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Legends of the Dark Knight: Norm Breyfogle, Vol. 1

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This volume of the Legends of the Dark Knight series focuses on the Detective Comics stories from acclaimed artist Norm Greyfogle and writer Alan Grant. Batman Annual 11-12, Detective Comics 579, 582-594, 601-607


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This volume of the Legends of the Dark Knight series focuses on the Detective Comics stories from acclaimed artist Norm Greyfogle and writer Alan Grant. Batman Annual 11-12, Detective Comics 579, 582-594, 601-607

30 review for Legends of the Dark Knight: Norm Breyfogle, Vol. 1

  1. 4 out of 5

    Keith

    So man, I have been waiting for this collection to exist for over 20 years. Batman #455 (which isn't collected here, but should be in subsequent volumes) was my first-ever Batman comic, and I reread it so many times in the intervening years I'm pretty sure I have it memorized. From that book forward, I was absolutely addicted to Norm Breyfogle's Batman -- the harsh angles, the incredible page layouts, the mix of narrative storytelling ability and an aggressive dynamism that I just don't even kno So man, I have been waiting for this collection to exist for over 20 years. Batman #455 (which isn't collected here, but should be in subsequent volumes) was my first-ever Batman comic, and I reread it so many times in the intervening years I'm pretty sure I have it memorized. From that book forward, I was absolutely addicted to Norm Breyfogle's Batman -- the harsh angles, the incredible page layouts, the mix of narrative storytelling ability and an aggressive dynamism that I just don't even know how to describe. Breyfogle didn't just draw characters and settings -- he drew the idea of movement, a meshing of style and tone that ensured every single penstroke was building toward an aesthetic ideal that was more than just a rendering of objects in space. There's nothing like a Breyfogle Batman page. You see one and you realize just how many artists out there are missing an entire half of their illustration toolbox, in which layout and content are brought together so completely and irrevocably that the page, the line, and the panel become a single unit. It's impossible, obviously, for me to talk about Norm Breyfogle without waxing poetic. But I'm telling you, man -- the dude understood how to find a page's sheer oneness in ways I've really never seen anywhere else. Aside from a handful of issues, Breyfogle's daunting, nearly-unbroken 5-year run on DETECTIVE, BATMAN, and SHADOW OF THE BAT had never been collected before this year. I tracked down the single issues in my 20s, but this is the first time I'd seen his work on high-grade paper, without ads and lettercolumns. And I'll admit, my four-star review on this volume is wholly due to the intensity of my nostalgia. There was a pulpiness, a serial-of-the-week feel to Breyfogle's work with Alan Grant on these stories -- they understood how to make the monthly medium work, with single-issue tales that zinged and two or three-parters so dense with plot and character that just reading a few issues felt like a full meal. The stark simplicity of Breyfogle's inks were also uniquely suited to the terrible newsprint on which they were printed -- the striking blacks and bold shapes jumped off those yellowed pages. There's something mildly less electric about seeing these incredible stories put together in a clean and perfect package. It doesn't help that Todd Klein's impeccable lettering clearly had to be re-traced for much of this volume, nor that some of Breyfogle's inks haven't reproduced as sharply and precisely as the originals. The book also suffers from a lack of any kind of introduction or backmatter, which should be standard for a retrospective like this. But these are quibbles that other people who are not psycho for Breyfogle won't even pick up on. What you will find, instead, is the beginning of a seminal period of Batman comics. These aren't continuity-heavy stories in the larger sense, but within their own sandbox they lay the groundwork for an intricate cast of characters and criminals in a fully-realized Gotham that Breyfogle and Grant were able to explore to their heart's content during the late 80's and early 90's. The volume begins with a collection of early Batman backup stories with a range of writers, several of which I've never even heard of before. Past these, the Grant/Breyfogle era hits the ground running, introducing villains, cops, informants, bums, addicts, grifters, and socialites that would resurface again and again in varying capacities throughout their run. Some characters, like Scarface and Ultimate Clayface, became major players throughout the Batman mythos. Other baddies, like the Ratcatcher, Kadaver, and the Corrosive Man, were minor nogoodniks that played to the angularity and supernatural-tinged drama of Breyfogle's art. These stories also have an overly-nuanced political stance that is unheard of in modern superhero comics -- from Batman learning about Western bigotry through fighting against Middle Eastern "terrorists," to lessons in colonialism through the characterization of an Aboriginal warrior bent on revenge. But there is still a small-time, low-stakes feel here -- a naturalness and groundedness to Batman's day-to-day crimesolving that has little to do with epic storytelling, and more to do with satisfying storytelling. This sort of day-to-day adventuring humanizes Batman like nothing I've ever read. And while there's a somewhat preachy diatribe against drug use that hangs over these stories in an outdated way, this thread never gets in the way of the story. Norm suffered a debilitating stroke this past year that left him unable to draw -- in fact, the stroke is the reason that DC saw fit to fast-track this retrospective (perhaps at the expense of some of the book's aesthetic details). Aside from buying this book because it's the right thing to do for your comic-lovin' heart, proceeds are going to Breyfogle's medical bills, which are sizeable. So look -- do yourself a favor, and Norm a favor, by buying the crap out of this gorgeous thing.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    A beautiful collection of Norm Breyfogle's early Batman work. The majority of the stories are his collaborations with Alan Grant, which is one of the greatest creative teams the character's ever had. It was great go back and read these classic tales after so many years. I can't wait for Volume Two! A beautiful collection of Norm Breyfogle's early Batman work. The majority of the stories are his collaborations with Alan Grant, which is one of the greatest creative teams the character's ever had. It was great go back and read these classic tales after so many years. I can't wait for Volume Two!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    Contains Detective Comics #579, #582-594, #601-607 and stories from Batman Annual #11-12 (credits to Wikipedia) which, in publication order, puts it roughly around Batman #420, about a year after Batman: Year One. Chronologically, according to the same Wikipedia page (since edited to remove these artist-centric volumes from the chronology) between the Batman: Fortunate Son graphic novel and Batman: Second Chances (Batman #402-403, #408-416 and Batman Annual #11)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Nate

