5. Watchmen by Alan Moore
Time included Watchmen in its 100 Greatest Novels of all Time and I just can't help myself to include this here as well. The story is set in an alternative 1970's where heroes have now been outlawed and the government continues to operate and regulate state-sanctioned heroes such as The Comedian and Doctor Manhattan. But when one of these heroes dies what follows is a series of events that brings the world together in the pursuit of peace. A brilliant novel with a great plot but be warned, the story can get complicated and needs a little patience and effort.
4. Marvel's Civil War by Mark Millar
With the Marvel Cinematic Universe taking center stage, Civil War feels like a movie made for the cinematic universe (I wouldn't be surprised if they do adapt it). Pitting heroes against heroes, Civil War tries to follow Watchmen by taking a different approach in containing and regulating heroes. The repercussions of this story would affect the Marvel comic universe with Captain America dying and the superhero dynamics for good.
3. Marvels by Alex Ross
What would happen when the everyday man lives in a world populated by superheroes? Well it makes for an interesting story of the implications of how heroes who affect the lives of people in so many different ways. Captured through the lenses of Phil Sheldon, he takes his readers for a ride to the golden age of superheroes to the modern day. Exploring various themes and the mythos of Marvel, Marvels is a must-have for any Marvel collector.
2. The Killing Joke by Alan Moore
Alan Moore is best known for reinventing and creating new stories worthy of creating new histories of iconic characters. In this case, the Joker, a once down-on-his-luck comedian who becomes an unwilling accomplice to a crime that turns him into the Joker. What follows is Joker's struggle to show how the same fate can happen to anybody.
1. Batman: The Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb
The Long Halloween is another seminal story in the Dark Knight's history, presented through a series of murders spread across different holidays. The murders confound the Dark Knight as he tries to establish himself as the protector of the city and works with allies to bring balance and justice to a crime and mafia-controlled Gotham.
V for Vendetta by Alan Moore, Wolverine: Origin, Marvel 1602 by Neil Gaiman, Batman: Year One by Frank Miller, and Kingdom Come by Alex Ross.