Welcome to this month’s Crossover Madness. Today, to kick off my week of Batman, we’re doing a Batman crossover titled Legacy. Enjoy.
Issues: Detective Comics #700-701, Catwoman #36, Robin 32-33, Batman: Shadow of the Bat #54, Batman #534.
Writers: Chuck Dixon (Detective Comics, Catwoman, Robin), Alan Grant (Batman: Shadow of the Bat), Doug Moench (Batman)
Pencillers: Graham Nolan (Detective Comics), Jim Balent & Bob Smith (Catwoman), Staz Johnson (Robin), Dave Taylor (Batman: Shadow of the Bat), Jim Aparo (Batman)
While not going into too much detail about the prelude issues, there are some things that you need to know. First, this happens after Contagion. You know, the crossover where people of Gotham, including Tim Drake, contracted ebola gulfa, otherwise known as The Clench. Well, after thinking that they had cured the disease with something Azrael had found, there was a relapse case. It is now feared that everyone will eventually relapse. Batman, Nightwing, and Robin venture to the desert on the advice of Azrael to see if they can perhaps find the real cure. They work their way through some tunnels, until they find themselves back on the surface. At the end of their journey they find…
…Ra’s Al Ghul. Standing with his are his daughter Talia, and a masked Ubu. Batman demands to know what Ra’s has planned, but Ra’s orders his guards to kill Batman and leave. Talia has mixed feelings, but Ra’s says he no longer believes that Batman is a good suitor for her, and someone else has been picked out. In their escape, Batman and Robin are separated from Nightwing, who was shot in the leg. Nightwing just happens to end up within earshot of Ra’s Al Ghul (conveniently) explaining his plan to Talia. After centuries of searching, he has found the Wheel of Plagues. An ancient civilization stumbled upon the secrets of DNA and recombinant genetics. All of their experiments were recorded on the wheel, and he will make a computer model of the wheel to study all of its mysteries. He had used it previously to create the ebola gulfa virus. He wants to create a stronger virus to wipe out 90% of the population. Ra’s tells Talia that her and the sire she’s picked out for her will inherit a new world. She says she’ll never love the new guy, but Ra’s doesn’t care. When the wheel is recorded, he wants it destroyed. They must leave to load the program aboard the Shrike, and make for the new world. After that, Talia will be married to her new suitor, against her wishes. Ubu floods the chamber the wheel is in, and this almost takes care of Batman and Robin, but they are able to escape. Nightwing decides to confront Ra’s on his own. He’s almost killed, but Batman is able to stop Ra’s from killing him. As Batman and Ra’s fight, Talia and Ubu leave. She tries to return, but Ubu restrains her, saying that she is his. Ra’s escapes on the helicopter with Talia and Ubu. It’s revealed that Ubu is actually Bane. And oh yea, Catwoman was being held prisoner by Ra’s Al Ghul, and her chamber is flooding.
Amidst the rising water, Catwoman is able to pick the lock on her cell, and the lock on Brother Umberto’s cell. She leaves another prisoner, and enemy named Kai, locked in their cell. She and Umberto try to escape, but they need help forcing a door open. Catwoman has to go back and rescue her enemy. Together, they are able to open the door, and climb up the elevator shaft. On their plane, Nightwing fills Robin and Batman in on everything he heard while Alfred patches him up. Back in the desert, Catwoman, Umberto, and Kai reach the surface, and Kai immediately attacks. Catwoman is able to defeat Kai, and leaves Kai tied up in the desert while her and Umberto start their search for civilization. Batman hears back from Oracle that Ra’s may be headed to one of four cities: Paris, Edinburgh, and Gotham. (There wasn’t a fourth city listed.) Robin and Nightwing head towards Paris, and Batman heads toward Gotham. In a port, a person called The Collector is arrested for sexual crimes that a woman has accused him off. That woman turns out to be Catwoman.
I want to pause here for a moment and point out that at this point in time, Nightwing has a horrible pony tail. Seriously. This thing is atrocious. It’s been a while since I’ve read these issues, but this thing may give me nightmares. Be happy you all can’t see it right now, though I may scan a panel later in the week. Now, back to the issues.
Tim and Dick take a commercial flight to Paris. They split up in Paris to follow some leads. Tim ends up running into some people from an earlier trip to Paris, but quickly takes care of them. On the advice of Batman, Robin seeks out the help of Henri Ducard. Ducard is eventually convinced to help, and Ducard gives him some suggestions. Robin meets up with Nightwing, and they come up with a plan. They draw out Ra’s henchmen but setting up a bat-signal, and then follow one back to their base when they let him escape. Nightwing fights the henchmen in the sewer while Robin runs to The Lourve, figuring that is where they’re setting to release the virus from the sewers. Nightwing takes care of his henchmen. Robin has a little trouble with his, until Henri Ducard shows up and kills them. Tim and Dick take a red eye flight from Paris to Gotham.
