Batman: Urban Legends #3 – Chip Zdarsky, Che Grayson, Brandon Thomas, Matthew Rosenberg, Writers; Eddy Barrows/Eber Ferreira, Jesus Merino, Marcus To, Alberto Jimenez Albuquerque, Max Dunbar, Ryan Benjamin, Artists; Adriano Lucas, David Baron, Luis Gerrero, Antonio Fabela, Colorists.
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: The third issue of this oversized Batman anthology has two ongoing stories, one conclusion, and one new one-shot. First up, it’s the third installment of the headline issue focusing on Red Hood and Batman—the second Zdarsky DC book of the week. The oversized story has Jason and Bruce on the trail of the maker of the mysterious Cheerdrops drug, but the more pressing concern is Tyler—the young boy whose evil father Jason killed. This is paired with some strong flashbacks to Jason’s early years as Robin, when Bruce was trying to get around Jason’s rough edges. Zdarsky seems to have a more nuanced take on Batman and Red Hood than most writers, with Jason trying to suppress his worst instincts and Bruce torn between protecting his son and protecting its criminals from him. The ongoing mystery is strong, but what’s stronger is the A+ character work.
Next up is a Lady Shiva story from Che Grayson and Alberto Albuquerque, with the short tale taking a lot of turns along the way. First Shiva comes looking for Batman for what appears to be a friendly dinner, but it quickly turns out to be a pitched battle as Shiva seeks revenge for Batman taking her daughter away. Shiva’s bond with Cassandra has always been fraught, if a little more nuanced than Cass and her monstrous father. While the story may be a little rushed with only ten pages, it ends with a great look at what Cass is doing during the whole thing that will make her fans very happy. It’s also a good follow-up to Shiva’s recent time with the Outsiders, where she moved into more of an antihero role.
Speaking of Outsiders, next up is the conclusion of Brandon Thomas and Max Dunbar’s Outsiders story. This has been an action-packed tale with some great visual twists, and this final chapter features a spectacular double-page spread with a couple dozen Metamorphos. Katana’s conflict with her mother-in-law is resolved fairly easily, but the story also goes a little more into the bond between her and Jefferson. While this story was probably the lightest so far in this volume, it’s a good setup for the future of the team. In fact, the end indicates that a new team will be forming featuring these core three, Duke, and a fifth member to be named later in Fall 2021. The creative team seems to have a pretty solid handle on this crew.
Finally, it’s the third chapter of Grifter’s story, as he continues to slide in between the cracks of Gotham’s criminal underworld and its high society. He’s basically a classic old-school anti-hero, suppressing his criminal instincts just long enough to keep a job. As he comes into conflict with both Batman and Bruce Wayne, elements of his past crop up and threaten his new endeavors, but his partnership with Lucius Fox still has a lot of unanswered questions. I’m still not entirely sure how Lucius wound up in charge of the Wayne fortune long-term, but it’s certainly made Gotham a more complicated place. Overall, it’s a fun story with some great action scenes, and this issue doesn’t really have any weak links.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.