    This one didn’t do much for me. It might be blasphemy, but I think Norm Breyfogle's interior art is ugly. Maybe the inking and coloring makes it look worse. Either way, his covers are far better, with some iconic ones reprinted here (Detective 587, 590, 603). But honestly, the interiors look rushed and lazy compared to the covers. That's par the course for comics during this time period. The stories in this collection - from Breyfogle's late 80s/early 90s Detective Comics run, mostly written by A This one didn’t do much for me. It might be blasphemy, but I think Norm Breyfogle's interior art is ugly. Maybe the inking and coloring makes it look worse. Either way, his covers are far better, with some iconic ones reprinted here (Detective 587, 590, 603). But honestly, the interiors look rushed and lazy compared to the covers. That's par the course for comics during this time period. The stories in this collection - from Breyfogle's late 80s/early 90s Detective Comics run, mostly written by Alan Grant - range from average to awful. Predictable crime fighting, dull dialogue, dumb over-the-top sequences. Batman has little personality here. I guess it was cool to see Ventriloquist’s first issue, and I liked the Etrigan cameo, but that’s about it. If you have a sentimental attachment to these stories or you’re a fan of Breyfogle’s interior art, you’ll certainly enjoy this collection more than I did.

  5. 5 out of 5

    David

    Wow... thumbed through this last night. A total blind spot in my comics history. Never knew about this stuff. Think I'm really going to like this when I sit down to read it. Art looks really great - nice follow up to the Aparo era. Wow... thumbed through this last night. A total blind spot in my comics history. Never knew about this stuff. Think I'm really going to like this when I sit down to read it. Art looks really great - nice follow up to the Aparo era.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jesse Richards

    Wish this had an introduction, but the content is perfect.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Luis

    This volume compiles the Detective comics run of artist Norm Breyfogle whose very dynamic style fits these stories perfectly. The stories focus on Batman's lesser-known villains but are very good nonetheless and it's a nice change of pace from the usual Joker and Riddler stories. There is a dark strain going through this run with many tales focusing on madness, fear and nightmares, like the one that finishes the volume, the four-part The Mudpack which pits Batman against three of the four Clayfac This volume compiles the Detective comics run of artist Norm Breyfogle whose very dynamic style fits these stories perfectly. The stories focus on Batman's lesser-known villains but are very good nonetheless and it's a nice change of pace from the usual Joker and Riddler stories. There is a dark strain going through this run with many tales focusing on madness, fear and nightmares, like the one that finishes the volume, the four-part The Mudpack which pits Batman against three of the four Clayfaces. Breyfogle´s art really shines and is a perfect fit for the character, his style is at times almost abstract but never going into the cartoony. Also, we get all solo Batman stories (this is after the death of Jason Todd) with no other bat family members (save Alfred) to clutter the stories. There are two distinguished guest stars in two arcs, The Demon and Looker (from The Outsiders) that makes those stories almost Brave and the Bold tales, and that's a good thing. Recommended.

