Jason's review of Shaman got me hankering for some more "year one" era Batman goodness, so I thought I'd delve into my back issues, pick up where he's planning on leaving off, and take a look back at Legends of the Dark Knight.

 

This time around, I'll start at Destroyer and hopefully work through the series week by week.  Also, I've decided to include ratings for each storyline... I'll see about posting my rating system below.

 

Shaman - LOTDK 1-5 (collected as Batman: Shaman)  

     Dennis O'Neil / Edward Hannigan ......................................................................................  7.4

Gothic - LOTDK 6-10 (collected as Batman: Gothic) 

     Grant Morrison / Klaus Janson ........................................................................................... 4.7

Prey - LOTDK 11-15 (collected as Batman: Prey)

     Doug Moench / Paul Gulacy

Venom - LOTDK 16-20 (collected as Batman: Venom)

     Dennis O'Neil / Trevor Von Eeden / Russell Braun

Faith - LOTDK 21-23

     Mike W. Barr / Bart Sears

Flyer - LOTDK 24-26

     Howard Chaykin / Gil Kane

Destroyer - Batman 474, LOTDK 27, Detective 641 

     Various ............................................................................................................................ 7.5

Faces - LOTDK 28-30  (collected as Batman: Faces) 

     Matt Wagner ..................................................................................................................... 7

Family - LOTDK 31 

     Jim Hudnall / Brent Anderson ............................................................................................. 7 

Blades - LOTDK 32-34 (part of Batman: Collected Legends of the Dark Knight)

     James Robinson / Tim Sale ............................................................................................... 7.3

Destiny - LOTDK 35-36 (part of Batman: Other Realms)

     Bo Hampton / Mark Kneece ............................................................................................... 6.3

Mercy - LOTDK 37 

     Dan Abnett / Andy Lanning / Colin MacNeil ......................................................................... 8.5

Legends of the Dark Mite - LOTDK 38 (part of Batman: Collected Legends of the Dark Knight)

     Alan Grant / Kevin O'Neill ..................................................................................................... 6

Mask - LOTDK 39-40 (part of Batman: Dark Legends)

     Bryan Talbot

Sunset - LOTDK 41

     Tom Joyner / Keith S. Wilson / Jim Fern

Hot House - LOTDK 42-43 (part of Batman: Collected Legends of the Dark Knight)

     John Francis Moore / P. Craig Russell

Turf - LOTDK 44-45

     Steven Grant / Shawn McManus

Heat - LOTDK 46-49

     Doug Moench / Russ Heath

Images - LOTDK 50 (part of Batman: Dark Legends)

     Dennis O'Neil / Bret Blevins

Snitch - LOTDK 51

     Robert Loren Fleming / David G. Klein

Tao - LOTDK 52-53 (part of Batman: Dark Legends)

     Alan Grant / Arthur Ranson

Sanctum - LOTDK 54 (part of Batman: Dark Legends)

     Dan Raspler / Mike Mignola

Watchtower - LOTDK 55-57

     Chuck Dixon / Mike McMahon

Storm - LOTDK 58

     Andrew Donkin / Graham Brand / John Higgins

Quarry - LOTDK 59-61

Knights End - LOTDK 62-63, and various (collected as Batman: Knightfall V.3: KnightsEnd)

Terminus - LOTDK 64

     Jaimie Delano / Chris Bachalo

Viewpoint - LOTDK 0

Going Sane - LOTDK 65-68 (part of Batman: Going Sane)

     J.M. DeMatteis / Joe Staton

Criminals - LOTDK 69-70

     Steven Grant / Mike Zeck

Werewolf - LOTDK 71-73 (part of Batman: Monsters)

     James Robinson / John Watkiss

Engines - LOTDK 74-75

     Ted McKeever

The Sleeping - LOTDK 76-78 (part of Batman: Other Realms)

     Scott Hampton

Favorite Things - LOTDK 79

     Mark Millar / Steve Yeowell

Idols - LOTDK 80-82

     James Vance / Doug Braithwaite

Infected - LOTDK 83-84 (part of Batman: Monsters)

     Warren Ellis / John McCrea

Citadel - LOTDK 85

     James Robinson / Tony Salmons

Conspiracy - LOTDK 86-88

     Doug Moench / J.H. Williams III

Clay - LOTDK 89-90 (part of Batman: Monsters)

     Alan Grant / Quique Alcatena

Freakout - LOTDK 91-93

     Garth Ennis / Will Simpson

Stories - LOTDK 94

     Michael T. Gilbert

Dirty Tricks - LOTDK 95-97

     Dan Abnett / Andy Lanning / Anthony Williams

Steps - LOTDK 98-99

     Paul Jenkins / Sean Phillips

The Choice - LOTDK 100 (part of Robin: The Teen Wonder)

