BATMAN: YEAR ONE
(We won't even discuss Pat Hingle...)
BATMAN: THE LONG HALLOWEEN & BATMAN: DARK VICTORY
These are two of my absolute favorites, in part because Tim Sale's artwork is enough to make me stare in awe for hours. Meanwhile, when you're not drooling over the pages, you get wrapped up in a plot of mystery & murder, watching as The Great Detective desperately pushes himself to his limits to stop the madness. Each has a character's origin story at its center, with a wide periphery of villains & allies alike, so you get a good taste of Gotham at its most fantastic. If you find you enjoy these two, seek out Batman: Haunted Knight, another Loeb & Sale collaboration.
(Chuck Dixon, Doug Moench, Alan Grant)
JLA: TOWER OF BABEL
(Mark Waid, Dan Curtis Johnson, Christopher Priest, John Ostrander)
Look at the cover of this comic & tell me that it doesn't look like it needs to be read. I dare you. After a weird opening bit about... really tiny people... this comic really gets going. For people more familiar with other characters in the Justice League, this may be a more comfortable place to start reading about Batman than the more dark & brooding tales that I've already listed, but we can all learn a bit about The Dark Knight's soul by reading this tale about how one of Batman's greatest strengths gets used against him by one of his most brilliant enemies, the way Batman feels about the other JLA members & how they feel about him. It's a great way to get to know what defines him & his perspective.
Article by Valerie Minnich. Many thanks for your kickass Bat-contribution!
Follow Valerie on Twitter @the_valerie