  8. 5 out of 5

    anthony e.

    These were some of the first comic books I ever bought, and I *still* love them. THIS is Batman to me. I appreciate especially the initiative these creators take to make new bat-villains, even if a few of them are little more than cool visuals. Wagner and Grant are obsessed with drugs, as they feature heavily in nearly every story. They also love to tell the reader that Batman "hates crime", which is a bit on the nose. Still, they are stories of a bygone age, when comic books simply functioned di These were some of the first comic books I ever bought, and I *still* love them. THIS is Batman to me. I appreciate especially the initiative these creators take to make new bat-villains, even if a few of them are little more than cool visuals. Wagner and Grant are obsessed with drugs, as they feature heavily in nearly every story. They also love to tell the reader that Batman "hates crime", which is a bit on the nose. Still, they are stories of a bygone age, when comic books simply functioned differently than they do now. Breyfogle is the real draw here. His Batman is lean and coiled, his fights choreographed and swift. His form vacillates between abstract and rendered, and his cape has a life of it's own. All of that serves to make the art extremely evocative, especially for a kid, which is when I first read these stories. Great stuff, if a little weird and dated.

  9. 4 out of 5

    ChuyD

    I own 4 of these collections including the Marshall Rogers, Len Wein, JH Williams and this Breyfogle one. Of all of those, this is the only one I can actually read from cover to cover (the Len Wein collection is just overwhelming). No other Batman artist has the ability to elevate the story with their art the way Breyfogle does it. His huge page spreads create such an intense psychological tension that always reinforced to readers that Batman is human and very much vulnerable and has a lot of shi I own 4 of these collections including the Marshall Rogers, Len Wein, JH Williams and this Breyfogle one. Of all of those, this is the only one I can actually read from cover to cover (the Len Wein collection is just overwhelming). No other Batman artist has the ability to elevate the story with their art the way Breyfogle does it. His huge page spreads create such an intense psychological tension that always reinforced to readers that Batman is human and very much vulnerable and has a lot of shit in his head that is pretty haunting. I wont ruin the plotlines of any of the stories. But I will say that Breyfogle's best stories aren't even in this collection. His work on the Tim Drake Robin collection is probably my favorite of anything he did, and his work on Knightfall set the tone for the dark as fuck atmosphere of that trilogy. Best Batman artist evaaaaaah!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Kafoury

    This is my new favorite Batman collection. The brilliant mind of Norm Breyfogle. Many people may not know this, but Norm was Batman. Literally. He grappled with depression and loss in his life and absolutely channeled his existential crisis into The Dark Knight. In my opinion he breathed more life into Batman than any movie, or cartoon, or any other comic book creator before or after his epic run. He was taken from this world far too soon. I miss him so much! Long live Norm Breyfogle: The Batman This is my new favorite Batman collection. The brilliant mind of Norm Breyfogle. Many people may not know this, but Norm was Batman. Literally. He grappled with depression and loss in his life and absolutely channeled his existential crisis into The Dark Knight. In my opinion he breathed more life into Batman than any movie, or cartoon, or any other comic book creator before or after his epic run. He was taken from this world far too soon. I miss him so much! Long live Norm Breyfogle: The Batman.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Luana

    I'd knock off a star for the crap before Grant and Wagner become the writing team, but the stuff that follows when they do is so friggin' good, I've already forgotten that bullshit about the Manhunters and whatnot. Pretty darn close to my ideal Batman right here, right down to Etrigan giving him a peck on the cheek! I'd knock off a star for the crap before Grant and Wagner become the writing team, but the stuff that follows when they do is so friggin' good, I've already forgotten that bullshit about the Manhunters and whatnot. Pretty darn close to my ideal Batman right here, right down to Etrigan giving him a peck on the cheek!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Shawn Manning

    Absolutely top notch One of the best runs of Batman in the history of the character. Norm Breyfogle is probably one of the top five artists to ever tackle the character and is sorely missed. This volume is a fitting tribute and underscores just how much we lost with his passing.

  13. 4 out of 5

    ISMOTU

    A collection of Norm Breyfolge's early work in Detective Comics. There are some fun stories, some darker ones, some that don't age as well. It's nice to see Breyfogle grow more comfortable and confident illustrating the Dark Knight. A collection of Norm Breyfolge's early work in Detective Comics. There are some fun stories, some darker ones, some that don't age as well. It's nice to see Breyfogle grow more comfortable and confident illustrating the Dark Knight.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    like Aparo, Breyfogle was a defining force for Batman comics - and this collection is just terrific. You can see Breyfogle's art improving with every issue (and often times rising above the writing he's been given). like Aparo, Breyfogle was a defining force for Batman comics - and this collection is just terrific. You can see Breyfogle's art improving with every issue (and often times rising above the writing he's been given).

