The hype surrounding Matt Reeves’s The Batman has been steadily escalating since the first trailer dropped at DC Fandome in 2020. With various people involved in the project, claiming that it will be like nothing anyone has ever seen in a Batman movie, it raises a rather interesting question.
After the movie releases in 2022, what comes next? If fans want more of the caped crusader, there are a lot of excellent, sometimes overlooked, stories from Batman’s lengthy comic book history that could point fans in the right direction. With a trilogy all but confirmed, now’s a good time to take a look at some stories that could inspire the movie’s sequel.
9 Robin: Year One
Although Chuck Dixon isn’t as popular as he once was, the Robin: Year One miniseries he wrote with Scott Beatty (with the art drew by Javier Pulido) has proven to be memorable as it is a fun look at Dick Grayson’s early years as Robin and explores his arc in more depth.
With The Batman taking place during The Dark Knight’s early years, it makes sense that a sequel will feature Robin’s debut. If that story were to be told, Robin: Year One would be an excellent place to mine inspiration from, as it could elevate The Boy Wonder, as well as villains like Two-Face and The Mad Hatter.
8 Dark Knight, Dark City
On the opposite spectrum in terms of tone is “Dark Knight, Dark City,” a story that is more in line with The Batman’s mood. In the story, The Riddler begins enacting bizarre rituals to summon an eldritch demon known as Barbatos, with Batman being the only person who can stop him.
A story that both features The Riddler and comments on the dark dealings from Gotham’s past, Peter Milligan and Kieron Dwyer’s epic yarn could be adapted into a direct sequel to Matt Reeves’s film. Also, it could cement Paul Dano’s Riddler as one of Batman’s greatest foes.
7 The Man Who Laughs
Of course, there can’t be a successful Batman series without The Joker showing up at least once. As it’s too early in the timeline to adapt The Killing Joke, Ed Brubaker and Doug Mahnke’s story Batman: The Man Who Laughs works better for the current film universe.
Retelling Batman’s first clash with The Joker in a more modern style, the story is a detective story, fitting perfectly with what the new film is going for. Also, after Joaquin Phoenix’s more out-of-the-box portrayal of The Clown Prince of Crime, it would be refreshing to see a more classic version of the character on the big screen.
6 Mr. Freeze
Mr. Freeze’s reputation was slightly smudged after Batman & Robin, but the character’s legacy was forever saved by Paul Dini’s writing in the Batman: The Animated Series episode “Heart of Ice.” Along with art by Mark Buckingham, Dini retold the story in the form of Batman: Mr. Freeze, perhaps giving Warner Bros. the perfect blueprint for their next big bad.
Mr. Freeze is one of Batman’s most tragic villains, something that Matt Reeves could succeed in showcasing in a way that Joel Schumacher never could. Also, after using The Riddler in the first movie, the next movie probably should give screentime to another villain the previous movie wronged. Who better than Mr. Freeze?
5 The Court Of Owls
The Court of Owls was one of the best things that The New 52 brought to DC Comics and it would make sense that they should increase their multimedia appeal. While the narrative of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s “Court of Owls” storyline is perfect for the big screen, “Court of Owls” should be adapted for a far more personal reason.
“Court of Owls” drags Bruce Wayne over the coals, making him realize that he doesn’t know Gotham or his family nearly as well as he thought he did. With the previous Batman films show the villains more than the title character, these new films perhaps need to correct that mistake.
4 Fear Of Success
Scarecrow is one of Batman’s best villains, yet none of the franchise’s spin-off media has really given him his due, often undermining him by associating him with another villain. A new franchise offers up a new opportunity to fix that, with perhaps one of his greatest stories being “Fear of Success.”
Written by Devin Grayson with art by various stellar artists, “Fear of Success” sees Scarecrow being asked to give a lecture on the connection between fear and success, but when things naturally go awry, Scarecrow injects Batman with a fear toxin that affects his perception of reality. It’s a simple, but interesting story that could really repair Scarecrow’s onscreen reputation.
3 Eye Of The Beholder
The current whereabouts of Harvey Dent in this universe remain unknown, as actor Peter Skarsgard is allegedly playing a completely different D.A. in the film. But should The Batman be a pre-Two-Face film, a proper adaptation of his origins could be in order.
It is a tad too early to adapt The Long Halloween, both because of its ties to The Dark Knight Trilogy and writer Jeph Loeb’s tarnished standing, so Andrew Helfer and Chris Sprouse’s “Eye of The Beholder” is a good replacement. Retelling Two-Face’s origin but with more depth, the story showed how Harvey’s descent into villainy was due to a real tragedy occurring in his life.
2 The Cult
Though he’s known for his work for Marvel, Jim Starlin’s work on Batman has also been met with acclaim. While “A Death In The Family” is his most famous story, the miniseries The Cult is perhaps his greatest work. Accompanied by art by the late Bernie Wrightson, the story sees Batman be indoctrinated into an underground cult before starting a war to end it. The story is probably the darkest Batman story during a period of dark Batman stories.
Naturally, such a dark story would make executives nervous, but it totally fits with The Batman’s tone, which is apparently much darker than prior films. Also, as the movie doesn’t have a typical Bat-Villain, Deacon Blackfire could subvert fan and studio expectations.
1 The Ra’s Al Ghul Saga
Ra’s Al Ghul appeared in Batman Begins, but the film didn’t really present an accurate version of the character. Created by Dennis O’ Neil and Neal Adams, Ra’s Al Ghul’s introduction into Batman’s life took Batman out of his comfort zone, taking him out of Gotham and tossing him into globetrotting adventures.
Should The Batman’s dark tone not work, adapting O’Neil and Adams’ Ra’s Al Ghul stories could be a nice way to differentiate the sequel from the film that spawned it. Besides, these Batman movies already differ from Nolan’s, so it would make sense that these movies would deviate further by embracing the more sci-fi aspects of Batman’s mythos like The Lazarus Pit and The League of Assassins, contrasting this Ra’s Al Ghul from Liam Neeson’s more grounded version.