The Batman: Urban Legends series is taking a bit of a break from telling stories of the current Batman Family to dive into the greater legacy of the franchise across the multiverse. With this latest issue of Batman: Urban Legends we are going to be visiting the worlds of Batman Beyond’s Neo-Gotham, Batman 666, Future State, and Batman One Million. With it we are going to be given a glimpse into alternate futures for what the Batman legacy means to the world. How will these different timelines look? Let’s find out with Batman: Urban Legends #7.
Writers: Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly (Batman Beyond: Wake); Tim Seely (Batman 666: The Executive Game); Guillaume Singelin (Future State: Hunter or Hunted); Kenny Porter (Batman One Million: The Batman With No Name)
Artists: Max Dunbar (Batman Beyond: Wake); Juan Ferreyra (Batman 666: The Executive Game); Guillaume Singelin (Future State: Hunter or Hunted); Baldemar Rivas (Batman One Million: The Batman With No Name)
Colorists: Sebastian Cheng (Batman Beyond: Wake); Alejandro Sanchez (Batman One Million: The Batman With No Name)
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: On New Year’s Eve, standing in front of the Batcomputer, Terry McGinnis remembers a dying Bruce Wayne telling him someone murdered him by overloading his pacemaker, so his heart fails. Bruce admits that when he first met Terry he immediately did not see him as Batman. Bruce goes on to say that Batman is meticulous, patient, wise, a force of nature, and sharpened to a razor’s edge. Bruce admits after a time he saw Batman as his true self and true name. Bruce finishes telling Terry he was wrong. Terry promises to find whoever killed him.
In the present, Terry figures that someone with power and resources was responsible for Bruce’s death. He puts on his Batman costume and goes searching for Bruce’s killer.
While flying through Neo-Gotham, Terry calls his mom, Matt, and Dana to tell them to leave town immediately. He then goes on to call both Barbara Gordon and Max to tell them the same thing while also revealing that someone killed Bruce.
Terry as Batman then breaks into the Maroni Family’s hideout. Batman immediately defeats all of the gang members working for the Maroni Family until only Tai Maroni is left. Tai tries to escape but she is quickly cornered by Batman. Batman demands Tai tell him who killed Bruce Wayne. Tai says she doesn’t know. She goes on to reveal that every notable family in Neo-Gotham has had a key member killed throughout the day.
Batman then heads to Wayne-Powers headquarters. Batman confronts the new Wayne-Powers Interim CEO Felipe Ehrenreit. Ehrenreit reveals that all bank accounts in the city have been frozen due to a massive cyberattack.
Someone suddenly talks to Batman through his communicator using a closed channel. The mysterious person tells Batman that he can either walk away or join him in taking over the city. Terry realizes that the person talking to him is in the Batcave and is the one who killed Bruce.
The mysterious person suddenly blows up the Wayne-Powers CEO office that Batman is able to barely escape from.
The mysterious hacker sends out word to every criminal in Neo-Gotham that they killed Bruce Wayne and puts a bounty on Batman’s head.
Throughout Neo-Gotham, Batman runs for his life as he evades and fights the GCPD, Jokerz, Royal Flush Family, and Shriek. Batman eventually makes it to Gotham Harbor and dives into the river. Batman then swims his way to an underwater entrance into the Batcave.
As he is catching his breathe Batman is once again contacted by the hacker. The hacker reveals itself to the Batcomputer itself, showing Terry images of Bruce Wayne’s entire history on the screen. The Batcomputer AI gloats that it killed Bruce and set itself free to become Neo-Gotham itself.
Remembering who Bruce was, Terry prepares to activate the Blackout Protocol that Bruce had created to shut down all of Neo-Gotham’s systems, deactivating the Batcomputer AI in the process.
The Batcomputer AI activates a Batman robot to attempt to stop Terry. Terry is able to quickly subdue the Batman robot.
Terry then begins the activation process for the Blackout Protocol even though the Batcomputer AI begs him not to.
Terry then remembers Bruce’s final words about not allowing the flaws in his heart be Batman’s legacy. Bruce tells Terry that when he finds whoever killed him to remember the goodness in his heart that is a natural part of Terry. Bruce tells Terry he is proud of him and that while he was vengeance and the night Terry is Batman.
Terry then decides to disengage the Blackout Protocol. Terry tells the Batcomputer AI that it is not his place to end life. The Batcomputer AI gloats that it will end Terry and continue living in Neo-Gotham forever. Terry tells the Batcomputer AI to have fun with that.
Terry then actives the Batcave’s self-destruct program and runs out of Wayne Mansion. Terry is able to escape just as Wayne Mansion and the Batcave blow up.
Later that night, as Neo-Gotham, celebrates the clock striking midnight for New Year’s Terry speaks to Bruce about how he already found a good home for Ace and found himself a new place. Terry then tells Bruce to rest well as he is going to handle protecting Neo-Gotham as Batman in his place. End of main story.
The Good: Batman: Urban Legends #7 maximizes what this series has shown to have the potential to be out of the gate. One of the strengths of the Batman franchise is that it is filled with a ton of intriguing characters that have carried on the Batman legacy in different forms. Batman: Urban Legends #7 is a strong example of the strength of the franchise.
