Tuesday, July 4, 2023

Knight Terrors: First Blood #1 Review



Bad Story Fatigue

Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Howard Porter
Cover Price: $5.99
Release Date: July 4, 2023

It's started, everybody!  The spookiest time of year, when all the ghouls and ghosts come out to have cookouts, go to the beach, and frolic in the sun!  Yep, it's Summerween (™) - when the temperatures rise, and so does the body count!  DC Comics has finally decided to join in on that spooky summertime fun with their Knight Terrors event, which kicks off here with Knight Terrors: First Blood.  Was it as creepy as all the other now-classic mid-summer comic book horror events?  Let's find out...

The book opens with John Dee, Doctor Destiny, enjoying a nice day with his family, until... it turns into a nightmare!  This extended cold open eventually takes John and the reader to the (haunted) Hall of Justice to somewhat get things going.  Joshua Williamson and Howard Porter are setting up the big mystery here, but I wonder if the readers will be on the edge of their seats, with Doctor Destiny being the POV character.  It makes enough sense for the story, but there are better ways to start an event.  However, it isn't my biggest problem by the end of the issue.

We continue with Deadman, and for some reason, Williamson has him breaking the fourth wall to serve as our narrator, and to me, it throws the whole horror vibe off immediately.  We do get a brief origin story recap, but I wouldn't say I like Williamson's voice for the character, and after reading this issue, I'm not confident he even knows the character that well.  To keep things moving, Superman zips by, and Boston gives chase because he feels a "presence," and off they go to the Hall of Justice.

Things do pick up slightly here as the Trinity meet up, and Williamson briefly summarizes what Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman have been up to since Dark Crisis, and then things get spooky.  It seems that the Hall of Justice is haunted!  It's also still open to the public, which seems odd, but they must keep that money rolling in!

Watch or Knight Terrors: First Blood #1 Video Review

The rest of the issue becomes a mess as the Trinity (and Deadman) find the dead body of Doctor Destiny, at the same time that Harley calls Batman about Doctor Destiny losing it in Arkham Tower.  At one point, Deadman tries to enter the dead body in the Hall of Justice, and I guess Williamson (kind of) explains later that the reason he can't do it is that it's not a real body, but Deadman also doesn't enter dead bodies so he would never have tried!  Also, why can Harley Quinn waltz through Arkham Tower with her huge hammer?  She seems to tell Batman she was there to grab drugs as if that's an explanation!  It's all just a forced setup that needs to make more sense.  That continues when Deadman jumps into Batman's body only to show that Bruce can (kind of) fight it off, which Willamson will need to use throughout the event.

The issue ends with revealing the mysterious big bad, his mysterious motivations, and a lot of not-so mysterious purples.  There is an intriguing part linking Amanda Waller to all of this, and while most of the heroes are now asleep in their nightmares, some have been able to fight it off.

Many people, including myself, will read this issue, not just to see if it's good, but if it's good enough to devote two months and a lot of money to this event.  Sadly, my answer is no.  After Williamson's Dark Crisis debacle, I needed this to grab me, but it didn't.  It didn't feel big, it didn't feel scary, and it didn't feel like something I want to read.  I am a Howard Porter fan, and while most of the issue looks good, it gets a bit wonky by the end, and unfortunatley, it's at the point in the story where it needs to be dead on.  

Now, I will be reviewing all of the issues on Youtube, our Podcast, and our website, but if I weren't doing that, I would probably have a "see you in September" attitude right now.  Hopefully, Knight Terrors #1 will change my mind, but it will have to blow me away after this disappointing start.

Bits and Pieces:

Knight Terrors: First Blood #1 is a rough and frustrating start to an event taking over the DC line of books for the next two months.  After reading this, I still wonder why DC is giving us a spooky summer event and why they have Joshua Williamson writing it.


1 comment:

  1. Deadman can't possess dead bodies? I seem to recall a storyline in Batman back in 1996 (immediately following the Contagion event where he did exactly that so who got it wrong?