     Dennis O'Neil / Dave Taylor

The Incredible Adventures of Batman - LOTDK 101

     John Wagner / Carlos Ezquerra

Spook - LOTDK 102-104

     James Robinson / Paul Johnson

Duty - LOTDK 105-106

     C.J. Henderson / Trevor Von Eeden

Stalking - LOTDK 107-108

     Lee Marrs / Eddie Newell

The Primal Riddle - LOTDK 109-111

     Steve Englehart / Dusty Abell

Shipwreck - LOTDK 112-113

     Dan Vado / Norman Felchle

Playground - LOTDK 114

     James Robinson / Dan Brereton

The Darkness - LOTDK 115

     Darren Vincenzo / Luke McDonnell

NML: Fear of Faith - LOTDK 116 (part of Batman: No Man’s Land V.1)

NML: Bread and Circuses - LOTDK 117 (part of Batman: No Man’s Land V.1)

NML: Balance - LOTDK 118 (part of Batman: No Man’s Land V.1)

NML: Claim Jumping - LOTDK 119 (part of Batman: No Man’s Land V.2)

NML: Assembly - LOTDK 120 (part of Batman: No Man’s Land V.2)

NML: Power Play - LOTDK 121 (part of Batman: No Man’s Land V.2)

NML: Low Road to Golden Mountain - LOTDK 122 (part of Batman: No Man’s Land V.3)

NML: Underground Railroad - LOTDK 123 (part of Batman: No Man’s Land V.3)

NML: Captain of Industry - LOTDK 124 (part of Batman: No Man’s Land V.3)

NML: Falling Back - LOTDK 125 (part of Batman: No Man’s Land V.4)

NML: End Game - LOTDK 126 (part of Batman: No Man’s Land V.4)

The Arrow and the Bat - LOTDK 127-131 (part of Batman: The Ring, the Arrow, and the Bat)

     Dennis O'Neil / Sergio Cariello

Siege - LOTDK 132-136 (part of Legends of the Dark Knight: Marshall Rogers)

     Archie Goodwin / James Robinson / Marshall Rogers

Terror - LOTDK 137-141 (collected as Batman: Terror)

     Doug Moench / Paul Gulacy

The Demon Laughs - LOTDK 142-145

     Chuck Dixon / Jim Aparo

Bad - LOTDK 146-148

     Doug Moench / Barry Kitson

Grimm - LOTDK 149-153

     J.M. DeMatteis / Trevor Von Eeden

Colossus - LOTDK 154-155

     Mike Baron / Bill Reinhold

Blink - LOTDK 156-158

     Dwayne McDuffie / Val Semeiks

Loyalties - LOTDK 159-161

     John Ostrander / David Lopez

Auteurism - LOTDK 162-163

     John Arcudi / Roger Langridge

Don’t Blink - LOTDK 164-167

     Dwayne McDuffie / Val Semeiks

Urban Legend - LOTDK 168 (part of Batman: Under the Cowl)

     Bill Willingham / Tom Fowler

Irresistible - LOTDK 169-171

     Tom Peyer / Tony Harris

Testament - LOTDK 172-176

     John Wagner / Chris Brunner

Lost Cargo - LOTDK 177-178

     Devin Grayson / Jean-Jacques Dzialowski

Full Circle - LOTDK 179

     A.J. Lieberman / Greg Scott

The Secret City - LOTDK 180-181

     Dylan Horrocks / Ramon Bachs

War Games: Act I - LOTDK 182 (part of Batman: War Games Act 1: Outbreak)

War Games: Act II - LOTDK 183 (part of Batman: War Games Act 2: Tides)

War Games: Act III - LOTDK 184 (part of Batman: War Games Act 3: Endgame)

Riddle Me That - LOTDK 185-189

     Shane McCarthy / Tommy Castillo

Cold Snap - LOTDK 190-191

     J. Torres / David Lopez

Snow - LOTDK 192-196 (collected as Batman: Snow)

     J.H. Williams III / Dan Curtis Johnson / Seth Fisher

Blaze of Glory - LOTDK 197-199

     Will Pfeifer / Chris Weston

Gotham Emergency - LOTDK 200 (part of Batman: Going Sane)

     Eddie Campbell / Daren White / Bart Sears

Cold Case - LOTDK 201-203

     Christos N. Gage / Ron Wagner

The Madmen of Gotham - LOTDK 204-206

     Justin Gray / Steven Cummings

Darker Than Death - LOTDK 207-211

     Bruce Jones / Ariel Olivetti

Chicks Dig the Bat - LOTDK 212

     Adam Beechen / Steve Scott

Otaku - LOTDK 213

     Matt Wayne / Steven Cummings

Superstitious and Cowardly - LOTDK 214

     Christos N. Gage / Phil Winslade

Views: 1649

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Figserello said:

   "Offensive Crap cause[s] a full point negative."

