They’ve murdered White Lantern Kyle Rayner, and now, the universe wants them to pay! Who are these intergalactic criminals—and is there more to their actions than meets the eye?
Rasputin (Selected by Elena Carrillo)
In one night Rasputin was poisoned, beaten, stabbed, shot in the head, and drowned, then tied up and thrown in a frozen river. But how did he get from Siberia to the Winter Palace? And why was it so hard to kill him? A supernatural
Saga (Selected by Cat)
Star Wars-style action collides with Game of Thrones-esque drama in this original sci-fi/fantasy epic for mature readers, as new parents Marko and Alana risk everything to raise their child amidst a never-ending galactic war.
Alright! Now you know our thoughts, let us know yours! Sound off in the comments section below!