Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight
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|Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight|
Cover of Legends of the Dark Knight #2 (Dec 1989).
Art by Dean Motter.
|Schedule||Monthly with a few bi-weekly runs.|
|Format||Completed ongoing series|
|Publication date||(Legends of the Dark Knight)
November 1989 - Late August 1992
(Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight)
September 1992- March 2007
(Legends of the Dark Knight (Vol. 2))
June 2012- Present
|Number of issues||Vol. 1: 215
(225 with annuals and specials)
Vol. 2: 60 (ongoing)
|Collected Legends of the Dark Knight||ISBN 1563891476|
|Other Realms||ISBN 1852869771|
|Dark Legends||ISBN 1563892669|
|The Ring, The Arrow and The Bat||ISBN 1401201261|
Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight, commonly referred to as simply Legends of the Dark Knight is a DC comic book featuring Batman. It was launched in 1989 with the popularity of the Batman movie, following on from Frank Miller's Batman: Year One. It differs from other Batman titles in that it has constantly rotating creative teams, and the stories are not necessarily part of the current events of the other Batman comics. Initially the title was promoted as running only stand alone self-contained five issue stories of graphic novel quality. However, after issue 20, stories of different lengths started to appear. While some stories have tied in with the other titles, generally this has not been the case
Most of the stories featured in Legends are set in the early years of Batman's career, though a few have been set in the present and even the future. Stories set at the beginning of Batman's career are referred to as taking place during Year One, meaning Bruce Wayne's first year (or first several years in some cases) of crime fighting as Batman. The title had been initially promoted as only doing stories from before Robin, but Dick Grayson, the first Robin, did appear in issue 23, though he was still a circus performer. The series, for the most part, eschewed appearances by other DC universe characters save for Batman, Alfred Pennyworth, Commissioner Gordon and Batman's rogues gallery. The title was discontinued with issue #214, in March 2007, to make way for a new Batman anthology series, Batman Confidential, which focuses on more personal events in Batman's life (first encounters, building of new technology etc.), rather than early crime-fighting tales.
In 2012, DC Comics revived the series as Legends of the Dark Knight, a digital-first weekly series. This time, the stories are self-contained out of continuity single chapters. The first issue "The Butler Did It" by Damon Lindleof and Jeff Lemire debuted in June 2012. These chapters have been collected into print issues starting with #1 in December 2012.
- Shaman (1-5)
Bruce Wayne and a bounty hunter climb a mountain in Alaska as they try to capture a murderer named Thomas Woodley. Woodley quickly manages to kill the bounty hunter before falling off the cliff after a small fight with Wayne. Wayne's supplies are lost with Woodley which nearly results in Wayne's death when a Native American with her grandfather discover him. The grandfather is able to save Wayne's life by taking Wayne to his cabin and tells him a story on how The Bat gained its wings, while wearing a mask of a bat. After he recuperates and leaves, Wayne is warned by the granddaughter never to tell anyone the story.
Upon his return to Gotham City shortly after, Wayne attempts to fight crime but fails miserably. That night after he fails a bat flies into the room and reminds Wayne of the Native American's story from years earlier and so he decides to create a costume for himself and become Batman.
Shaman #1, when published in single-issue form, was printed with several different covers as collectors items.
- Gothic (6-10)
A man known as "Mr. Whisper" is killing off mob bosses one by one. The mobsters explain to Batman that he was a child killer over thirty years ago, and (similar to the film M) the mobsters had found and killed him when there was too much pressure from the cops over them. At the same time, Batman's investigation links Mr. Whisper with a hideous event in Bruce Wayne's school days, a bargain reminiscent of Don Giovanni, and the Gotham City Cathedral.
- Prey (11-15)
Batman must contend with the brilliant but deranged psychiatrist Hugo Strange, who foments a massive smear campaign against him and attempts to uncover his secret identity. The story also has appearances from Catwoman and a one-off appearance of police officer Max Cort, who creates a new vigilante, Night Scourge.
- Venom (16-20)
When Batman fails to save the life of a young girl held for ransom, he decides to try a new experimental drug designed by her father called Venom.
- Faith (21-23)
A drug addict is rescued from a fatal beating by Batman, which inspires him to organize a group of neighborhood vigilantes to take up Batman's cause. However, his addled dreams convince him that he must supplant Batman. Meanwhile, Dr. Leslie Thompkins discovers Bruce Wayne's secret identity.
