The Untold Legend of the Batman 2 (August 1980)

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With Byrne gone–and Aparo taking all the art duties–Untold Legend actually becomes visually distinctive. While Aparo’s faces aren’t compelling, he does a lot of nice work this issue. Wein’s script covers a lot of events and Aparo has a particularly nice time with Alfred’s flashback. The war panels are excellent.

This issue, Wein covers Robin and Alfred’s origins and also Two-Face and the Joker. The most interesting historical continuity details? Wein’s Joker isn’t insane, he just thinks being funny looking will scare people. Also Alfred… he wasn’t always the Wayne butler. Wein should have told the whole series from Alfred’s perspective.

Somehow having the comic less from Batman’s perspective works better. Wein’s Batman is obnoxious.

Like I said, the series is worth a look just for historical interest with the mashed together origin events, but Wein’s framing story is just plain lame.

It’s not even a mystery.

C 

CREDITS

With Friends Like These…; writer, Len Wein; artist and letterer, Jim Aparo; colorist, Glynis Wein; editor, Paul Levitz; publisher, DC Comics.

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The Untold Legend of the Batman 1 (July 1980)

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The Untold Legend of the Batman might have good art… but it’s hard to tell. Each page is packed with panels–except one pin-up page, which is pretty good–and it’s hard to get a handle of John Byrne’s pencils (with Jim Aparo inking).

Some of the pages are pretty good though, but it’s certainly not a comic to read for the art. Sadly, it’s also not a comic to read for the writing.

Untold Legend is a streamlined retelling of Batman’s original, adding in all the Earth-One origin developments. It’s excellent as a curiosity (I’d forgotten teenage Bruce Wayne was Robin to some police detective) but Len Wein’s writing is atrocious.

Most of the comic is Bruce retelling his history to Alfred. One would assume Alfred would know some of these events, if not all.

The issue’s painful at times, a shopping list of contrived origin events.

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