Batman: Urban Legends #6

Batman: Urban Legends #6 Review

Batman: Urban Legends #6

Batman: Urban Legends has been one of the better series that DC Comics during the Infinite Frontier era. Telling stories for different Batman Family members has helped it stand out from all the Batman comics that only star Bruce Wayne. Every story that we’ve had in Batman: Urban Legends has stood on its own as being something you expect from a mini-series or one-shot comic book all in one package. This has been led by the Red Hood story that has challenged the current standing between Bruce Wayne and Jason Todd. How will things conclude in this and other stories in this series? Let’s find out with Batman: Urban Legends #6.

Writers: Chip Zdarsky (Red Hood & Batman “Cheer”); Matthew Rosenberg (Zealot “Blood For Blood”); Meghan Fitzmartin (Tim Drake “Sum Of Our Parts”); Joshua Williamson (Black Canary “Solo”)

Artists: Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira, Scot Eaten, Marcus To, Julio Ferreira, and Oclair Albert (Red Hood & Batman “Cheer”); Chris Sprouse (Zealot “Blood For Blood”); Belen Ortega (Tim Drake “Sum Of Our Parts”); Trevor Hairsine (Black Canary “Solo”)

Inker: Karl Story (Zealot “Blood For Blood”)

Colorists: Adriano Lucas (Red Hood & Batman “Cheer”); Pete Pntazis (Zealot “Blood For Blood”); Alejandro Sanchez (Tim Drake “Sum Of Our Parts”); Rain Beredo (Black Canary “Solo”)

Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: In the Garage (one of Bruce Wayne’s new makeshift Batcaves) Jason Todd retrieves the one vile of the antidote for the Cheerdrops drug Bruce Wayne was completed. Oracle mentions it is the only vile because they were still studying it before using it on a person. Jason says they don’t have time to test it and needs to go in as prepared as possible. Jason then looks at the Batman suits that Bruce has in the Garage.

Elsewhere Cheer tells Batman to give into the effects of the Cheerdrops. Cheer then tells his gang to spread Cheerdrops across Gotham City to heal the city from the darkness.

Red Hood (in a new costume that combines Jason’s Red Hood mask with a Batman suit), appears and immediately starts fighting Cheer’s gang. Mr. Freeze uses his gun to freeze Red Hood’s entire body. Red Hood activates the special power of the Batman suit he is wearing to break out of the ice. He then knocks Mr. Freeze out.

The Batman suit’s added weight turns out to make Red Hood slower so Cheer’s gang is able to get some hits on him. Cheer then releases his Cheerdrops.

Jason suddenly starts hallucinating Bruce telling him that Joker is dead and they can stop being masked crimefighters. Jason tries to fight back the effects of Cheerdrops but starts to give into his vision as he sees Bruce tell him they can be a family with Dick Grayson, Barbara Gordon, Tim Drake, Stephanie Brown, Kate Kane, Cassandra Cain, and Damian Wayne around them.

Red Hood is able to regain his focus enough to charge at Cheer but is stopped by the villains gang. Cheer mocks Red Hood and reveals that he can have one of his men kill Tyler’s mom, who is at Gotham General Hospital, at any moment.

Batman: Urban Legends #6
Jason Todd is shown the importance of family in Batman: Urban Legends #6. Click for full page view.

Red Hood starts smiling. Cheer thinks this is his Cheerdrops working but Red Hood reveals that it is not. He goes on to say that genuine happiness is knowing others have your back.

Nightwing, Batwoman, Orphan, Signal, and Spoiler suddenly appear to help Red Hood fight Cheer and Mr. Freeze. Oracle calls Red Hood to let him know that Robin (Tim Drake) took out Cheer’s gang member who almost killed Tyler’s mom.

Red Hood uses this as a chance to break Batman out of his confinement and injects him with the Cheerdrops antidote.

Batman and Red Hood then go after Cheer while the rest of the Batman Family deal with Mr. Freeze and Cheer’s gang.

On the rooftop of the building they were in an angry Batman grabs Cheer and holds him on the ledge of the roof. Batman shows he is pissed that Cheer showed him something he never thought. Red Hood stops Batman from throwing Cheer off the building by reasoning him to use his sound judgement.

