Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Batman: Urban Legends #4 Review


Still Batting .750

Writer: Meghan Fitzmartin, Camrus Johnson, Matthew Rosenberg, Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Eddy Barrows, Ryan Benjamin, Loyiso Mkize, Beln Ortega, Marcus To
Cover Price: $7.99
Release Date: June 8, 2021

While I am not an anthology type of guy, I have enjoyed Urban Legends, mainly for the Red Hood and Grifter stories.  I am still patiently waiting for the issue where all four stories hit, and unfortunatley, I am going to have to keep waiting.  This issue has a one-shot Batwing story as well as starting a three-parter featuring Tim Drake.  Let's see what's what...

As always, the Red Hood story starts things off, and this one is more about the past catching up with the present.  Sure, we've had flashbacks of Jason as Robin in every issue so far, but this is the big one.  We ended the last issue with Jason caught off guard by Mr. Freeze, and while I was hoping we'd get more of what Victor is up to, Chip Zdarsky goes a different direction...straight for the heart.

This one is all about Batman being there for Jason, as we see the one huge time he wasn't.  Zdarsky does a great job showing the emotions through Jason, Barbara, and especially Batman as he goes off to save his son no matter what.  

The only problem I have with this is we put the Cheerdrops story to a halt, but I can deal with that when it's something this good.  I have been hoping that Zdarsky is using this 6-parter to fix the Jason-Bruce relationship and after a bit of a swerve, we are back on track.

Next up is a Luke Fox/Batwing by Camrus Johnson, who plays Luke on the Batwoman show.  It's pretty good and ties in the Fox Family and Tim into it while showing the smarts that make Luke such an excellent character.

It's Batwing versus the Riddler, and while Nygma can be a little tricky to write well, Camrus does a good job.  I am a sucker for the Batwing suit, and I'm glad that Loyiso Mkize understands how cool it looks in the dark.

By the end, Luke saves the day, with the help of a Gotham City regular, and keeps it all within continuity with some smart little references.  It's not going to blow you away, but Johnson shows he knows the characters he's working with and the space they play in.  That might not sound like huge praise, but nowadays, it is, and I hope we see him on some more books down the line.

Next up is Meghan Fitzmartin's Tim Drake story, and while I was looking forward to this, it is the downer of the issue.  It's not that Fitzmartin writes a bad Tim, but the setup and progression feel very disjointed, and because of that, the pacing is way off as well.

We get Tim on the case of the Chaos Monster and some missing kids while Oracle is talking to him via comm about his computer system. Unfortunately, the Oracle part was only a distraction and took away from much-needed work setting up the Chaos Monster bit.  It all ended in a forced cliffhanger that might be important to Tim, but I doubt any reader will feel any connection to it at all.  I liked Belen Ortega's art, but I hope the story improves next issue.

We end with Mathew Rosenberg's Grifter story, and after a bit of a down issue, I liked this one a lot!  Sure, if you aren't a Wildcats fan, it may not tickle your fancy as much, but Grifter is back to being badass, and there is a lot of humor and fun here.  

A bunch of guest stars show up, some to kick Cole's ass, some to save it, and even some a bit in-between.  Rosenberg is still playing the will he or won't he game with the mysterious things Grifter is up to, and the name drops of Leviathan and Jacob Marlowe don't make it easy to look at Cole as a good guy, but that's the fun of this story.  Ryan Benjamin's art makes it easy on the eyes as well.

Overall, this was a strong issue of Urban Legends. However, the rub of it is whether it's worth the $7.99 price tag, and while I didn't love the Tim Drake story in this issue, the other three pick up the slack so I can recommend it.  

Bits and Pieces:

I still haven't gotten the golden goose issue where I love all four stories, but this comes pretty damned close.  It's hard to say that it's worth it to everyone, but I can recommend this issue, even with its higher price of admission.


1 comment:

  1. So I guess Jack Drake's death is still canon. That sucks. I was hoping Tim Drake's dad would be one of the people resurrected. Besides both his parents were alive in the New52 and presumably the start of Rebirth. I'm just happy for Tim Drake to get any focus so I can't hate this story.