I'd say you are being too generous.

You can be sure that any comic that gets a Bang for Buck or Offensive Crap deduction already has a low score to begin with.

LotDK interests me most as a vehicle for self-contained stories by top-drawer talent (even if it didn't always follow that remit).  That doesn't apply as much for your first review as it was a multi-creator crossover tied into ongoing continuity, but it might be a good idea to highlight the creators at the outset of each review going forward, as their individual takes/visions were part of the whole point of the series.

Good call.  I'll add writer and penciller credits going forward.  

My feeling is that while the other creators are just as important to a quality product, it's the writer and penciller that have the artistic vision... 'course I could probably be convinced otherwise.  Anyone have a compelling argument for the other side?

 

I think it's probably fair to credit writer and penciller. They're usually co-creators when doing creator owned work. The inking can have a big impact, and I've often seen the colorist mentioned as well, but usually not as co-creator.

Border Mutt said:

 

Good call.  I'll add writer and penciller credits going forward.  

My feeling is that while the other creators are just as important to a quality product, it's the writer and penciller that have the artistic vision... 'course I could probably be convinced otherwise.  Anyone have a compelling argument for the other side?

 

FACES - LOTDK # 28-30: [Matt Wagner]

 

Basic Plot:

Two years after escaping Arkham Asylum, Two Face returns to Gotham, having hooked up with some carnival “freaks” in his time away.  When the story begins in earnest, Bruce Wayne is attempting to purchase a private island, an island that Two face has also set his sights on.  While Two Face attempts to obtain this island through underhanded means, he whiles away his time on twin crime sprees, killing plastic surgeons and stealing items in preparation for setting up a new society for his “freaks”.  Seemingly having gained the island, Two Face and his band are preparing to depart when Batman tracks them down.  Batman confronts Two Face, who is at first aided by his “freaks” but is ultimately rejected by them as they have, by and large, made peace with themselves and society, while Two Face is trapped by his hatred and self loathing.

 

My Thoughts:

The first two issues of this arc had such promise but then the story changed direction making much of the setup pointless.  Initially, the plot concerns Two Face killing various plastic surgeons as an elaborate and deadly distraction from his group’s simultaneous commission of other crimes.  While all this is going on, a tertiary agenda of obtaining an island is pursued.  By the third issue, the first two plot points have become essentially irrelevant, serving virtually no purpose other than to drive home Two Face’s continued obsession with duality and his supposed rejection of society’s desire to fix imperfections.  The only part of the story truly addressed was Two Face’s attempt to swindle a “home” for the group of “freaks”, a group he feels he is a part of due to his deformity but a group that rejects him, (not for how he looks but for the kind of person he is).  Ultimately the story approaches things from a strong thematic perspective but is riddled with plot holes and strands that go nowhere.

 

Some Things of Note or that I Found Interesting:

 

- Yet again, a criminal escapes Arkham due to the cruelty and stupidity of the guards.

 

- The real estate agent, Mr. Wren, starts off relatively honest but corrupts rather quickly.  Both aspects Two Face required if his plan was always to steal Wayne’s down payment in addition to gaining ownership of the island.

 

- The page where Wayne and D’Urberville are negotiating on the track is an intriguing experiment.  Not all aspects of the perspective really work and it takes a minute to realize what order to read the text, but once that’s determined, it does give the impression that everyone’s gone around the track multiple times.  Quite a unique page.

 

- When the second plastic surgeon is killed off, Gordon chides Batman on not calling in the police.  Batman’s response, “ I couldn’t be sure...”

 

- Batman calls in the police and thoroughly checks the third plastic surgeon’s apartment, yet the surgeon is killed right in front of him.  This time Batman takes responsibility and Gordon tells him not to blame himself.

- Two Face’s gambit of using the plastic surgeon murders to distract Batman is an interesting tact that seems to be working.  Batman’s so off his game he doesn’t even consider that the 3rd murder might not have even been preventable from his end until the police hand him the cause of death.  In fact, he doesn’t even investigate what the simultaneous crime was, (despite having already identified this pattern), until he manages to successfully prevent one of the plastic surgeon murders.

