Today we’re wrapping up this part of the Road to Knightfall.
Legends of the Dark Knight #20
Written by Denny O’Neil
Layouts by Trevor von Eeden
Pencils by Russell Braun
Inks by Jose Luis Garcia Lopez
Letters by Willie Schabert
Colors by Steve Oliff
Edited by Kevin Dooley & Andy Helfer
Batman tries to get through to Junior, and we get confirmation of what I suspected earlier – Gen. Slaycroft murdered his wife because he felt she was turning Junior into a “weakling”. Junior overpowers Batman and is only saved from death by Porter, who wants to use him for an experiment.
Batman is locked in a room without his utility belt, where the only way out is through an 800 lb. door. To open it, he would have to pull down on a chain hanging from the ceiling to pull up the door. Further, the room is slowly going to fill with water. Batman will be provided with the new enhanced, more addictive Venom to help him to escape before the room fills with water. Batman manages to persuade them to get a few additional things which Porter is confident Batman can’t use to escape.
In his cell, Batman resists the temptation for the pills and continues putting together the plan for his escape – carefully loosening several stone blocks from the walls.
Meanwhile, Alfred slipped away in the confusion on the beach, reached the north end of the island and rowed out to see, where he was picked up by a ship which let him use the radio, allowing him to contact Commissioner Gordon – but unfortunately, Gordon can’t send troops to Santa Prisca, as while it is a country literally run by narcotraffickers, it is still a sovereign nation and he’s just a city police commissioner.
Outside, General Slaycroft asks Dr. Porter about his notes, and Porter responds that they’re all in his head. So, General Slaycroft decides it’s time to end this relationship and tortures Porter until he tells him how to make the drug.
With some ingenuity and grit, Batman manages to MacGuyver his way out of the cell, and gets past the guards, returning to the Slaycroft compound. Porter had just finished spilling the formula, with Slaycroft being about to leave to test the information – if it was correct, Porter would die quickly. If it’s wrong…
And at that, Batman busts in – he quickly overpowers the General before he can give orders to his goons, and frees Porter. At that, Porter uses the tape recorder to force Junior to kill his father, and with Junior’s augmented strength Batman can do nothing to stop him.
Batman takes Porter and a helicopter to bring him to the mainland – Porter lets slip that he’d taken a significant dose of Venom, and Batman’s fine with that. Later, Gordon informs Batman that Porter died in custody from the withdrawal symptoms.
This was a pretty decent storyline, though it slipped into Very Special Episode territory in a few places. If Knightfall had not happened, I don’t know if this would have stood out from the contemporary stories in Legends of the Dark Knight the same way. Not because it’s bad, but because it’s surrounded by enough other great stories that the connection to arguably one of the most famous Batman stories from all-time shifts it from “Part of a fantastic Batman run” to “Must Read” territory.
When we return to the Knightfall Saga – we have the introduction of Azrael.