Current Reviews


Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #160

Posted: Saturday, October 12, 2002
By: Ray Tate

"Loyalties" Part 2

Writer: John Ostrander
Artists: David Lopez (p), Dan Green(i), James Sinclair (c)
Publisher: DC

What's special about this week's Legends of the Dark Knight is how it seems to be a very harsh and inhumane representation of a war against cops such as our stalwart Jim Gordan and the corrupt leftovers of Al Capone's police force. It only however seems to be such a Pulp Fiction dystopia.

As soon as Batman enters this world, everything changes. It must change because Batman is unique. He is a hero in a world of villains. His mystique and his very lawlessness frighten the opposition. Once Batman manifests in Chicago, he immediately begins terrorizing the criminals in the political and legal system. He hoists up men by their lapels and threatens to drop them from high-set windows. He throws plug-uglies at other plug-uglies. He's not intimidated. The law cannot touch him, and the criminals are speedily growing law-breaking goose bumps.

You definitely get the impression that somewhere along the line Batman refused to grow up. This is not to say he acts childish. Instead, he sees things in black and white. He does not accept sophisticated apologist attitudes to allow for shades of gray. There's wrong, and there's right, and he is a modern-day Zorro righting the wrongs while leaving his mark as a bat branded to the mind.

Lopez's and Green's artwork has a gritty, noir feel. James Sinclair enhances the feeling with very light colors. Mr. Lopez imbues a cinematic quality to the panels--evidenced by scenes in which a surprise witness chats with her mother. When Batman enters the picture, Lopez makes him look like a hero. Perhaps this terrifies the criminals of the piece even more. A character from their comic books or pulps has arrived to show them that they have lost their childhood understanding of morality. They have lost the ability to tell what is right and what is wrong.

More than symbolism is at work in Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight. John Ostrander makes Batman the World's Greatest Detective. Batman recaps the previous chapter for the reader, but for him this is all new information that he uncovered during his investigation. He quickly learns the lay of the land, and if not for a few semi-humorous obstacles, Batman probably would have been able to secure Jim Gordon's release the night in which this case takes place. Never the less, these barriers do not seem artificial. Once again, this is Batman.

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