Wednesday, April 10, 2024

The Bat-Man: First Knight #2 Review



Written by: Dan Jurgens
Art by: Mike Perkins
Colors by: Mike Spicer
Letters by: Simon Bowland
Cover art by: Mike Perkins
Cover price: $6.99
Release date: April 9, 2024

The Bat-Man: First Knight #2 continues the Dark Knight's hunt for a mastermind behind the deaths of several Gotham politicians and power brokers using undead criminals.
Is The Bat-Man: First Knight #2 Good?

Dan Jurgens continues his love letter to the early days of the Dark Knight in a period piece showcasing the Bat-Man's growing reputation among the police and mobsters at the advent of America's entry into WWII. The Bat-Man: First Knight #2 ticks all the right boxes for a story that feels as cinematic as a gritty crime thriller, but the pacing is hindered by too many extraneous scenes that take too long to get to the point or go nowhere.

Previously, the Bat-Man was hot on the trail of a string of murders targeting Gotham's elite power brokers. The killers turned out to be undead, reanimated corpses of recently executed criminals from BlackGate Prison. When the Bat-Man intervened in BlackGate's latest execution, he was swarmed by prison guards and strapped to the electric chair to be made an example.

Now, the Bat-Man barely escapes an untimely death, thanks to Jim Gordon's intervention, but the vigilante's disappearance after being "electrocuted" sends ripples through the community. Later, the hidden mastermind behind the killings enlists the help of the local thug, Jimmy the Whip, to eliminate the Mayor, Jim Gordon, and the Bat-Man for their interference.

Later, actress Julie Madison barges into Wayne Manor to thank Bruce for his intervention in her movie funding. She finds Bruce poorly trying to administer to his electrical burns and insists on helping. Julie eventually leaves with a dinner-date invitation from Bruce.

Later still, the Bat-Man follows the Mayor from a distance, presuming another attempt will be made on his life after the botched assassination in issue #1. The Bat-Man's hunch is correct, and he stops Johnny the Whip and two undead from killing the Mayor during an ambush on Gotham Bridge. Bat-Man barely escapes death by jumping into the river. He terrifies a homeless family by emerging from the river like a monster, and he makes his way to a larger homeless encampment where he crosses paths again with Rabbi Cohen, who's in the process of getting mugged. The Bat-Man intervenes, and the two head back to the synagogue for a discussion about the need for good men to rise up to stop evil. The Bat-Man decides to reveal his true identity to the Rabbi as a sign of trust before he moves on.

Later again, Bat-man visits Tillie the prostitute to get information about one of her customers, Johnny the Whip. Johnny (for some reason) divulged to Tillie that he's been ordered to take out all politicians, and Bat-Man deduces Gordon's on the hit list. Maxie Cross interrupts the unscheduled meeting, and Bat-Man orders Maxie to extend his protection to Rabbi Cohen and the rabbi's synagogue.

The Bat-Man tracks down Gordon just as Johnny the Whip arrives with undead thugs to kill Gordon. A lengthy fight ensues, and the conflict ends with a hail of bullets, coercing Bat-Man that his mission will require him to start carrying a gun.

Holy Bat-Narrative! That's a lot.

What's great about The Bat-Man: First Knight #2? Jurgens lays out a rich, detailed crime story that's period-specific but still feels fresh and relevant today. This Bat-Man continues to evolve into a Class A detective, and part of his mission involves growing a network of individuals who aid him in his mission, whether he realizes it or not, so you feel like you're getting a front-row seat to the birth of a legend.

What's not so great about The Bat-Man: First Knight #2? If the description didn't make it clear, the rich detail comes at the cost of pacing and focus. Why does Bruce Wayne's civilian life keep crossing with a nosy actress? Why does Bat-Man keep crossing paths with Rabbi Cohen where the two engage in lengthy chats about the nature of man, good, and evil when the Bat-Man should be urgently tacking down a criminal mastermind? Why is there a running subplot about Gordon trying to get his stolen car back?

In short, Jurgens infuses several subplots to give the story richness and detail that subsequently drag the pace to a crawl in spots. It would be different if Jurgens was writing a novel.

How's the Art? Perkins and Spicer are delivering some of their best work in this series, significantly better than their work on Swamp Thing. Gotham presents as a gritty, grimy, lived-in city to set the stage for the story, and the Bat-Man's action scenes work as a grounded, pulp adventure.

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:

The Bat-Man: First Knight #2 continues to unveil the period-specific evolution of the Dark Knight into the legendary hero with a gritty, grounded detective story. The art is excellent, and Bat-Man's tactics show the early signs of who he will become, but Jurgens's script frequently gets bogged down with subplots that go nowhere or take too long to get to the point.


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