Review: Batman – Last Knight On Earth Book 1

The Batman dream team is back!

Comic book readers have been lucky to have had so many great Batman creative teams and story arcs over the years. Beginning with DC Comics’ New 52 relaunch, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo started an amazing journey for the Dark Knight. With Jonathan Glapion returning on inks and FCO Plascencia back on color, it’s like we’ve gone back to that recent golden Batman run.

Except Batman: The Last Knight On Earth is unlike any Batman story they’ve done before.

For those hungering for this team back on Batman, this is an oversized prestige format book. Reading it, you almost get a feel where it could’ve been broken down into regular comic issues. Thank goodness, that isn’t the case. As part of DC’s Black Label line, Snyder isn’t exactly pulling the punches in the storytelling. As you’re reading, you won’t be able to put it down, and you’ll be grateful there are so many pages in this first of three books.

The story opens with Batman investigating a peculiar incident occurring around Gotham. Someone has been drawing chalk lines in different sections of the city. Batman being Batman, has gathered the images via satellite and observes a startling outline being drawn with heart of the figure in Crime Alley. There, he makes a surprising discovery.

(Click images to enlarge).

I was mesmerized looking at the first page at the way Capullo draws a simple hand holding a piece of chalk combined with Glapion and Plascencia’s inks and colors. It was a great way to start, and I knew I’d want to take my time and savor this book. Of course I couldn’t help but devour it.

While Batman’s discovery in Crime Alley is creepy and unfortunate, it doesn’t seem like anything majorly drastic compared to the various horrors and crimes Batman has witnessed during his career. Although, this is where the narrative takes a different turn, which sets up the main crux of the story.

Batman wakes up in Arkham Asylum.

If you’ve seen the earlier preview pages or ones above, you know it’s worse than Bruce simply waking up in Arkham. Seeing familiar faces around him, Alfred basically tells him he was never really Batman, and he was the one who killed his own parents.

There is still so much more to this first book after this moment.

With the title “Last Knight On Earth” and the tone of the book, there’s a post-apocalyptic feel. Again, this isn’t necessarily a new experience for comic book readers, but Snyder and company make it feel new and exciting. There’s an epic vibe to the story. With the turn of each page, more and more layers of the plot are revealed.

A story like this is fascinating to read because there is no telling what will happen next. Being part of the Black Label and not within a regular in-continuity comic, you know anything can happen. The stakes are raised. Characters can die or be dramatically altered as the story moves forward. Batman ends up finding the “talking” severed head of the Joker. That’s not really something you can do in a regular Batman comic.

The only aspect I’m not completely thrilled with may be related to the Black Label aspect of the book. Basically, there’s a couple moments where profanity is used. My only problem with this is, now that I’ve gone back to teaching middle school, I like to have books and comics in the back of the room for kids to enjoy during free or “silent reading” time. That means I can’t have this book in the classroom. It’s a minor and personal problem. Other than that, it doesn’t really feel too forced or out of place with the events in the story.

I really don’t or shouldn’t have to tell you to pick up this comic. The creative team of Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion, and FCO Plascencia is enough to demand you buy and read this book. Having them back on Batman with this crazy story is the icing on the cake. Batman: The Last Knight On Earth is a book you’ll want to read right away. Don’t sit around and wait for the trade or try to catch up on other titles. This is a story you’ll want to experience as soon as you can.

This book is on fire. (Insert fire emoji here).

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