Say what you will about Urban Legends, but I’m always at the very least excited to crack it open and see what we have. An anthology series like this can be a big risk, and as I’ve said many times before, isn’t always worth your money, but when it gets good it gets GOOD. Urban Legends #19 is one of those rare few where every story hits. Let’s jump in.
Signal and the Outsiders, Part 2
I’m absolutely in love with this two parter. Part 1 last issue was a fantastic story about learning to pace yourself and ask for help, and PArt 2 is an even better example of what happens when you have a support network to catch you. On top of that, it’s amazing to see Duke finally getting some love, especially a story this incredible and incredibly personal. Brandon Thomas has crafted a masterclass in Signal stories, and I hope other writers are paying attention. We need more Duke!!
The art is incredible as well, especially the parts with Metamorpho. The way Alberto Jimenez Albuquerque draws the rigid fluidity of Rex’s shapeshifting is absolutely incredible to look at. I paused several times while preparing for this review just to take it in, in fact. Combined with the stunning colors of John Kalisz, the art in this book is enrapturing.
Tiny Hands in the Dark
This one was… surprisingly spooky?
That’s not a knock, mind you, I love a good spook, especially when Batman is the one being spooked! Putting this story after the nice wholesome story about Duke Thomas having friends and finding his mom definitely gives the reader a little whiplash.
One could argue that this is the point, of course, to enhance the feelings of uneasiness and terror that comes from that first page. And boy, is there terror. Zac Thompson has crafted a pretty uniquely creepy story in a really short amount of time.
The spooks and scared are, of course, EXTREMELY accentuated by the art. The way Hayden Sherman and Dave Stewart use darkness to keep both Batman and the reader dreadfully unaware of what’s right around the corner, right on the next page, it’s incredible.
A rather short story, only consisting of two pages-
Hey, wait a minute…
Joey Esposito delivers us a solid two-page character piece on Two-Face (I get it!), exploring his relationship to the oh-so-important coin he carries. It’s nothing particularly new or exciting, but it is a very good read.
The art, I would argue, is where this short story truly shines. Mikel Janin has laid out a stellar two pages, the composition and contrast between the two is just impeccable. But he’s not the only star of the show here. Jordie Bellaire is here to once again prove my point that Janin truly excels when paired with the right colorist. I absolutely LOVE the way this story looks, and I think you will too.
The Pennyworth Files, Chapter Two: On the Hook
Chris Burnham has done it again, folks. Everyone’s favorite butler (Batman’s butler, in fact, whose origin you can catch on HBO Max while it still exists!) is on the trail of some emerald jewelry! But all is not what it seems. Who is the mysterious woman with the harpoon tattoo? Why does she want these emeralds so bad? I’m sorry, did she say Dagon???
I cannot stress enough how deeply in love I am with these stories. The Pennyworth Files could become a series mainstay until Urban Legends has come and gone and I would be 10000% okay with it. Not just that, but to add elder gods into the mix…
I think I died and went to heaven. 15/10, no notes, perfect story.
Rounding us off this week is probably the most unsettling story of the bunch. I know I gave a lot of love to the creeps in “Tiny Hands”, but there’s just something about a guy skinning crocodiles alive and leaving their corpses around after fashioning a skin suit that just… hits a little different.
Brandon Easton’s story is probably my favorite of the Non-Alfred entries to this issue, purely because of the way it depicts Batman and Killer Croc interacting on the hunt for this insane serial killer (of crocodiles). Of all the stories in this book, this one also feels the most complete. It’s a nice little mystery all wrapped up in a fun, complex enough package to keep the reader reading. It feels like an episode of 2004’s The Batman, or even a BTAS story. Incredibly well done.
The art here is nothing to scoff at, either. Will Robson and Matt Herms draw one of my favorite Crocs I’ve ever seen. He’s large and intimidating, and just Croc-y enough that you’d believe he’s a guy with a really bad skin condition without going full Arkham Knight on it. The atmosphere created here is absolutely perfect, again reminiscent of the 2004 series, which longtime readers may know is a personal favorite of mine.
- You’re just looking for a genuinely good collection of Batman stories.
- Urban Legends at its peak has held your attention.
- Duke Thomas finally gets some love.
- ALFRED ALFRED ALFRED ALFRED ALFRED
This is a REALLY solid issue. It sucks that you still have to buy the last one for full context, but honestly it’s worth it.
Overall Score: 8/10
DISCLAIMER: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.