Nightwing appears on the rooftop to let Red Hood and Batman they got the rest taken care off. As Batman is about to say something to Red Hood, Jason says he already knows what Bruce was going to say.

Three weeks later Tyler and his mom are given a new home that is fully furnished that Bruce’s Foundation has provided for them. Jason gifts Tyler a Blue Hood costume for showing such strength with the big move he and his mom’s just went through.

Jason goes outside and meets up with Bruce admits that the intense does of the Cheerdrops he was given on top of using an untested antidote caused him to go over the edge in the fight with Cheer. Bruce thanks Jason for saving him.

After a quiet moment Jason says while he isn’t giving up using guns he is now using rubber bullets. As Bruce is about to say that is the right thing to do Jason stops him. Jason says he isn’t using rubber bullets because of Bruce but for himself. He goes on to state that he does believe some people should die and wants to hurt those people but now doesn’t want to see anyone else hurt by the ripple effects death causes to others.

Jason says he still needs to figure things out alone. Bruce and Jason shake hands. Bruce then says that life is too short for their relationship to be what it currently is. Jason says nothing and rides off on his motorcycle.

As Leslie Thompkins comes out of Tyler’s family home Bruce reveals that Jason left. Leslie wonders what Cheer’s Cheerdrop gas showed him. Bruce says happiness and drives off.

While driving Bruce reflects on what he saw in his hallucination caused by the Cheerdrops gas. It is shown what Bruce saw was him and Jason putting an end to Joker and then reuniting with the rest of the Batman Family.

Elsewhere, Jason gets enters his apartment. Jason sees a package from Bruce with a note that what’s inside the package is his if he wants it and an invitation to family dinner on Thursday. Jason opens the package and finds a new Red Hood costume. Jason smiles and says “Heh. Maybe, old man. Maybe.” End of story.

The Good: All of the creative teams that worked on Batman: Urban Legends #6 a memorable reading experience on multiple levels. Each story stood on its own to give Jason Todd, Tim Drake, Dinah Lance, and Zealot a chance to shine in their individual story arcs.

The main story of “Cheer” revolving around Batman and Red Hood that has been going on since the first issue of Batman: Urban Legends was concluded in a satisfying way. Chip Zdarsky pushed both Bruce Wayne and Jason Todd as individuals and their estranged father-son relationship. Its through what Bruce and Jason had to overcome that Zdarsky was able to make the debut of Cheer as a new villain stand out even more. Even if he was defeated quickly once things boiled down to a straight up fight Cheer left his mark on both Batman and Red Hood. That is enough to make him a villain that could return and be an even bigger threat down the road.

Batman: Urban Legends #6
Time Drake learns something about himself as he, as Robin, teams up with Bernard to defeat the latest villain that has appeared in Gotham City in Batman: Urban Legends #6. Click for full page view.

As for how things went with Bruce and Jason, Zdarsky did a good job highlighting how they are more alike than even they admit. Both Bruce and Jason have always had a tough time with sharing their emotions and interacting with the rest of the Batman Family as family members. This battle with Cheer worked to show them both that what Bruce and Jason really desire for their respective happiness is actually embracing being a family. And it is not just about repairing their father-son relationship but also opening themselves up to the rest of the Batman Family. Its an important plot development that made it feel as though both Bruce and Jason took steps forward in their lives.

Jason in particular did a lot of growing up in this “Cheer” story arc as we see how he is moving forward from the trauma from his death at the hands of Joker. Even though that trauma is not something that he can forget he is at least not letting it define him anymore. That is shown with not just how he powered through the effects of the Cheerdrops but also accepted that the rest of the Batman Family has his back. Even without long interactions with Nightwing and the others Jason was able say all he needed to say with how he is making positive steps forward in his life moving forward.

This made the final pages of the “Cheer” story matter even more. Zdarsky does the right thing in not just having Bruce and Jason’s relationship magically be fixed after this one story. While they definitely took steps forward there are still things that they need to sort out together and individually. Bruce recognizing this through the note he left Jason along with a new Red Hood suit was a good way to acknowledge all of this.

