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Bat Family Comics, A Beginner’s Reading Order Guide to the crimefighters of Gotham City

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So, you want to read about the Bat Family? Maybe you are a new reader and want to know more about Batman and his many allies. Or you have seen an animated movie and would like to explore further the unique dynamics of the Batman Family. Or, yet, you already know quite a bit but would like to revisit the history of the Batfamily. Whatever your position, there are several ways to approach the Bat Family:

  1. Focusing your reading on one member of the Batfamily! This is maybe the best and simplest approach. You like a character and go on reading many adventures featuring him/her. Along the way, you discover you have quite an interest in another member and do the same. All the main characters from the Batfamily (except Alfred, sorry Alfred!) have their own reading order on the website. Go check out our Batfamily Introduction Guide for this part.
  2. Reading some Comic Books with the Whole Family! Thanks to many Batfamily events and many catastrophes affecting Gotham, the members of the Batfamily have to work together regularly, and you will find in those stories some great interactions between the characters, helping you have a better understanding of the family dynamics. For this part, we made a selection of comics to read.
  3. A Batfamily Reading Order! For the most ambitious reader out there, Comic Book Treasury has just compiled a reading list of many comic books featuring the members of the Batfamily, from the beginning of Batman to the actual era. This is not a complete reading order, but a sort of essential/very long starter pack to know the most important facts there is to know and live some fun adventures with your favorite characters.

Where to Start with the Batfamily? Five Comics Starring the Whole Family

No Man’s Land (1999-2000) – Following a massive earthquake, the US government abandoned Gotham, deeming the city uninhabitable, and ordered the population to evacuate – abandoning those who chose to remain. Batman and his allies have stayed to fight and save Gotham during these dark times, from the isolation to the reconstruction and opening of the city. This whole event featuring the entire Batfamily also introduces Cassandra Cain, the new Batgirl.

Batman: Hush (2003) – A mysterious Hush is determined to destroy Bruce Wayne’s life and his alter ego, Batman. This classic Batman story is often presented as a great entry point for new readers as it features almost all the members of the Batfamily as well as all his rogues gallery (except Bane and Cassandra Cain).

Gates of Gotham (2011) –  Near the end of Dick Grayson’s tenure as Batman, the Dark Knight calls upon the help of Robin, Red Robin, and even Batman, Inc.’s Hong Kong operative, Black Bat, to unravel the sordid history of Gotham.

Batman: The Rise and Fall of the Batmen Omnibus (2016-2018) –  Tynion’s run on Detective Comics in the Rebirth era focused on several members of the Batfamily who don’t always find themselves under the spotlight. With Batwoman at his side, Batman leads a group featuring Spoiler, Orphan, Clayface, Red Robin, and Luke Fox to train them and build a team capable of facing anything.

Batman: Li’l Gotham (2013-2014) – Your out-of-continuity and all-ages comics featuring the whole Batfamily, smaller and cuter.

Batman #136, released in June 2023 – From the creative team of Chip Zdarsky and Jorge Jimenez.

The Big Bat Family Reading Order

The following list is a non-exhaustive reading guide dedicated to the Bat Family, from Batman to the many Robins, Batgirls, and other allies of Batman. The idea is to offer a guide covering everything you need to know about all the members of the Bat Family, with their best stories, whether there are solo adventures, team-ups, as well as the most important event affecting them (unfortunately, not always good). This is a (mostly) Post-Crisis selection, meaning you will not find stories from the Golden or Silver Age.

There are many other tales out there for every character of the Bat Family, some that are quite good, some we maybe have forgotten. Don’t hesitate to leave a comment to tell us if you think we made a mistake or forgot an important issue!

Happy Readings to all of you!

Bat Family Comics Reading Order: The Menu

  1. The First Year of the Batman
  2. Batman no Longer Alone: The Introduction of Robin (and Batgirl)
  3. Dark Times with Jason Todd, the second Robin
  4. The Dark Years, From Knightfall to No Man’s Land
  5. Haunted by The Past: From Hush to Under the Red Hood
  6. The Damian Wayne Saga
  7. A New 52 Batfamily
  8. A Batfamily Rebirth
  9. The Batfamily in Infinite Frontier and Beyond…
  10. Other Batfamily Stories (Elseworlds, Out of Continuity, and more)

The collected editions highlighted in bold in the list below are regarded as the most important. The others can be viewed as more optional, although this is just relative.