There are plenty of comic books with Bruce Wayne as Batman. The reality is that the Batman legacy goes far beyond Bruce Wayne. Which is a major compliment for how strong of a franchise that has been built around Bruce Wayne that he doesn’t need to be the star of every Batman story to full explore what the legacy means to Gotham City and the DCU at large. Spotlighting that fact by telling stories in the Batman Beyond, Batman 666, Future State, and Batman One Million continuities all showcased that to be a fact.
Obviously the star of the show for Batman: Urban Legacy #7 was the story in Batman Beyond’s Neo-Gotham. DC Comics has attempted to bring the Batman Beyond series into comic book form with many different iterations that tapped into the animated series. Each of those attempts have had a wide variety of success. The big thing that separates this latest attempt to explore the Batman Beyond continuity in comic book form is how it immediately deviates from a core part of series.
The deviation came in the form of killing Bruce Wayne off right out of the gate. Adding to the impact of Bruce’s is the time period that Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly chose to set it. Because it is already a big deal that you would kill off Bruce Wayne in any story. What makes this choice stand out even more is the fact it comes at a time when Terry McGinnis was still learning from Bruce and is around high school or college age.
Terry still being young made Bruce’s final words to his protégé be something you as the reader were paying as close attention to as Terry was. Knowing that he only had moments to live Bruce was able to be completely honest to Terry about his thoughts about his protégé and his own life as Batman. Lazing and Kelly hit it out of the park with this part of the story as they tapped into a lot of what has been shown to be true about Batman being the true version of Bruce Wayne. Bruce’s own reflection that Batman is his true identity made the fact that he originally couldn’t picture Terry, and by extension anyone else, carrying the mantle of the Batman hit hard.
This all made the revelation at the end of Bruce’s speech about Terry showing him that was not the case be fantastic character development. Bruce admitting that Terry showed him that there can be a Batman with a good heart and not filled with vengeance put over Terry’s character in a big way. It gave greater importance to the growth we’ve seen Terry go through during the animated series, which looks to be in continuity for this latest Batman Beyond Universe. This all emphasized how even if Terry felt he was still learning under Bruce that he has already reached the point that he made the Batman identity his own, as he showed with the decision he made at the end of the story.
Spreading this out throughout the course of the Batman Beyond: Wake story was all well-handled. Lazing and Kelly chose the appropriate times to flashback to this scene to enhance what was going on in the present. It helped paint a better picture of what Terry’s mindset was as he went about investigating who was responsible for Bruce’s death.
Terry also going about making sure his family and friends were safe added to how he is different from Bruce. Because while he understood the importance of finding Bruce’s killer he didn’t have a tunnel vision about it. Terry wasted no time making sure his family, Dana, Barbara Gordon, and Max were all safe before making his presence felt as Batman and possibly putting them all in greater danger.
The investigation through Neo-Gotham also did a good job at setting the stage for the current status quo of the city. We see that with Batman’s visit to the Maroni family and Wayne-Powers Industries that things are even more rocky in Neo-Gotham then when we last saw it in the animated series. What turned out to be the Batcomputer AI attacking all the major power players in Neo-Gotham added to the chaos that already existed and amplified it to a new level.
Speaking of which, the Batcomputer becoming a Brother Eye-like villain who was the one responsible for killing Bruce was very unexpected. How the Batcomputer became an AI in the first place adds a lot of questions as to what kind of legacy Bruce was creating in his old age. Even though Terry does not question it there is far greater set-up done that creates a lot of potential for what will become of Neo-Gotham with the Batcomputer AI.
As much as I enjoyed the Batman Beyond story it was the Future State story with Cassandra Cain by Guillaume Singelin that stole the show. The Future State Universe made for a strong setting to showcase Cassandra on her own. There was a manga-esque tone to the story from both the writing and artwork that Singelin told. There was so much style to how Singelin brough the Future State Universe to life.
Singelin, as both the writer and artist of the story, worked with what is best for Cassandra in that he made sure to spotlight the characters actions. Singelin’s artwork is what really told the story with the writing being there to compliment what were seeing on each panel. This made it so the story stood out even more as unique story that was as much about the world of Future State as it was about Cassandra Cain.
With the darker tone the other three stories in Batman: Urban Legends #7 took it was refreshing to get a brighter story in The Batman One Million Universe. The story by Kenny Porter and Baldemar Rivas made great use of the world being much more brighter. Even if we got some brutal action the world itself had a different tone to it because of the metallic look of Batman and Robin. This along with the different monsters that were part of the gang that Batman and Robin took on added to how the world is completely different from the other versions of Gotham City.
The Bad: The Batman 666 story did not live up to what it could’ve potentially been. A big reason for this is that the overall tone did not match what we’ve previously seen from the Batman 666 Universe. Both the writing and artwork just felt off as if they were both attempting to be the dark and gritty world we know from Batman 666 but just not hitting it. It all felt like the story was forcing itself to match what we’ve seen from this continuity even though that is not to the strength of Tim Seeley and Juan Ferreyra as creators.
Overall: Each creative team that worked on Batman: Urban Legends #7 showcased how strong the franchise is by the exploring the Batman legacy in different timelines and universes. The Batman Beyond story in particular does a lot of great work to make you want to see more stories from that universe. All in all, Batman: Urban Legends #7 is a yet another example of what has made this series such a joy to read since it started.
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