The second volume is DC Comics' Batman: The Greatest Stories Ever Told, proves to be vastly superior to first, featuring stories culled over a period of sixty-plus years of Dark Knight history. While the stories are usually presented chronologically, this one deviates slightly in order to present the origin of the Golden Age Batman as the first story. This story was originally published in Secret Origins in 1986 and is written by Roy Thomas with art by Marshall Rogers. It's an interesting inclusion, serving to remind modern day readers of the "other" Batman.
Sadly, only one Golden Age story is included but it's a gem. From Batman #1,the caped crusader faces off against Professor Hugo Strange who he encountered for the first time in Detective Comics #36 a couple of months earlier. Strange has escaped from prison and also helped free five insane patients from an asylum. He uses a growth hormone to turn them into hulking monsters. Artist Bob Kane was certainly interested by popular films of the era. His monsters look very similar to Universal's Frankenstein monster and later one climbs to the top of a very tall building while Batman attacks him from the Batplane in an ode to King Kong. It's a great story and Kane's art is superb.
Now jump ahead a couple of decades to the late 50's and early 60's for the next two stories from Batman #108 (1957) and #153 (1963). These two stories with more simplistic art by Sheldon Moldoff are in complete contrast to Kane's darker style. Also by this time, Batman was in his phase of battling silly alien threats. I've never been a fan of these stories as they just don't fit Batman's persona.
In other stories, Batman teams with Helena Wayne, the Huntress of Earth-2 (in a Pre-Crisis story from 1982) and discovers his father may have been involved with the Gotham mob. Batman literally has "All My Enemies Against Me" as he and Robin face-off against The Joker, Clayface, Two-face, Killer Croc, The Riddler, Scarecrow, and several other from Detective Comics #526.
One of the best stories In the collection is Cave Dwellers where Batman plays second fiddle to Batgirl in one of the first modern day, revisionist encounters between the pair. The noir-ish art by Marcos Martin is outstanding, as is the story by veteran scribe Chuck Dixon.