Thursday, November 29, 2012

SPOILERS: Legends of the Dark Knight #25-26

So, Batman and Scarecrow are at it again, but this time Scarecrow has a new fear toxin for Bruce, something that screws with his head like nothing before. Once Bruce wakes up, he finds himself in a wheelchair, his body old and broken, his mind shot, and Alfred tending to his health.

It appears Bruce hasn't been Batman for awhile, years of abuse to his body has left it partially crippled, and dramatic brain trauma have left him in a lucid state only from time to time. Bruce tries to tell himself that it isn't a trick, but Alfred tries to reason with him, eventually revealing that he has to have this conversation seemingly every day. He tells Bruce that this is real, everything is real, what he did to Robin was real. He further explains that when he began to originally slip, he mistook Robin for one of Scarecrow's projections and mistakenly killed him. This realization brings Bruce down, and even he begins to question his belief that it's a fake illusion.

Sometime later, having learned that Bruce is in a lucid state, Gordon comes over to get Bruce's help on some case notes, as from time to time, he can still get some Batman level of detail out of his mind. (It's clear, Gordon knows Bruce was Batman) Eventually Bruce slips into a "I should be out there" which angers Gordon, telling Bruce not to slip into fantasy land again, and his mind is needed. Alfred tries to calm down Gordon, telling him that he's not helping Bruce or himself.

Before Gordon leaves, Bruce asks what happened to all his old foes. With the vanishing act Batman pulled, the rogues went to war with themselves, and some of Bruce's old allies (IE: Superman) came in to help, and Scarecrow vs. Superman isn't exactly a fair match. Alfred continues, saying that in all honesty, with no Batman, most of the rogues left, and the city has lowered in it's crazy crime rate. Bruce seemingly accepts reality, and asks how long he's been in the chair. Five years, he's told. He asks his old friends to help him up, as he'd like to see a doctor, to which they're happy to hear. As soon as they put his arms around their shoulders, Bruce locks in, going back to his belief it's an illusion.

And sure enough, it is, as Bruce begins to snap back to reality. Scarecrow can't believe what is happening, and demands to know how Bruce came back. Well... turns out because Bruce is always questioning things around him, he found a flaw in the reality Scarecrow created, the muscles in his legs were no where near as deteriorated as they should have been for sitting in a chair for five years, and that's what cracked the whole thing open.

But even as Bruce takes Scarecrow away, he has flashes back to the reality Scarecrow had set up, and vis versa. AMBIGUITY!


So, this was an interesting issue arc, illustrated very well. I enjoyed seeing the mental struggles that Bruce had to deal with, but thought the first issue of the arc was better than the last, which got a bit ham-fisted as some points. I do wish that the ambiguity was dealt with a little better, mainly with out the predictable "OOOH WHICH ONE IS REAL?!?" deal. Over all, I thought this was a pretty good one, but the second chapter weighed it down a bit.


1 comment :

  1. This story was very reminiscent of Bryan Talbot's two-part story from the original "Legends of the Dark Knight." I think the story was called "Masks." While the premise was cliche even when Talbot did it back around 1991, it at least had the benefit of a nicely ambiguous ending.