Batman: Last Knight On Earth #1 Review: DC’s Black Label provides another Batman Triumph Last But Not Least

4.5

Summary

Telling potentially the last ever Batman story is an ambitious endeavor, but Capullo and Snyder have a fantastic synergy that should be able to pull this off convincingly.

Presented in a nice square-bound prestige format, but not magazine sized like Batman Damned, Batman: Last Knight On Earth is a mini-series from creative team Snyder and Capullo, and boasts that it might be the last Batman story, ever.

I’m sure the publicists are speaking metaphorically here, but just in case the industry IS imploding, and comic book shops keep closing down, it might be best to be on the safe side and get a copy of his book. Just in case it is the last Batman story, ever.

In Batman: Last Knight on Earth #1, Bruce Wayne wakes up in Arkham Asylum, confused about his past and why he’s there in the first place and is met by a host of familiar faces that aren’t quite who they are meant to be. Thus starts the twisted tale of “Batman In Wonderland”, as Capullo drags the reader through a spaced out and twisted version of the Dark Knight’s life, pulling the rug out from under us at every opportunity.

Things start out as a dark but recognizable Batman mystery, switches to Bruce in Arkham, then switches again as we start to see what is really going on, while still leaving us pretty much none the wiser.

Batman: Last Knight on Earth #1 is obviously setting up the remaining two, and the only downside is the sheer frustration of not being able to fully get a grip on what we are reading. The tonal shift of the first issue is jarring, but it does require the reader to pay closer attention to the details, so the book needs a second and third reading to get all the clues, and by the final chapter in Book 1, you start to realize that this is probably a final outing for Batman and possibly the DCU.

It’s an ambitious endeavor but Capullo and Snyder have a fantastic synergy that should be able to pull this off convincingly. The art is crisp and clear as you would expect, Capullo switching the density of line and shadow from hospital sterility to post-apocalyptic landscape as required, and despite some quite wordy exposition to get us up to speed, the words and pictures come together well.

Plot-wise, it would be unfair to spoil the finer points. Revelations occur in every chapter, and part of the fun is going in cold, so if you fancy reading this book, get it quick before everything is spoiled. The pre-publicity shots of a silhouetted Batman on a red canvas, carrying what looks like a lantern, delivers a weird punchline that I doubt anyone would have seen coming, and it’s those moments that should be preserved for fans reading the book for the first time.

The Black Label imprint certainly gives more creative freedom for the team on board, so I expect things will escalate quite quickly in the following issues. I am along for the second and third books as they arrive.

My advice would be to get out as quick as possible and grab a copy of Batman: Last Knight on Earth #1. Remember what happened with Batman Damned.

Sometimes it’s best to stay ahead of the pack.

Louie Fecou

Louie Fecou reviews films, tv shows and comics for Ready Steady Cut, HC Movie Reviews and We Have A Hulk.  He currently runs his own business in between watching films.

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