I can’t believe this series is almost over! I’ll save most of my retrospective and pining for more for the final review, but just know that there will be plenty.
For now, let’s take a look at this surprisingly stellar penultimate issue, because this series refuses to fade out quietly.
Nightwing Presenting: The Director, Part 1
Jamal Campbell kicks us off with an extremely fun Nightwing story, introducing a villain with a lot of potential. The Director, a villain with a penchant for staging and recording Nightwing’s crime fighting capers, has appeared in Bludhaven, and it’s a really fun introduction. Campbell does a wonderful job of portraying Bludhaven, as well as Dick’s relationship with it. Early on, he stops a crime before expressing his disappointment with the criminal, reminding them to call the number he gave them before. It’s a cute moment that captures Dick’s unique take on crimefighting, his determination to help people rather than punish the wicked.
Dick isn’t the only star of the show here, however. The Director more than holds their own, and the concept has a lot of potential to be a terrifying mainstay for Nightwing. The story kind of alludes to this with the tease at the end (no spoilers, sorry!), but I would absolutely love to see someone follow this concept to its most extreme. Someone out there, please. There’s so much fun to be had.
Despite the creepiness of its villain, the tone of this story is still bright and hopeful, and nowhere is that expressed better than the art. I was legitimately surprised at how well Campbell and colorist Adriano Lucas were able to not only capture the vibrancy and style of Bruno Redondo’s Nightwing, but also put their own spin on it to build it just that much more. The action is fluid and dynamic, every panel feels exciting and fresh, and the colors absolutely leap off the page. Every single thing about this story made me want to keep reading, my eye was drawn further and further, wanting more.
There is something to be said about this book’s last two issues introducing yet another multi-parter, especially when now 3 out of 4 stories art multi-segment installments, but I think it’s rounded out by the fact that this first story isn’t a backdoor pilot for anything. It’s just a solid, fun story featuring an exciting new villain, and I can’t wait for part 2!
This is an incredible concept for a story. There’s not much else to say here, other than I’m kind of surprised no one has done something like this yet. Yedoye Travis takes Batman on one of the most harrowing adventures of his career: the discovery that the citizens of Gotham have his gadgets! Anarky has leaked the designs for all of Batman’s arsenal, and people are 3D printing batarangs, grappling hooks, and more. What follows is a really neat exploration of what Batman does when tools of his own design are endangering the people of Gotham. It’s a fun little one shot that explores the topic of Batman’s vigilantism in a way I haven’t seen too often. I’m always glad to see Anarky get some proper love, as well. I enjoyed how Lonnie was written here.
Of course, a well written comic would be nowhere without art and letters. I want to give a shoutout here to Lucas Silveria and Ferran Delgado. The art and letters complement each other perfectly, and create a vibe for the story that makes it feel like an all-ages tale about Batman interacting with people of all ages and walks of life. It’d make a great read for any kids out there that want to dive a little deeper into the Bat-mythos!
Arkham Academy, Part Two: Scared Straight
I’ll be honest. I was a little disappointed with this installment. Arkham Academy is one of those concepts that could be really interesting if explored fully, and with only three parts to do this, I was a little disappointed that the entire second issue was taken up in one scene. There’s a lot here that I would love to see more developed: the purpose of Arkham Academy, the group adventures of the gang, Scorn’s whole deal! (Seriously, if this is the last we see of Scorn, I’ll cry.)
That being said, what is here is a lot of fun. Dennis Culver has crafted a really entertaining cast with fantastic rapport, and it’s a blast to see them poke fun at Croc here. The art, drawn here by Hayden Sherman and colored by Jordie Bellaire, lends itself a lot to this, with a fun, whimsical style that still manages to capture the dark nature of what’s happening here. Croc looks terrifying, but the rest of the cast are drawn like what they are: kids. Evil kids, yes, but there’s an element of fun throughout their designs that makes my heart happy.
The Murder Club, Part 3
This one doesn’t get the cool stylized credits because there’s a big old spoiler right where I’d need to crop it! DC! Stop doing that! For me! Specifically!
Even though I can’t tell you about the cool credits, I can tell you about the neat twist on the “Waynes meet Batman” concept! The Waynes, recently brought back to the future thanks to the Time Commander’s time shenanigans, react pretty poorly to the idea that their son is running around as a masked vigilante, actually. It’s pretty interesting, and I think a good way to confront Bruce with the ethics of Batman without getting into the tired “not doing enough” that does its monthly rounds on Twitter. Here, the criticism comes from the most important people in his life, the reason he does it at all, and it’s counteracted by the family Bruce has built for himself. It’s a fantastic way to do this, and most importantly, it’s an interesting way to do it. It gives Nightwing, Alfred, and Damian a way to interact with the reason for Batman, the reason their lives are the way they are, and it’s incredibly fascinating to watch these characters interact.
The art, as usual, is incredible. Vasco Georgiev and Alex Guimarães create the perfect atmosphere for this story, a grim mystery that dives into the wonderful wacky world of time travel. It’s a feast for the eyes, the way that colors and shadows pop off the page kept the eye moving and the page turning. The visual storytelling here is amazing as well! There’s a lot of silent gags in the background of panels, little character moments that are insanely fun, and work massively to this book’s credit.
- You’ve been keeping up with this so far, and want to see it through.
- Support this anthology series so hopefully we can get more like it!
- You honestly just want some good content.
I really will be sad to see this series go. Urban Legends has been such a fun series, and I hope we get more like it in the future.
Overall Score: 8/10
DISCLAIMER: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.