Saturday, December 13, 2014

Legends of the Dark Knight #80 Review

Written by: Ron Marz
Art by: Cully Hamner
Cover Price: $0.99
Release Date: December 5, 2014

Once Upon a Midnight Dreary

There are times when I say that a book snuck up on me, but this time, I really mean it.  I had no idea whatsoever that DC had brought back Legends of the Dark Knight, let alone kicked off it's return with a three part arc written by Ron Marz with art by Cully Hamner.  While I think it's a mistake to continue with the numbering of this book (this is issue #80) instead of restarting at #1, I'm so glad it's back.  This issue is the start of an interesting story featuring Batman's greatest foe...Edgar Allan Poe?!?!

You read that right, Baltimore's favorite author, poet, and overall master of the macabre is the star of this story, aptly titled "Nevermore".  At least it's a guy bearing a striking resemblance to the legendary writer and going by the name "Edgar".  What does any of this have to do with Batman?  Well, there's a gloomy mystery afoot and who better to go to...and oh yea, he is locked in Arkham and claims to have killed the Dark Knight.

Ron Marz gives readers a good Batman mystery involving a cool flashback, a catnaping and a ton of Poe references.  A Dream Within a Dream, Ligeia and The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether,  not to mention an unkindness of ravens liter this dark tale.  What makes it so good is trying to figure out what is real and what is "but a dream within a dream".  

For those in the know (or willing to do some research), the characters that pop up and the stories they are from set a very interesting backdrop to this story.  For instance, the mental hospital in The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether forms a neat parallel with Arkham and when the Doctor and Professor show up, readers of that book may have a nervous idea of what might come.  The same can be said for Ligeia as well.  Marz is giving us a story within a story within a nightmare and I really enjoyed it.  I can only hope that Marz mixes in Poe's own mysterious death into the story.

Of course, you don't need a literary degree to enjoy the Batman story on the surface.  Batman and Jim Gordon are on the case of a robbery and a kidnapping.  A collection of letters from the French Revolution have been stolen and Catwoman has been taken. Again, Marz is busy referencing Poe works and I love it.  Batman isn't blind to the references either and the clues lead him to Edgar and his gloomy associates, but the mystery is only beginning. While this is more of a psychological thriller, there is still some good action for those who like such things. 

I really enjoyed this story and Cully Hamner's art complimented it so well.  The subtle image of Edgar in Arkham was the highlight for me, but everything else was great as well.  It had a dark and gloomy look that fit the subject matter to a tee.  

Bits and Pieces:

Ron Marz and Cully Hamner bring back Legends of the Dark Knight with a bang...or maybe the beating of a hideous heart .  I never thought that Edgar Allan Poe would be such a great Batman villain, but now I know better.  It's a murder mystery fitting of the guest star with literary references, great art and a story that I can't wait to read more of.  These types of stories are why I'm glad this book is back.


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