 

- In the lettercol of the first issue, Archie Goodwin explains the philosophy behind LOTDK.  Also, the shift to shorter storylines is brought up and is stated to be partially an attempt to deal with scheduling issues.  Additionally, the debate on whether to have Robin in the book is continued.  Finally, a Batman: Black and White book is suggested.  Quite an informative letter column.

 

- The first page in the second issue has various “freak mugshots” with Batman contemplating them from the bottom right corner.  Just one of the freaks.

 

- D’Urberville admitting to being blackmailed and asking Wayne not to pursue the matter was a nice scene.

 

- Wren’s pacing scene works really well.  The inset panels and the pace lines makes the appropriate dialogue order obvious despite the nonstandard placement.

 

- Manon’s turning around and shooting Wren was quite out of the blue and shocking.

 

- Turns out Manon shot Wren with a tranquilizer rather than a bullet.  Apparently, she wanted to capture him so that she could yell at him for rejecting her for her true follicly endowed appearance, (before he actually rejected her I might add), and then have him killed.  Alternatively, he was kept around for another special “running around” panel and so that D’Urberville can blame him for being ignorant.  Either way, seemed kind of pointless.

 

- D’Urberville is revealed to have an abnormality he hides from the world and is apparently captured by Two Face in the third issue so that he can make this grand reveal... ‘cause plot wise, there’s no obvious reason.

 

- The “freaks” attack Batman at the end of issue two but by the middle of issue three it seems they’re all big fans who have been treated badly by Two Face.  The main on panel accomplices just plain aren’t seen again.

 

- While fleeing Batman, Two Face runs into a sideshow and meets another person that has a grotesque side to half his face.  His self hatred takes over and he is subdued easily by Batman.

 

Rating:

This story was really let down by the plotting in the third part.  It almost seems like the story was intended to be longer but was cut down and parts of the story were forgotten or left out in order to get some key moments into the last issue.  Whether this was the case or not, the plot’s a mess.  However, there’s some nice experimental art and the first two issues seem to stick together very well.  So, I’d say it’s worth reading... just don’t expect a satisfying conclusion.

 

Rating - 7 (on the strength of the first two parts)

Family - LOTDK # 31: [Jim Hudnall / Brent Anderson]

Basic Plot:                              

Bruce Wayne insists that a reluctant Alfred takes a vacation, going so far as to book a resort stay for him in Corto Maltese.  While on vacation, Alfred is abducted.  Batman tears through the jungle to rescue Alfred, in the process shutting down a drug smuggler’s operations.

 

My Thoughts:

This is a nice little done in one focussing on Alfred’s importance to Batman.  Alfred’s shown to be resourceful and competent while still requiring Batman’s aid.  The story is more about Batman’s reaction to the event, and as such, is a little plot light, but the interior focus still allows for a satisfying story.

 

Things of Note:

 

- The quest to locate and free a “family member” is a plot that will be revisited in the Batman titles, most prominently in the Knightquest: Search storyline and the effort to locate Tim Drake’s father.

 

- Corto Maltese was the crisis point in The Dark Knight Returns.  (You have to make a stand when beautiful beaches are involved. :))

 

- Mention is made of Batman accessing the Bat-Computer by modem.  That this has to be stated is another little reminder that time marches on.

 

- This is probably the first time Batman uses the bat flocking device after the events in Year One.

 

- A couple of times during the issue, bat wings overlap dialogue bubbles.  This gives a little bit of an impression of the bats flying towards the reader.

 

-“Tomorrow they’d wonder if this was the D.T.s.” :)

 

Questions:

On page 17, there are water drops on Batman’s mask.  Anyone have any idea where they came from or why they’re there?

 

Rating:

While the issue didn’t have the strongest plot, it had some nice character work.  I thought the people occasionally looked stiff but the vistas were impressive and there were some nice panels and effects using Batman’s cape.  Overall, a decent done in one.

 

Rating - 7

I talk briefly about Gothic over here.

Blades -  LOTDK #s 32-35 [James Robinson / Tim Sale]

 

Basic Plot:

There’s a serial killer in Gotham, named Mr. Lime, who targets random old people.  Batman becomes obsessed with the case to the point he lets his other crime prevention activities slide.  Into this void jaunts the Cavalier, a new hero who uses his sword and his wits to combat Gotham’s criminal element. 

 

As Batman continues to focus on the Lime case, the Cavalier becomes increasingly more prolific and popular.  Eventually, Batman and the Cavalier cross paths, leading to Batman’s cautious acceptance of the new hero.  Unfortunately, not long after, the Cavalier gets drawn into a blackmail situation and takes on the added role of jewel thief. 

