Review – Batman: Urban Legends #11 – Dark Magic and Good Boys

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Batman: Urban Legends #11 variant cover, via DC Comics.

Batman: Urban Legends #11 – Vita Ayala, Ram V, Mohale Mashigo, Mark Russell, Writers; Nikola Cizmesija, Anand Radhakrishnan, Arist Deyn, Karl Mostert, Artists; Nick Filardi, John Pearson, Trish Mulvihill, Colorists

Ray – 9/10

Ray: A new era begins in Urban Legends, with four new stories and four new creative teams—including some unexpected characters. How does it shake out?

Credits. Via DC Comics.

It starts with a new Batman/Zatanna tale by Ayala and Cizmesija, a story that feels like it fits in the world of the Justice League Dark. Why do Batman and Zatanna leave on a secret mission every few years—and why do they always seem tense and unwilling to communicate when they come back? Superman wants to know, but the answers are rooted in an incident decades ago when the two future superheroes were dating. They cast a spell to allow psychic communication—and instead accidentally unlocked some dark and ancient force. They’ve been cleaning it up ever since, but the strength and spread of the sinister force are growing—and now it’s time to face it again. And what does the fate of a young thief named Jacky Day have to do with it? Its an intriguing start to a story that casts a darker shadow on a period of the two heroes’ lives that we haven’t seen explored much outside of Tynion’s work.

Runners. Via DC Comics.

Next up, Ram V continues one of the dangling threads from his Catwoman run in a Wight Witch solo tale. We’ve learned very little about this mysterious assassin, but this three-part story takes us back to the beginning through jumbled flashbacks. The “jumbled” isn’t a writing flaw—it’s by design, as we learn exactly why Wight Witch seems so programmed and inhuman. From her past as a ruthless soldier who got kicked out of her unit, to her partnership with Simon Saint, to a segment of training with some very familiar faces, it’s a great way of introducing us to her world while also immersing us in the way her mind works. The character is gone now, but Simon Saint has rarely been more evil than he is here. No surprise this is an excellent story, given how strong V’s DC work is as a whole.

The biggest surprise of the issue is Mohale Mashigo and Arist Deyn’s Eternity story. This is a revival for the VERY obscure National Comics character, a Vertigo-esque pastiche on Kid Eternity. Now working as a coroner in Gotham and constantly getting in trouble for unconventional techniques—mostly involving his ability to talk to the dead. This story definitely keeps the offbeat, dark tone of the original story, but maybe relies a little too much on shots of bodies and disturbing images to really work as well as the others in the issue. Sending Eternity to Gotham is a clever idea that’s sure to wreak havoc on his mental state, but it doesn’t really fit with the rest of the issue.

And speaking of unusual, we end the issue with a Russell/Mostert tale focusing on Ace the Bat-Hound. So what does comics’ top satirist have to say about super-pets? This is actually a surprisingly dark intro chapter, as flashbacks to Ace’s past as a savage attack dog for Joker are combined with a present-day caper as Batman and Bat-hound team up to retake a warehouse from criminals. This is the first time we’ve seen Ace in action as a fighter, and it’s interesting—and slightly disturbing—to see how Batman redirects his natural attack instincts for good. It’s clear Bruce loves his dog, but like his Robins, it’s hard not to have a few lingering doubts. But the ending of the issue takes some shocking turns that leave Batman in deep peril, Ace facing a solo challenge, and the potential for one of the vilest villains we’ve seen in Gotham in some time. I’m actually a little surprised this wasn’t a solo series by Russell.

Overall, a very intriguing new beginning, with some real gems among the four stories.

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

GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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