Review – Batman: Urban Legends #20 – Welcome to Castle Arkham

Comic Books DC This Week
Batman: Urban Legends variant cover, via DC Comics.

Batman: Urban Legends – Jim Zub, Chris Burnham, Nadia Shammas, Joey Esposito, Writers; Max Dunbar, Chris Burnham, Jahnoy Lindsay, Vasco Georgiev, Artists; Romulo Fajardo Jr, Nathan Fairbairn, Alex Guimaraes, Colorists

Ray – 9/10

Ray: As this anthology series enters its final few issues, how are the new stories shaping up?

First up is “Castle Arkham” by Jim Zub and Max Dunbar, where we get a completely different look at Gotham. A Gothic 18th-century Gotham where Bruce Wayne is Batman—the sole monster-hunter in the Order of the Bat, as he hunts down eldritch abominations terrorizing Gotham. The art is nicely creepy, and this is very reminiscent of the classic Elseworlds “The Doom that Came to Gotham” due to its Lovecraftian vibe. It’s interesting to see Julia Pennyworth and Kirk Langstrom step up as key allies to Batman in the place of more famous ones, although the fate of one of them won’t be a surprise. I would love to read much more of this universe and I’m wondering if it’s setup for something bigger.

Return to the castle. Via DC Comics.

Next up is the conclusion of “The Pennyworth Files” by Chris Burnham, as Alfred finds himself in the middle of a chaotic battle between various cultists either loyal to or fighting the ancient deity Dagon. While this started out as a charming detective thriller that wouldn’t be out of place in the works of Agatha Christie, it’s evolved into something very difference—a fast-paced pulp thriller with grotesque creatures and a very out-of-place lead who nonetheless proves himself Batman’s secret weapon.

“My Son” by Nadia Shammas and Jahnoy Lindsay is a simple story that finds Bruce Wayne watching over an injured Damian—only for Talia to show up to check on him as well. It starts with the two of them at each other’s throats, with Talia planning to take Damian home and lashing out at Dick for his role in Damian being injured in the field. But as she and Batman fight—verbally and physically—the two eventually come to an understanding and vow to do better for the one person who keeps pulling them together.

Finally, we get the start of a four-part story in “The Murder Club” by Joey Esposito and Vasco Georgiev. This is an eerie tale as an unknown toxin works its way through the idle rich of Gotham, claiming one associate after another of Bruce Wayne’s. As leads like the Penguin turn up no clues, Bruce is pulled deeper into Gotham’s society scene as he tries to identify the next target—and if his name is on the list. The pacing here is great, and the framing segment leads to a last-act twist that promises to make this a very emotional and chilling story.

Overall, this is another strong installment that makes me wish this book could have continued a lot longer.

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

GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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