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BATMAN: THE KNIGHT #1 Review

Neil reviews the first issue of DC Comics BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT calling it “an insightful and explorative look at the life of young Bruce Wayne.”

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Batman: The Knight #1 (DC Comics)

Published by DC Comics, Batman: The Knight #1 is written by Chip Zdarsky with artwork by Carmine Di Giandomenico, colours are by Ivan Plascencia and letters by Pat Brosseau. Cover artwork is also by Carmine Di Giandomenico.

Batman: The Knight #1 is available now in print and on digital where all good comics are sold. Grab your digital copy from ComiXology right here.

Synopsis

The origin of Batman and his never-ending fight against crime in Gotham City is modern mythology, but what of the story in between? How did an angry, damaged young man grow into the most accomplished detective and crime-fighter the world has ever known? How did the Dark Knight…begin? Superstar writer Chip Zdarsky (Daredevil) and acclaimed artist Carmine Di Giandomenico (The Flash) will take Bruce Wayne on a fraught journey, making allies and enemies, on his training to become Batman in this definitive new series!

Review

“Not another origin story” I hear you cry. Well bare with me a little on this one. With Chip Zdarsky behind the keyboard Batman’s origin has never felt so emotionally grounded or affecting. This isn’t simply a rehash of the death of the Waynes leading in to Bruce’s first mission as The Dark Knight.

What Dzarsky has begun crafting here is a razor sharp emotional portrait of the grief suffered by Bruce in the aftermath of his parents murder. To a degree the book also covers how Alfred reacts to stepping up and becoming a parental figure. Together the who has to navigate this new world. Forging their own paths. Paths that will eventually lead them to the destinies we know they will endure.

Fans of Zdarky’s work will know he isn’t one to shy away from an emotional gut punch. He’s also incredibly self aware. That awareness stretch’s to retreading old, worn steps. As such this issue opens after the Wayne murders. Not even in those early moments in crime alley. Skip ahead a few hours to an opening where Alfred has collected the young Bruce from GCPD headquarters. It’s a stroke of genius to kick off the story on that infamous night, but to explore it from a moment very rarely seen.

From here Zdarsky pulls back the curtain to reveal the story will play out across two timelines. The past, as young Bruce explores those early days after the murder. Then, in what passes for the present in Batman: The Knight, Bruce recounts events to his psychiatrist. A familiar man known to you and I as Dr. Hugo Strange.

As expected, the young Bruce has a lot of anger and it creeps out in unhealthy and aggressive ways. Even in this first glimpse in to the world that Zdarsky has created its clear Bruce is well on his way to becoming Batman. In his first tentative steps towards parenthood, Alfred tries to keep Bruce on the right path. But the young Wayne uses his newfound knowledge to his advantage. No spoilers but seeds of the World’s Greatest Detective are well planted before the final page turns.

Carmine Di Giandomenico‘s artwork arrives with the same gravitas as Zdarsky’s story. Given the heavy subject matter there are plenty of expressive faces and fraught body language. Zdarsky’s Gotham is also suitable dreary and rainy when the moment calls for it. Di Giandomenico also makes brilliant use of the negative space in panels where the focus is solely on the character. The eye is always drawn to the fine detail and there’s plenty to explore in multiple reads.

Verdict

The first issue of Batman: The Knight is an insightful and explorative look at the life of young Bruce Wayne.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


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