Review – Batman: Urban Legends #15 – Enter Plastic Man

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Batman: Urban Legends #15 variant cover, via DC Comics.

Batman: Urban Legends #15 – Vita Ayala, Joey Esposito, Che Grayson, Mark Russell, Writers; Nikola Cizmesija, Jason Howard, Serg Acuna, Karl Mostert, Artists; Nick Filardi, Ivan Plascencia, Trish Mulvihill, Colorists

Ray – 8.5/10

Ray: Three continuing stories and one original one-shot this month. How does this installment play out?

Credits. Via DC Comics.

First up is the penultimate chapter of Vita Ayala’s Batman/Zatanna story, which goes back in time to show us the origin of the rift between them—as well as the secret they share. It’s rare to see Batman in a magic-based story, especially when the scale grows to this size. John Constantine makes for an interesting wild card, but he actually seems like an essential part of bridging the gap between Bruce and Zatanna here. The visuals are excellent, the plot is strong, and it’s overall a great lead-in to the finale.

The mystic arts. Via DC Comics.

The next story is a done-in-one by Joey Esposito and Jason Howard focusing on a Batman and Plastic Man team-up. Batman is on the trail of a low-level criminal running from both the GCPD and Penguin—but he happens to be an old friend of Plastic Man’s who is trying to turn himself in and cut a deal. With KG Beast unleashed to hunt him down and silence him, Batman and Plas battle over how to handle a criminal with some redeeming qualities. This story is more serious than most Plas appears in, and it has some nice callbacks to his own past as a criminal. A ten-page gem and probably the best story in the issue.

The third story, a Birds of Prey revival, is probably the weakest of the lot. Teaming Katana, Lady Shiva, Miracle Molly, and new character Ghost against a sinister social media app, it’s very current and has an intriguing hook—an app that helps you relive your fondest memories but seems to be going horribly off track. The problem is, these four characters do not feel like the Birds at all—they feel closer to a Suicide Squad team, with three of them having criminal or villainous pasts. There’s no team dynamic and the story just feels like a genetic action squad most of the time.

Finally, it’s the penultimate chapter of the excellent Ace the Bat-Hound story from Russell and Mostert. This issue flashes back to Ace’s origin, as an unfortunate puppy who winds up in the orbit of the Joker. In the present day, Batman is held captive by a sadistic Russian gangster running a twisted arena, while Ace and his motley crew of animals battles to get to his master. With a surprisingly affecting death this issue, as well as a surprising cliffhanger, this continued to be a highlight of the entire run and probably should have been a stand-alone mini.

Overall, a strong installment but not the best this series has had.

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

GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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