The Greatest Stories Ever Told

Authors: Various
Artists: Various
Titan Books
RRP 12.99
ISBN 1 84576 038 7
Available 23 May 2005

over 60 years, one man has ruled the Gotham night, striking fear into the hearts of the venal, the superstitious, the cowardly: he is the Batman. Now, in this collection of classic Batman tales, written and illustrated by some of the greatest talents in comics, readers will experience the thrills and chills, triumphs and tragedies of the Dark Knight's long career protecting the innocent and punishing the guilty. These are the stories that have ensured his enduring popularity...

The Greatest Stories Ever Told collects, under one cover, what are claimed to be 12 of the best Batman stories ever told. Personally I take great exception to this claim. Who says these are the 12 greatest tales? Well, it would appear from the introduction that Les Daniels (who he?) says so. Daniels who is so well known and respected that after his introduction it spells out for those of us not in the know that he is: "the author of seven books on comics." So that makes him a Batman expert does it? Is his memory that good or did he really sit through and read all of the Batman tales in order to narrow down these 12 stories?

The problem is that collections like this are very subjective - it is a personal thing and no one (and I mean no one) will agree that these 12 tales represent the greatest 12 Batman stories ever committed to paper. There are epic tales which obviously don't get a look in because of their size (Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns being the most obvious example) and most of the stories collected here are old and have not aged all that well.

If you want to decide for yourself which are the greatest Batman stories ever told, you might be better off collecting Titan's other series (Batman Chronicles). Volume One was released this month (May 2005) and reprints, for the first time, every comic book appearance of the Batman in chronological order.

Sadly what The Greatest Stories Ever Told is really all about is cashing in on the new movie - attracting new readers to the world of the Batman. Serious fans might like to give this one a wide berth.

Nick Smithson

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