You guys ever just read an issue of a comic and remember why you started reading that book in the first place?
That was me with Urban Legends #17. This book is nothing but pure, wacky team-up fun, and I LOVE it. It might be because I’ve been watching a lot of Brave and the Bold recently, but I honestly believe that this issue is the absolute peak of what this title can and should be. Let’s get into it.
Batman and The Flash in “Cold Shoulders”
You see, dear reader, a little thing about me is that I love The Rogues. A second little thing about me is that Captain Cold is one of my favorite supervillains of all time. A third, even littler thing, is that Mr. Freeze is my second favorite Batman villain of all time.
Needless to say, I was in heaven.
My bliss was, of course, accentuated by the incredible creative team on this story. Ryan Cady delivered just about everything I would have wanted in a story like this, particularly through the way he writes these characters. All of the dialogue, the little quips and cracks, every interaction feels like Cady really gets these people. Snart and Freeze bicker over little details and the philosophy of killing their respective heroes, Batman and Flash get those little detective moments that make them such great colleagues, and Alfred gets to be sassy. Wonderful.
The art here is handled by Gleb Melnikov, Scott Hanna, and Luis Gurrero, and it is fantastic. Every character looks distinct and dynamic, and their body language feeds perfectly into the tensions in their dialogue. The colors are explosive, and help the art pop right off the page. The highlight for me here is how the ice is drawn. The combination of light and color to shade the cold blues and whites are just phenomenal. There’s also some really fun panel work in this one!! Comic creators, more fun panel gags, please.
Batman and Aquaman in “The Sea Beyond”
Be still, my cartoon-loving heart.
This issue features Aquaman and Mera visiting the Batcave to confront the Dark Knight on the deep sea effects of…
Did I mention this is my favorite issue?
Yes, that’s right, Bat-Fans, Joker Fish are back, and they’ve done a number on the ocean floor. What follows was absolutely not what I was expecting, but I honestly love that. I want to see more stories like this, more ripple effects of Batman villains’ schemes, and how they impact the world outside Gotham. It’s a fun concept, and could lead to some incredible stories if explored.
Joey Esposito has crafted an incredible story here, ripped right out of a Saturday morning cartoon, and it never backs down from this energy. Without spoiling too much, what starts as a fun romp about Joker Fish evolves into a rift in space-time with an eldritch sea monster that is still somehow angry about Joker Fish.
The art team here is one of my favorites in the book. Serg Acuña is always a welcome sight in my reviews, and Alex Guimarães’ colors thrown in the mix elevate this story’s visuals to a whole other level. This is an astoundingly gorgeous book by an astoundingly talented team.
Batman and Black Adam in “Statecraft”
I’ll be honest. I was worried about this one. DC has been doing this thing lately where, because he has a movie coming out soon, Black Adam is slowly getting sanitized to “anti-hero” status, rather than the (in my personal opinion) much more interesting “complex villain” category he’s always fit snugly in. When I saw his name in a Batman team-up book, I think it’s understandable that I got a little nervous. Alex Paknadel completely shattered my doubts.
Black Adam in “Statecraft” is a villain, yes, but he is still a likable one. I may be a little biased towards Geoff Johns’ JSA run, as that was one of my first comics growing up, but I haven’t seen Black Adam written like this since then, and I haven’t liked a rendition of him this much since then, either (I haven’t read Christopher Priest’s new series yet, though, and I’m super excited!!!).
The main appeal from a writing standpoint here is that this is a character breakdown of Adam on top of the outer, more physical conflict between the two characters. We learn a lot about how Adam’s brain works, how he thinks, and how he doesn’t. I gotta say, this is probably my favorite rendition of Adam in years. There’s a subplot with Atom Smasher (the story is set during Al’s stint in Khandaq) that adds some really nice emotional depth to the story as well.
Amancay Nahuelpan and Jordie Bellaire were absolutely the perfect visual team for this story. Their rendition of Adam’s classic suit (the best one, btw, no cape forever!) is incredible, and Adam himself is always drawn with this air of superiority and ego that maintains itself throughout the story. All of his body language is pitch perfect, including the way he fights. All of the action here is dynamic and brutal, and you can really feel the impacts of each blow.
I want to give a special shoutout here to Ariana Maher for having probably my favorite lettering this issue. I don’t have the words to properly explain it, but reading the lettering here just felt… good. Good Brain Juice award for this issue.
Batman, The Riddler, The Penguin, and Catwoman in ” On His Worst Nights”
Rounding off a collection of what might be my favorite Urban Legends stories so far, “On His Worst Nights” focuses on Batman’s relationship with my favorite of his rogues: The Riddler.
This is a surprisingly short story, but what Dan Watters gives us is a monologue from Edward Nygma’s point of view, dissecting his unique dynamic with the Dark Knight Detective. The monologue itself is a narrative, Nygma is predicting how the night will go, and he’s right. These two know each other so well, yet not at all. It’s cute and fun.
I’m not a huge fan of the art in this one, but I think it works for the story we get. Riley Rossmo’s art feels a little too fluid sometimes, but it gives this cutesy, cartoony feel that adds to the kind of comedic tone this story is going for. Trish Mulvihill’s colors enhance the art greatly, and are always a treat to see.
- You love Batman: The Brave and the Bold
- Fun, wacky team-up shenanigans are your jam
- You’re looking for the best issue of Urban Legends yet.
I’ve already said it in this interview, but this issue is my favorite so far. Go buy it. Extra Extra credit for being comprised exclusively of one-off stories that don’t feel like backdoor pilots for anything. Just good, solid content.
Total Score: 8/10
DISCLAIMER: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.