One month later, I’m reviewing Legends of the Dark Knight #8 in a special super-short article before jumping into this week’s Legends #9. Of course, you don’t need to read any previous issue of this series to enjoy the next! They all stand alone. I just felt like writing some little something to warm-up.
“Carved” by Paul Tobin & Tradd Moore
This might be the worst short story in the Legends of the Dark Knight yet. Someone is abducting people around Gotham and leaving perfect wood-carved replicas in their place. None of what happens makes much sense. A man experiences the loss of his family so he decides to make others feel that loss… by stealing them away and replacing them with a wood carving? And while I can appreciate Tradd Moore’s unique art style it definitely doesn’t lend itself to the world of Batman. Not by a long shot. Everyone’s scrawny with huge foreheads and lengthy limbs and the events didn’t transition well from panel to panel leaving the reader to do all the heavy lifting across the page’s gutters. “Carved” is a complete failure of a Batman story.
“Unnatural Selection” by Ricardo Sanchez & Sergio Sandoval
Ah! Now this is much better. You turn the page and it instantly feels like a Batman story. Sandoval’s art is perfect for the Dark Knight and the colors by Lopez, Casas, and Ikiri Studios definitely established a dark, moody tone. It’s a terrific Gotham atmosphere all around and it gets better with every page. “Unnatural Selection” is also paced perfectly, features some excellent detective work, and Sanchez captured the voice of Batman and Alfred quite well. Even though the premise is a strange one with monsters and all, Sanchez makes it work. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a “man-eater on the loose” story in Legends of the Dark Knight but this is an example of how you do it right. Sanchez suspended by disbelief enough that I actually think this might be one of the very best Batman stories we’ve had in Legends of the Dark Knight yet. I want to see more Batman tales by this team in the future for sure.
This is a tough one! We have one of the most lousy Legends of the Dark Knight stories paired with one of the best. Luckily, the good one takes up 2/3 of the book and it really is worth checking out. The art and writing on “Unnatural Selection” is truly top-notch. It’s just a shame that it wasn’t coupled with another story of equal quality to make this issue a must-buy.