The Return of Batman
I used to say that Legends of the Dark Knight was one of my favorite series, but then it went on a less than stellar run which used Abattoir II and a weird cryptotaxidermist as villains. That is not to say that those stories were bad, but I would not accuse either of extremely high quality. Perhaps more importantly, neither of them took advantage of Legends unique nature as a non-cannon title by exploring new aspects of the Batman mythos or presenting Bruce in a new light. Thankfully, last issue shook things up with a glorious one shot (I mistakingly thought it was a multi-part story and reviewed it as such last week. My mistake) which showed a possible version of Bruce Wayne in his twilight years. Now we get a new arch with Peter Milligan (former writer of Rebellion comic 2000 AD, current writer for Vertigo comic Hellblazer) handling the writing and Riccardo Burchielli (former artist for Vertigo comic DMZ and Arkham Unhinged) handling the art. Does this new arch also bring something new to the table, or is it standard fare for a Batman story?
In this issue, Batman chases down a stolen helicopter with some fancy tech, but will Wayne Enterprises plummeting stock lead to Batman falling to his doom?
A Different Kind of Hero
I asked for a different interpretation for the Bat, and that is exactly what we get with this issue. Batman has something he calls his Bat-Wing in this issue which is significantly different than any sort of vehicles I've ever seen him employ in the past. Picture the illegitimate offspring of Iron Man and an X-Wing, and you might end up with something like this. It has shields, an interactive hologram touchscreen interface, and lot of other doohickeys and whirlybobs. It looks really cool, and I like the way Bruce uses his tech in this issue, but at the same time, I hate that Batman often uses his tech to get out of tight situations. As I've mentioned many times before, Batman often has the exact right tool for any given job, and that is just too convenient.
Based on the revelations we have later on in the story, my objection to Batman being too reliant may or may not interfere with my enjoyment of this arch. The tech is definitely going to play a major role, but there are several different directions the writer could take the story some of which would play into the annoying plot device nature of the Bat equipment, and some that would fly in the face of it. It's just a bit too early to tell.
Bruce's personality is also altered a bit in this issue. He is a little bit snarky in his inner monologue and his conversation with Alfred. He is a tad dismissive and cocky which is not his usual mannerism.
As far as the story itself, it kept me guessing the entire time; I never knew what was coming around the next corner, and that is a good thing in my view; I like to be kept on my toes. Batman's actions all seemed fitting to the situation, and the issue broke off at a good point to make readers eager to learn what happens next.
I'm not comfortable giving this issue a rating because the arch could easily go either good or bad depending on future issues, but the writer, Milligan, kept me guessing through this whole issue, and he brought up an interesting new way of looking at Batman's relationship with technology, so I'm giving Milligan the benefit of the doubt that he is going somewhere cool with all this.
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