Batman goes through a lot each time he goes out, and when you think about it, there have to be bits and pieces of his costume, gear, and whatnot (Selina Kyle, we’re looking your way) lying all over the place. If someone were diligent enough, they could collect all those bits and pieces, and rebuild the entire costume. A complete costume – even damaged – should fetch a pretty penny, if you can find a buyer.
Hardcore enthusiasts of comics tend to collect a lot of stuff (remind me to give you a virtual tour of the Major Spoilers headquarters sometime), often becoming fanatical over obtaining the most rare items. I’ve encountered some pretty extreme fans, but those who obsess over Anime and Manga tend to be the worst. In Japan the derogatory Otaku has been applied to this group who obsess too much.
This is the premise behind this issue of LoDK. Following the murder of a black market dealer, Batman discovers there is a growing demand for celebrity memorabilia, with superhero related items topping the list. The premise is what makes this issue believable. If Batman, Superman, and the rest were real in this world, I have a feeling any bit of their stuff would sell for a pretty penny on eBay or the like; the more rare the item, the higher the price. But the weapon used to kill the dealer is the one point that bothers me. I’d have to go way back in the stacks a few years, but I could have sworn Batman made a point to go around and collect his spent weapons using a built in tracking device.
Instead of flying to Japan Batman style, Bruce Wayne opts to go as himself to check out the underworld of Akiba Kei, beginning at a Maid Café, eventually working his way down to Justice Super-Cosplay Society. It is here that he finds Rentaro Hara, The Otaku, a Yakuza who runs the area.
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While the idea of Justice Society Cosplay doesn’t bother me; after all, just go to any convention and see the fans dressed as their favorite hero, the den where Bruce finds The Otaku is really off putting. Rape scenarios played out with capes just isn’t cool, and with The Otaku around, some patrons get to keep their costumes.
IMAGE REMOVED BY DC LEGAL DEPARTMENT
As a fight breaks out, Bruce (dressed as Green Lantern) has the opportunity to kill the lights long enough for him to don his Batman uniform. A shuffle and a fight later, The Otaku and the Justice Society Café are shut down for good.
This story is fast moving enough to keep my interest, and introduces readers to the world of Otaku. Unfortunately, the topic of Cosplay comes off in this story the same way MySpace is depicted on Dateline NBC. Yes, there are some people who go off the deep end, but for the most part it’s harmless fun.
The art by Steven Cummings is good, and I get the feeling he was trying to manga-ize this issue. If he was, he didn’t do a very good job, but if he was trying to find an in-between, it comes off okay. The BESM (Big Eyes Small Mouth) only halfway works, but causes some of the panels to just look freaky.
- It’s a fun story
- Justice Super-Cosplay Society Yeah!
- Bruce as Green Lantern
- Paints all Otaku as perverts
- Two Yakuza in two Bat titles, and both times the artists forget which fingers are cut off
- This is the next to the last issue of LoDK
With the awkwardness of the art, and the anti-slant toward the fan community, this issue wasn’t the best Bat story out there, but it was a good one-shot. I’ll give Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #213 a solid 3 Stars out of 5.
Discuss this issue in the Major Spoilers Batman Forum.
*The word Fan comes from Fanatical – n – a person with an extreme and uncritical enthusiasm or zeal, as in religion or politics.
** Otaku – The term entered general use in Japan around 1989, and may have been popularized by Nakamori’s publication in that year of The Age of M. It applied the term to the (then) recently caught serial killer Tsutomu Miyazaki, who turned out to be a recluse obsessed with pornographic anime and manga and who lived out his rape fantasies on young girls, thus attaching a huge taboo to a formerly innocuous term.