Poisoned by the very toxin he sought to weaponize against Gotham and its dear Dark Knight, the Joker is knocking on death’s door. With only one vial of anti-toxin left in his utility belt, Batman must make a choice: save his archnemesis or finally put an end to the dance with the devil in the pale moonlight. Unfortunately, there isn’t much time for the Caped Crusader to deal with the ramifications of his decision as the arrival of a crude, yet functional, riddle escalates the situation.
“There’s the mind over the physical. And the duty to honor the spark of life in others. No matter how unworthy. Like my father taught me.”
Collecting chapters 3 and 4 of Darick Robertson’s “Bad Night, Good Knight,” Legends of the Dark Knight #2 seeks to entertain readers by answering the age-old question, “Will Batman kill the Joker?” Although Robertson does a satisfactory job answering this query, this issue’s true strength lies within the introduction of a new character who drives the overarching narrative forward. Unfortunately, the story can feel disjointed as these chapters have different themes surrounding the Dark Knight.
The thought experiment regarding Batman breaking his one rule to stop the Joker has been explored so many times throughout various forms of media that the topic can become stale if not executed properly. In Legends of the Dark Knight #2, Darick Robertson states Bruce Wayne has this one rule because of his father’s dedication to preserving life. This reasoning makes sense as it shows his father’s impact on his ethics.
Unfortunately, Robertson’s work does little to add new insight to this previously mined topic. As a result, we still get the same logical argument that Batman doesn’t kill because he doesn’t want to become the thing he hates most. Robertson’s justification for Bruce makes sense, but without adding anything new to the conversation, the entire discussion feels tired. This is a shame because the benefit of a title like Legends of the Dark Knight is that it can provide a new understanding for the character without the shackles of continuity.
Thankfully, the second half of the book fares better thematically as it focuses on Bruce’s reasoning for working alone in the field. In this portion of the book, Robertson once again chooses a central theme to the Caped Crusader. Through Commissioner Gordon’s actions to Batman’s narration, Darick does an excellent job tying every facet of the second half back to this theme. Although Batman’s “lone wolf” status is something that we have seen explored countless times in the medium, the introduction of a new villain promises to add more to this conversation with the final line, “What would you risk to save someone you love?”
Thematically, Darick Robertson tackles two of the largest conversations regarding the Dark Knight with this issue. Unfortunately, the entire book feels a bit disjointed as the themes were initially presented in two separate chapters. When these ideas are combined for Legends of the Dark Knight #2, the issue begins to feel disjointed. Each meaty concept is so different that it’s challenging to develop an overarching connection between the two. This disconnect is amplified by the fact that each theme is deserving of, at the minimum, its own full-size issue.
“When I come to, everything is darkness and cold. There are times I wonder if this is what death will feel like. Cold. Omnipresent. A darkness so deep no light can penetrate it. An abyss.”
Darick Robertson serves double duty as both writer and artist on Legends of the Dark Knight #2. With this issue, Robertson’s artwork does a great job telling the story. The scenes between Batman and the Joker are excellent in conveying the Dark Knight’s frustration during the moral quandary regarding his archnemesis. Additionally, the sequence introducing the new villain is appropriately cinematic. Richard P. Clark’s inks and Diego Rodriguez’s colors bolster Robertson’s artwork as they help capture different eras of the Dark Knight’s detective work.
Ultimately, Legends of the Dark Knight #2 seeks to engage readers by answering the often-asked question, “Will Batman kill the Joker?” Although Robertson does a satisfactory job answering this inquiry, he does little to provide new insight into the conversation. As a result, we once again witness the same argument that Batman doesn’t kill because he doesn’t want to become what he hates. This issue’s true strength lies within the introduction of a new character who drives the overarching narrative forward. Unfortunately, the narrative can feel disjointed as the combined chapters have different themes surrounding the Dark Knight.
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