[World of Bats} Batman Book Club: Legends of the Dark Knight-Issues 1-5 Shaman

Howdy y’all I’ve seen folks talking about getting a book club for Bat’s going and had discussed this one with some fellow community members yesterday. There are quite a few book clubs going on and I don’t want to overwhelm anyone so lets give this a 10 day run for these 5 books.

Run time August 4th till the 10th (you can start today if you want of course)

The original series launched in 1989 as the third major monthly Batman title, following the popularity of Tim Burton’s Batman film. Many of the stories follow the tone of Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One. The series differs from other Batman titles of the time. The creative team rotated with every story arc and the stories stood alone, unlike the inter-connected nature of other Batman comics. Initially the title ran stories contained to five issues, often with more mature topics and sensibilities than the other Batman titles. After issue #20, the number of issues for each story began to vary and occasionally tied into crossover events
I think I might stop after issue 20.

In part 1 of the 5-part ‘‘Shaman’’ storyline, Bruce Wayne meets a tribal shaman who influences his life forever while mountain climbing in his days before becoming Batman. Returning to Gotham City, Bruce takes up the cowl and meets Leslie Thompkins before experiencing a major tragedy.

Dennis O’Neil
Ed Hannigan
John Beatty
Ed Hannigan, George Pratt, Dean Motter

I know these Book clubs usually have a set of questions to discuss but I would like this to be a free for all. Just give it a read and let me know what you liked or didn’t like. Hope y’all have a good read :slight_smile:


Darn, you beat us all to the punch! :joy::joy:

This is a story I’ve been meaning to read. :slight_smile:


@Jay_Kay hey buddy I posted something to y’all about this in your thread just a few mins ago. let me know if you want to rotate or take over. I wasn’t trying to steal y’alls thunder or step on any toes sorry.

No need to apologize, you’re the one who actually took initiative! I know I was just trying to figure out the best day to do it and that kind of thing. Saturdays might be a good day for it, not many clubs opening up on that day.

1 Like

@Jay_Kay Oh no! That’s what I was thinking with my new Book Club I just posted.

1 Like

well its a battle of the books then! LOL


Ooh, I’m already in the middle of this one! I’ll get back to you as soon as I catch the last two issues.


Congrats AquamonC137! The DC Big 3 are now covered, with enough for all three clubs to last years!!!

1 Like

Next is [World of Lanterns]
[World of Speed]
[World of Water]
[World of Teens]


So I just read the first issue – solid stuff, has am interesting hook for the rest of the arc, but… it has literally the funniest out of context moment I’ve ever seen in a Batman comic.


I bet you wondered why they cal him “Joe Chill”…


…And then he just prances away what the hell :joy::joy::joy:


Also, *call him


1 Like

“Shaman Book One” by Dennis O’Neil: https://www.dcuniverse.com/comics/book/batman-legends-of-the-dark-knight-1989-2007-1/34b279b6-3843-4b91-842f-1c157da1ff54

Bruce Wayne pays a bounty hunter named Doggett (get it?) to let him tag along in hunting a criminal named Thomas Woodley in Alaska. As they’re climbing a mountain, Bruce says that they should bring Woodley in alive, but Doggett thinks otherwise. For daring to question Bruce’s no-killing rule, Doggett gets a bullet to the head, courtesy of Woodley. The criminal was expecting them (apparently, Bruce wasn’t very discreet about hiring Doggett), and he also knows that the young man has come unarmed. Bruce pulls a precursor to his “stick the cape and cowl on something to fool the villain” routine with a parka, and he establishes that he doesn’t have a “no stab in the leg” rule, but Woodley teaches him that even a close-range punch can have quite an effect if you know how to do it. Bruce kicks Woodley off of him, and the criminal plummets off the side of the mountain, taking Bruce’s parka with him.

Mildly bummed out that he just killed a guy, Bruce turns most of his focus to his poor chances of survival. He decides to continue going up, and he reflects on his lack of a prayer life (something Tom King has recently touched upon in his run) before passing out and dreaming of his parents being shot by a snowman (presumably named Snow Chill). He kinda-sorta awakens to find that his life has been saved by an Inuit shaman, and as he fades in and out, he hears a myth that provides an etiology for bat wings (because, of course, the bat flying through the window is never enough). The story refers to a bat as a rodent, but Bruce isn’t as quick to correct the shaman as he is to correct Chase Meridian. He sees a tribal bat mask open up to reveal another mask under it, surprisingly not accompanied by a flashing neon sign that says, “Bruce Wayne is a mask, too!” As Bruce departs upon his more-or-less recovery, the shaman’s granddaughter insists that Bruce not repeat the sacred myth to anyone. He shoots down her belief in folk medicine, since we’ve already established that he has been a skeptic since his parents’ death.