 

Just as Batman finally solves the Lime case, the Cavalier gets outed as a criminal.  Batman confronts him but, due to some unlucky circumstances, is on the cusp of defeat.  A conflicted Cavalier decides he couldn’t live with depriving the city of its undefiled champion, he relinquishes his sword and abandons himself to his fate with the cops, leaving Batman to ponder the slippery slope of corruption.

 

My Thoughts:

This was really the Cavalier’s story with Batman in an almost secondary role.  We see the Cavalier establish himself and we see Gotham quickly buy into his mystique.  We then learn of his motivations, somewhat self serving but not evil, which quickly become less important to him as he becomes enamoured of the hero lifestyle.  Then a twist, saving a woman and becoming “her champion” leads the Cavalier in to a secondary role as a criminal because of his good intentions.  The line blurs and the Cavalier takes a more drastic step.  Ultimately, a confrontation with Batman makes the Cavalier recognize how far he’s sunk, leading him to give up the victory and sacrifice himself.  A pretty powerful story for the Cavalier.

 

On the other hand, Batman’s role in the story is relatively weak.  Batman sidelines himself from his normal starring role to focus most of his effort on finding Mr. Lime.  We’re not really given any compelling reason why this case is so important to him.  Further, the means he uses to attempt to find Mr. Lime don’t really make sense.  Even letting slide that it takes so long for the great detective to recognize a pattern, why is he attempting to beat the identity out of thugs instead of focussing on the hit and run vehicles or the ballistics? 

 

And Mr. Lime... why would he take it so far if his aim was to cast off suspicion from his “important” murders?  Why would he attempt to make a high profile murder?  I suppose one could make the argument that after he started killing he found he had a taste for it, (something that would resonate with the Cavalier plot), but I don’t feel this was effectively conveyed by the story.  Basically, it seemed like the Mr. Lime plot was just there to move Batman off centre stage and give a reason for him not to be as effective as usual. 

 

Overall, I very much enjoyed the A story with the Cavalier but feel that the B story with Mr. Lime let the arc down somewhat.  There wasn’t really any resonance between the stories and the plotting on much of the Mr. Lime sections just feels contrived.  A good story that might have been a classic.

 

Question:

Does a story that has A and B parts need them to either interact or explore the same themes in order for the overall story to be effective?

 

Things of Note:

 

- The Cavalier is introduced as a man obsessed with the silver screen.  He patterns himself after a swashbuckling movie hero and he draws inspiration from the visual similarities.

 

- On page 5, the villains’ comments are double entendres for movie terms.

 

- Gordon mentions that Batman’s “not doing his share”.  This is a nice way of implying that he has a major impact but even Batman isn’t enough to clean up all the crime in Gotham City.

 

- The dialogue, “Lime.  Lime.  Lime.”, works as a quick way to drive home the obsession with the Lime case.  This will be used throughout the arc.

 

- While most of the text boxes involve character thoughts, some are given over to narrative purposes.  Robinson’s very distinct voice comes through in the narrative comments.

 

- Near the end of the first issue, the Cavalier’s admiration of Lime’s fire gives a little foreshadowing that he can draw inspiration from the villain side as well.

 

- Batman breaks equipment out of frustration.  This drives home his obsession but seems like it might be a little out of character.

 

- “All right James... may I call you James?”  “You want me Jim, I’m yours.”  Obviously some dialogue’s missing here, however, rather than coming across as an authorial screw up, it seems more like the story is being filtered through the Cavalier’s perception.  The thugs brusque dialogue forming double entendres in the first issue stands as another example.  This is most definitely the Cavalier’s story.

 

- “Evil is a gift of birth... Instead of a silver spoon such men are born with dagger in hand.”  Nice turn of phrase.

 

- While we don’t officially learn the identity of the jewel thief until the end of the second issue, it’s very much an open secret.

 

- Robinson does a fantastic job showing the Cavalier’s conflicted nature as he evolves over the course of the story.  The trailed off dialogue and back to back thoughts that oppose each other do a really good job of this but, perhaps the most poignant example is at the end of the second issue when he’s thinking that he needs to let Batman die, but he’s actively rescuing him.  Powerful stuff.

 

- The “if I were a murderer” speech gives ironic foreshadowing for the final issue.

 

- I’m not sure why Robinson had Bruce dream in a child’s “voice”.  Seems like a bit of a misstep.

 

- The idea of Mr. Lime killing to throw off the motive is kind of interesting.  The fact that it took so long for Batman (and the Gotham PD) to notice the outlier stretches credulity a bit but at least the “mystery” played fair.

