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Legends of the Dark Knight #128

"The Arrow and the Bat" pt. 2
O'Neil (w), Cariello (p), Ryan (i)
Reviewed by JYD.


Before I get into the storyline, I want to comment on the art and cover to this series. First off, the artwork has changed little since LOTDK #127--for my opinion on the scowl-meister Sergio Cariello, see my previous review. I do think he is a fine artist, it's just that all of his characters look so pissed off! For some reason though, his art reminds me a lot of Norm Breyfogle--though I think that's in the looseness of the forms. My next topic is the cover--which is fantastic--and the trade dress--I don't know about the rest of you, but I think it looks excellent. Very dynamic. The simple green, yellow, and black gives off an eerie pulp feeling to it. So, even though I miss the LOTDK batsign in the background, with the enclosed lines surrounding the picture, I'm OK.

On to the story. Things are clearing up from the previous issue--now we know who is behind the asassination attempts on Oliver Queen. HOWEVER, if I thought O'Neil was stooping for literary devices in the pages of "Azrael" #62 (the re-introduction of Brian Bryan), his having the bad guy, a minister Skave from a presumbably asian country called Dhabar, basically tell us EVERYTHING to do with his plans to his subordinate, a General Zho (who I'm sure ALREADY knows it all). I'm sorry, but that's a pretty dorky way of getting it all out. Why couldn't we, as readers, say--FIND OUT WHEN THE HEROES DO? Why do we need everything so clear in pt. 2?? That bugs me. The other thing that annoyed me was the extrememly terse dialogue. Over the years O'Neil has been refining his word choice to the point where the minimal amount of words is needed. Compare something he wrote ("Shaman") ten years ago to this storyline, or the first issue of "Azreal" to #62 and you'll see what I mean. Rather than having the characters converse in a normal fashion, they seem to be grunting out their sentences. Who knows? If it continues at this pace, everyone will be mindreaders by part 5 and the words "yes" and "no" will be all that is needed. Wouldn't that be a sight!

SO--I went overboard in my last review at how frustrated I was in the lack of coherence part 1 had--I thought it was due to its connection to a previous 3 parter O'Neil had written for "Legends of the DCU"--my bad. I just had to be patient for it all to be revealed. Still though, if you want to catch someone's attention, you don't do it by pissing the reader off--you want to get them involved w/out forcing them to buy the next issue to figure out what the hell happened in pt. 1! So, even though things are becomming clearer, I was not pleased at the WAYS used to make it clear (being forcefed the truth on pgs. 14-18). But things aren't all bad. The interaction b/t Bats and an overly cocky Green Arrow was amusing. Seeing GA react to all the things we expect from Batman (silent disappearance, excellent fighting skills, detective skills) was fun, as was the revelation this story was taking place in a Year Two/Year Three context (the presense of the oval)--does anyone know if this is going to continue (the oval) now that Bats is ovalless in Year 12?

The Straight Dope: This above-average issue is bogged down by heavy handed dialogue and a lazy way to reveal the motivations behind the bad guys--but there's enough potential to warrent futher interest in the series.

The JYD's grade: "Legends of the Dark Knight" #128--B