Batman is (arguably) DC Comics’ world’s greatest detective and there’s proof of that aplenty in the comics and animated series. The movies, not-so-much. With a 70+ year sequential art history, how do you boil down the Dark Knight’s slickest moments as a sleuth? It’s simple. Read a lot of Batman, pick six, and write about them. It’ll never be the greatest six picks because Bats is a badass when it comes to investigating and has a lot of spectacular sleuthing moments. No doubt that Bats deserves his title as the world’s greatest detective.
Six Times Batman Showed Off His Deductive Badassery
Detective Comics Annual #2
In “Blood Secrets,” writers Mark Waid and Bryan Augustyn crafted a low-key, grim, noir-ish story of a young Bruce Wayne assisting seasoned detective Harvey Harris on a case. Bruce is learning the ropes of how to be an investigator, but his sharp mind is put on display several times. No spoilers, but in one key moment, Bruce deduces information before it’s revealed to Harris, surprising the veteran detective.
Superman Batman Annual #1
Writer Joe Kelly took Batman and Superman’s first encounter (from Superman #76) and “spiced” things up. The book beautifully parallels the differences between the characters but also why they work so well together. It’s all framed with a running gag of sorts about each hero trying to figure out the identity of the other. Batman lines his cowl with lead, making Superman’s X-Ray vision useless. However, Supers, aka Clark Kent, can’t hide old yearbook photos or his chin. Batman deduces that Kent and Superman are the same person by the precise similarity of their jaws.
Batman: Black & White “Perpetual Morning”
A short, simple story (and free on Comixology!)is rich with Batman being a detective. The Dark Knight spends the entire story examining a body, figuring out clues, discovering who the victim is and what happened to her. It’s Batman doing detective work in its simplest form, like a short episode of a forensic science show.
Batman Eternal #46
Batman Eternal, a series from several writers who pit the Dark Knight against Ras al Gul. In part, it’s all literally a test by Gul to best the world’s greatest detective. However, even while under the influence of hallucinogenic gas and frequencies disrupting even his bat computers, Batman is able to figure out he’s dealing with illusions. The Caped Crusader navigates his way through the hallucinations to find the who’s behind it all.
The Earth is under assault from mythic forces. As the JLA assembles, the quest to figure out what’s going on, the threat grows even greater. Writer Joe Kelly reaches our list again by making Batman the one to figure out a pattern in the sea and sky. Batman’s brain saves the day once again when the real villain is revealed.
Detective Comics #790
A terrible drug is reaching across the city like tendrils of death. Batman is on the case and not being gentle about it. Writer Andersen Gabrych makes this a sort of buddy-cop movie with Bats and Batgirl working together. At one point, Batman knows Batgirl is following him and uses it to his advantage.