- Flyer (24-26)
One of the officers who was injured during the siege against Batman in Year One resurfaces in a mechanized combat suit, targeting Batman for death.
- Destroyer (part 2 of 3) (27)
By Dennis O'Neil, Chris Sprouse, and Bruce Patterson
- Faces (28-30)
By Matt Wagner
Two-Face takes over a small island with plans to create a society in his own scarred image.
- Family (31)
After Bruce forces Alfred to take a vacation to Corto Maltese, he must rescue him from kidnappers.
- Blades (32-34)
While the Batman is distracted with a serial killer who targets senior citizens, a new vigilante, the swashbuckling Cavalier, begins his own war on crime.
- Destiny (35-36)
Batman meets another costumed vigilante from Norway who dresses like a Viking, and learns an ancient tale of a Norse hero known as the Bat Man.
- Mercy (37)
In his early days, Batman trained a female rookie cop, Mercedes "Mercy" Stone, to fight in hand-to-hand combat. Five years later, he must rescue her from a pit-fighting ring.
- Legend of the Dark Mite (38)
- Mask (39-40)
By Bryan Talbot
Batman wakes up in a hospital bed surrounded by Doctors who tell him he is an alcoholic bum who dresses in a batsuit made of garbage. Is it some sort of hallucination or is his life as Batman the real illusion?
- Sunset (41)
While fleeing the police, Batman encounters an actress-turned-vampire who was thought to have died 40 years ago, and Batman is hypnotized into doing her will.
- Hothouse (42-43)
- Turf (44-45)
Batman and Captain James Gordon go after racist cops who are brutalizing and murdering blacks.
- Heat (46-49)
By Doug Moench and Russ Heath
When a cat-themed killer starts "hunting" young women Batman and Catwoman form an uneasy alliance to stop him. The story features an alternate origin and characterization of Thomas Blake, modern versions of the character tend to ignore the version from this story.
- Images (50)
By Dennis O'Neil and Bret Blevins
- Snitch (51)
A highly skilled hitman whose rule is to only fire a single shot targets Batman and Gotham's other defender, Ragman.
- Tao (52-53)
By Alan Grant and Arthur Ranson
A man from Batman's past comes to Gotham seeking vengeance.
- Sanctum (54)
While hunting a serial killer, Batman discovers an undead man who attempts to kill him in order to live again.
- Watchtower (55-57)
A tale of an alternate future, unusual among the series' typical "early years" format.
- Storm (58)
A foreign diplomat whose country is guilty of violating human rights is targeted by a group of terrorists.
- Quarry (59-61)
Part of the second act of the Knightfall trilogy
- KnightsEnd (62-63)
By Chuck Dixon, Barry Kitson, Ron Wagner, and Ron McCain
Part of the final act of the Knightfall trilogy
- Terminus (64)
Batman tracks a drug addict to a hotel filled with lost souls.
- Going Sane (65-68)
When the Joker traps Batman in an explosion, he believes that he is finally rid of his arch-foe. As a result, his insane mind returns to sanity, and the Ace of Knaves forgets his bloodstained past, starting a new life as the average citizen "Joseph Kerr". Batman, however, is still alive, and his return to Gotham may mean the end to The Joker's newfound happiness...
- Criminals (69-70)
By Steven Grant and Mike Zeck
Batman goes undercover as a prison inmate.
- Werewolf (71-73)
By James Robinson and John Watkiss
A series of murders connected to Wayne Enterprises leads Batman to London. While there, he discovers a supernatural mystery.
- Engines (74-75)
By Ted McKeever
A story told from the perspective of Gotham's newest serial killer, a slaughterhouse employee who covets the aging and decaying process.
- Sleeping (76-78)
When a car accident leaves Bruce Wayne comatose, the Batman must travel through the underworld back to the land of the living. On the way, Batman meets another coma victim in need of assistance. Before returning to the real world, he must unravel the connection between himself and his evil "soul twin," all while being pursued by an underworld demon.
- Favorite Things (79)
On Christmas Eve, Batman combs the city for a gang known as the "Chessmen", who have been stealing presents from a multitude of wealthy households - including Wayne Manor.
- Idols (80-82)
A new boutique is cashing in on the Bat-craze sweeping Gotham. Captain Gordon must cooperate with the FBI when a circuit killer strikes in Gotham. Meanwhile, Batman is on the trail of a copycat vigilante in a bat-mask while trying to stop the violence his publicity might cause.
