Batman: Legends Of The Dark Knight #0
DC Comics (October, 1994)
I’m going to copy/paste the credits from comics.org, because there are so many involved in this one. I’ll explain in a moment.
- Script:Archie Goodwin; Gerard Jones (story, pages 2-3, 13); James Robinson (story, pages 6, 16); Steven Grant (story, pages 9-10); Scott Hampton (story, page 11); Jeph Loeb (story, page 12); Mike Baron (story, page 14); J. Marc DeMatteis (story, page 15); Ted McKeever (story, page 17); John Wagner (story, page 18); Roy Burdine (story, page 19)
- Pencils:Vince Giarrano (pages 1, 4, 5, 7, 8, 21-24); David Williams (pages 2-3); Tony Salmons (page 6); Mike Zeck (pages 9-10); Scott Hampton (page 11); Tim Sale (page 12); Mark Badger (page 13); Brian Murray (page 14); Joe Staton (page 15); John Watkiss (page 16); Ted McKeever (page 17); Carlos Ezquerra (page 18); Frank Gomez (page 19); Phil Winslade (page 20)
- Inks:Vince Giarrano (pages 1, 4, 5, 7, 8, 21-24); Karl Kesel (pages 2-3); Tony Salmons (page 6); Mike Zeck (pages 9-10); Scott Hampton (page 11); Tim Sale (page 12); Mark Badger (page 13); Brian Murray (page 14); Steve Mitchell (page 15); John Watkiss (page 16); Ted McKeever (page 17); Carlos Ezquerra (page 18); Frank Gomez (page 19); Phil Winslade (page 20)
- Colors: Digital Chameleon
- Letters:Willie Schubert
- Editing:Archie Goodwin; Jim Spivey (Associate Editor); Chuck Kim (Assistant Editor)
It’s not my usual format, but look at all those names! I’d wear out my keyboard!
Batman seeks the party responsible for blowing up a building, killing dining business executives. A local magazine magnet has chosen this time to bring down the legend of the Batman. His reporters not being much help, he has hired storytellers to attempt to interpret the legend. However, all they can bring is different interpretations of how Batman is seen by others. But what matters is how Batman sees him, since the man hired the bomber to get rid of a rival…and now he’s meeting the legend in person!
What they got right: The story doesn’t matter, and that’s odd for me to say as a writer. The story, such as it is, is meant to serve the art, or that’s how I see it. Each artist or team giving his, her, or their, own vision of Batman. The writers created the panel that will show up in later issues of the series. Each page is a unique take as Batman fights ordinary crooks, monsters, is drawn as a cyborg or as a monster himself. As one character puts it, the ways to see Batman varies from storyteller to storyteller, which is a meta point to this issue–the different writers and different takes on Batman. Which is the best version depends on the reader or watcher. I prefer the Bronze Age comics myself, from the 1970s to early 1980s.
Also, my favorite page artwise is the two-page spread on 2 and 3. My least favorite is Bruce minus cape and cowl and wielding a huge chaingun thing. Fans of Linkara’s review of Superman At Earth’s End (or if you’ve read the comic yourself) know the one I’m talking about, although not as ridiculously overblown and stupid as that one. That would have been an eyesore. Batman holding any kind of gun that isn’t shooting a grappling hook is weird given this anti-gun stance of recent decades, and this is just impossible.
What they got wrong: That’s personal taste though. And I guess so is the design for the “real world” Batman. It looks better suited for the legends than the actual version. Also, remember when I said some of these were previews of upcoming stories in this series? Well, there’s one page that includes the narration that I’m assuming was in one of those comics, and since the comic can’t decide how many people are in this meeting (is it three? Four? More? Three again?) that connecting text boxes to voices is hard enough without this distraction.
Recommendation: I hope my cartoon teaching or comic art analyzing friends read this review. This is a comic you guys should add. Even the “real world” part has some interesting things to point out, like how our mogul is drawn that foreshadows his being a villain. The rest of you probably saw most of this when you bought the full series. It’s an interesting meta tale, which works for me as a creative type, but not necessarily a regular story, a curse of all of these #0 issues. It’s worth at least looking at if you have the chance though.