Customer Reviews: Batman: Shaman
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on April 10, 2011
This story takes place in the beginning of Batman's career. I would say it is a bit of an alternative story to Frank Miller's, Batman: Year One. You first find Bruce Wayne in Alaska, trying to find a man who goes by Whooley, for reasons unknown. Bruce is accompanied by a bounty hunter, they are attacked by the Whooley and the bounty hunter is killed, Bruce and Whooley get into a tussle and Bruce emerges victorious. Though with his victory, Bruce loses his survival items, leaving him stranded on top of a mountain in the cold winter Alaska. He passes out and is later saved by an old Shaman, who tells him a story of a Bat and a Raven. Bruce gets better and goes home, there are a few frames that look familiar from Batman: Year One (Where Bruce goes to the east-side of Gotham and fights a pimp and the early Selina Kyle.) The story quickly shows Bruce's epiphany of what he should become, when a bat crashes through his window. Immediately onto the next page he becomes Batman...To not ruin the full story I will give word on what I thought of the story.

The narration is done in third-person which I did not prefer. The storyline felt cheap, as if it was a more "physical" Scooby-Doo mystery. In my opinion it comes no where in comparison to Frank Miller's, Batman: Year One. To say the least, I was disappointed. It was a story that I Wanted to end. For me, this Trade Paperback will only make for a great collectors item, the story I don't believe I will read again. So if you are looking to have a story filled with suspense and emotion, I would not recommend this story in particular. But, I do see this as a must, for any serious collectors!
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on July 26, 2013
Since the Amazon description isn't exceptional this is the collection of "Legends of the Dark Knight" #1-5 originally printed in 1989-1990. The covers for each comic (#1-5) are all shown in the beginning pages with a heartfelt intro by Kevin Dooley. The next book in the series is Gothic.

Story: I will keep Shaman forever because it's a great character building detective story about our favorite caped crusader. The book as a whole reminds me of the old Bob Kane comics, without the cheesiness. It has a great mystery with constant danger that keeps it interesting and suspenseful. I also love all the character interaction because it seems real (especially between Alfred and Bruce!) The way people talk is spelled as it would sound which I like as well.

Art: I really love the art. It's not all grays and blacks like I expected for a dark knight series, it's actually a lot of wonderful and unexpected color that adds emotion and dynamics to each frame. The lines are also reminiscent of older comics, it doesn't make the characters look like body-building teenagers that I feel new art seems to do.

I'm no expert but I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to every Batman fan! As far as my title about expensive I am only referring to the used copies, if you are looking for a new copy then the price is on par. If you want a used copy you'll be better off getting it locally like I did.
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VINE VOICEon June 2, 2005
This story begins just a few weeks before Miller's Batman: Year One. The two stories begin as a linked entity, the split into separate directions.

As a young Bruce Wayne that is not yet Batman tracks a killer in Alaska, he is nearly killed himself. Brought back to life by an Alaskan Shaman with a story of the Bat, Bruce is saved. He returns to his native Gotham to find the town plagued by a mysterious serial killer, taking lives in the name of Chubala, a religion of South Africa.

To complicate things further, a museum is broken into a several relics of the tribe that saved Bruce Wayne are stolen. People linked with the tribe are dying, being murdered by some mysterious foe that wears the mask of the bat.

A newly created Batman must learn what the Legend of the Bat from Alaska has to do with an African religion and a glut of murder and drugs in Gotham.

This graphic reprints Legends of the Batman #1-5. A solid addition to any Batman collection.
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on April 12, 2015
Bruce Wayne travels to Alaska together with a bounty hunter in search of a killer named Thomas Woodley. The encounter ends in a way Bruce wouldn't have preferred. Next, Bruce is stripped of all his equipment and food, and is found freezing to death in a blizzard. He's nursed back to health and is told a story about "The Bat" by the village healer and is warned not to share the story with anyone. Back in Gotham, a serial killer is on the loose, and a drug problem is beginning to run rampant. Batman seeks to put an end to it all, but he soon becomes the hunted by someone who's probably more skilled than he is. -summary

Batman: Shaman written by Denny O'Neil was released as the debut for the Legends of the Dark Knight series, which was released in 1989 and was meant to follow up on Frank Miller's Batman - Year One. The series is based on Batman's early crime fighting career,and Shaman has the feel of both; a prequel and a side story to Year One, due to the numerous references indicating continuity. Here, the reader will get another first person view of a green crime-fighter. Bruce is once again well examined and there are traces of that greatness when it comes down to solving cases he will soon be known for.

Once again, the character development concerning Bruce is among the strongest aspects of the story. He realizes quickly that he must become more than a man if he's to become the avenger of Gotham, whom seeks to terrorize the criminals that would harm the innocent. For a while, he begins to feel his role until he's encountered by an unknown assailant who's attacking him from a distance with arrows, and comes very close to killing or seriously injuring him. Through these skirmishes, he begins to doubt himself and comes to terms that this man could be better than he is. And if this man is better, then how many more like him are out there? This causes him to question should he even continue and the possibility of living a normal life begins to make sense. Self doubt is one of the most human of emotions, and this is what interests me so much about the character. Although we know that the Batman is a superhero, O'Neil reminds us that he's still just a man underneath the cape and cowl. This portion of the story utilizes his butler Alfred very well as that word of wisdom to help him grow as an individual.