 

- Criminal mastermind lesson... don’t brag that you’re going to continue to extort your victim when you don’t have the upper hand.

 

- Batman’s willingness to let the Cavalier go is a bit of a first.  I believe Robinson is attempting to convey that Bats is giving Cavalier the extra latitude perhaps more due to the happy memories he represents, (in a childhood with precious few), than to the fact that he saved his life.  Sadly, the story doesn’t fully flesh this out.

 

- While duelling, Batman and the Cavalier’s text boxes duel as well.

 

- The Cavalier throws Batman a sword so that they can have a fair fight and Batman abides by this, not “cheating” with anything from his utility belt. 

 

- When “disarmed”, one wonders if Batman is truly willing to let himself be killed or if he is playing possum to see the Cavalier’s reaction?  The clear defeat that the Batman experiences seems like another case of the event being filtered through the Cavalier’s perception.

 

- The Cavalier’s suicide by cop removes one of Batman’s old rogues after one reimagined story.  After such a quality story it seems a little sad that he won’t be returning, however, no one else seems to have missed the villain and it allowed the story to have closure.  Not necessarily a bad thing.

 

Rating:

This was a pretty good outing from Robinson and Sale.  The main story with the Cavalier draws you in and keeps you interested.  Sale’s art was nice, often evoking old movie shots, and the final sword fight was very well choreographed; some of the figures were occasionally a little rough, not as polished as his later work, but still a nice job by Sale.  Robinson could have written a stronger B story, however, overall this was a satisfying adventure, cementing the Cavalier as a Batman rogue... even if we’ll never see him again.

 

Rating - 7.3

Destiny - LOTDK #s 35-36 [Bo Hampton / Mark Kneece]

 

Basic Plot:

While on patrol, Batman comes across a man dressed like a Viking, (Jon Riksson), who is fighting off some gun wielding thugs.  Intervening to turn the tide, Batman subsequently discovers a shared history with the Norseman; they each possess half a medallion as a family heirloom. 

 

Deciding to follow the path laid out by the medallions, (and to combat a corrupt corporation that is attempting to seize the “Viking’s” hometown), Batman and Jon head to Norway.  They learn of a mythic history where their ancestors, a Bat Man and a Viking Prince, worked together to defeat Hrothgar the Frost Giant.  Treading in their ancestor’s footsteps, they team-up to take down the Asgard Corporation, (an organization that appears to be run by the evil descendants of Hrothgar), thus following the cycle of destiny.

 

My Thoughts:

The story split itself in two, with a mythic history portion featuring a Bat Man and the Viking Prince, and the year one era with Batman and Jon Riksson; unfortunately, I can’t say that either section particularly wowed me.  The mythic history section was an interesting setup for exploring the Batman mythos, with an Elseworld or silver age vibe, however, being only marginally familiar with the Norse Myths, I felt like I probably missed a lot of references and the story didn’t take full advantage of the spectacle inherent in its setting.  As for the “present day”, Batman seemed to be out of character, letting murders and maimings slide while embracing myths and ancient instructions entirely too easily.  So, while not a bad story, I can’t say that I thought this was a very good Batman story.

 

Things of Note:

 

I’m assuming there were a lot of references to Norse Mythology that probably went over my head but some of the things I did notice were:

            - the wolf and raven in Gotham, (apparently representing Odin)

            - appearances by Hel and Lok(e)

            - the Ice Giant was defeated by stones associated with the fire god, Loge

            - the oracle, (and Bat Man’s love interest), Freyja, has the name of a fertility goddess

 

- The scene where the hand gets chopped off and goes flying while still holding the Uzi could have been much more effective with some non-standard panels.  Actually, it probably would have been more effective with some gore as well... where’s Geoff Johns when you need him?

 

- Jon Riksson was apparently just dressing up as a Viking for publicity, yet he called out to Odin and was expecting to be sent to Valhalla, seems like he took the part pretty seriously.  Then again, in a world where you have Wonder Woman, maybe there would be significant portions of the population that would believe in myths.

 

- The dynamic between Jon’s father and sister was quite interesting.  His unwillingness to accept change and need for an excuse to explain his ancestor’s willingness to change is followed up almost immediately by demands that she quit smoking.  For some reason, this echoed Maus a little to me.  I wish the story had allowed more opportunity to explore this relationship.

 

- I don’t know that it’s supposed to imply anything but I found it a little jarring that Freyja was an important member of the team in the past, yet her present counterpart, Frieda, was little more than a damsel in distress.

