Review – Batman: Urban Legends #4 – Enter Batwing and Red Robin

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Batman: Urban Legends #4 variant cover, via DC Comics.

Batman: Urban Legends #4 – Chip Zdarsky, Camrus Johnson, Meghan Fitzmartin, Matthew Rosenberg, Writers; Eddy Barrows/Eber Ferreira, Loyiso Mkize/Trevor Scott, Belen Ortiz, Ryan Benjamin, Artists; Adriano Lucas, Andrew Dalhouse, Alejandro Sanchez, Antonio Fabela, Colorists

Ray – 9/10

Ray: For the fourth issue of this anthology, we’ve got two new stories starting. Not only is there the latest one-shot, but we’ve got a new series starting featuring one of the Bats’ most popular heroes.

But first, it’s the fourth part of “Cheer” by Chip Zdarsky and Eddy Barrows. This issue takes us back to that fateful battle where Jason initially lost his life, and longtime readers will notice some subtle differences in how the whole thing plays out. But in the present day, Jason has gotten himself in over his head with Mr. Freeze and found himself in a deadly fix. Zdarsky has done a fantastic job of fleshing out the tense relationship between Batman and Red Hood, and it’s never better than here as Batman races to save his son’s life. The tension is through the roof in a high-speed chase, and by the end we might get our first look at the mastermind here. Can Zdarsky just write the Bats forever?

Moments before tragedy. Via DC Comics.

Next up, it’s actor Camrus Johnson making his writing debut on the character he plays on TV—Luke Fox. Unlike Nicole Maines’ Dreamer story this week, this one takes place in the DC continuity and features that version of Batwing. And he turns out to be a natural writer—this Batwing story is clever and hilarious, as Luke tries to solve one of Riddler’s puzzle box mysteries. With flashbacks to Luke and Tim Fox’s early days, a surprise appearance of an unwilling Killer Croc, and some whip-smart dialogue, Johnson may have found his second calling if Batwoman gets cancelled. This is actually one of the better Batwing stories I’ve read in a while.

Next up, Robin Eternal writer Megan Fitzmartin takes Tim Drake into the present day with the first part of a new story. And it wastes no time addressing the elephant in the room—even Tim’s not sure what codename he’s going by right now. But at the moment, his focus is on tracking down some missing teenagers in Gotham. Tim interrupts his newest case to meet with an old friend, Bernard Dowd (last seen before Flashpoint!), but an interruption by a new villain soon makes this case very personal. This is a relatively quick story, just setting up the new threat, but it does a good job of capturing how stretched-thin Tim is as he tries to figure out exactly where he fits in the DCU right now.

Finally, it’s the fourth chapter of Rosenberg and Benjamin’s Grifter story. And as usual, it’s pure chaos. Grifter and Deathstroke are pulling off a con together, Superman is involved somehow, and enemies want to kidnap Lucius Fox. The appearance of another Wildstorm mainstay isn’t a surprise—she’s already been spoiled as having the next story coming after this—but there’s quite a few funny moments in this story that make it rise above the standard ’90s Wildstorm revival it could have been.

Overall, another excellent issue with some great stories and nice surprises.

To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.

GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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