Folio Society DC Batman Review: A love letter comic book fans didn’t know they needed

Christopher Baggett
Folio Society's DC: Batman collection

Folio Society is back with a new Batman hardback collection, but does this selection of the best Batman stories ever told live up to expectations?

Folio Society has been making some pretty spectacular comic book collections for a while now. I’ve got their Captain America collection on display in my living room, and honestly, it’s just a really gorgeous book to flip through from time to time. 

The recently announced DC: Batman marks their first solo DC Comics collection, following up after several Marvel releases and DC Comics: The Golden Age. With a selection of stories curated by long-time DC publisher Jennette Kahn, DC: Batman aspires to be the definitive collection of Batman stories

On that front, DC: Batman wholeheartedly succeeds. The book runs the gamut from the first appearance in 1939’s Detective Comics #27 all the way through the opening chapters of Knightfall in Batman #492, some 54 years later. 

DC: Batman Key Details

  • Price: $100 (Folio Society Exclusive)
  • Publisher: Folio Society
  • Size: 10×7″, 320 pages with slipcover
  • Release Date: February 20, 2024

Why buy a Batman collection in 2024?

When I first opened the book, I had a bizarre thought: why? It’s 2024, and it’s easier than ever to read these stories thanks to DC Universe Infinite and Comixology’s digital offerings. Why buy a giant hardback copy of these stories now? 

The answer, for me, is the feel of it. As I sit at a desk lit only by open windows as the first breeze of spring air blows through the room, I am 14 again. All the cares in the world peel away as I thumb through this book. Yes, I feel a little cringe as I hear the spine crackling while I turn the pages. Yes, I’m a bit annoyed at how well the book is picking up my fingerprints as I hold it open.

DC: Batman by Folio Society
DC: Batman includes a selection of classic Batman tales and a reprint of Batman #1.

But these momentary concerns vanish once I’m back in worlds crafted by the greatest of all time, names like Bill Finger, Dennis O’Neil, Neal Adams, Alan Grant, Doug Moench, and Norm Breyfogle. And, yes, even Bob Kane. I could easily read these in my web browser or on my phone, but nothing compares to how it felt to hold these pages in my hand and flip through these stories. 

As a collection, some staggeringly huge moments are here. The debut of Robin, the origin of Two-Face, the introduction of Ra’s al Ghul, and the entirety of The Killing Joke kick off some of the biggest in-continuity moments here. There are also the first issues of Batman: Year One and The Dark Knight Returns, two stories that defined how Batman would be portrayed in popular media for decades to come. 

The Joker’s first appearance is included in DC: Batman as a facsimile reprint edition.

A facsimile reprint of Batman #1 rounds out the collection and perhaps provides the best snapshot of early Batman comics. Flipping through the issue with its slew of reprinted ads and backup strips to pad the pages is a truly unique experience that you can’t really get with today’s stories.

The reprint is gorgeous and a really fun way to experience the first appearance of the Joker (and the death he very nearly suffered, had editor Whitney Ellsworth not recognized his value as a character and ordered he survive the story!)

It was truly a joy to flip through these pages and soar through the decades of Batman comics. Older fans will likely get the same ear-to-ear grin on their face I had going through the pages. My first Batman comics were a promotional re-release of The Untold Legend of Batman before I succumbed to the hype of Knightfall, so it was a thrill to re-visit the ‘70s through the ‘90s era of Batman here. 

A Batman collection for Batman’s biggest fans, by Batman’s biggest fans

The collection’s biggest flaw for fans is likely going to be the nature of its later stories. By the time you hit the Batman tales of the ‘80s and ‘90s, comics have evolved beyond the notion of the done-in-one story.

Knightfall, wherein Batman is broken to the point he must temporarily retire, is an incredibly important and exciting Batman tale, but Chapter One is arguably not the most exciting story to end a massive Batman collection on. But what can you do?

Batman reveals his identity in Brave and the Bold #85
DC: Batman includes campy fun tales like The Senator’s Been Shot alongside gritty classics like The Dark Knight Returns.

The book is already starved for space, as Kahn admits in her introduction. There’s not enough room for stories like The Rainbow Batman or Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, so including the yearlong Knightfall arc is definitely out of the question. 

For me, I find it best to view it as an example of how comics have evolved over the years. 1977’s Daughter of the Demon is a done-in-one tale that’s arguably more important to Batman’s narrative than Knightfall, but if it had been published five years later, it definitely would have been a multi-part epic. 

For long-time Batman fans who love the characters and have been reading for years, this likely won’t be an issue, as they can view DC: Batman as a definitive “best of” Batman collection. Even then, obvious big beats are missing.

Robin and Nightwing from Shadow of the Bat #1
Batman’s supporting cast is featured heavily throughout the collection, though some popular characters don’t appear.

While you will see Dick Grayson as both Robin and Nightwing, as well as Tim Drake, Jason Todd is nowhere to be found in this collection. It makes sense, though; the selections for the period where he was Robin are saved for arguably more important stories like Year One, The Killing Joke, and The Dark Knight Returns. 

For new fans, these issues likely will soar right over their heads. The lore doesn’t bog you down when the stories are just good. 1969’s The Senator’s Been Shot! – a campy Brave and the Bold team-up where Batman and Green Arrow inadvertently reveal their identities to the same therapist hours apart while trying to solve a political assassination – is just fun as hell. And yes, Daughter of the Demon and The Dead Yet Live have massive ramifications for Batman down the road, but on their own, they’re just fun reads that give you an idea of the tone and love that went into classic Batman stories. 

Final Verdict: 4/5

Folio Society DC: Batman interior art
Everything about DC: Batman screams vintage Batman

Some of the best creators to ever work on comics are in this book, which contains some of the most important and memorable Batman stories ever told. For me, that makes this a must-have, though longtime Batman fans may be put off by notable stories that are missing. The DC: Batman collection isn’t the cheapest or most practical way to experience these stories today, but as a book to enjoy, share, and show off, this deserves a spot in your collection. 

We were provided a copy of Folio Society DC: Batman by the publisher for review purposes.

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About The Author

Christopher Baggett started writing about comics on the Internet when he was 14 years old. Since then, he's written professionally for a host of sites, including ComicsBeat, Comic Book Resources, and The HomeWorld. He's most knowledgable about the legacy heroes of the '80s and '90s that he grew up with and believes Wally West is the best Flash - and he'll fight anyone over it. For tips, news, press and more, contact Christopher at