 

- In both the past and the present, people blame the heroes for stirring up trouble as much as the perpetrators.

 

- I’m not really sure what Jon hoped to accomplish in drumming up publicity for his town’s situation when town people state things like, “they let me live to give you a message”, and the authorities don’t do anything.  Seems like a little publicity wouldn’t much matter.

 

Questions:

Apparently the name Hrothgar references Danish kings and Beowulf.  Is there another Hrothgar in the Norse myths?

 

When Grant Morrison was bringing Bruce Wayne back, did he have a section set in Scandinavia during the Viking times?

 

Rating:

This wasn’t a bad arc per se.  The art was a little lacking but more workmanlike and uninspired than actually bad.  On the writing side, there was an issue with Batman not driving the plot; this was the Viking Prince’s story all the way.  Sadly, this led to plot contrivances and many out of character decisions by Batman.  So, while the story had potential, it felt like Batman was jammed into a story in which he didn’t really fit.  A decent enough story but a poor Batman story.

 

Rating - 6.3

Mercy - LOTDK # 37 [Dan Abnett / Andy Lanning / Colin MacNeil]

 

Basic Plot:

A headstrong rookie cop and her partner insist on attempting to break up an illicit fight club without Batman’s help.  Batman allows them to take point while he finds a back way into the building.  In the short time it takes Batman to enter through the alternate route, the partner is killed and the rookie is severely injured.

 

Feeling responsible, Batman agrees to train Mercy, the rookie, so that she’ll be better able to handle herself in the future.  Unfortunately, Mercy is soon kicked off the force for excessive violence and becomes part of the very same fight scene that cost her so much.

 

Eventually, Mercy gets the opportunity to fight the Cossack, the man who killed her partner; she finds herself severely overmatched.  Batman finds out about the fight late and arrives on the scene after Mercy has already been beaten badly.  Batman enters the fray and in a hard fought battle emerges victorious.  Ultimately, the hardest part of the fight is remembering that he fights for justice and not vengeance, showing mercy to his defeated opponent.

 

My Thoughts:

This was a really well done one shot.  It started in the past, narrated from the point the fight is occurring, and made good use of flash forwards.  The colouring clearly indicates when the time frame shifts and the dialogue that applies to the past also relates to the beating Batman is taking. Even the focus on Mercy makes logical sense and doesn’t squeeze Batman out of the story.  This is how you do a done in one.

 

Things of Note:

- The arena section is coloured in reds and oranges when Batman is losing, but veers more toward yellow when Batman has the upper hand.

 

- When Batman attempts to play nice with the authorities, people get hurt and killed.  Maybe this is why he doesn’t try very hard to play nice. ;)

 

- The effect when Batman crashes through the skylight is rather underwhelming.  If one wants a clear example of what modern paper and printing techniques bring to the table, this is it.

 

- Page nine shows Batman and Mercy mirroring each other while they use the same moves.  (Batman to take down thugs, Mercy in the underground fight scene.)  The mirroring stops at the point Mercy accidentally kills somebody.  I thought this was really effective.

 

- When Batman arrives at the arena to find the Cossack finishing off Mercy, he throws down a suitcase of money he took off some thieves to “buy his way in”.  Money laundering... Batman style. :)

 

- We get echoes of Dark Knight Returns with the Cossack fight.  Batman starts off hitting nerve clusters and taking out the Cossack’s mobility.  In DKR, Batman is initially overwhelmed by the Mutant Leader’s strength and speed.  In this case, Batman’s inexperience costs him the initial advantage.

 

- Each blow that’s struck had a different onomatopoeia, nothing funny or anything, (like in Incredible Herc), but surprisingly effective nonetheless.

 

- While Batman was out for the night, he received a message on his answering machine instead of having it routed to his cowl.  Yet another reminder of how times have changed.

 

Rating:

This was a surprisingly complex comic, given the subject matter, and the writers pull it off brilliantly.  Time shifts, double meanings, mirroring... all pulled off without a misstep.  The art wasn’t quite on the same level, with some of the faces showing a little inconsistency, but overall the quality was good.  Throw in all the little details like well thought out colouring and surprisingly effective onomatopoeia and this turned out to be a really well put together comic.

 

Rating - 8.5

Was there a connection between the Cavalier character of issues 32-35 and the Silverblade character discussed here?  Because I think this is the James Robinson storyline I was referring to in the 52 thread  Maybe there was another LotDK story about a movie-star that inspired Batman?

The Cavalier seems to be similar to the old Musketeer character Morrison revived and modernised in his Murder Mystery on an Island/ Club of Heroes Batman story.  That character went to prison too...

