What I Remember:
I picked this book up at my local newsstand when it was released based on the cover alone. I wound up really enjoying the book, despite it not having a known villain. The book had such a unique art style and tells a simple yet compelling story that wouldn’t have been lost on a 10 year-old.
Legends of the Dark Knight #54 “Sanctum”
Story and Pictures: Mike Mignola
Story and Words: Dan Raspler
Inkers: Mike DeCarlo
Colorist: Mike Chiarello
Letterer: Willie Schubert
Editors: Archie Goodwin and Bill Kaplin
Batman Created by Bob Kane
Publication Date: November 1993
Cover Price: $1.75
Batman is tracking a killer named Lowther to a cemetery where he is performing a ritual with the blood of his victims.
During a the inevitable fight Lowther manages to stab Batman and Batman in turn kicks Lowther off of the mausoleum where they were fighting and onto a spiked fence, killing him.
As Batman wonders aloud about Lowther’s motivations the roof collapses sending Batman crashing into the crypt.
When he gets up, Batman sees more than just a decaying mausoleum, but more like a museum.
The inhabitant identifies himself as Osric Drood, claims that not only has Lowther passed on but so has Batman. Batman disagrees.
He tells Batman his story, how he lived in Victorian Era Gotham.
How he was a member of a secret society that sought to acquire all the knowledge in the universe, how this led to him killing his wife and burying her in their stable and using her blood to learn of worlds beyond their own. The horror of these worlds drove him mad and he took his own life.
Now, Lowther’s blood, the blood of another killer has granted him new life and Drood intends to suck the life out of Batman in order, who killed Lowther, to return to his work.
After a battle Batman manages to break free and wakes up in the collapsed mausoleum as lightning strikes, destroying Drood’s burial chamber.
It was all a fever dream, or was it? Batman begins to look into the death of Drood’s wife a century prior but decides against it.
Continued After Ad:
Yes, every so often you’ll find a gem in your collection that you picked up totally by accident, at 10 I had no idea who Mike Mignola was and to check out his work pre-Hellboy is wonderful.
The art is highly stylized, something you could do with Legends of the Dark Knight that you couldn’t do in the main continuity books that would have to follow more of a house style. Mignola’s art fits the mood of the book which combines a themes from Edgar Allen Poe as well as the Cthulu mythos of HP Lovecraft.
I love how Mignola really shows the life being sucked out of Batman, he grows more and more skeletal as the the battle wages, but returns back to form as he gains the upper hand.
Another nice touch was that Mignola drew panels with Batman lying on a broken coffin at different points in the story to signify that this was all in Batman’s head but in one panel he drew the skull biting Batman's wound leading the reader to think that maybe this is more than a hallucination or is this whole thing stemming from the shock of the stab wound?
We re-collect a book from my uncle’s collection and witness Captain America: Traitor from way back in the 1970’s! Proving that there’s nothing new under the sun. See you next week!