I LOVED the artwork for the first story. It reminded me so much of Francesco Francavilla that it was hard to believe that it WASN'T Francavilla for a bit. As the story got going it really started to come out with it's own style, but either way it looked utterly amazing. I'm a little bothered by a panel where Batman completely decimates the roof of a car by landing on it, it just seems a little bit excessive. As for the story.... opinions will be split on this one for sure. There's something almost charming about the lack of a bigger story here. All it is, is Batman taking down a group of thugs who tried to rob a liquor store. No complications or special touches, just Batman being Batman. But so often we have these big bombastic or emotionally deep stories, we actually don't often get to see Batman just be 'Batman.' This is one of those stories where Batman is on top of his game, and it really emphasizes just how skilled he is, and why criminals fear him. But on a level a bit deeper than that, it's about just how connected Batman is with his city, the two of them are in perfect synch.
The second story had some very nice artwork as well, this time with a bit of a Batman: The Animated Series feel to it. The fight scenes are a bit jumbled and confusing, but the overall atmosphere is undeniably excellent. Even the story feels a bit like one of the more offbeat B:TAS episodes, just shortened to fit the smaller constraints. Something so out of place has appeared in Gotham, and it's a dragon. Literally a dragon. Batman's surprised, but dives right into battle as he always does. The monologuing gets a little tiresome as Batman constantly reminds us he wants to subdue this thing alive, but the message behind it is a touching one, especially when the story reaches its conclusion with Killer Croc. It seems DC's been pushing a more sympathetic side to this character, and he's a perfect choice for that, obvious irony non-withstanding.
The final story is a very odd one. Juan Jose Ryp's artwork is probably at its best in terms of linework, though the muted colors kind of mess up the effect with Ryp's specific detailed style. The story is something I'm split right down the middle on, much like the first segment. I'm sure plenty of readers won't see this, but this story begins EXTREMELY reminiscent of Morrison's Batman: Gothic. A new hitman in Gotham who may be incredibly supernatural with an empty name that prompts the villains to come to Batman for aid? Anybody's who's read Gothic will likely note the glaring similarities, but the story doesn't have the 5 issues Gothic did, and takes things in a different and simpler direction. I understand the page space was limited, but it's still a little disappointing not to get any explanation of the terrifying supernatural abilities the nameless man appears to possess, but the unnerving sense we're left with at the end is pretty satisfying in and of itself.
In Conclusion: 4/5
This issue was very different in tone from all the others, each story was something totally different. It's hard to give this one a completely objective score, because 2/3 of the stories are ones that will almost certainly incite very diverse opinions. I found some charm and almost childlike joy in the simple act of Batman being on top of his game in the first story, the second story has undeniable emotional intensity and calls back in tone to B:TAS, and the third story was a truly haunting tale that's almost not even truly about The Dark Knight. None of them were perfect, but all of them had significant merit.