Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Batman: Urban Legends #14 Review


Writer:  Mark Russell, Vita Ayala, Ryan Cady, Che Grayson
Art: Karl Mostert, Nikola Cizmesija, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Serg Acuna
Cover Price: $7.99
Release Date: April 12, 2022

Here we are again with another issue of Batman: Urban Legends, and I am not going to lie; this book has become a bit of a slog to read and review each month.  Looking at the sales rankings, I am not the only one who thinks that either!  The steep price point makes it a harder sell than most, but the diminishing quality of the stories is what is turning me off.  Thankfully, we have started two new ones in this issue, so there is always the chance things will be better.  Let's see if that's the case.

Batman: Urban Legends #14 opens with Vita Ayala's Batman - Zatanna story, and it's a complete mess.  It was never good (probably why it's not featured on the cover), but it has become so convoluted that it's hard to track what's going on and why I should care.  Unfortunately, Nikola Cizmesija's art is not great either and makes things even harder to follow.  At this point in the story, I am left wondering if we needed six issues to tell whatever this story is trying to tell.

Next up is the beginning of Ryan Cady's Question story.  I loved Cady's character work with Jessica Cruz in Future State and the recent Green Lantern Annual, so I was looking forward to this one-shot.  Unfortunately, this story feels incomplete.  Maybe it was initially going to be longer, but it needed a little more setup, and after it ended, it felt like a short, not an entire story.  I liked Giuseppe Camuncoli And Cam Smith's art a lot.  Sebastian Cheng's colors are bright, which might throw some readers off a bit, but even though Batman and Vic Sage are sneaking around, the overall feel at the end is nice and even a little silly, so it works. 


We continue with the start of Che Grayson's 3-part Birds of Prey story.  The team of Lady Shiva, Katana, Miracle Molly, and Ghost is crazy enough to be intriguing, but it felt like Grayson hit the ground running a little too quickly.  Unfortunately, it doesn't help that the plot is so cliched - an app that lets you relive your best memories but might not be on the up and up.  However, my biggest problem is that the team doesn't feel like a team.  I would generally say "yet" here, but these gals don't even feel like they would ever even hang out together for five minutes, let alone fight crime as a team.  That can certainly change in the next issue, but I was disappointed by this start for now.  I wasn't disappointed by Serg Acura's art, though.  I loved the character designs, and Ivan Plascencia's colors pop off the page (or the screen, in my case).

Finally, we have the continuation of Mark Russel's Super-Pets story.  I have had mixed feelings about this one since it started.  I am not a Mark Russell fan on the best of days, and having a story steeped in animal abuse turned me off initially.  However, seeing the animals, led by Ace, take it to the streets to save Batman and defeat their abusers is cool.  However, you can't stop Mark Russell from being Mark Russell, and this issue throws in everything I don't like about his writing.  Random people spouting out social commentary, more animal abuse, a history lesson on bear grease, some Tolstoy, some Squid Games meets Fight Club action, more social commentary, and a couple of thudding jokes.  Just Russell being Russell.  Stepping aside, I understand that these are the things that Russell fans love, and I respect that, but that doesn't change how much I roll my eyes when I read it.  This entry doesn't progress the plot much but teaches you that many balding 19th-century Europeans probably walked around smelling like bacon!  Karl Mostert's art is a little sparse on details and backgrounds, and Trish Mulvihill's colorwork doesn't get much opportunity to shine.

Bits and Pieces:

Batman: Urban Legends #14 has become an overpriced book filled with ok stories at best.  I was hoping that the two new stories would win me over, but sadly that wasn't the case.  With so many other books out there (and yes, a ton of them Batman books), coupled with the high price point, I can't recommend this to anyone besides superfans of one of the creators included.


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