Alfred greets Bruce upon his return and invites him to reenact scenes from Year One. Bruce gets his classic “cowardly and superstitious lot” quote from a criminology book that came in the mail, and then he dresses up to go get stabbed by an underage prostitute in Frank Miller’s book. We now discover that he had a vision of the shaman masks while he was bleeding all over his father’s study. Alfred responds to the bell and offers to get a doctor, but Bruce (probably irritated that the butler isn’t offering to do it himself–so much for being one of his father’s gifts, right?) asks Pennyworth to tell him a story instead. Bruce is already pumping iron the next day, so we can assume that he was just being melodramatic with all of that talk about dying. Alfred scolds him for siphoning Wayne Foundation money into weapons for himself instead of stuff like nude skiing or an anthropologist’s study of northern Alaskan Indians. The latter option piques his interest, but he’s determined to don his bat costume (already finished so soon?!) and try it out that night. He scowls at the reader and then thanks Alfred for making the suit (again, in less than a day).

Bruce goes after the “punks” who have been robbing the free clinic of Leslie Thompkins (who will soon find out Batman’s identity in LOTDK #21-23, aka “Faith” by Mike Barr). Lucky for him, they’re currently attacking the place and intending to rape a pregnant patient because Leslie doesn’t have enough drugs for them to steal. (Ah, late 1980s Batman: such pleasant reading!) Batman shows up and tells them that they can either plead for her forgiveness or face him, and he hopes they go for the latter. The new costume endows him with the ability to take out the thugs with far more confidence and competence than he had during his East End experience the previous night. One of the criminals threatens to shoot the pregnant woman, but Batman feigns apathy, and the hoodlum tries shooting the crazy guy in the bat suit instead. He runs out of bullets, and Batman pounces on him from above. Batman then turns to one of the other robbers and essentially gives him the “tell all your friends about me” speech from the recent Tim Burton movie. Leslie Thompkins does not approve, but Batman insists that they are both “curing” the city in their own way. Unfortunately, his costume reminds the pregnant woman of Chubala (more on that in later issues), and she kills herself with a knife. Batman is nonplussed as the issue ends.

This introductory issue of Legends of the Dark Knight does a good job setting up what this series is going to be about: telling various stories from Bruce Wayne’s first three years on the job. Batman: Year Three had just wrapped up a few months before this issue came out, and the new movie left readers interested in getting more solo Batman stories (which was less likely to happen in the main books because they were introducing Tim Drake at this same time). Dennis O’Neil delivers a perfectly solid story here and in the subsequent issues, and he will be back on LOTDK throughout the 1990s for more early tales of Bruce’s caped crusades in issues #16-20 (which introduces the drug known as venom), #50 (which is his take on the Joker’s first appearance), and #100 (which offers a retelling of Dick Grayson’s origin).


@BatJamags, thats great I’m glad your already dipping your toes into this story!

@Don-El thanks man!

@Nathan, LOL!

@Jay_Kay, Glad your liking it thus far :slight_smile: Fun Fact: that is Joe Chills natural form and when he went to rob the Wayne’s he was just looking for accessory to decorate his snowy self.

@AlexanderKnox, Wow man excellent synopsis of the first issue! Also thank you for the info on issues #50 & 100 I will have to put them in here, if we don’t plan on doing the whole run.

Yeah, when I was doing preliminary stuff for a book club, I was thinking of calling it “The Black Casebook,” off of the Morrison run, or maybe “The Bat Casebook.”

Also, @Nathan.Payson “World of Teens?” Chris Hanson would like to know your location… :stuck_out_tongue:

Found another amazing out-of-context panel. Presenting: How the Batman Stole Christmas.


OK, just finished. O’Neil is a genius, and the art is great too. This kind of detective story is really far more interesting than any big bombastic super-fight, at least as far as Batman stories go.

I am still a tad fuzzy on how the Alaskans and the Santa Priscans were connected. Was it just that Spurlock studied both of them? Or was there not actually a connection and there were just two plot threads?


“Shaman Book Two” by Dennis O’Neil: https://www.dcuniverse.com/comics/book/batman-legends-of-the-dark-knight-1989-2/786c207c-bda5-4f12-96f3-d8d490a97909

Six months have passed since Book One. A man in a bird costume (the previously-mentioned Chubala) prepares to stab a guy who is splayed out like a human tent. As he brings the blade down, a bunch of people in robes give an approving smirk (except for one woman in the front row, who appears awestruck). Meanwhile, Gotham cops Al Kelly and Jimmy Wong debate on whether they heard a scream or the wind coming from the nearby deserted tenement. Al wants to go in without backup because he’s looking for a detective promotion. The duo burst in to find the cult gathering, and Al shoots Chubala. The cult leader doesn’t go down that easily, and Al ends up burnt and heartless by the end of the night. Jimmy takes a knife to the back, but he manages to escape the building.

