Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Classics - Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #1

Back in September Nate suggested a review of Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight - and we certainly try to cover requests like that here at Chuck's Comic of the Day, so let's take a look at the first issue in that (darned impressive) series!

It's an issue that's so important, it has two covers! The outer one (up there on the left) touts this as the first new "solo" Batman book since 1940 - which is pretty amazing, since the cover date on this issue is November 1989!

These days, hardly a week goes by without a new series starring Batman. (But I digress.)

And of course, in true '80s fashion, the comic was issued with four different colors (though I only picked up one - with two young kids at the time, I wasn't made of money!).

The inside cover (that's it below on the right) was the first of five themed covers (one for each of the first five issues in the series), each one featuring a different mask.

DC certainly lined up its "A" team for this book, with writer Dennis O'Neil, one of the best writers to ever work on Batman; penciller Ed Hannigan and inker John Beatty, both outstanding and vastly underrated artists.

The story takes us back to the very beginning for Bruce Wayne's crime-fighting career as he faces death atop an icy mountain in Alaska. As the story unfolds, we see how his experiences there influence his life and his strategies.

This issue actually makes a solid companion piece to Frank Miller and Dave Mazzucchelli's Batman: Year One, although this is a more spiritual story - but it is crafted to fit into place without disrupting that story (which was issued two years before).

The five-issue series follows Batman's growth as a new hero in Gotham, and it's interesting to see a hero with great ability - but some lingering uncertainty. It's the human side of the hero that we rarely see - but one that O'Neil excelled at.

And I want to emphasize the great art on this series. Hannigan was probably best known for his cover work, but his comic art was strong and original, with dynamic layouts, clear storytelling and excellent "acting" by his characters.

And this was just the first story in a long run - LotDK ran for more than 200 issues and seven annuals, with a majority of those issues featuring some of the industry's top talents.

There are quite a number of outstanding stories in the series - just ask Nate!

Grade: A


1 comment:

Kyle said...

Definitly a great series. Some of the best creators and "continuity free" stories... Back then it was the only ongoing Batman title I read until "Batman Adventures" came out...