Batman Legacy Volume 1 Review By Deffinition
Batman has been through the ringer recently. He’s had his back broken, his home destroyed, been addicted to drugs, you know, the typical Saturday Night. It really feels like the days of ‘Bat God’ are gone and the books of late have been some of the most vulnerable that we’ve ever seen of him.
It feels like this new aesthetic will carry through the next couple of graphics and honestly I am really enjoying the Chuck Dixon take on the character.
If you’ve read my review of Batman Contagion then you know that it left a couple of loose threads dangling that I hope are resolved in the Legacy arc. Due to this I’m really excited to dive into the Volume. I’ve never read it before so I’m up for seeing what it has to offer.
So with that out the way let’s dive in…to Batman Legacy Volume 1.
Legacy Of The Bat
There is a new vigilante in town. Kidnapping and torturing convicts as they are transported between prisons, Lock-Up, seems like he’s willing to step over the line that Batman won’t. From the off the reader is left to question what kind of influence The Dark Knight has over the city. Does he inspire people to be good or ultimately to be a brutal face that the criminals of Gotham must fear.
Capturing Lock-Up the focus of the story early on revolves around finding his lair in order to free his captives before they starve. It’s the typical affair but there is a psychological aspect intertwined deeply within the narrative that keeps it interesting. This is evident when Gordon comments on how seductive Lock-Ups beliefs are. He thinks that society in general is too soft on criminals these days and Lock-Up is here to dish out punishment where justice has failed.
At one point or another we’ve all felt like this and that’s one of the reasons why Lock-Ups mind state is so dangerous, he’s easy to relate to. Making him a great villain.
Locked Up With Lock-Up
After the vigilante escapes prison he becomes Batman’s sole focus. Infiltrating the gangs with the Bat family we get a really interesting undercover story that feels like a fresh take on the detective side of The Dark Knight. Mistakingly thought of as a hood, Robin is captured and Locked up by Lock-Up. It’s a dangerous scenario for the Boy Wonder to be in and massively raises the tension within the storyline.
This really cemented Tim Drake as my favourite Robin, seeing how cunning he is in times of desperation really elevates him above the others and his take on situations is often unique and enthralling. Dixon has done a brilliant job of strengthening the Bat Family through peril thus far and Legacy is no different.
The rescue that Batman and Nightwing carry out is daring and dramatically tense. Flooding the cell block the team have to not only deal with the threat of drowning but also the villains who are now free to roam the corridors. It’s a really fast paced climax to the opening arc that segways beautifully into the next chapter.
“The Plague has returned to Gotham”
After Mayor Krol is found dead we discover that the Apocalypse virus, otherwise know as ‘The Clench,’ from Contagion has not been cured. It merely lies dorment in One’s bloodstream and returns even deadlier than before. Not only does this put the majority of Gotham in peril, it also spells doom for Tim Drake.
From this point on the book feels like a ticking time bomb. Every issue the tension ramps up as there becomes less and less hope in sight.
Where Batman Contagion failed to live up to it’s potential in this area, Legacy Volume 1 truly delivers.
Capers with Catwoman
Tying in with the main plot we follow Catwoman as she goes on an ‘Indiana Jones-esque’ adventure. Searching for lost treasure in the desert, unaware that it holds the cure to the deadly virus that is about to ravage Gotham.
I loved the implementation of this aspect in the book as the story really feels like call back to the swashbuckling adventures of old. But with more at stake.
It’s a really enjoyable intersection, that helps to vary the book’s dynamics and is a refreshing break from the streets of Gotham. The mythology implemented here allows the story to dabble in the mystical and it neatly juxtaposes the severity that Batman faces back home.
Chuck Dixon has always been adept at balancing opposing tones and Legacy manages to perfectly pull off humour, drama and despair well enough to the point that the shifting themes are seamless.
Eventually Batman picks up on Catwoman’s trail in search of the cure and it builds expertly to our climax.
The New Heir
Traversing through the desert, Batman eventually tracks down the mastermind behind the virus, Ra’s Al Ghul. He’s always wanted to cleanse the world and the Apocalypse virus may be the most sinister plot yet. The two face off in another gripping sword fight (don’t know why there always seems to be swords lying around everytime they fight) and it’s revealed that Ra’s no longer wants The World’s Greatest Detective as his heir. He has chosen another…
Bane. This really helped to elevate the book’s final pages and it was enthralling to see Dixon tie it all back to the villain he created to break the Bat.
End of Spoilers
We are left with a nail biting cliffhanger and Volume one will make any reader desperate to pick up Volume 2.
Batman Legacy cements…well…it’s Legacy. Standing head and shoulders above ‘Contagion‘ it quickly becomes one of Dixon’s best books thus far.
Whether you want street level escapades in Gotham or a Globe trotting adventure, this story has something for you.
It delivers on the promises that Contagion made and I got lost in it’s page. From beginning to end it packs punch after punch and that’s why it gets an…
Leave a comment whether you agree with my ranking or not.