Batman Reading Order - Logo 1998

The First Years of Batman

Embark on the journey of Batman’s origin and his relentless crusade against crime in the following tales, ranging from the iconic origin story from Miller and Mazzucchelli to the many (re) introductions of Gotham villains.

  • Batman: Year One – The definitive origin story by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli chronicling Bruce’s first year as Batman. Also available in the Absolute collection.
  • Catwoman: Her Sister’s Keeper – a companion piece to Year One, the miniseries that reintroduced Catwoman.
  • Batman and the Monster Men – Introduces mad scientist Hugo Strange and his creatures, Batman and the Mad Monk has him fight an ancient vampire. Collected in Legends of the Dark Knight: Matt Wagner.
  • Batman and the Mad Monk – Batman is battling the vampiric Monk in another Batman confrontation with supernatural crime and horror by Matt Wagner. Also Collected in Legends of the Dark Knight: Matt Wagner.
  • Batman: Prey – More optional, this is a confrontation between Dark Knight and Dr Hugo Strange.
  • Batman: The Man Who Laughs – This is Ed Brubaker and Doug Mahnke’s one-shot graphic novel featuring Batman’s first meeting with his greatest nemesis, the Joker.
  • Batman: Gothic – From Grant Morrison and Klaus Janson. The Dark Knight Detective is faced with the challenge of overcoming a seemingly immortal adversary, all the while confronting a horror from his own youth.
  • Batman: Venom – This classic Batman story penned by writer Dennis O’Neil introduces the drug Venom. Following Batman’s inability to rescue a young girl, he turns to the drug to overcome his limitations. Yet, as the Dark Knight succumbs to addiction, his life begins to spiral out of control.
This is Batgirl and Robin Year One

Batman no Longer Alone: The Introduction of Robin (and Batgirl)

Batman’s solitary crusade against crime in Gotham City comes to an end as Dick Grayson, the original Robin, joins him in a formidable partnership, forming a dynamic duo. However, Dick is not the only one to put on a costume, as Barbara Gordon is determined o join the ranks of crime fighters to become Batgirl, against the wishes of her police-captain father

  • Batman: The Long Halloween – One of the most iconic Batman stories by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale set in Batman’s earliest years revolving around the search for a holiday-themed serial killer, also serving as an introduction for Two-Face and the crime families. Also collected in Batman by Jeph Loeb & Tim Sale Omnibus.
  • Batman: Turning Points – For those interested in learning more about Batman’s connection with Commissioner James Gordon, this story delves into their history as they work together to combat crime in Gotham.
  • Batman: Haunted KnightContinue to celebrate Halloween with Loeb and Sale with three chilling tales of horror and suspense in which Batman confronts his most twisted and malevolent adversaries.
  • Batman: Dark Victory – The sequel to The Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale. The story revolves around a new serial killer in Gotham named the Hangman murdering police officers and features Dick’s introduction as Robin. Also collected in Batman by Jeph Loeb & Tim Sale Omnibus.
  • Catwoman: When In Rome – Taking place in parallel to Dark Victory (and by the same team), this story centers on Catwoman on a trip to Rome trying to find information about her long-lost parents.
  • Batman Chronicles: The Gauntlet (one-shot) – Dick’s final challenge before he can go on patrol as Robin.
  • Robin: Year OneChuck Dixon and Scotty Beatty recounts the beginning of Dick Grayson’s career as Robin.
  • Batgirl: Year One – The early days of Barbara Gordon as Batgirl by the same team behind Robin: Year One.
  • Batman: Batgirl (one-shot) – Early in her career, Batgirl faces the Joker for the first time in this story written by Kelley Puckett.
  • Batman: Tales of the Demon – Meet one of Batman’s most formidable adversaries; the founder of the League of Assassins known as Ra’s al Ghul in those tales by Dennis O’Neil

Teen Titans Vol.3 (2003-2011) - Reading Order

Not long after becoming Robin, Dick Grayson became one of the founding members of Teen Titans. If you want to know more about this team of sidekicks (at first), you can dive into the recent Teen Titans: Year One By Amy Wolfram and Karl Kerschl, retracing the early days of the Teen Titans.

