The holidays are just around the corner, and Batman: Urban Legends is bringing the festivities to Gotham with the tenth installment of the always interesting Bat-centric anthology series. Batman: Urban Legends #10 wraps up the stories of Tweedledee, Tweedledum, and Azrael, and features Tim Drake and Nightwing in two festive, yet compelling one-shots for an issue that is sure to please.
Tim Drake’s story “A Carol of Bats,” written by Meghan Fitzmartin, fronts the intrigue for Batman: Urban Legends #10 as it follows Tim’s momentous coming out back in Batman: Urban Legends #6. The three-part story in issues #4-6 explored Tim’s identity, and this story continues the trajectory of giving Tim the most character development he’s had in years by showing what that means in relation to being Batman’s Robin. Fans excited to see more of Tim and Bernard together may be disappointed at the seeming lack, but it makes sense within Tim’s story arc and ends so sweetly I don’t think any fan could be mad at it.
The talents of Alberto Albuquerque Jimenez’s illustrations, Nick Filardi’s colors, and Pat Brosseau’s letters combined create jack-of-all-trades art. This team can weave from sincere father/son moments to dreary Gotham churches to lively action sequences with graceful ease. Especially Nick Filardi’s colors, which greatly emphasize the particular emotion the scene is trying to convey. I have to say, this team’s art combined with Fitzmartin’s powerful writing left me teary-eyed.
“Down the Rabbit Hole,” written by Sam Johns, concludes Tweedledee and Tweedledum’s two-parter and takes a deeper look at what happens to the detrimental state henchmen are left in after they leave their villains. As Tweedledum attempts to save his brother Tweedledee while staying away from his criminal past, a sincere story about brotherhood forms. Johns weaves these two threads together with care to shine a light on the citizens of Gotham that get left out of the superheroic spotlight. Not to mention that Karl Mostert’s art and David Baron’s colors contrast the fairytale themes with the unforgiving nature of Gotham with wondrous intrigue.
The final part of “Dark Knight of the Soul,” written by Dan Watters, finally reveals the intentions of the Poor Fellow, a new character and Azrael’s adversary. A confrontation leads to a final battle between the two with Nikola Čižmešija’s art and Ivan Plascencia’s colors stealing the show. Čižmešija’s dynamic visualization of impact and movement and Plascencia’s visceral coloration of fire make for some showstopping scenes. But the last scene is the best in this story’s three parts, further exploring the divide and connection between Jean-Paul and Azrael, heightened by Ariana Maher’s potent Azrael/Jean-Paul lettering.
Nightwing in “The Bats of Christmas Past” wraps up Batman: Urban Legends #10 with some classic hero vs. henchman action. Writer Tini Howard’s DC debut is a delightful holiday story that ironically posits Nightwing as the grumpy Scourge as he encounters his own three ghosts of Christmas past after a hefty dose of Scarecrow’s fear toxin. Howard imbues Nightwing with his signature Dick Grayson charm (albeit at certain moments too much) for a family-centric story rich with action, humor, and of course, heart.
Christian Duce’s art in this story is truly something to behold. Nightwing’s movements feel fluid and true, dynamic panelling and point-of-views are refreshing, and a retro Titans flashback fully captures the essence of the era. A particular panel with Cassandra Cain’s Batgirl as a haunting spectre and her cape appearing as the impending shadows is particularly stunning. Sarah Stern’s colors are also spectacular, especially the vibrant greens and blues used to illuminate the dark Wayne Manor.
The Batman: Urban Legends series never fails to deliver an amazing comic. Notably, Batman: Urban Legends #10 brings the holiday cheer with a heap of wonderfully-illustrated and heartfelt stories. The conclusions and setups that this issue provides are sure to breathe new life into future Bat-centric stories, and Gotham itself.
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