Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Batman: Last Knight on Earth #1 Review


Batman and Noggin


Writer: Scott Snyder
Art Team: Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion, FCO Plascencia, Tom Napolitano
DC Comics Black Label
Release Date: May 29, 2019
Cover Price: $5.99

DC Black Label's second titled release, Batman: Last Knight on Earth, is finally here. Having been a giant fan of Snyder and Capullo's time on the main Batman title I looked very forward to what was coming. So without having to do much to sell the concept of the book by itself, considering the creative team involved, let's discuss what's going on in Last Knight on Earth!



The issue begins with what is either a past experience of Batman or possibly a dream/nightmare sequence, that sets the tone for the story while leading us directly into Bruce waking up ... strapped to a gurney, in Arkham Asylum! There are a variety of mysteries at play right at the start and Bruce attempts to pick up the shattered pieces of what's going on around him, then fighting his Arkham surroundings all directing him one way, in an attempt to free him from his destined path. However even all the fail safes put into place prove futile, as Batman eventually comes to the surface, and we start to get some answers.



A main take away for me at the start here is that the exciting feeling I get of seeing Capullo's work back and paired with Snyder scripts and dialogue. Its immediately familiar, like they haven't missed a beat, despite not regularly putting a book out together for a while now, and I realized how much I missed it. I also love how the beginning of the title keeps the reader completely off-guard, questioning what we know about this version of Bruce/Batman, to the point I was 100% buying into the fact maybe Bruce was really crazy this whole time (you've all seen that Batman meme right?!). It was a fun spin to put on things and get this reviewer/reader into the pacing of the story.



At about the quarter way point we get a version of our Batman back leading to a very touching moment with Alfred, and some connections you'll pick up on laid back in the New 52 run Batman run before the Dark Knight is off to the 'surface'. It's not long from there before we hit the show-stopping moment here in this story ... Joker's head in a glass container, just hanging there, and very very alive! Don't feel to bad for ol' Joker though, he seems to be taking the change with a grain of salt, and although there's not really a reason provided for this 'transformation' (yet), I find this crazy addition a ton of fun, that really adds something to the mystery building here. Batman doesn't get much from Joker besides a great sense of humor, the 'Batman and Noggin' joke being my personal favorite, as the pair roaming the desert, getting themselves in the occasional pickle, until they luckily stumble upon a secret door.

I'm doing my best to not outright spoil these events page for page but I'm right around Part Three of the story here and was as engrossed into this book as much any comic I have been in quite a long time.  The world built quickly around our characters, the interactions, feelings, character designs, and story moments occurring here have all been fabulous up to this point.  Snyder does a great job of placing callouts to his prior Batman work but doesn't rely on it to be needed to get into the story, playing it perfectly.



As the book begins to wind down Bruce/Batman run into some old familiar faces, who fill him in on some of the past events that have taken us to where this world has ended up, possibly who is maybe behind them, however his former allies have plans that take them down a separate path for now than Batman seems to be headed.  Batman wants to find out what happened, put a stop to it, and if he has to lug Joker's head around to do it by god that is what he is gonna do and I love it.



The art is fantastic and if Capullo wanted to draw Batman comics forever I would be totally fine with it. The inks and colors by Jonathan Glapion and FCO Plascencia add to the mood and atmosphere and transition from inside the Asylum to the wasteland seamlessly. I don't mind paying extra money for high-quality art and story on top of prestige packed books and this title right now is very much well worth the cost.

Bits and Pieces:

Overall, Batman: Last Knight on Earth is a fantastic addition to the DC Black Label lineup, taking its time to establish the characters and surroundings that make up this very different universe.  If you've read Snyder's previous work on Batman, it does nothing but add to the mystery and mystique at play here, however, doesn't exclude you at the same time if you come in fresh here.  This had to be the type of titles DC had in mind when the Black Label was thought of and I'm very happy to shout my recommendation for this title from the Gotham rooftops.

9.5/10

2 comments:

  1. Nils from GermanyJune 3, 2019 at 7:54 AM

    My friend recommended me to read this one, even though I´m still back in the Comics in September 2018. Cause it´s Black Label and not in the continuity of the normal runs, i could skip to it without being spoilered. I loved the art, the atmosphere and the storytelling very much in this issue and can´t wait to read the next two issues. Snyder´s and Capullo´s teamwork produced another great story for the ages!!! It´s total fun to delve into the mystery behind this story. Also: Great review, Branden ;)

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