The young team entered their glory days in the eighties, thanks to Marv Wolfman and George Perez, and If you had one run to read for the team, this is this one! This is during that period that Dick Grayson has a falling out with Batman, leading to an estrangement that would last for years. It will also grow out of his role as Robin became Nightwing for the first time in the classic Teen Titans story, The Judas Contract. The (Almost) Complete run has been collected in Omnibus:

Jason Todd as the second Robin, with Dick Grayson aka Nightwing fighting the bad guys in Nightwing: Year One

Dark Times with Jason Todd, the second Robin

Dick Grayson decides to pursue his crime-fighting solo as Nightwing, and Batman recruits Jason Todd to be the New Robin. This is a dark and difficult period for Batman, marked by several tragedies – from Barbara Gordon’s horrific encounter with the Joker in Killing Joke to the tragic loss of Robin II (also at the hands of the Joker).

Did you know The Outsiders were founded by Batman? Well, the Dark Knight left the Justice League to create his own team of “Outsiders”. He then left the group in issue #32, and the title was changed to The Adventures of the Outsiders. If you want to explore that part, you can read:

  • Batman: The Killing Joke – I share Alan Moore’s view on the fact that The Killing Joke is one of the worst things he has ever written. But it’s also one of the most influential and impactful Batman Books, and Brian Bolland’s art is fabulous.
  • Batman: The Cult – One of the greatest stories of Jason Todd during his time as Robin.
  • Batman: A Death in the Family – Should the Boy Wonder die? A page of Comic book (and Batman)’s history was written when readers were given the choice to vote to decide Robin’s fate. Also collects A Lonely Place of Dying, in which Tim Drake is introduced.
Batman A Lonely Place of Dying

The Dark Years, From Knightfall to No Man’s Land

Batman needs a Robin and this new Robin is Tim Drake, who is introduced in A Lonely Place of Dying (see above!). As Tim Drake took on the mantle, Batman faced many events, from an enemy determined to break him, physically and mentally, to the many disasters hitting Gotham City – with a virus and an earthquake. The Bat Family expands noticeably in those times, with the introduction of Azrael, Stephanie Brown/Spoiler, The Huntress and Cassandra Cain/The New Batgirl.

Zero Hour DC Event Comic Reading Order

Zero Hour: A Crisis in Time – Set before Batman #512 during Batman: KnightsEnd. All of reality comes under attack when a mysterious force of entropy begins slowly erasing time itself—making its way from both the past and future toward the present! As history itself unravels around them, the heroes of the world—including Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, The Justice Society, and the Titans—scramble to fix the broken timestream. But even if they stop the true source of the chaos, the world they save will never be the same! For this event, check out the tie-in Batman: Zero Hour!

  • Batman: Contagion – A deadly plague strikes Gotham, and the whole Batfamily must race to contain the chaos while finding a cure.
  • Batman: Legacy Volume 1 – the sequel to Contagion with Batman and his allies who race to solve a riddle from the distant past that threatens to erase all of mankind’s tomorrow
  • Batman: Legacy Volume 2 – The race continues and leads Batman to confront the man who broke the Bat.

Nightwing Reading Order (Icon)Following his stint as Batman, Nightwing stars in his first solo series with a new costume. It starts with the Nightwing miniseries, scripted by Dennis O’Neil and illustrated by Greg Land, followed by the renowned Chuck Dixon’s run with arts by Scott McDaniel. Those stories are all collected in trade paperbacks.

Young Justice Logo (Reading Order)

While Nightwing is flying solo, Tim Drake continues to live his own adventures but also starts his own team with his friends Superboy and Impulse: The Young Justice! An iconic run penned by Peter David and Todd Nauck.

Grant Morrison JLA Reading Order - JLA Logo

The Justice League of America (with Batman, obviously!) sets up headquarters on the moon to protect the Earth for one of the most transformative runs in the history of the team! Under the creative team of Grant Morrison and Howard Porter, they face classic threats including the White Martians, the Injustice Gang, and the Key, along with new foes like Prometheus and Mageddon.

