Current Reviews


Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #158

Posted: Saturday, August 17, 2002
By: Ray Tate

"Blink" Part 3

Writer: Dwayne McDuffie
Artists: Val Semeiks(p), Dan Green(i), James Sinclair(c)
Publisher: DC

“The envelope please.”

:::The handsome chap in the eighth Doctor outfit gently pulls apart the seal::::

“And the winner for the category of Best Batman Story in a Non-Animated Tie-in is….Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight’s “Blink! Let’s take a look, and see why.”

“Blink” took three parts to relate because Batman is “the world’s greatest detective.” Sherlock Holmes himself approved of the man in a pre-Crisis Mike Barr/Alan Davis issue of Detective Comics. Dwayne McDuffie honors the character by making him whip-smart.

Batman seeks to solve this mystery to protect the innocent. The reader never once gives pause: thinking Batman will fail. The reader never once questions Batman’s methods. Instead, the reader’s heart beats faster. His smile broadens to a grin. She turns the pages because she wishes to discover what will happen next. Dwayne McDuffie understands that Batman is a hero.

Batman breaks the law to serve justice. Concealing one’s identity and wearing a mask is not illegal. Fighting crime does not make one a criminal. The assault and battery Batman skillfully applies to the opposing forces can easily be dismissed as self-defense. Gathering evidence and giving it to the police though gives grounds for Batman to be prosecuted in a civil suit will not necessarily be thrown out of court. Ah, but Batman in a scene that makes the reader’s grin grow even wider, definitely breaks the law. No citizen or law enforcer may hold a suspect above a great height to squeeze from his trembling lips information. Dwayne McDuffie understands that Bob Kane and Bill Finger created Bat-Man to be a dark hero seen as a vigilante by the police.

Why is there a Batman? Because the villains have bail bondsmen, and they can be back out on Gotham’s streets in a heartbeat. The difference is that they will be constantly looking over their shoulder for the shadow of the bat. Dwayne McDuffie knows that Batman is a figure of fear.

Through Mr. McDuffie’s comprehension he gives to readers the quintessential Batman: a Batman who can fit into any memorable era from the aforementioned Bob Kane/Bill Finger era to the Alan Grant/Norm Breyfogle period and even the animated series.

Such is his understanding Dwayne McDuffie can very well make a book of Batman mowing through ordinary crime interesting; of course thanks to Batman, Gotham should be relatively crime-free. “Blink” concentrates on an insidious legend—a double joke on the title—touches upon Blood Simple and draws upon the giallo of Mario Bava with the ingenious and engaging creation of Hyland. Because of Hyland’s status as an innocent the theme also alludes to The Man from U.N.C.L.E. This is without a doubt an impressive pedigree for a champion story.

In terms of pure artistic storytelling, “Blink” features Val Semeiks best artwork. Clearly inspired, Mr. Semeiks creates distinctive murderers with weak chins, granite jawed thugs, hatchet-profiled masterminds and a Batman—with alas, short ears—that explodes into precise violent action.

Page nine and ten exemplify the artist’s perfect timing and the depiction of the Dark Knight’s strength and speed. The running joke of “My Hand…!” indicates his intellect and his skill in the fighting arts. His method is to first disarm then disable. This is Batman.

What did you think of this book?
Have your say at the Line of Fire Forum!