Batman: Urban Legends #6 – Chip Zdarsky, Matthew Rosenberg, Meghan Fitzmartin, Joshua Williamson, Writers; Eddy Barrows/Eber Ferreira, Scot Eaton/Julio Ferreira/Oclair Albert, Marcus To, Chris Sprouse/Karl Story, Belen Ortega, Trevor Hairsine, Artists; Adriano Lucas, Pete Pantazis, Alejandro Sanchez, Rain Beredo, Colorists
Ray – 9/10
Ray: It’s the end of the first “era” of this Bat-anthology, with two one-shot stories and two final chapters for former Robins with some huge developments.
First up is the final chapter of Chip Zdarsky’s Red Hood story, as the rogue vigilante chases down the new villain Freeze to save Batman from Gotham’s new villain trick—a chemical that makes you see your greatest wishes come true, creating a fantasy world no one would want to escape. It’s reminiscent of the Black Mercy, of course, but Zdarsky is a master of character interactions, and this final chapter is fantastic. Bruce and Jason have had a long, hard relationship over the years and this chapter wisely avoids casting any blame—instead showing both of them taking some tentative steps towards being better. The fantasy segments for both of them are chilling, and the ending creates a potential new Red Hood—one who hasn’t really changed his views, but has changed how he plans to accomplish them. This is hands down the best Jason Todd story in years, and I’m hoping it’s far from the last time Zdarsky is going to be writing him in the future.
Next up is a very short Zealot story by Matt Rosenberg, really more a tease than anything. It starts with Wonder Woman seemingly hunting down Max Lord—but the dialogue gives away pretty quickly that this is NOT Diana. It’s actually a disguised Zeaot, and Diana is none too happy with the alien princess. The fight scenes are fun, but it seems like we’ve seen this kind of battle of wills between a hero and an antihero plenty of times before. This is also an odd fit for this issue, with no real links to the Bat-family or Gotham save a cursory reference at the end. Rosenberg seems to be putting together a Wildstorm reunion so far, and while it’s entertaining enough, it doesn’t really have a strong hook yet.
Next up is the conclusion of the Tim Drake story by Fitzmartin and Ortega, and this is all anyone is going to be talking about this week. As Tim jumps into action as Robin to save his old friend Bernard, he struggles to find his place as Robin—and in his civilian life. There were a lot of odd things in this story, including Tim’s cursory breakup with Steph happening off-screen, and it all makes sense after reading this—this story has been Tim’s coming out story, as he realizes that Bernard was in fact trying to ask him out in their past meeting, and decides he’d like to see where that goes. In terms of hero coming out stories, it’s decently done. There’s certainly been subtext for Tim before, mostly in the context of Superboy, but Bernard is a character with quite a cult fanbase. This story will apparently continue in four months. Intriguing, and let’s hope the younger Batgirls are next to have their realization!
Finally, it’s a Black Canary solo story by Joshua Williamson and Trevor Hairsine, as Dinah goes undercover thanks to Barbara. A mysterious new organization named TRUST has been snapping up superhero and supervillain gear—including Batman’s—and they’re looking to hire a superhero to work with them. When Dinah saves the life of the shady founder, she’s in—and it turns out to be an organization with ties to the Justice Society in some surprising ways. This is actually a prelude to the upcoming Williamson series Deathstroke Inc, and on that front it’s a very promising start with a great cliffhanger. It’s spycraft, but not overly dry like the genre can get. It’s also great to see some of Dinah’s character history get explored in a way that’s been missing for a long time.
One of the best issues of the series, with two excellent stories and one very significant one.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.