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Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #172

Posted: Saturday, October 11, 2003
By: Ray Tate



"Rough Justice": Part One

Writer: John Wagner
Artists: Chris Brunner, James Sinclair(c)
Publisher: DC

John Wagner best known for his writing of Judge Dredd jumps from Megacity to Gotham in Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight. Footprints litter the territory he seeks to explore, but the skill of the author shows in every word and scene.

Mr. Wagner opens the tale with Batman's opinion about himself and whether or not he believes in his sanity. He juxtaposes the flavorful, characteristic narration with scenes of Batman's crusade against crime. These scenes ably rendered by new Batman artist Chris Brunner nicely show the Dark Knight's acumen and his arch abilities.

Mr. Wagner and Mr. Brunner do not show Batman simply hitting thugs with his fists. He drops down on his prey and blocks blows. He uses the weapons meant to split open his skull against their owners. He darts around like Zorro and stays in the shadows to employ his arsenal from the pouches on his utility belt. A very cool scene involves a particularly Batman way of thinking that will likely nullify one gunsel's driver's license.

The end scenes of Batman's eventful evening segue smoothly to the introduction of Rough Justice. Here are true vigilantes: wantonly lethal, celebrity seeking and crackers. Naturally their presence threatens Batman's more heroic method of dealing with criminals and thus creates the conflict.

Though we've seen this exercise run before, it's still nice to read a comic book where Batman is not insane and not truly a vigilante in the classic sense of the word. Because John Wagner's writing the book, the dialogue and choice of scenes seems fresh, and Chris Brunner's artwork is easy on the eyes.



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