What’s the best Batman starting point for the “Modern Age”? (1986 to 2011)?
“Batman: Year One” (1986)
The trilogy of “Contagion”, “Legacy”, “No Man’s Land” (aka “Late 90’s Batman”).
“Bruce Wayne: Fugitive” and “Hush” (aka “Early 2000’s Batman”)
“Batman and Son” (aka “Late 2000’s Batman”)
I’m torn between going back to the late 80’s, or some point in the 90’s, or maybe early 2000’s. I’m kinda thinking starting with “Batman and Son” is too late (as the “Reboot” to the “New 52” was just around the corner by that point).
For Modern Age Batman, I would suggest you start with Year One. It hasn’t stopped being Batman’s origin in all that time.
Edit: @CKComics did a timeline for Batman recently. It’s not necessarily a reading order, but it contains most of the major modern stories. Picking from it in order might be a good way to go about your reading:
Batman tends to be not affected by reboots so Batman has a pretty long history. From golden age to early bronze age, the Robin was Dick Grayson. In the late bronze age, the robin was Jason Todd. Post crisis, the robin changed to Tim Drake. Stephanie Brown was Robin briefly. Because of Batman And Son, the robin became Damian Wayne. The new 52 reboot did not affect batman history that much. The movies have chosen to focus on the current robin so the movies are starting with Batman And Son. Where to start depends on interest in seeing how many robins. I started in the early bronze age so I remember when Dick Grayson was young and was Robin. If want to see the earliest fights with Dr Death, Monk, Professor Hugo Strange, Joker, Catwoman, Clayface, Professor Radium, Penguin, Two Face, Scarecrow, Crime Doctor, Cavalier, Martian Sax Gola, Mad Hatter, Tweedledee Tweedledum, Riddler, Deadshot, Killer Moth, etc. can start from the golden age. Alfred, Julie Madison, Linda Page and Vicki Vale started in the golden age.
It’s definitely Year One. But if you don’t want to go back that far, you can start with Hush, Batman & Son, or the New Gotham era (2000). None of those are reboots but they are all soft resets of the mythos that break stylistically with what came before them.