What in the… what in the heck did I just read? It started off alright, got weird in the middle, and then ended with a panel that made me say “What was the point of any of that?”
Legends of the Dark Knight began incredibly strong but these past three issues have stumbled quite a bit. The last issue was our first glimpse at the spooky and more mystical side of Gotham but this issue is absolutely immersed in the paranormal. The title is “Haunted Arkham” and that’s exactly what you get. It’s this weird The Ring/Changeling kind of story where you have the ghost of a child trying to get someone to find their body only the plot gets way more complicated then that
When it began I thought we were going to get a deep, psychological Maxie Zeus story but it quickly spiraled out of control and Batman didn’t sound like Batman, Joker didn’t sound like Joker, and everybody was getting manipulated by the ghost of a little girl. And the ending! What the… I just can’t get over it. It’s so abrupt and ambiguous. I wasn’t left feeling haunted or frightened or disturbed, I was merely confused by it and felt like I had wasted my time. Again, it starts out fine and it feels like we’ve got a real mystery on our hands and I was excited to see Batman put the pieces together but as soon as the answer to all the clues was “Ghosts!” I quickly lost interest.
While I felt that Joe Harris’ story got away from him or he simply didn’t have enough time to tell the horror story he wanted, I did like Jason Masters’ artwork. I think he brought great attention to detail in every single scene. Backgrounds are never neglected. You’ll notice all kinds of little objects, decorations, askew books, and brawls between Batman’s more famous rogues if you look close enough. I also liked that when Batman enhanced an image on his computer that the pixels didn’t magically multiply for a crystal clear image. The only part of the book where the artwork went down some in quality was the coloring of a scene in an office where the outside seemed to switch back and forth from daytime to night and some of the poses during the Arkham riot looked a tad stiff.
If you really like stories about ghosts out for revenge and don’t have a problem seeing that sort of thing in your Batman detective tales then you’ll probably enjoy this up until the abrupt and confusing final page. On the other hand, those who don’t like seeing Batman deal with the paranormal will likely not find much joy in this. I’m in the camp that’s disappointed. The book held my attention the whole way through, but in the end it felt too derivative and like a ghost story that just so happened to feature characters that looked like Batman and Joker.