DC Comics released issue one of new title Batman: The Knight on January 19th. The planned 10 issue comic, written by the acclaimed Chip Zdarsky (Daredevil, Sex Criminals) with art by Carmine Di Giandomenico (The Flash, Batgirl) promises to tell “the story of [how] Batman begins”.
Although I didn’t dislike the first issue at all, there are a couple of things that I found curious (which admittedly probably have more to do with DC itself than with this series). The first one being that the title of this comic is written in a very medieval style script, which is slightly confusing to me because another recent comic, titled Dark Knights of Steel (which I previously reviewed here), takes place during medieval times and features Batman as an actual knight. Furthermore, there is a scene within The Knight where a young Bruce Wayne has a nightmare in which he is fighting against/running from an actual knight in shining armor. These two Batman-forward titles have absolutely nothing to do with each other, and I know this isn’t the first time that DC has run two (or more) Batman comics concurrently, but I still found it an odd choice to have both of these titles available on shelves at the same time.
Issue one of "Dark Knights of Steel"
The second thing that I found curious about The Knight is the fact that the tale of the origin of Batman has been told countless times. Even casual comic fans know that billionaire Bruce Wayne’s parents were murdered when he was a kid and that this eventually led to him becoming Batman. Taken at face value, it seems like a rather unexciting premise to base a series on, and especially to advertise that premise on the cover of the first issue.
Having said that, I suspect that it takes a writer of some caliber to pen a tale like this one and manage to actually make it feel new and fresh. Although it’s hard to tell from just one issue, it seems as though Zdarsky understood what he was up against, a fact which shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s read his previous work. The Knight does a lot of time jumping, flashing between Bruce Wayne’s present, in which he’s a young man discussing his feelings about coming to terms with his parents’ murder with a (rather notorious) psychiatrist, and the events that led up to that session.
The Bruce that we see in the flashbacks is one that’s filled with anger. He wants a fight,and proves repeatedly that he will find one anywhere that he can. Like most iterations of Bruce, he has few friends throughout his childhood and young adulthood, but the people that he trusts the most tell him repeatedly that he’s destined for more than just brutality. That, because of his wealth and his intelligence, he’s uniquely positioned to do and be so much more than he’s letting himself be, that he needs to “think bigger”, and also that there’s a fine line between justice and vengeance.
An angry young Bruce Wayne
By the end of issue one, Bruce seems well on his way to becoming the Dark Knight that we all know (even if Bruce doesn’t know it yet himself), but this is clearly just the tip of the iceberg for what this tale has planned. In a blurb at the end of the issue, there’s an advertisement for Batman: The Knight #1 (another curious thing, given that the ad came at the end of the very comic being advertised…) which introduces “some of the characters who play an integral role on [Bruce’s] journey”. Among them are a new character named Lucie Chesson “The Grey Shadow”, who apparently is a French burglar set to take Bruce under her wing, and returning character Parisian detective Henri Ducard, the manhunter. It seems that Zdarsky is set to take readers on what will be an emotional journey for Bruce as he conquers his anger under the tutelage of some perhaps unorthodox teachers.
Zdarsky’s smart writing aside, something else that really makes The Knight stand out is Di Giandomenico’s art, and I feel a little ashamed for not mentioning it earlier in this blog because it is phenomenal! I really don’t think that a better artist could have been chosen (and, on a personal note, I’m upset that he isn’t the artist working on the Harley Quinn comic, because Rossmo was not the right choice in my opinion, but I digress…).
Page one featuring art by Di Giandomenico...I'm obsessed!
Di Giandomenico has a realistic art style that captures his character’s expressions so expertly that almost no words are even needed and, coupled with colorist Ivan Plascencia’s mastery of colors and tones, this comic is worth buying just for the art alone. Furthermore, I found an interview that Zdarsky did for gamesradar.com in which he discussed another new character that will be in future issues of The Knight, a villain called The Foundling, which he described as “The creepiest character I’ve ever worked on, made even creepier by Carmine’s art! He’s a serial killer orphaning children in Paris.“ Anyone who has read my previous blogs knows that I’m a huge fan of creepy so, despite DC’s odd advertising choices, I’m hooked!
Angela “LaLa” Rairden is an avid fan of comic books, Star Wars, and most things nerdy. A cosplayer, she loves to attend comic cons dressed as her favorite fictional characters, particularly Harley Quinn. Although her day job is at a grocery store, writing has always been her true calling. She lives in the Pacific Northwest, where she is currently writing her first novel.