R.I.P. - Legends of the Dark Knight

I feel like something should be said about the final issue of Legends of the Dark Knight hitting stores today. I celebrated this monumental occasion by forgetting to buy it, as usual.

LotDK was always hit-or-miss. When it was good, it was very good (Matt Wagner's Faces, Grant Morrison's Gothic, the recent Bruce Jones run). Usually it was just weird, but it was at least imaginative and reasonably fun to read. And if nothing else, it was extra Batman reading, which I certainly don't have a problem with. The series, which was supposed to be stories from Batman's early years but often strayed from that theme, is being replaced by the currently horrid Batman Confidential. As far as I'm concerned it's been replaced by Matt Wagner's awesome Monster Men/Mad Monk series. I hope they continue forever. That's some fun early years adventure reading.

I was going to post a bunch of my favourite LotDK moments, but I keep thinking about last month's issue (#213) and how I really wanted to post something about it as soon as I read it.

Did y'all read this thing? It's bizarre. Basically it involves Batman having to track down a criminal who is a total foaming-at-the-mouth superhero nerd/collector. I'm always amused when a comic book makes a villain out of its readers. Not that I am as nerdy as this guy. No way.

Batman has to follow this guy, who has stolen one of Batman's cape and cowl combos from a black market dealer, to Japan. This dude is into cosplay, which, according to Batman, is "Costume play. Dressup as a hobby or kink." (Did I ever want Batman to explain cosplay to me? No I did not).

Here's what I don't like: when a writer forces their own interests on an established character, no matter how ridiculous. I would even call that lazy when we're talking about fanfiction, nevermind an actual canon comicbook. It's like if I got to write a Batman comic and I had him lead the Montreal Canadiens to the Stanley Cup. Fun for me, confusing for everyone else.

So Bruce Wayne goes to Tokyo to hunt this geek down, and in the process we get to learn all about manga and cosplay subculture. Because Bruce knows all about it.


To me, the best part of the book is that Bruce has to go undercover at a cosplay party, and chooses to dress as Green Lantern (Kyle Rayner specifically, it looks like). But look at the geekiness he has to put up with (remember, Bruce is the guy in the Lantern costume):

*shudder* I know Batman doesn't get scared very often, but I would not blame him for being effing terrified.

Anyway, the whole thing is just weird. And it ends with this conversation between Alfred and Bruce which is kinda funny, but also really wrong.

Now let's look at a good issue of LotDK, just to wash the taste of manga out of our mouths.

#125 was a No Man's Land tie-in written by Greg Rucka. So we're already off to a good start.

I really like this comic a lot. The entire thing is an awkward conversation between Batman and James Gordon in Gordon's backyard. They are trying to restore their friendship after a tough year, but they have some trust issues to work out first. Maybe it's just satisfying to see these two have a conversation that lasts so long. Especially one that is so fun to read. I especially love that pages of silence between them before Batman breaks the ice with a gardening compliment.

Gordon gets in some good digs during the argument.

Awesome! You tell him, Jim! And what does Batman have to say for himself?

Awww. Who needs a hug?

Batman is so moved by his friend's anger that he decides to show him the ultimate gesture of respect and trust by removing his mask. Only Gordon isn't interested.

I love it! This whole argument was just so manly and a great representation of their relationship.

So there it is. Legends of the Dark Knight: awesome conversations between Batman and Jim Gordon, or Batman dressing up like Green Lantern at a Japanese sex party. Something for everyone!

I'd love to hear some of your favourite or least-favourite Legends issues.