  15. 5 out of 5

    Andres Pasten

    El Batman de Breyfogle, una maravilla que no envejece...

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mark Stratton

    Breyfogle’s Batman is marvelous to behold. Working with Davis and Wagner doesn’t hurt.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Chris W

    Personally these stories didnt do it for me. But if you're a fan of this era of comics and Batman stories with his bottom tier villains than this is definitely for you. Personally these stories didnt do it for me. But if you're a fan of this era of comics and Batman stories with his bottom tier villains than this is definitely for you.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Luke

    Stories are up and down, but the art is wonderful, especially if you're a fan of late 80's-early 90's DC like me. Stories are up and down, but the art is wonderful, especially if you're a fan of late 80's-early 90's DC like me.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Bryan

    Jim Aparo defined the look of the character, but Norm Breyfogle is "my" Batman artist. It was great to see his style evolve, even though these are not the best Batman stories of all time. Jim Aparo defined the look of the character, but Norm Breyfogle is "my" Batman artist. It was great to see his style evolve, even though these are not the best Batman stories of all time.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kat

    Classic Batman with old favorites Entrigon, Looker, and the haunted tank are few that show up. All beautifully in their own way drawn skillfully.I highly recommend

  21. 4 out of 5

    Corey Hodgdon

    Brought back a lot of good memories!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Casey Taylor

    Decent Batman stories from the 80s. Overall I love Breyfogle's illustrations but he definitely improves over time. Incredible action oriented visuals. Decent Batman stories from the 80s. Overall I love Breyfogle's illustrations but he definitely improves over time. Incredible action oriented visuals.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Graeme Small

    This standard sized hardcover collected the earliest work of Norm Breyfogle's Batman. included are Batman Annuals #11 and #12 and Detective Comics #579, #582-#594, #601-#607 (1987-1989). Batman Annual #11 is actually only the second story, 'Love Bird' written by Max Allan Collins. Batman Annual #12 is again only the second story, 'The Back-Up' written by Robert Greenberger. Detective Comics #579 'The Crime Doctor's Crimson Clinic' written by Mike W. Barr. Detective Comics #582 'Sole Survivor' writte This standard sized hardcover collected the earliest work of Norm Breyfogle's Batman. included are Batman Annuals #11 and #12 and Detective Comics #579, #582-#594, #601-#607 (1987-1989). Batman Annual #11 is actually only the second story, 'Love Bird' written by Max Allan Collins. Batman Annual #12 is again only the second story, 'The Back-Up' written by Robert Greenberger. Detective Comics #579 'The Crime Doctor's Crimson Clinic' written by Mike W. Barr. Detective Comics #582 'Sole Survivor' written by Jo Duffy. Detective Comics #583 'Fever' written by John Wagner and Alan Grant. Detective Comics #584 'Fever Break!' written by John Wagner and Alan Grant. Detective Comics #585 'The Ratcatcher' written by John Wagner and Alan Grant. Detective Comics #586 'Rat Trap' written by John Wagner and Alan Grant. Detective Comics #587 'Night People' written by John Wagner and Alan Grant. Detective Comics #588 'Night People Part 2: The Corrosive Man' written by John Wagner and Alan Grant. Detective Comics #589 'Night People: Part Three - The Burning Pit' written by John Wagner and Alan Grant. Detective Comics #590 'An American Batman in London' written by John Wagner and Alan Grant. Detective Comics #591 'Aborigine!' written by John Wagner and Alan Grant. Detective Comics #592 'The Fear Part One' written by John Wagner and Alan Grant. Detective Comics #593 'The Fear Part Two: Diary of a Madman' written by John Wagner and Alan Grant. Detective Comics #594 'Ecstasy' written by John Wagner and Alan Grant. Detective Comics #601 'Tulpa; Part One - Monster Maker' written by Alan Grant. Detective Comics #602 'Tulpa; Part Two: Night Moves' written by Alan Grant. Detective Comics #603 'Tulpa, Part 3: When Demons Clash!' written by Alan Grant. Detective Comics #604 'The Mud Pack - Part One: Men of Clay' written by Alan Grant. Detective Comics #605 'The Mud Pack - Part Two: Heart of Steel; Feet of Clay?' written by Alan Grant. Detective Comics #606 'The Mud Pack - Part Three: Killer Clay!' written by Alan Grant. Detective Comics #607 'The Mud Pack - Part Four: The China Clay Syndrome' written by Alan Grant. When reading this I was most excited to read the legendary collaborations between Norm Breyfogle and Alan Grant, which do not start until #583 - part way through the book. Before this point, the stories are good, with some filler and one issue that is unfortunately completely out of context. I think it was part of a six issue miniseries? Only the one issue with pencils by Breyfogle are included in this book for obvious reasons. From #583 'Fever' onwards though, you are in for a treat! 'Fever' famously features Scarface and the Ventriloquist, while 'The Ratcatcher' introduces the villain of the same name, 'Tulpa' features the first of many appearances of Jack Kirby's Jason Blood (Etrigan) written by Alan Grant, and 'The Mud Pack' gives us probably the best Clayface story ever written. 'Ecstacy' gives us a seemingly random standalone anti-drug issue which is actually an interesting read, and 'An American Batman in London' is a very fun read. Alan Grant, being British, clearly had a lot of fun with this story. This book is ultimately a celebration of Breyfogle's work on Batman, collecting the first two years of his work. As I've already mentioned, some of this work doesn't really sit right and one story (Sole Survivor) is meant to be read with Batman 415, Captain Atom 11, Suicide Squad 9, Spectre 10 and the Millennium limited series, none of which are collected in this book. Not to say you should dismiss this issue, far from it. The art is fantastic and an early example of Breyfogle's genius. It is easy to see how the man went on to being one of the greatest (albeit underrated) Batman artists of all time. This book is designed for fans of Breyfogle, but can be enjoyed by plain old Batman fans too, particularly if they're interested in the period just after Batman Year One that often doesn't get much exposure. Fans of good Batman stories can definitely enjoy the latter two thirds of this book though! Once Alan Grant comes on board, the partnership that would last years starts with a bang!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Roberto Lagos Figueroa

