Sunday, 21 October 2012

Legends of the Dark Knight #1

Back in the late 80’s DC launched Legends of the Dark Knight and it quickly became (in my opinion) the must read bat book each month, each story arc had a different writer and artists and told stories from Batman’s past, present and future. Some of the best Batman stories you can read were in that book, stand-outs for me were Gothic, Venom, and the Joker story Going Sane to name but a few. Sadly the book was cancelled in 2007, but 5 years later and Legends is back with what looks like similar format as the original.
The first issue has 3 short storys in it, my review of all 3 is below.

The Butler did it:

This first story sees a Batman only 6 months into his crime fighting career, a Batman who is confident, so confident in fact he is bordering on arrogant.
While out on a roof top patrol Bat’s looks down a side street to see a family been held up by a lone gun man, the family consist of a father, mother and small boy seeing parallels with the death of his own family he jumps straight in to the mix. Only to find things are not what it seems, someone is using Batman’s weakness of his parents’ death against him to make a point. After taking a beating we see a flashback of Bruce telling Alfred that unlike the other heroes he has no vulnerability, he has no powers and all powers have a vulnerability as he is just a man with no powers that gives him the advantage. Alfred tells Bruce that everyone has a vulnerability so Bruce offers Alfred a Dollar bet if he can name his, as Alfred walks away an arrogant Bruce says '' that's what I thought''.
The title of the story probably gives away who it is that teaches Batman a humbling and painful lesson that he does in fact have a weakness, its a nice short story by writer Damon Lindelof add to that Jeff Lemires art and you have a very satisfying read.

All of the above:
Batman is on monitor duty in the JLA satellite when it is invaded by Amazo the android who has all the powers of the JLA, this is a classic 80's style Batman story as we see Bats uses all his intelligence, strength and gadgets to defeat Amazo.
Yes you have to suspend some aspects of reality like surviving in space with only the aid of a rebreather and lenses to protect his eyes, throw in the use of Bat-Shark repellent (Adam West punches the air) as a means of propulsion back to the satellite and you are really stretching things. However, this is a world where people fly, have magic rings and the dead come back with alarming regularity, so you can believe almost anything if you put your mind to it.
The artwork by JG Jones is a perfect fit for Jonathan Larsen's story, and I particularly liked the panel where you see Bats stood with a coffee cup with I heart Gotham on it, simply brilliant.
The Crime never committed:
The last story sees Batman & Robin visit a Marine Biologist who has recently been sacked from the Gotham Aquarium, Batman has noticed from the items he has recently bought he is intending to commit a crime to get some much needed cash.
After taking him from his bed (his wife must be a deep sleeper), they take him to the rooftops to explain what may happen to him if he commits his planned robbery. Satisfied that they have set the man back on the right path, the dynamic duo swing off leaving the poor guy stuck on the roof.
The story is another take on the Its a Wonderful life scenario, but in all honesty I'm a sucker for this kind of story so I was one happy reader.

So all in all a very satisfying first issue however what is slightly confusing is that although we have tales set in Batman’s early career, 6 months in the case of the first story they don’t appear to be set in the new DCU. I don't know if that is intentional or not but given the effort DC are putting in to craft a new universe, you would think there would be some indication on if these story's are a part of that universe or not.

Having said that as standalone Batman story's they are all worth reading and I would recommend them to anyone.

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