“The Knight” – Part One
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Carmine Di Giandomenico
Color Artist: Ivan Plascencia
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Review by Steve J. Ray
When I first heard about this series I was in two minds. First of all, I got excited that Chip Zdarsky would be writing a lengthy Batman story, as I’m a fan of his work. I have to admit, though, that the thought of yet another Batman origin story really frustrated me. Batman: The Knight #1 is an interesting read, but is it even necessary?
I swear that if I see the Waynes getting shot again I may not be responsible for my actions.
I love Batman, always have and always will, but how many “new” “different” “groundbreaking” origins can we have? Yes, this looks at Bruce Wayne’s school and college years, and we’ve been promised a deeper look at his martial arts and detective training, but do we need to? We’ve met mentors and senseis a-plenty over the decades, and many have faded into oblivion and obscurity. Of course, Chip is a really good writer, so I’m not going to negate this series when there are still 9 issues to come.
On the positive side, as one would expect, the people feel real, and the dialogue is wonderful. Bruce and Alfred, in particular, are extremely well handled. The main negative is the introduction of yet another love interest who we know we’ll die/go bad/turn against Bruce/jilt him, or a combination of all the above.
How do we know this? well, is she still around now? Again, I’ve had enough Rachel Dodsons, Rachel Dawes, and Andrea Beaumonts to last me a lifetime. Please let Dana Dunlop (very 60s Marvel) be different.
Now we’re talking. Carmine Di Giandomenico, Ivan Plascencia and Pat Brosseau have hit a home run. The line-art, colors, and letters in this first issue are stunning. I love the younger Bruce and Alfred, the character moments are beautifully handled, and the action sequences are terrific. There’s some great storytelling going on in these pages, and it’s all lovely to look at.
We also get to see a classic Batman villain in a new light, and this character is handled very well, both by the writer and the art team. If we get more looks at people we thought we knew of the same quality that we got in Batman: The Knight #1, this could be this series’ saving grace. Chip Zdarsky’s surprise twists, moments that show a real knowledge and understanding of Bruce Wayne, even at a young age, were a real highlight of this first issue.
I’ve been reading Batman comics for 45 years, and have a complete collection going back 36 of them. Perhaps this has made me cynical, as I’ve seen so many stories of this kind – some that I’ve loved, and others that I detest – that I’ve been closed off to seeing any more. Then again, I have to remember that every new interpretation of Batman’s origins could be someone’s first. Is this a series that will make new Batman fans in the way that “The Untold Legend of The Batman” or “Batman: Year One” did? If so, then maybe I should be a little more forgiving.
With 9 issues to go, I’m more than willing to give this series a chance.
Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment