DC's iconic anthology title Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight returns in April, this time as a digital-first title, further adding to what the publisher called the "robust" expansion of the line.
Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight is the second new high-profile digital-first title DC has announced this week along with a Justice League murder mystery Last Ride.
Weekly digital chapters of the new series will begin Friday, April 2, and print versions will debut on Tuesday, May 18.
Originally debuting in 1989 during the rapid expansion of the comic book Direct Market in what is colloquially known as the 'speculation-era,' Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight (or LotDK for short) was an anthology that recruited a who's who of Batman creators of the era, including Denny O’Neil, Grant Morrison, Ed Hannigan, Mike W. Barr, Doug Moench, José Luis Garcia-López, Klaus Janson, and others.
"Their efforts yielded unforgettable story arcs for comic book fans, such as 'Shaman,' 'Prey,' which redefined the evil and twisted Dr. Hugo Strange, 'Gothic,' and 'Venom,' the story that introduced the dangerous super steroid to a Santa Prisca prison inmate who would later be known as Bane," reads DC's announcement.
The new version will release initially on digital platforms as 10-page weekly chapters, with two digital chapters making one print issue.
According to DC, Legends of the Dark Knight will "serve as a place for both well-known and up-and-coming creative talent to tell new, evergreen stories, appealing to a wide variety of fans, all based on one of the most beloved and enduring characters in popular culture."
The new series kicks off with a six-part weekly/three-issue monthly tale, written and illustrated by Darick Robertson (The Boys), with colors by Diego Rodriguez and letters by Simon Bowland.
"In 'Bad Night, Good Knight,' a new player has arrived on the scene in Gotham City and is selling deadly chemicals to the worst villains in town: Mr. Freeze, the Penguin, and even The Joker! It's up to Batman to stop the villains, track down the supplier, and save Gotham City from not only his most vicious foes but this new mystery villain," reads DC's description.
Future installments will feature writers such Stephanie Phillips (Harley Quinn), Becky Cloonan (Wonder Woman), Brandon Thomas (Future State: Aquaman), Matthew Rosenberg (Batman: Urban Legends) Brandon Easton (Mister Miracle: The Source of Freedom), Che Grayson (DC's Doomed and the Damned) and newcomer Yedoye Travis (Anime in America).
Contributing artists will include Cian Tormey (Batgirl), Giannis Milonogiannis (Future State: Gotham), Karl Mostert (DCeased: Unkillables), Max Dunbar (Judge Dredd), Dike Ruan (Shang-Chi), Belén Ortega (Guardians of the Galaxy), and Nina Vakueva (King in Black: Return of the Valkyries).
The new version of Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight seems to corroborate both the growing importance of digital to the publisher as well as its somewhat new-found appreciation of anthology titles.
This will be the second new Batman anthology series with 'Legend' in the title after March-launching Batman: Urban Legends, which will be released digitally and in comic book stores 'day and date,' and arguably the third considering the also-newly announced Future State: Gotham will be a long-form anthology title.
Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight's debut issue features a cover by Robertson, with a card stock variant cover by David Marquez, a 1:25 ratio variant cover by Riccardo Federici, and a special 'teams' variant cover by Francesco Francavilla available to retailers ordering more than 250 copies.
Digital chapters will be priced at $.99 and the 32-page monthly issues at $3.99, with the card stock variant priced at $4.99.
Did 'Shaman,' 'Prey,' 'Gothic,' or 'Venom' from the original Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight make Newsarama's list of the best Batman stories of all time?