Well, it’s finally here. The final issue of Urban Legends. I have to say, I’ll be really sad to see this series go. We’ve had highs and lows, for sure, but man, those highs were high. We got some genuinely great stories out of this thing, like the Question/Batman team-up, the super fun Ace and friends storyline, or the surprisingly wholesome Red Hood story back in the beginning. This anthology series was a chance to let writers and artists play in the world of Batman with minimal consequences, and maximum potential.
Of course, it seemed a lot of times like that potential was used, for better or for worse, as an opportunity to pitch other books. The amount of stories that ended up being backdoor pilots for spinoff books or original series frequently irked me and a lot of other people out there. Still, I have to say, the good far outweighed the bad here. I’d like to see more anthology series from all comic publishers in the future.
But here I am prattling on, let’s jump in!
The Director: Part 2
Jamal Campbell’s followup to last week’s issue solidified my need to see more of The Director. I will preface this by saying that this story has major “backdoor pilot” energy, but it’s saved by the fact that Nightwing already has his own series. That said, I would really like to see the Director pop up in future Nightwing stories. I think there’s a ton of fun to be had here! So many possibilities!
As for the story itself, I absolutely loved it. Jamal Campbell has written Nightwing more entertainingly in two short stories than most of his current run. I’d love to see him take over the mainline book someday. His art is, of course, nothing to be scoffed at either. Paired with Adriano Lucas’ incredible colors, it creates the perfect vibe for a Nightwing book. Seriously, between this and Bruno Redondo’s mainline art, I don’t think I’d be able to choose! A great story to kick off the final issue of this series.
Someone clearly took my opinion on One Bad Day: Mr. Freeze to heart! This is a fantastic story set in the early days of Dick Grayson’s career as Robin. The Dynamic Duo is being hunted by Firefly after botching his job, and it’s honestly one of the best Grayson stories I’ve read in a while. It’s a story about growing up, about Robin finally taking his place as Batman’s partner, not his sidekick, not a soldier, but family. We get a look inside the mind of the young Robin, which isn’t something we really see too often. Like I said in that OBD review, there’s a weird, nebulous gap in canon during the time when Dick was Robin. I’m glad to see it finally explored.
Simone Di Meo might have also just earned a spot as one of my favorite Bat-artists ever. I really loved the way this story looked. Everything was dynamic and explosive, the color leapt off the page, the whole story was just incredible to look at. There’s a double page splash in there that might be my favorite moment of the book.
Arkham Academy, Part 3: Class is in Session
Alright, I gotta say it.
This whole Arkham Academy thing has been kind of a big old letdown. I like the characters, I like the concept, but the execution… Hoo boy. Of all the stories I’ve read here that are essentially just backdoor pilots, this has to be the weirdest and the worst one. This whole story reads like issue 1 of a series that does not and will not exist. The ending especially is just… disapointing, to say the least. I wish this had gone anywhere, these characters deserve way better than this. At least they look amazing. Hayden Sherman and Jordie Bellaire, as always, are wonderful.
Not much else to say here, other than I wish this could have been more.
The Murder Club: Finale
What a great story to finish out this series. Joey Esposito takes Batman on an emotional ride, featuring his family, old and new, and it’s a great thesis statement for the future of Batman from here on out. This started as a noir-style murder mystery, and while I am a little sad to see that aspect left behind, I will say that we got the best possible outcome from that departure. THis story is a real testament to the power of Batman’s family, and how it represents a new direction for the Dark Knight as he outgrows his bitterness and sense of loss. It’s a hopeful, bright direction that breathes fresh life not only into Batman himself, but his surrounding cast. Having that lesson come from the mouths of his parents was just the icing on the cake.
- You’ve been following along this long.
- A good sendoff to a better series is up your alley.
- Support anthologies! We need more!
I hope this series showed DC that anthologies can be fun, and I’ve said it before, but I hope that we see many more series like this 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.