Sunday, August 20, 2023

Knight Terrors #4 Review



Written by: Joshua Williamson
Art by: Giuseppe Camuncoli, Stefano Nesi, Caspar Wijngaard
Colors by: Frank Martin, Caspar Wijngaard
Letters by: Troy Peteri
Cover art by: Ivan Reis, Danny Miki, Brad Anderson
Cover price: $3.99
Release date: August 22, 2023

Knight Terrors #4 unveils the truth behind Insomnia's origins when Deadman, Robin, and Sandman infiltrate Arkham Tower to stop him. Unfortunately for our heroes, their arrival was always part of the plan.
Is It Good?

Oh, no. How do you mess up a character's motivation this badly? Why would DC Editorial decide to stop the spark of hope created by the Dawn of DC for an event wrapped around such a poorly constructed villain? Knight Terrors #4 is notable because you get the full story behind Insomnia, but once you read it, I suspect the majority of reactions will sound like this - "That's it!? But that doesn't make any sense!"

When last we left Deadman (in Batman's body), Damian Wayne, and zombie Sandman, they found the Nightmare Stone in a realm between waking and dreaming worlds - The Hollow. Deadman became convinced he could use the stone to stop Insomnia, without any evidence leading him to that conclusion. Now, the heroes work their way through Arkham Tower to find Insomnia's human body so Deadman can use the Nightmare Stone to break Insomnia's connection to the power from the Lazarus Rain. Sadly, Deadman didn't consider that bringing the Nightmare Stone to Insomnia was part of Insomnia's plan all along.

Oof! Our heroes are in quite the pickle, partly through their own mistakes, but the real kicker of this issue is Deadman's visit to the depths of Insomnia's mind, where he learns the deep, dark secret behind his hatred.


Insomnia's real name is Christopher Lukas - an average bloke with above-average faith in the Justice League to save the day. Lukas's family was killed during a battle involving the Justice League (building collapse), so he blames the JL for not saving his family in time.

Hold it right there. That would be enough for some people to turn bad. It's a trite and cliché motivation we've seen dozens of times before, but you could wrap your head around it.

Where Lukas's story goes sideways is in what happens next. Instead of formulating a plan to kill the JL or expose them as uncaring demi-gods, Lukas decides to become a serial killer who refuses to sleep. Once he's captured, the PRESS dub him Insomnia. Leading to all the obvious but unanswered questions.

If a big JL battle is in progress nearby, why didn't Lukas's family evacuate or seek shelter? If Lukas blames the JL for his family's death, why did he become a serial killer attacking average citizens? Contrary to popular belief, you can't simply refuse to sleep, so how did Lukas manage to stay awake for so long? What does staying awake have to do with killing random citizens? If Insomnia is a known serial killer who appeared in the press, why didn't Batman, Oracle, or anyone connected to the Bat-family know about him? Oy!

The more you peel back the layers, the more you realize Williamson had a basic-albeit-weak motivation, and he tried to spice it up but fumbled the "spicing up" badly.


Well, that's Insomnia. Deadman foolishly enters Insomnia's mind to stop him with the Nightmare Stone, somehow not realizing that receiving the Nightmare Stone was Insomnia's objective the whole time. Once Insomnia gets his hands on the stone, the situation gets much worse.

As cliffhangers go, it's a solid one. Williamson sets up a climactic showdown between the Justice League and the nightmare version of the Trinity. There's a chance Williamson can stick the landing in the finale, but if this issue is any indication, Williamson and everyone involved in planning this event would have been better off staying in bed.

About The Reviewer: Gabriel Hernandez is the Publisher & EIC of, a comics review site dedicated to indie, small, and mid-sized publishers.

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Bits and Pieces:

Knight Terrors #4 somehow makes the Knight Terrors event worse by unveiling the full story behind Insomnia's origins, and it's wonkier and more lopsided than you can imagine. If DC had just limited this event to a Deadman/Batman team-up mini-series, you could get away with creative fudging, but a line-wide event is the wrong place to make these shortcuts.


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