Later on, Jim Gordon is investigating the crime scene when Bruce Wayne shows up (having heard about the incident from the police band in his limo) and expects Gordon to let him hang around like this is 1939. As the police captain starts telling the boy billionaire the details of the case(!), the thief-turned-reverend Tobias Micah appears and insists that a demon is behind it all. Bruce mentions that he used to hear about hope in Sunday School, but we already know from issue #1 that he isn’t having any of that nowadays. Alfred gives Bruce some shade about leading a deceptive life once he gets back in his limo, but he’s already back in Batman mode because of Gordon’s reference to Chubala.

Too bad Bruce has to attend one of those blasted social gatherings at the Gotham Arms Hotel, date in tow. He is far more interested in speaking to Dr. Madison Spurlock, that anthropologist he’d learned about previously. We learned that Bruce totally betrayed the tribe’s trust and told Spurlock about their bat myth. Spurlock shows off some tribal masks that he bought while in Alaska, including the bat-themed shaman healing mask. Bruce’s date, socialite Theodora Hackley, interrupts the conversation with some dismissive comments about superstitions, while grad student Bennet Young (who went with Spurlock to Alaska) introduces himself to Bruce, much to Spurlock’s disapproval. (The professor is just envious because he’s bald, while his student has the most glorious of Jheri curls.) Bruce pretends that he’s leaving early to make it with his date, but Gordon isn’t buying it, and Theodora is disappointed as Bruce leaves her at her doorstep.

Batman goes to Jimmy’s hospital room to hear him muttering about Chubala, and then he discovers some goons on the roof, assumes that they must be planning a hit on the wounded police officer, and begins assaulting them, as you do. When one of the men decides that he’s better off jumping to his death than facing the wrath of the cult, Batman grabs him by his ponytail as he’s going over the edge and then knocks him out. Batman leaves the criminals tied to a lamppost, again forgetting which age of comics we’re currently in here. He discovers an ID card on one of them with the same last name as the woman who killed herself in the last issue (it’s her brother). He also finds some heroin, which he tests in his makeshift lab in Wayne Manor, much to Alfred’s displeasure. The butler makes a crack about watching Jack LaLanne, so this issue is certainly not set in the year of its release. Bruce instead watches Spurlock give a TV interview, and he gets pissy when the anthropologist claims that he heard the bat myth from the tribe instead of the local playboy.

Chubala bails the trio of criminals from jail, but he kills Ponytail Guy (aka Pregnant Woman’s brother) for failing in his mission. (So much for your promise to protect him, Bats.) Meanwhile, Bruce and Alfred are exploring the cave underneath the manor as a potential future HQ, and Bruce makes sure to reference O’Neil’s recent story “The Man Who Falls,” which itself had referenced “Shaman Book One.” When Bruce talks about the series of events that seemingly “were conspiring” to shape him into Batman, Alfred says that it “defies logic,” and Bruce quickly corrects him because Batman isn’t about to start believing in that fate nonsense. (You brought it up, you jerk!)

Bruce then disguises himself as an old bootblack to get more info from Gordon, making sure to reference the ending of Year One so that Jim will know he’s Batman. Gordon tells him that the sacrifice victims are from “dope capital” Santa Prisca (previously introduced by O’Neil in The Question, and soon to be the home of a certain steroid-doping villain), as were the three criminals from the hospital rooftop. He then makes Gordon pay for the shoe shine! Leaving the police station, Bruce goes to the Gotham Arms Hotel because Bennet had called him at home and asked him to come over. Because he took his sweet time getting there (too busy swindling Jim out of $5), Bruce is too late, and he finds the grad student stabbed through the chest. Bennet lives just long enough to mutter, “BAAT… MAN…” To be continued.

Issue 2 is interesting in how it tries to incorporate some of the old tropes from classic Batman stories into the rebooted, realistic world that Frank Miller had introduced in Year One.

1 Like

@BatJamags, Glad you liked it! I agree this type of story is more interesting than the over the top kind that we get a lot of today. It is also the 30th anniversary just like the Batman Movie so I thought it was a good place to start. The art is great also there are some really great panels in this story and some great humor. When the Chubala (Fisk) is shooting at Batman and he just laughs, that panel is fantastic! The Shaman and the Alaskan tribe were separate from the Santa Priscans. It was just that Spurlock studied both.

1 Like