Emptiness Seeking Asylum
True to it's name, this is a very haunting story. The artwork is very interesting, generic but high quality on the surface, for sure. But deeper than that, the colors are brilliant, very soft and faded, and I doubt this issue would've been half as impactful had it not been for the uncanny and almost hollow tone the coloring set.
This is a story with a very unique sense of direction. There's no one big villain with a plan, just a lot of strange things happening in a madhouse full of villains. But none of them truly play the role of the villain, and even the apparent specter isn't the villain. The closest thing this story has to a true villain is the intended target of the ghost, but he doesn't perpetrate any villainous acts in this present day of the story, nor does he antagonize Batman whatsoever. Batman is almost an outsider to this story, and yet his participation is strangely vital.
There are aspects both predictable and surprising to this story, so I don't want to dig too deeply or I'll spoil the whole thing. Suffice to say, there was quite a mysterious nature all around, so this story had me at the edge of my seat from the start and all throughout. It was nice to see Maxie Zeus take some spotlight, he's often a very under-appreciated villain for being one of the more clinically insane of Batman's foes, and he ended up being a perfect choice for his role in this story, as was the often overused Joker. In fact, there's a sense that all the players in this tale are just set pieces and could be anyone, but at the same time everyone was very carefully chosen for their role. It's deceptively deep for such a detached kind of storytelling.
The ending was a foregone conclusion, something which you'll realize at some point towards the very end, and it helps craft the haunting atmosphere of the tale in a neat little bow, but the way Joker references the outcome and the motivation is a bit too ambiguous. He leaves things up in the air, which can make a good ending, but purports a reason that is an answer, but one too vague. I feel like the word choice could've been a little better, or we could've gotten a slightly more definitive answer without compromising the ghostly tone, but the way it is, the ending kind of deflates some of the quality of the issue going out.
In Conclusion: 4.5/5
Every month I look forward to Legends of the Dark Knight for something very different from Batman, and that's always what I get. Despite the constantly shifting creative teams, this is a very safe buy. You won't get anything that ruins continuity or drags on too much, or excessively crosses over or anything like that. You get quality Batman stories with all sorts of unique and compelling or touching seasoning. This issue is no exception at all, and a definite must for Maxie Zeus fans.