    Primer volumen recopilatorio de las historias de Batman de finales de los 80s, incluso antes de su etapa excelente con John Wagner y Alan Grant, las que comienzan con la dos partes de FEVER y la primerisima aparicion de SCARFACE y el Ventriloquista.De ahi pasamos a una historia de Tres partes que involucra los debut de KADAVER y EL HOMBRE CORROSIVO, en una trama que va ganando complejidad y el dibujo de Breyflogle va en ascenso. Se va notando la armonia entre el estilo de los guionistas y el dib Primer volumen recopilatorio de las historias de Batman de finales de los 80s, incluso antes de su etapa excelente con John Wagner y Alan Grant, las que comienzan con la dos partes de FEVER y la primerisima aparicion de SCARFACE y el Ventriloquista.De ahi pasamos a una historia de Tres partes que involucra los debut de KADAVER y EL HOMBRE CORROSIVO, en una trama que va ganando complejidad y el dibujo de Breyflogle va en ascenso. Se va notando la armonia entre el estilo de los guionistas y el dibujante. De ahi pasamos a in one shot, donde Batman viaja a Londres para enfrentarse a terroristas, donde se cuestiona la moralidad americana. En las siguientes historias, Batman se enfrenta al Aborigen, especie de justiciero australiano, y pasa a un dos-partes con la presentación del psicópata Cornelius Stirk con la habilidad de manipular mentes. Y tambien asistimos a una víctima de la droga Éxtasis, vendida por Scarface y el Ventriloquista. Ya en solitario, Alan Grant escribe un arco de tres partes con tintes sobrenaturales Tulpa, en la que interviene el demonio Etrigan. Breyflogle simplemente está en la cúspide de sus facultades artísticas. El tomo cierra con un arco clásico de 4 partes conocido como MUDPACK, donde Batman se enfrenta a la coalición de los villanos llamados CLAYFACE o Cara de Barro. Quizas lo mejor de esta publicación. En general, este tomo es muy disfrutable, aunque las historias han quedado algo ingenuas para gustos actuales, el arte es una de mis favoritas versiones del Caballero oscuro. Recomendable totalmente.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jan

    Of all the guys writing/drawing Batman in the 80s and 90s the Grant/Wagner/Breyfogle trio was my favorite. For me this is what Batman is supposed to be and look like. Just classic stuff, it pretty much defines the Dark Knight. Lots of fun!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Emilija

  27. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

  28. 5 out of 5

    Manuel

  29. 4 out of 5

    Martin

  30. 5 out of 5

    Caralyn

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