- Infected (83-84)
Two escaped super-soldier experiments wreak havoc in Gotham. Batman intervenes as all of Gotham might be the next victim.
- Citadel (85)
By James Robinson and Tony Salmons
Batman ascends a heavily guarded tower, laced with death traps, to reach his quarry on the top floor.
- Conspiracy (86-88)
A series of ritual murders in Gotham leads Batman to Los Angeles. As the stakes get higher, Batman and a new ally work together to unravel a conspiracy that reaches from drug-peddling biker gangs to the CIA and a mysterious religious order.
- Clay (89-90)
By Alan Grant and Quique Alcatena
A retelling of the first clash between Batman and Clayface (Matt Hagen). Based on the story "The Challenge of Clay-Face" in Detective Comics #298.
- Freakout (91-93)
- Stories (94)
A writer by the name of Saul Fisher finds himself the target of an assassination attempt by a group of religious fundamentalists known as "The Enlightened". As a result, Fisher finds himself trapped in a powerless elevator, panicking as the gunmen get closer. To help calm him, the elevator's other passengers, from an aged Julie Madison to a retired policeman and his grandson, share with him tales of their encounters with Batman.
- Dirty Tricks (95-97)
By Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, and Anthony Williams
- Steps (98-99)
- Choices (100)
By Dennis O'Neil and Dave Taylor
A retelling of the origins of the first Robin, Dick Grayson. Based on the story in Detective Comics #38.
- The Incredible Adventures of Batman (101)
- Spook (102-104)
By James Robinson and Paul Johnson
- Duty (105-106)
When the Joker is broken out of Arkham by a terrorist group while Batman is working on a case in the Middle East, Captain James Gordon and Sergeant Harvey Bullock must find a way to stop the madman without the help of the caped crusader.
Note: This story is set in the days before Gordon achieved the rank of police commissioner, and Bullock the rank of detective. In addition, Batman does not appear in a single panel of the story.
- Stalking (107-108)
- The Primal Riddle (109-111)
A battle with the Riddler results in Batman being badly electrocuted, resulting in a near death experience that separates his "spirit" from his body. As the soulless Batman struggles to foil Nigma's latest scheme, his "spirit" wanders around Gotham, possessing a wide variety of "hosts" from a small boy to the Riddler himself.
- Shipwreck (112-113)
After Batman foils a group of mercenaries in their attempt to free an imprisoned national, the group attempts to hold a cruise ship full of wealthy Gothamites hostage. Batman must fight his way through the bowels of the ship to confront the mercenary leader and save the passengers.
- Playground (114)
Batman makes the foolish mistake of blindly confronting a professional mob assassin from Chicago on the latter's home turf, resulting in him suffering multiple wounds and becoming trapped in the slums of the windy city. A cat-and-mouse game with the assassin ensues, as the dark knight struggles and interacts with the homeless men and women that populate the slums.
- The Darkness (115)
- No Man's Land (116-126)
Part of the "No Man's Land" storyline
- The Arrow and the Bat (127-131)
- Siege (132-136)
Set in the timeframe during which Bruce Wayne and Alfred Pennyworth lived in a downtown penthouse instead of Wayne Manor (in Batman publications from 1970 to 1982). An aging mercenary (and former protege of Bruce's grandfather Jack Wayne) uses a manufactured gang war and a mercenaries' convention as cover for an attack on Gotham and Wayne Manor. Silver St. Cloud briefly returns to Bruce's life as well.
"Siege" was one of the final stories written by Archie Goodwin before his death.
- Terror (137-141)
By Doug Moench, Paul Gulacy, and Jimmy Palmiotti
Spiritual sequel to the earlier Legends storyline "Prey". Prof. Hugo Strange resurfaces and breaks Dr. Jonathan Crane (the Scarecrow) out of asylum to terrorize Batman and Catwoman. Strange enhances Crane's fear toxin with a hallucinogen and gives him subconscious hatred of Batman, in addition to a "haunted" house as base of operations.
- The Demon Laughs (142-145)
Ra's al Ghul recruits the Joker in his latest scheme to kill off ninety-five percent of the world's population, and the Ace of Knaves is all too happy to accept. An attempted double-crossing on The Joker's part, however, results in him being gunned down by Ra's' followers, and if Batman is to have a hope of stopping Ra's from spreading The Joker's virus, he must save the life of his greatest foe.