No Man’s Land Covers

Cassandra Cain Reading Order - Batgirl LogoUnder the tutelage of Barbara Gordon—the original Batgirl herself—, Cassandra Cain must find a new purpose and make amends for her violent past in her solo series while Bruce Wayne is accused of murder and The Huntress’s origins are revisited.

Batman Reading Order: Gotham Central

Gotham Central starts here. From Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka. This series only featured Batman as a background player, but it’s still one of the greatest series in the Batverse.

Batman and Catwoman by Jim Lee for Batman: Hush

Haunted by The Past: From Hush to Under the Red Hood

The Past comes to haunt Bruce Wayne as he faces a mysterious enemy who wants to destroy him and is confronted by a figure from the past.

  • Catwoman of East End Omnibus – Catwoman is back with her new solo series, from Darwyn Cooke and Ed Brubaker. The most celebrated run of the character in one big book!
  • Batman: Hush – This modern classic penned by Jeph Loeb and illustrated by Jim Lee unveils a conspiracy involving nearly every member of Gotham’s rogues’ gallery, designed to strike at the very core of Bruce Wayne’s existence.
  • Birds of Prey: Murder and Mystery – Gail Simone’s famous run on the Birds of Prey starts here. 

We will not expand too much on War Games, known as the Worst Batfamily Event Ever. Unfortunately, it is a story needed to understand later events. At this stage, you can still read it (maybe you will like it) or go on a Wiki to read about it. Maybe one day, we’ll write about it!

Identity Crisis icon

Identity Crisis – After the spouse of a member of the Justice League of America is brutally murdered, the entire superhero community searches for the killer, fearing their loved ones may be the next targets. But before the mystery is fully solved, long-buried secrets of the heroes rise to the surface, threatening to tear apart and divide the heroes before they can bring the mysterious killer to justice.

  • Batman: Under the Red Hood –  Batman is confronted with a figure from the past— the vigilante Red Hood who appears to be Batman’s one-time partner Jason Todd, the same Jason Todd that died many years ago. A Classic Jason Todd’s story written by Judd Winick, also quite famous for his celebrated animated adaptation. Infinite Crisis takes place concurrently with the story.
  • Red Hood: Lost Days – After bringing him back, Winick explores the missing years from Jason Todd’s life.

Infinite Crisis Logo Reading Order

Infinite Crisis –  OMAC robots are rampaging, magic is dying, villains are uniting, and a war is raging in space. And in the middle of it all, a critical moment has divided Earth’s three greatest heroes: Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. It’s the DCU’s darkest day, and long-lost heroes from the past have returned to make things right in the universe… at any cost. Heroes will live, heroes will die, and the DCU will never be the same again! It’s a big event, but not heavy for Batman or the Batfamily. So you can simply read the main event.

  • Batman/Two Face: Face the Face – After a year of absence, the Dynamic duo is back in Gotham City and Batman must ask himself if the man he entrusted to carry on in his place has confused justice with vengeance.
Batman and Robin by Frank Quitely

The Damian Wayne Saga

Grant Morrison starts his iconic Batman run by introducing a new member into the family and he is quite a little brat! Meet Damian Wayne, who just has been dropped off at Wayne Manor by his mother Talia, to be raised now by his father, Batman!

Flash Barry Allen - Flashpoint Reading Order

Flashpoint – This is the end of the Modern Age/Post-Crisis era. Flashpoint is ending the continuity of New Earth and leading into the New 52 relaunch. It’s a Flash event, but it introduced Thomas Wayne as Batman in an altered DC Universe that will have an impact in the future. You’ll find the reading order here.

Nightwing wants to talk with Batman in Batùan (Vol. 2) #16, and he is not the only one.

A New 52 Batfamily

Everyone is younger, a little bit edgier and darker in DC’s New 52 era, as Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s run on Batman introduces us to the Court of Owls and revisit Batman’s early days while Bruce must learn to work with his son Damian in Tomasi & Gleason’s run on Batman and Robin.  Before completely leaving Batman, Morrison will left with a bang – or mostly a tragedy that will shake the Batfamily. All of the most important stories of this era are collected in omnibus!

