Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #193

Reviewer: Tim Stevens
Story Title: Bound

Written by: J.H. Williams & Dan Curtis Johnson
Art by: Seth Fisher
Colored by: Dave Stewart
Lettered by: Phil Balsman
Editor: Joey Cavalieri, Harvey Richards, and Andy Helfer
Publisher: DC Comics

Legends of the Dark Knight is one of the few (if not the only) books I buy that I don’t pick up on a consistent basis. I only take the time to snag a copy when a particular storyline appeals. Sometimes it’s a mistake (that “Ultimate” Riddler storyline a couple of weeks ago) and sometimes, this time, it works out smashingly.

When we last left Batman, he was frustrated with his limitations, both personal and professional. After getting shot by a perp that got the drop on him and finding neither Gordon nor Dent willing to go as all out as him, Bruce had decided to seek other “freelance” help.

This time out, we meet those operatives. Meanwhile, Victor Fries, the man who will be Mister Freeze tries (and fails) to do what the doctors can’t for his wife.

I like this Batman. He’s younger and more mistake prone, which is a characterization of him I always enjoy. He is also driven and frustrated, but, for once, this prompts him to reach out (a more reasonable approach in my opinion) as opposed to just glowering extensively and kicking people out of his “mission” or his “city”.

His operatives are a bit more archetypes that characters, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Certainly it lends a sense of foreboding as you can see the variety of ways that this setup can go wrong even though Batman is not aware of it.

The characterization of the pre-deep freeze Fries, however, is strong. Much like Batman, he shows the characteristics that will overrule his personality when he “becomes” Freeze but they are still in their infant, controllable stages. He and Bats aren’t mirrors of one another, but the evolution of who they are in the present day DCU from this moment does follow a similar path.

However, I already knew the abilities of Williams and Johnson. The real find for me from this book is the art of Seth Foster. His linework is wonderfully different and well aided and abetted by Stewart’s softer colors. Foster and Stewart make things work in the world of Batman that I would otherwise recommend avoiding: brighter/lighter colors instead of dark and shadowy, oversized cartoon bubble lettered question marks and sound effects all blend into the world of Gotham with surprising ease. Like I said, it sounds like it would be disastrous, but it is anything but.