Was there a connection between the Cavalier character of issues 32-35 and the Silverblade character discussed here?  Because I think this is the James Robinson storyline I was referring to in the 52 thread  Maybe there was another LotDK story about a movie-star that inspired Batman?

I looked back through the "Blades" issues yesterday after you'd mentioned it and I wasn't able to find a connection.  The protagonist from the Silverblade series and the Cavalier had different names.  The specific posters that adorned his living area weren't movies he acted in but were Errol Flynn's Adventures of Robin Hood and Tyrone Power's Mark of Zorro.  (In fact, it was stated that he was trying to break into acting, his actual job prior to taking up the mask was that of a stuntman.)  The story implies, without actually stating, (although I'm sure that I've seen it stated multiple times elsewhere), that the Zorro movie was the important one for Bruce.  This could have been retconned since then but it doesn't appear to have been retconned at this point.

Off the top of my head, I can't think of any other LOTDK arcs that fit the criteria, but it's quite possible I'm forgetting something.

The Cavalier seems to be similar to the old Musketeer character Morrison revived and modernised in his Murder Mystery on an Island/ Club of Heroes Batman story.  That character went to prison too...

I can't say I'm familiar with the Musketeer, although he does sound like somebody the bat writers would play with. :)  I know the Cavalier was around in the 80's as he always showed up during the big Arkham breakouts.  I seem to remember a Captain Stingaree and a Captain Cutlass from back then too, all with a pretty similar shtick.

According to Wikipedia, the trademark/copyright status of Zorro has been disputed and taken to court multiple times over the years, including the years covering LotDK. Maybe DC was trying to avoid being dragged into this.

Border Mutt said:

Was there a connection between the Cavalier character of issues 32-35 and the Silverblade character discussed here?  Because I think this is the James Robinson storyline I was referring to in the 52 thread  Maybe there was another LotDK story about a movie-star that inspired Batman?

I looked back through the "Blades" issues yesterday after you'd mentioned it and I wasn't able to find a connection.  The protagonist from the Silverblade series and the Cavalier had different names.  The specific posters that adorned his living area weren't movies he acted in but were Errol Flynn's Adventures of Robin Hood and Tyrone Power's Mark of Zorro.  (In fact, it was stated that he was trying to break into acting, his actual job prior to taking up the mask was that of a stuntman.)  The story implies, without actually stating, (although I'm sure that I've seen it stated multiple times elsewhere), that the Zorro movie was the important one for Bruce.  This could have been retconned since then but it doesn't appear to have been retconned at this point.

Off the top of my head, I can't think of any other LOTDK arcs that fit the criteria, but it's quite possible I'm forgetting something.

The Cavalier seems to be similar to the old Musketeer character Morrison revived and modernised in his Murder Mystery on an Island/ Club of Heroes Batman story.  That character went to prison too...

I can't say I'm familiar with the Musketeer, although he does sound like somebody the bat writers would play with. :)  I know the Cavalier was around in the 80's as he always showed up during the big Arkham breakouts.  I seem to remember a Captain Stingaree and a Captain Cutlass from back then too, all with a pretty similar shtick.

I unfortunately have no answers for these questions. I can say, however, that the "Blades" storyline absolutely sold me on James Robinson as a writer. It was probably the first time I had ever read a comic super villain who was painted in a sympathetic light. (I realized this has always been a Marvel staple, but I was a DC-only reader of comics back in the day.) It also made me a huge fan of Tim Sale's artwork. This led me to read the "Misfits" story arc in Shadow of the Bat, which also had Sale art.

I'm happy to say that I was a big fan of Robinson before Starman and Sale before The Long Halloween because of "Blades".

Figserello said:

Was there a connection between the Cavalier character of issues 32-35 and the Silverblade character discussed here?  Because I think this is the James Robinson storyline I was referring to in the 52 thread  Maybe there was another LotDK story about a movie-star that inspired Batman?

The Cavalier seems to be similar to the old Musketeer character Morrison revived and modernised in his Murder Mystery on an Island/ Club of Heroes Batman story.  That character went to prison too...

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Welcome!

No flame wars. No trolls. But a lot of really smart people.The Captain Comics Round Table tries to be the friendliest and most accurate comics website on the Internet.

SOME ESSENTIALS:

RULES OF THE ROUND TABLE

MODERATORS

SMILIES FOLDER

TIPS ON USING THE BOARD

FOLLOW US:

OUR COLUMNISTS:

Groups

© 2019   Captain Comics, board content ©2013 Andrew Smith   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service