Batman: Urban Legends #23 – Jamal Campbell, Kenny Porter, Dennis Culver, Joey Esposito, Writers; Jamal Campbell, Simone Di Meo, Hayden Sherman, Vasco Georgiev, Artists; Adriano Lucas, Jordie Bellaire, Alex Guimaraes, Colorists
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: The final issue of this anthology is here, wrapping up three stories and featuring one final stand-alone.
First up is the conclusion of Jamal Campbell’s two-part Nightwing story, which pitted him against a deranged social-media director who had zeroed in on the Bludhaven-based hero. As the villain manipulates a group of ex-convicts into a dangerous mission, Nightwing attempts to go undercover—but instead finds himself drafted into a mysterious and twisted game pitting them against a notorious Bat-villain. There’s a compelling mystery at the core here, although the limited page time does mean it has to be resolved a little abruptly. It even has a cliffhanger at its core, so I definitely hope it gets followed up on.
Next up is “Hot Pursuit,” by Kenny Porter and Simone Di Meo, this issue’s only solo story. It’s a quick tale, around ten pages, focusing on Bruce and Dick early in their partnership. Bruce expects Dick to follow his orders—including getting to safety if it looks like a situation is hopeless. But Dick has other ideas, calling on his circus training to pull Bruce and the Batmobile out of an impossible situation during a showdown against Firefly. This story has a much more nuanced take on Bruce as a mentor than I often see, which is a big part of why I liked it.
“Arkham Academy” also is only about ten pages, and Dennis Culver and Hayden Sherman continue to up the tension. After seeing Killer Croc gut one of their teammates, the other recruits manage to unlock their powers and fight back—but not before Scorn realizes that something might be horribly wrong in this “diversion program.” The ending leads to the reveal of the master villain behind this twisted program, but it also falls a little flat if it doesn’t get followed up on in one of Culver’s future projects.
Finally, the final chapter of “The Murder Club” by Esposito and Georgiev brings the story home as Batman and his family face off against the Court of Owls. The Court’s twisted time travel plot has been exposed, but it may be too late to reverse the damage to the timestream—which has brought Thomas and Martha Wayne to the present. The plot is strong and the action is intense, but this story has depended a little too much on over-the-top emotional moments that tie things up neatly in a bow. It’s definitely better than seeing Thomas as a murderous madman, though.
Overall, while I don’t think these last few issues quite hit on all cylinders, this series as a whole has been a great way of broadening the number of Bat-stories we get to see and letting some less-known creators have their shot.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.