And while I am not normally a big fan of an art-by-committee team for a story I have to give Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira, Scot Eaten, Marcus To, Julio Ferreira, and Oclair Albert all credit for keep the art style consistent throughout the Red Hood and Batman story. There was a clear vision as to how the story needed to look and each artists worked to make sure they made adjustments to match each other’s art styles. Adriano Lucas coloring for the entire story helped maintain that consistency in the art

As well done as the end of the six part “Cheer” storyline that has been going on since this series started it is not what Batman: Urban Legends #6 will be remembered for. When it comes to important stories that conclude in this issue Tim Drake’s “Sum Of Our Parts” by Meghan Fitzmartin and Belen Ortega that delivered the most impactful story in Batman: Urban Legends #6. As we’ve seen throughout this three part storyline, Tim has been wondering what is next for himself. That goes for both his life as Robin and Tim Drake.

The answer we get at least for the Tim Drake side of the character is handled extremely well by Fitzmartin and Ortega. They are able to tell the story of what was driving Tim so hard to save Bernard in a way that is fitting for the character. Bernard is someone who for Tim represents being able to be comfortable just being himself. That leading to the realization was handled well because of how Fitzmartin wrote the interactions between Tim and Bernard throughout this three part story.

What will be even more important than now is how Tim coming out as bi-sexual is followed up. Because as well done as the introduction is done by Fitzmartin and Ortega how DC Comics and the creative team who will be working on future stories with Tim Drake is key. This can’t just be a gimmick to sell comic books. It should be treated with respect such an important development in a person’s life deserves to be shown.

At the same time, the “Sum Of Our Parts” also did a good job at showing how great of a hero Tim is as Robin. We see that his determination to save his friend and stop Chaos Master was a showcase of the superhero side of his character. What’ll be interesting from her is if we see Tim continue as Robin. Because the other part of Fitzmartin and Ortega’s story that was brought up is how Tim is in a similar spot as a superhero that Dick Grayson was at his current age. Is it time for Tim to graduate as Robin or will he take being Robin to be seen as more than just Batman’s sidekick, which the pre-Flashpoint version of the character was doing before the reboot.

Batman: Urban Legends #6
Barbara Gordon recruits Dinah Lance for a new mission in Batman: Urban Legends #6. Click for full page view.

The Black Canary one-shot story by Joshua Williamson and Trevor Hairsine titled “Solo” was another standout story for Batman: Urban Legends. It was great to see after having her spend so much time either paired with Green Arrow or as part of Birds of Prey and Justice League that Dinah got a chance to be on her own adventure. Williamson and Hairsine show why Dinah’s Black Canary can carry a story and comic book series on her own.

Now while I am not interested at all in picking up the upcoming Deathstroke Inc series I got to give Williamson credit for at least making the reason Black Canary will be part of the series make sense. There is a big underground war that will be going on and Black Canary is someone that can stop whatever big things are brewing. The more interesting angle in this is that the Deathstroke Inc. series will also be following up the story with Talia Al Ghul that was set up by Williamson in his current Robin series. Bringing Black Canary, Talia, and Deathstroke together does at least make me want to keep an eye on what is happening in the Deathstroke Inc.

Having Barbara Gordon as Oracle recruit Dinah for this mission was a nice touch to bring their friendship back into the fold. Barbara and Dinah have such natural chemistry that even when they make references to their respective relationships with Dick Grayson and Oliver Queen it came off as them being knowing how to get on the other’s nerves as only best friends can. It honestly made me wish we got a series that is just Barbara as Oracle/Batgirl and Dinah as Black Canary teaming up.

The Bad: The story starring Zealot that involved Wonder Woman was largely forgettable. It wasn’t bad but when we get such strong stories involving Batman, Red Hood, Robin, and Black Canary the story with Zealot just doesn’t stand up. The Wildstorm character is barely connected to the Batman Family, thanks to Grifter suddenly getting involved in Gotham City affairs. The entire time I was reading this story I was left wondering why we weren’t getting a story with Duke Thomas as Signal or another Outsiders story. That would make much more sense for Batman: Urban Legends, that is supposed to be an anthology series starring the Batman Family.

Overall: Batman: Urban Legends #6 is filled with fantastic storytelling. The stories involving Batman, Red Hood, Tim Drake’s Robin, and Black Canary are all can’t miss. This is a must have series for fans of the Batman Family.

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