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Batman v Superman: five great graphic novels

Posted on 23rd March 2016 by Asa Wheatley
Bookseller Asa Wheatley suggests a list of five Batman and Superman graphic novels in anticipation of the release of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
The Dark Knight Vs the Man of Steel. Clark Kent Vs Bruce Wayne. A God Vs a Man.

This is what will be occupying pop culture for foreseeable future leading up to and, if the film is any good, following the release of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.

In anticipation of its release I thought I'd take a look at some of the best Batman & Superman graphic novels you should read.


The Dark Knight Returns

Although it is only really the second half of this story that actually features Superman and the confrontation between the two icons I could have easily ended the list here. Not only one of the best Batman stories ever written but easily the best show of conflict between two friends who have become enemies. In a not so distant future Bruce Wayne is an ageing man and has hung up his cape and cowl, 10 years prior (after a declaration of the US government forbidding unsanctioned superheroes) until, like all retired heroes, he is dragged back into the fray. Donning his true identity once again Wayne become the Batman, an older and slightly slower Batman but Batman none the less. Superman finds out about this and as the only hero left allowed to 'work' tells Batman to stand down. Then comes the ultimate battle in the pairs history and from the trailers of the new film you can see that the influence for a lot of the style and their conflict came from this story. They were hopefully just smart enough to ignore the books sequel.


Batman Vs Superman: Greatest Battles

This is more for those who want to relive some of the best fights between these heavy hitters. A collection of stories that pit the two against each other, showing time and time again why they are some of the greatest heroes in the DC universe. With that said it does contain spoilers for some excellent stories so maybe read this only if you have a good knowledge of their past as a reminder of these great stories, or if you're not too worried about spoilers and just want to see some kick ass battles.


Public Enemies

The first volume of the fantastic Superman/Batman series from the early 2000s this focused more on the friendship of Batman and Superman and had them working together to fight evils greater than themselves alone. Before the release of the Dark Knight Returns the pair were always shown as best friends, which is what makes DKR so much more powerful in it's depiction of them, but this series brings back that dynamic and does it perfectly. Together they are a force to be reckoned with and yes they still have their differences sometimes but this is where they prevail, not in fighting each other but in working together to achieve something better than both of them. An excellent depiction from superstar writer Jeph Loeb and the crazy talented artist Ed McGuinness. This is sure to be an influence for the latter half of the film and future endeavours when they aren't at each others throats.



Lest we forget that although the film is called Batman V Superman there are a multitude of other important characters within the film, most importantly of all, the Princess of Themyscira herself, Wonder Woman. Trinity was an interesting look at the relationship between the three biggest DC heroes and how they worked in tandem. This series looks back at the meetings of these heroes and their early adventures together but brings new life into these stories and gives a modern audience a perfect starting point. With its Golden Age style Trinity is a brilliant book to start off with if you are looking for a great portrayal of their dynamics and what to expect from their portrayals in the upcoming film.


Justice League: The New Frontier

Veering off course a little and more towards the future of the DC cinematic universe Justice League: The New Frontier is the book to read after you've seen the film. A retelling of the origin of the Justice League by one of the best writer/artists in the comics industry Darwyn Cooke, New Frontier is the best origin story they have ever had and it is hard to image that DC will not be drawing from this for the future of their films. And even if they don't it's an amazing read from start to finish and something to keep you going between films.



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