So Warner Brothers was apparently so impressed by Ben Affleck’s version of Batman, that he might star in and direct a trilogy of movies. No matter if you like or dislike Affleck’s Batman, however, you have to admit that Batman has already had seven movies (eight if you count the continuation of the campy TV show, nine if you count Batman v. Superman), so making another one without copying something from a previous movie might be a hard thing to do. But there are storylines that haven’t been used that might work wonderfully as a movie. Here are five of them.
“The Court of Owls,” Batman vol. 2, Issues #1-11
Written by Scott Snyder, art by Greg Capullo
Here is a recent story (from 2011) that would work pretty well as a movie. The plot is fairly straightforward: there is an ancient conspiracy in Gotham called the Court of Owls, who use superhuman assassins named Talons. Bruce Wayne has long thought them simply an urban legend (I know, the irony), until he begins his project to revitalize Gotham and they target him.
Pros: It’s recent, it’s really good, and it included a lot of tie-ins to other comics like Batgirl and Nightwing, so we could have a lot of cameos from the Batfamily.
Cons: None of Batman’s iconic foes make any appearance, so the filmmakers might hesitate to use it. Also, the animated movie Batman vs. Robin was based on it.
“Dark Knight, Dark City,” Batman vol. 1, Issues #452-454
Written by Peter Milligan, art by Kieron Dwyer
This story is slightly older (it was published in 1990), but it’s about the Riddler. It’s a much, much darker take on the Riddler than normal, however, and a very different take than the one in Batman Forever.
In this story, the Riddler tries to turn Batman insane through the summoning of a “bat demon” named Barbados. It also explores the history of Gotham City and it’s occultish roots.
Pros: A new, different take on the Riddler, fitting into the whole darker take with the DC Extended Universe.
Cons: Perhaps a bit too much mysticism. After all, it involves summoning a demon and (SPOILERS) a demonic possession. Also, I don’t know how dark the WB wants to get, but at one point, Batman is forced to slice a baby’s throat (for a tracheotomy, but still).
“Hush,” Batman vol. 1, Issues #608-619
Written by Jeph Loeb, art by Jim Lee
Here’s a pretty well known storyline filled to the brim with classic, iconic Batman villains. In fact, pretty much all of Batman’s villains make an appearance (including a retroactive appearance by Jason Todd), although they all turn out to be pawns for a new villain named, of course, “Hush.”
The plot is pretty simple: “Hush” is trying to ruin Batman’s life. He does this in myriad ways while Batman tries to figure out who Hush is (and also see if he can be in a relationship with Catwoman). Hint: Hush is that one guy that shows up and everyone knows who he is, but he has never appeared before.
Pros: A well known story, lots of iconic Bat villains, and lots of appearances by the Batfamily (and even an appearance by Superman who is brainwashed by Poison Ivy, allowing him and Batman to fight again).
Cons: Not actually that good a mystery. Pretty much everyone can figure out who the bad guy is as soon as he shows up. (Also, Hush is kind of silly. He’s “Surgeon Mummy Trenchcoat Plato Guy.”) Although the Riddler’s appearance was a surprise and a very neat use of the character.
“Gothic,” Legends of the Dark Knight vol. 1, Issues #6-10
Written by Grant Morrison, art by Klaus Janson
Here’s an interesting one to use: before Morrison’s long run on Batman, he wrote this shorter storyline that included a lot of the same themes.
In “Gothic,” Batman goes up against Mister Whisper, a man who apparently sold his soul to the Devil so he could live for 300 years. This ties in with both the history of Gotham (again) and Bruce Wayne’s own history when he was a schoolboy.
Pros: A very dark story, basically gothic horror (hence the name) with Batman. Mister Whisper is a very scary villain, even if he isn’t well known.
Cons: So yeah, he’s not well known and neither is this story. No other iconic villains appear and Morrison basically reused the concept of Mister Whisper for his later villain, Doctor Hurt.
“Batman R.I.P,” Batman vol. 1, Issues #676-681
Written by Grant Morrison, art by Tony Daniel
This is if Ben Affleck wants to really go crazy. “Batman R.I.P.” was basically the culmination of Morrison’s first run on Batman, pulling together his previous storylines “The Black Glove” and “The Clown at Midnight.” Also: it’s fucking insane. In a good way.
The plot is this: the Black Glove, a group of rich supervillains led by Doctor Hurt, have decided to torment Batman. They break into the Batcave and drug him. In response, Batman dresses up in a rainbow outfit and runs around Gotham City with a baseball bat calling himself “the Batman of Zurr-En-Arrh.” It’s crazy, it’s wonderful, and it also includes the Joker being creepy and awesome.
Pros: Includes a great interpretation of the Joker (who isn’t even the main villain) and some great action set pieces, including one of Batman escaping from being buried alive.
Cons: Did I mention that it was fucking insane? “The Batman of Zurr-En-Arrh” isn’t even the last of it — the story also includes Batmite, who may or may not be a figment of Batman’s imagination. Also, Morrison packs the entire story with so many references to past Batman stories, it’s kind of hard to keep track of what’s relevant and what’s not. But it’s also awesome.