The thriller aspect is well utilized when delivering a suspense filled detective story. Batman is trying to learn the connection between the killings, the drugs on the street, his experience with the Indian myth he learned, and his attacker. Although a small part of this story is very easy to figure out, the rest is well concealed for a good while. I think O'Neil realized readers were going to quickly learn who the attacker was, so he just decided to focus on other areas. He also examines some themes here, with the most interesting one being people's superstition and belief in the occult. One problem that I had which is pretty small, happens to be that small amount of predictability, but it doesn't bother me too much since the other elements work out well. The action panels are alright at best with the final fight scene being a really good hand to hand battle free of dialogue for the most part. I found the artwork to be dark and moody, which complimented the atmosphere and violent content rather well.

Batman: Shaman is a pretty good story all around. The pacing is good and there's a good amount of suspense. Although the portion involving myth and superstition was interesting, it didn't truly grip me, and because of that I felt some of the pacing to be off, others may enjoy that portion though. This is still a story I can recommend to Batman fans.

Pros: Character development, thriller element

Cons:Small pacing issues
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on February 21, 2010
This review is for: Batman: Shaman (Legends of the Dark Knight #1-5)

I own many Batman graphic novels and own even more Batman stories. I must say for all the similarities that this has with Frank Miller's Batman: Year One, this is a better story in many respects. This is superbly written by Denny O'neil and deals with a young Bruce who tracks a killer to Alaska. Bruce nearly dies of pneumonia and is saved by a Shaman who teaches Bruce the meaning of the bat as a symbol. As he returns to Gotham, the encounter with the Shaman and the trademark bat crashing through a window gives Bruce an omen... he shall become a bat! He discovers a serial killer on the loose and must find out what this has to do with the Shaman and a recent drug craze in Gotham. This is quite possibly one of the best Batman stories to ever have been written (by Batman's second father in comics, Denny O'neil.) I was surprised to see Amazon had this book and it was relatively cheap because this book used to be rare and very hard to find!

A must own if you are a Bat-fan!
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on January 4, 1999
Batman's beginnings--he received a message from beyond in the form of a bat and thereby became the Batman. This story is written excellently and the man behind the cowl came alive as I read this tale. One of the most dramatic parts is where Batman, directly in the face of a frightened thug, declares menacingly,"The streets belong to The Batman." If anyone wants to see Batman in true form, you must read this book.
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on August 27, 1998
This is perhaps the best Batman miniseries ever created. The story is chilling, featuring many twists that make you want to keep going till you're finished. If you ever get the chance, buy this book!
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VINE VOICEon November 20, 2007
So in search of more early year Bat tales after the dissapointing "Gothic", I picked up Shaman. This was the very first story printed under the Legends of the Dark Knight title and what a great way to kick it off. Dennis O'Neil definitely knows Batman inside and out having been editor for the character for so long. This story had everything you could want in a Batman story. A mystery with plenty of suspects, traveling to exotic locations (a good majority takes place in Gotham but O'Neil likes to take him around the globe a little), plenty of interaction from supporting characters, Alfred and Gordan, plus Bruce actually does some detective work in disguise(something that they need to incorporate into the movies)!

Having said all that, Shaman features an "off villain" who we have no prior knowledge of but still manages to pose an imminent threat that Bruce must do everything in his power to stop. He's still new to this hero business but as he gets closer with every clue and angle you can really get a sense of him coming into his own as Batman, full of self doubt and trying to right wrongs in the name of justice. That aspect of the story, and being able to observe Bruce along his journey of discovery is one of the best things about Shaman.

The artwork is also something I really enjoyed and I don't know why Ed Hannigan doesn't work on more Batman stuff. His style was really well suited for it and all the characters looked great and unique. Would definitely love to see what his interpretations of some of Batman's sidekicks and rogues gallery would look like.

I haven't read too much of Dennis O'Neil's work on Batman but after this I will more than likely seek it out sooner than later. I didn't enjoy Sword of Azrael nearly as much as this, but it was probably for the wrong reasons, as I felt it was more of an Azrael story. The way he writes Batman and involving the reader in the solving of the mystery as well as showing Batman using his detective skills is particuarly satisfying. Plus his Alfred dialogue is some of the best from any author. Shaman is definitely worth checking out.
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on July 6, 2014
This comic book is one of my favorite reads. It takes place before and during Batman Year One. Great story and great artwork. If you want to read very early batman, I suggest this!
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on June 6, 2014
Takes place in the early years of Batman's history. I got it digitally because the physical book is expensive you will enjoy it.
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