Warning! Both series need to be stopped at issue #17 to avoid any major spoilers. At this point, you need to conclude Morrison’s run on Batman with the second Batman Incorporated series, collected in Batman by Grant Morrison Omnibus Vol. 3

  • You can resume your reading of Snyder and Capullo’s run with the Zero Year storyline in which Duke Thomas (destined to become The Signal) is introduced.
  • You can resume your reading of Tomasi and Gleason’s run on Batman and Robin.
  • Batman by Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo Omnibus Vol. 2 – The second part and conclusion of Snyder and Capullo’s run with a new Batman.
  • After more than 20 years as Oracle, DC reestablished Barbara Gordon as Batgirl with Gail Simone as the helm of the series, in which Babs is struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder. The whole run has been collected in Batgirl Returns and takes place in parallel to Snyder and Capullo. you can read it after to avoid any Batman spoilers.
  • J.H. Williams’s solo work on Batwoman is gathered in the Batwoman Omnibus (also collecting her origins). It’s important to note that he unexpectedly stopped working on the books due to a disagreement with DC’s editors, and there isn’t a clear ending to his story
  • In this era, Steph was reintroduced in Batman Eternal, while Cass made her return in Batman & Robin Eternal, but we think those are still optional (and not that compelling) reading.
  • For some good Catwoman stories in this period, turn your attention towards Genevieve Valentine’s run collected in The Keeper of the Castle and Inheritance
  • Robin: Son of Batman Vol. 1 – Damian goes on a journey to atone for his past crimes.
  • We are Robin and Robin War are passable stories but help define Duke Thomas and his future place in the Batfamily.
  • Robin: Son of Batman Vol. 2 – Follow-up and conclusion to Damian’s first solo series.
Batman and Batwoman leads a team of young vigilantes in Detective Comics. Art by Eddy Barrows & Eber Ferreira.

A Batfamily Rebirth

  • Tom King became Batman’s main writer for the Rebirth era. His run focused in part on Bruce/Selina’s relationship with all that failed wedding arc, for those interested to know more about it. We mostly gave up quickly this run, so we don’t recommend it, but you are free to explore this part if you want. It’s also during the first arc (see Batman Vol. 1: I Am Gotham) that Duke receives his suit.
  • Batman: The Rise and Fall of the Batmen Omnibus – Batman and Batwoman train young vigilantes in James Tynion’s run on Detective Comics, collecting also the first Batman crossover event of the Rebirth era (Batman: Night of the Monster Men).
    • Batman & the Signal – A miniseries focusing on Duke’s training and the duo fighting crimes as Batman and Signal.
    • It can be hard to be a Jason Todd fan, as great stories are few and far between. The first four volumes of Red Hood and the Outlaws, set during the first part of the Rebirth era, delivers some decent stories.
    • For the first five volumes of Nightwing, Tim Seeley was in charge of rebuilding Nightwing’s identity for the Rebirth era. A mostly enjoyable run, delivering some solid storylines and some less good. You can stop after his departure – and avoid as much as possible the ‘Ric’ period.
  • Batman forms a new team consisting of Katana, Orphan (aka Cass), The Signal. And their leader Black Lightning in the new Batman and the Outsiders
  • Batman: City of Bane is Tom King’s last story arc on Batman, and he left after killing a dear member of the Batfamily!
  • Batman and the Outsiders continues in A League of Their Own and concludes with The Demon’s Fire.
  • Post City of Bane, dive into Ram V’s run on Catwoman, collected in three volumes: Come Home, Alley Cat, Valley of the Shadow of Death, and Fear State.

The Rebirth era concluded with Dark Nights: Metal and its follow-up, Dark Nights: Death Metal, which introduces the villain The Batman Who Laughs and goes on to explore the Dark Universe of DC Comics. Those stories are not my cup of tea, but some people dig them, so I let you decide if you want to take that wacky journey.

The Batfamily in Infinite Frontier and Beyond…

Coming Soon!

Infinite Frontier was not that long ago before DC started the “Dawn of DC” Initiative. This section will be updated at a later date. Thank you for your patience!

Batman Reading Order - Logo 1998

Other Batfamily Stories (Elseworlds, Out of Continuity and more)

Last Updated on May 23, 2024.

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