- Bad (146-148)
By Doug Moench and Barry Kitson
- Grimm (149-153)
By J. M. DeMatteis, Trevor Von Eeden, and José Luis García-López
- Colossus (154-155)
- Blink (156-158)
Batman teams up with a man who can see through the eyes of others in order to track down the leader of an underground snuff film ring.
- Loyalties (159-161)
Captain James Gordon has been kidnapped and brought back to his hometown of Chicago to be tortured into revealing the name of the last surviving eyewitness to a grisly murder. That witness was his young niece, Barbara.
- Auteurism (162-163)
The Joker, deeming Gotham's newspapers inadequate to represent his "true self", enlists the help of Buddy Kantor, a highly eccentric comedian/filmmaker, to chronicle his exploits. In the end, however, Buddy's inflated ego and tenuous grasp on reality may prove to be too much even for the Clown Prince of Crime.
- Don't Blink (164-167)
By Dwayne McDuffie, Val Semeiks, and Dan Green
- Urban Legend (168)
- Irresistible (169-171)
- Testament (172-176)
By John Wagner and Chris Brunner
- Lost Cargo (177-178)
- Full Circle (179)
- The Secret City (180-181)
- War Games (182-184)
Part of the "War Games" storyline
- Riddle Me That (185-189)
- Cold Snap (190-191)
Mr. Freeze is acting strangely; Batman fears he may be preparing for suicide.
- Snow (192-196)
When Captain Gordon refuses to give him access to GCPD files on a major criminal, Batman takes things into his own hands and assembles a private team of investigators. At the same time, researcher Victor Fries suffers tragedy and goes on a rampage against his employers.
- Blaze of Glory (197-199)
- Emergency (200)
During his latest battle with Batman, the Joker is inadvertently exposed to his own Joker venom.
- Cold Case (201-203)
By Christos N. Gage, Ron Wagner, and Bill Reinhold
- Madmen of Gotham (204-206)
- Darker than Death (207-211)
- Chicks Dig the Bat (212)
- Otaku (213)
By Matt Wayne and Steven Cummings
The murder of a black-market dealer who specializes in authentic Batman-related memorabilia (lost Batarangs, cowls, etc.) leads Batman to Akihabara, where he must comb the Electric City's various themed establishments to find a Yakuza leader that has a rather disturbing fetish for costumed heroes.
- Superstitious and Cowardly (214)
By Christos N. Gage and Phil Winslade
Batman once again finds himself at odds with Deadshot, as the infamous assassin has been contracted to kill an important witness in an upcoming mob trial.
- Viewpoint (0)
Bridging art by Vince Giarrano, plus excerpts from other issues.
- Duel (Annual 1)
Batman has illusions about the metaphorical "burden" he has to carry.
- Vows (Annual 2)
- Transformation (Annual 3)
- Citizen Wayne (Annual 4)
- Wings (Annual 5)
By Chuck Dixon and Quique Alcatena
Retells the origin story of Man-Bat, originally from Detective Comics #400.
- Executioner (Annual 6)
By Alan Grant, Barry Kitson, and Vince Giarrano
- I Am A Gun (Annual 7)
By James Robinson, Steve Yeowell, and Russ Heath
- The Butler Did It (Issue 1)
- All of the Above (Issue 1)
- The Crime Never Committed (Issue 1)
- Crisis in Identity (Issue 2)
- Letters to Batman (Issue 3)
- A Game to Die for (Issue 4)
- Batman the Movie (Issue 4)
- Together (Issue 4)
- Slam! (Issue 5)
- Gotham Spirit (Issue 6)
- Dungeons and Dragons (Issue 6)
- Look Inside (Issue 6)
- Haunted Arkham (Issue 7)
Technically, most of the stories in LOTDK are in the accepted Batman continuity, albeit with a number of exceptions. These include stories set in the year 3000, Batman being a cyborg, certain Joker or Clayface stories that just do not fit chronologically, and many more. Many of the stories share a lot of elements with the regular Batman and Detective Comics and have often been referenced in modern continuity, notably Leslie Thompkins' discovery of Batman's identity, the origin of Bane's venom, the characterization of Hugo Strange, the origin of the BatCave, and others. Whereas most comic book titles move forward chronologically, Legends tells stories in random order, mainly focusing on Years One through Five, but sometimes including canonical stories after that time as well, Batman Confidential, which the original "Legends" utilized a similar literary format.
DC has stated that the 2012 series stories are not set in the Batman continuity.