Batman: Shadow of the Bat #54
Batman is in Edinburgh, touring a museum, where there is a traveling exhibit that was recently in Sudan (where Ra’s was initially). He suspects that this is how Ra’s plans to smuggle the virus into the city. That night, 3 men dressed in old timey clothing (yes, that’s a technical term) tried to steal a sacred stone that was part of the exhibit. Batman stops them, and they insist they were actually trying to buy the stone back. Batman believes them because they are amateurs. Ra’s henchmen show up, and two of them are able to escape with a vial of the virus. Batman chases one of them down, while the other escape the three amateurs. Batman gets the vial, but the henchmen poisons himself before Batman can get any information out of him. Batman uses the locals’ knowledge of the area to figure out where the other person will try to release the virus. They travel there, and are able to get the vial of virus from the henchman. Batman then helps the three locals return the sacred stone to their land. Batman checks in with Robin, and finds out that the fourth city is Calcutta, and heads there.
Batman is in Calcutta, a city that is very poor and disease riddled, but one with lots of heart. (There are pages describing this.) Batman is contacted by Oracle, who is afraid to give him to much info over the radio, but tells him where to meet a local contact. Before the contact arrives, Batman is greeted by a homeless person, that asks why Batman is there, but also offers to help. Batman tells the guy to leave because it’s not safe. The local contact arrives, and it’s Lady Shiva. She’s happy to see the real Batman back in action, (after Knightfall), and says that she probably wouldn’t help if it had still been Azrael in the costume. Shiva says that her informants place Ra’s agents at the river at midnight. They are then attacked by several of Ra’s assassins, but dispatch them without any issues. Batman takes a ring off of one of them, and uses it to buy food for the homeless man. (You know, because he doesn’t carry cash with him, and street vendors don’t accept the Batcard.) So, Batman and Shiva arrive at the river to find the Festival of Durga going on. To celebrate the cycle of life, people push mud statues of the goddess Durga into the river. Shiva spots two guilty looking people, and they take off after them. In the fight, the homeless person tries to help, but gets shot. Batman captures one of the men, and learns that the virus is in a wax container in one of the statues. After telling him, the henchman poisons himself. Batman dives into the river, and is able to find the container still intact. He then carries the homeless man off, one would assume to receive medical attention.
Detective Comics #701
Now we’re in Gotham, where Nightwing, Robin, and Huntress are all watching possible locations. However, the action is at Batman’s location, a casino that is about to open. He sees two people that are speaking Farsi, assumes that they can’t be security guards, and attacks them. He tells everyone that the target is there, but he can handle it and they should look for Ra’s Al Ghul’s ship. Batman enters the casino to find that something heavy has been dragged across the carpet, and more henchmen. He takes care of them and goes into the kitchen, and finds more henchmen. Batman turns on the gas line, because fire will destroy the virus. At this point Bane comes in, and tells all of the other henchmen to leave. Batman and Bane fight for a moment, until Bane smells the gas. Batman takes cover in what looks to be a deep freeze, and Bane is thrown by the eruption of this all-encompassing, virus-killing fireball that goes through the casino. (I’m going to pause here and point out that Batman didn’t actually know where the virus was. It could have been in a fire-proof container, like Batman apparently was.) Batman somehow ends up in the river and leaves the freezer, only to find Bane waiting on him. They fight, during which Bane reveals that he was with Ra’s so that he could eventually kill him, and take over everything that was his. He has Batman on the ropes for a moment, but Batman is able to come back and defeat him. Meanwhile, Robin, Nightwing, and Huntress are on a speedboat after Oracle told them where she things Ra’s Al Ghul’s boat is docked.
Robin, Nightwing, and Huntress try to sneak onto the ship, but are quickly spotted. Nightwing sends Robin to search for the computer while they deal with this trouble. Robin runs into some trouble, but he’s able to get Oracle connected to the computer. In order to download and analyze the data faster, Oracle hacks into several utility and governmental computer systems and uses their memory and processing power Nightwing and Huntress are dealing with their own set of henchmen when Huntress is attacked by Talia, who has had time to change clothes in between issues. Nightwing tries to save Huntress, but he is confronted by Ra’s Al Ghul. Nightwing is able to fight off Ra’s, allowing him to free Huntress, and they regroup. Robin, meanwhile, is trying to keep the henchmen from cutting power to the computer so that Oracle can continue to download the information. All of the information is downloaded right before someone is able to slice the power lines. Unfortunately, this slicing starts a fire, which leads to an explosion. Robin, Nightwing, and Huntress are able to leap to safety, but there’s no sign of Ra’s Al Ghul or Talia.
So, there you have it. That is Batman: Legacy. There are apparently two more issues of epilogue that I do not own. In Detective Comics #702, Wayne Phamecuticals develop the actual cure and distribute it. And Commisioner Gordon and Sarah Essen get back together. In Batman: Bane, Bane tries to take over a nuclear power plant, but is thwarted.
Really, re-reading this story again, it’s not a very good story. It’s like a fill-in crossover in the middle of their three major crossovers: Contagion, Cataclysm, and No Man’s Land. The art is often pretty bad. The dialogue isn’t good. There are plot holes. I’m still pretty sure that there’s still one more city that has the virus. They intially said four cities, and named three. Before Batman goes to Calcutta, Oracle tells him that another plane ticket was purchased, and that is Calcutta. That doesn’t sound like she just figured out where the fourth one was much later than the other three. And there’s that damn Nightwing pony tail. No, I can’t get over how awful it is. Luckily, I think it’s removed shortly after this story, when the Nightwing on-going is launched.