Filed under: Comic Reviews, DC Comics | Tags: Batman, DamonLindelof, dc, Digital, jefflemire
A couple of months back I wrote a review on the digital comic Avengers vs. X-Men: Infinite #1, heralding it as the future of digital comics and singing Marvel’s praises for being the first to think outside of the box with digital comics. The same week I also downloaded and read DC’s new Smallville comic, but didn’t review this because it would have probably consisted of me banging my fist against the keyboard. Repeatedly. This week however, saw the first in a series of original Batman digital comics, titled Legends of the Dark Knight, and since it involved 3 of my favourite people (Batman, Jeff Lemire and Damon Lindelof) I was pretty excited to read it.
Out of the 3 people, I was most looking forward to seeing Lemire’s art – yes, even above my beloved Batman. I’m a big fan of Lemire’s Essex County and his unique artistic style, so LotDK was a real treat while I wait for his Underwater Welder book to come out later this year. Strangely though, I expected this to feel like Lemire coming into Batman’s world, but instead it was the reverse – it felt like Batman had moved to Canada and taken up fighting crime there instead since all the supporting characters felt so familiar from Lemire’s style. He also gives the caped crusader quite an inexperienced look about him, as if he’s running around in an early version of the Batsuit, which is quite appropriate given the story that’s told. His style reminds me a little of Frank Miller’s Batman in Dark Knight Returns – it’s not the sharp crisp lines version of Batman we’re used to seeing every month in a normal DC book.
Although I would have also loved to have seen Lemire write a Batman story too (there’s always a chance him and Snyder could swap books on the New52 I suppose!) I can’t say I wasn’t happy to see Damon Lindelof’s name attached to another comic book. Like most people, I’m familiar wilth Lindelof’s work outside of comics, working in the world of film and TV on things like Lost and the Star Trek movies, but I’ve also got a strong urge to see more of him in the world of comics. To date all I was aware he’d written was one of the mini stories contained within issue 900 of Action Comics – and that was enough to impress me. In preparation for writing this review, I re-read the story and did a quick search to see if he’d written anything else – and it would appear he wrote an Ultimate Wolverine vs Hulk series way back in 2006 – needless to say I’ll be on the hunt for that now.
Lindelof brings the same quality of writing to this Batman short as he does his Superman one – taking a look at the character from a completely different angle from what we’ve seen before, but one that you’ll question “Why haven’t we seen this already?”. It may be a short read, but it manages to carry the highs and lows you’d find in any normal printed monthly book. In the first couple of pages I did have my doubts, as it kicks off with your usual ‘Monologue with Batman running across the rooftops of Gotham’ – but like the twist in the story itself, it’s just luring you into a false sense of security.
The combo of Lemire and Linelof is one that certainly works, one I hope we will see more of in the future, and the book does restore my faith in DC’s digital comics output. It’s also made me realise another reason why digital comics can work alongside it’s printed counterpart. Similar to how I described Infinite as being so unique it was only something you could achieve in digital, a book like LotDK is again only made more possible with the use of this medium – Lemire and Linelof are busy guys, already working on either other monthly comics, or major Hollywood properties, so it’s unlikely they are going to have time to create a full length series of comics. Even a one-shot printed comic may have been stretching Lemire too far, granted the digital one still comes in at 22 pages, I would imagine the actual drawing space available makes it slightly quicker to produce each page. I’m much more likely to pick up a digital comic that boasts features that I can’t get in my printed ones, hence why I don’t download ones I can pick up in printed format, so I’d like to think that this gives digital the edge it needs to stand beside printed and not on top of it.
You can download Legends of the Dark Knight #1 from the DC Comics app for 69p (or $0.99) now. New issues will be released each week for the next 5 weeks, including work from creators JG Jones and Ben Templesmith.
Craig – @hastiecraig
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