This comic begins and ends with a great back-and-forth between Batman and Alfred. Writer David Tischman wrote some fun dialogue between the two that really made me smile. Heck, a brief 1-page scene in which Alfred suggests that he and Batman race each other home would’ve made an entertaining short story on its own. But the problem is that everything in-between the first page and the last plays out like a bad episode of CHEW (and there isn’t any such thing as a bad episode of CHEW).
The premise revolves around a new Abattoir, a cannibal who the press has dubbed with the same name as a forgettable Batman villain whose claim to fame was being killed by Jean Paul Valley during the Knightfall saga. This new Abattoir has the ability to eat a person and gain all of their memories and skills and somehow, Batman jumps to that very conclusion upon first glance of the list of victims.
Other than the more absurd plot, the comic is quite overwritten. I actually went back and read through the comic a second time but on the repeat read-through I ignored all of the red narration boxes (a 3rd person omniscient narrator, which you don’t see too often in Batman comics anymore). By skipping the obvious narration and letting the sequential artwork of Chris Sprouse do the talking, I think it became a more enjoyable comic. Sprouse was able to convey everything the narration was overstating through the imagery in every panel thus making the red boxes unnecessary.
And besides the nice Alfred moments bookending this tale, it’s the artwork by Sprouse, Story, and Charalampidis that is the real highlight of this installment of Legends of the Dark Knight. Bruce’s face looked a bit old and lumpy like Mickey Rourke, but overall I really liked the look of this book and thought that the action in every panel progressed so well and was so self-explanatory that you could probably understand everything that’s going on without reading a word. Plus we got to see a grey-haired Gordon again and I honestly prefer that.
If you can accept that Batman would immediately jump to “This man must be eating people to steal their memories.” then you’ll enjoy this. It might be a decent detective story for those willing to suspend their disbelief enough to follow the hunt for a cibopath. For me, I found it all a bit too ridiculous and only enjoyed the artwork and Alfred moments. It’s not an issue of Legends of the Dark Knight that I’ll ever revisit and it’s a major step down from issue #9.