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Comic:   Batman/Legends of the Dark Knight #80-82

Title:   "Idols"

Writer:  James Vance

Artist(s):  Braithwaite/Hardy

Publisher: DC

 

idols.jpg (6599 bytes)

ldk80.jpg (68259 bytes)  ldk81.jpg (73420 bytes)  ldk82.jpg (69179 bytes)

Note:  Covers reprinted without permission.

 

 

Points of Interest from the Story (WARNING SPOILERS):

belfry.jpg (68957 bytes)

From LoDK #80

How DO superheroes deal with merchandisers that try to cash in on their good name?  Superboy had an agent who tried it; later, the name "Superman" and all legal rights were given to Superman for a song (shortly after the Death/Rebirth of Superman story).  Spider-man made use of it when he had to make do with a commercial costume (one instance where his fame helped him, to say nothing of the photos of himself he sells to the Daily Bugle).

But Batman is a multi-millionaire.  And you don't intimidate legal shop owners like you do true criminals.

Interesting question?  Also the point of the story arc title, I think.  Funny thing is, it wasn't really what drove this story.  There were 3 main subplots in this 3-issue story arc:

Batman dealing with a cult following, mostly generated by a batmania merchandiser ("The Belfry")

Batman and GCPD stopping a serial killer called "the Circuit Rider"

Batman stopping a darker version of himself (unnamed, I'll refer to him as Batkiller)

The cult aspect only served to distract the reader (and Batman).  The real serial killer and Batkiller provided the main action and antithesis to Batman.  I liked the fact that the story had good characterization of the supporting roles and that you had a lot of "suspects" to choose from, like any good detective story.

What also helped make this story interesting is that it's set during a time when Batman's relationship with the police was less formalized.  This story takes place just after Year One, and even makes use of the idea that Gordon needed to use a cloth bat symbol to signal Batman (from "Prey", a prior LoDK mini-series).

Braithwaite's art is somewhat reminiscent of Bart Sears, with strong chiseled lines across characters' faces.  His Batman is sinewy, not bulky, and this costume seems to wrap around him without being too tight or too bulky.

 

bsignal.jpg (61717 bytes)

From LoDK #82

The story's conclusion is fairly satisfying.  The Batkiller's identity is never truly revealed, which I didn't mind because it meant that he/she WASN'T who I was led to believe (the Fed Agent, a tough-lady cop who's been bossing Gordon around).  I got a little lost trying to follow the pace of the final issue -- seemed like they did great in setup on the first two issues then realized they only had one issue to go and had to tie up a lot of loose ends.

The Good:  A true detective story, with a good twist; the "chiseled" artwork and post-Year One setting

The Bad: Rough closure.  I wanted the Batkiller to be revealed as someone more meaningful to the story, and it just didn't happen.

Overall Rating:  3 chees.  If you like Batman, you should like this...


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