In the 1990s, writer Jeph Loeb and artist Tim Sale collaborated on three Halloween specials collected as Batman: Haunted Knight that led them to create Batman: The Long Halloween as stated in the Introduction to the book by Jeph Loeb. The three specials are titled Choices (1993), Madness (1994) and Ghosts (1995). In the last, based on A Christmas Carol, Bruce is visited by three spirits on Halloween, that of Poison Ivy (the spirit of Halloween Past), The Joker (the spirit of Halloween Present), and a cloaked, skeletal version of Batman (the spirit of Halloween Yet To Come). Having been immersed so much in stopping crime for nearly two years (the time being Year Two in which the story takes place), Bruce undergoes a change, much like Ebenezer Scrooge, in which he is reminded what it is to be human.
- The Destroyer - #27
- KnightQuest - #59-61
- Knight's End - #62-63
- No Man's Land - #116-126
- War Games - #182-184
Several of the stories from the title have been collected into trade paperbacks including the following:
- Batman: Shaman (#1 - 5), by Dennis O'Neil and Ed Hannigan, ISBN 1-56389-083-6
- Batman: Gothic (#6 - 10), by Grant Morrison and Klaus Janson, ISBN 1-4012-1549-1
- Batman: Prey (#11 - 15), by Doug Moench and Paul Gulacy, ISBN 0-446-39521-8
- Batman: Venom (#16 - 20), by Dennis O'Neil, Trevor Von Eeden, and José Luis García-López ISBN 1-56389-101-8
- Batman: Faces (#28 - 30), by Matt Wagner ISBN 1-56389-126-3
- Batman: Collected Legends of the Dark Knight (#32 - 34, 38, 42 - 43), ISBN 1-56389-147-6
- Batman: Other Realms (#35 - 36, 76 - 78), by Bo and Scott Hampton, ISBN 1-85286-977-1
- Batman: Dark Legends (#39 - 40, 50, 52 - 54), ISBN 1-56389-266-9
- Batman: KnightsEnd (reprints #62-63 along with material from other titles)
- Batman: Going Sane (#65 - 68, 100)
- Batman: Monsters (#71-73, 83-84, 89-90)
- Batman: Haunted Knight (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight Halloween Special #1, Batman: Madness - A Legends Of The Dark Knight Halloween Special #1, Batman: Ghosts - A Legends of the Dark Knight Halloween Special #1)
- Batman: No Man's Land Vol. 1 (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #116-118)
- Batman: No Man's Land Vol. 2 (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #119-121)
- Batman: No Man's Land Vol. 3 (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #122-124)
- Batman: No Man's Land Vol. 4 (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #125-126)
- Batman: The Ring, The Arrow and The Bat (reprints Legends of the DC Universe 7 - 9 and Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight 127 - 131), by Dennis O'Neil ISBN 1-4012-0126-1
- Batman: Terror (#137 - 141), by Doug Moench, ISBN 1-4012-0125-3
- Batman: Under the Cowl (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #168)
- Batman: War Games Book One (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #182)
- Batman: War Games Book Two (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #183)
- Batman: War Games Book Three(Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #184)
- Batman: Snow (#86-88, 192-196), written by Dan Curtis Johnson and J.H. Williams III, art by Seth Fisher, ISBN 1-4012-1265-4From 2010-2011 several issues of the series had been collected into 100 page reprint issue/book from DC Comics' revival of "DC Comics Presents" title.
- Batman: Four of a Kind (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight Annual #5
- Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight Vol. 1 (Legends of the Dark Knight #1-5)
- Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight Vol. 2 (Legends of the Dark Knight #6-10)
Specials and spin-offs
- "Legends of the Dark Knight" is also the title of an episode from The New Batman Adventures era of Batman: The Animated Series.
- Batman Confidential - a monthly comic series that also tells tales from Batman's past but deals with more personal events in his career.
- "The Real Batman Chronology Project". Therealbatmanchronoproject.blogspot.com. 2006-09-02. Retrieved 2010-12-30.
- Manning, Matthew K.; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1980s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 241. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. "Written by Dennis O'Neil with art by Edward Hannigan, 'Shaman' helped jump-start this popular new title."
- Phillips, Brandy (April 13, 2012). "DC Comics Announces Two New Digital First Comic Series, Will Offer New Digital Content Five-Days-A-Week". DC Comics. Retrieved June 19, 2012.
- Manning "1990s" in Dolan, p. 261: "Editor Archie Goodwin was on to something when he paired Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale on the first holiday special of the popular Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight series."