“Knight Terrors: Batman” – Part One
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Guillem March & David Lafuente
Color Artist: Tomeu Morey & Rex Lokus
Letterer: Troy Peteri
Review by Max Byrne
The much anticipated Knight Terrors event is finally here, and taking its rightful place amongst the opening wave of releases is Knight Terrors: Batman #1.
As a character that dwells on the dark side of the human psyche, Batman is perfectly suited to this kind of horror-esque storytelling, probably more than any other character in the DC Universe.
Right out of the gate, Joshua Williamson wisely sets out his stall by portraying Batman as a character who’s willing to go to extremes to face his fears, to conquer them, to almost weaponize them. Via an opening prologue that features a welcome appearance from Alfred, we get to see Batman taking his dedication to the cause to the nth degree. This is a great framing device as it shows that even the ever-prepared Batman is going to have a torrid time ahead. This makes the threat greater and the stakes higher.
Another expertly judged narrative choice is having Bruce inhabit the nightmare world in the form of his childhood self. A child is infinitely more vulnerable than an adult superhero, so here the sense of danger is automatically amplified. The iconography of that fateful night in Crime Alley is brought to the fore; Martha’s pearls, the Monarch Theater, the Wayne graves. All are used in an exaggerated form, which suits the heightened reality perfectly. Bringing in those touchstones of terror personalizes the world in a way that hits home that bit more.
The new villain, Insomnia, is a terrifying creation indeed. Shrouded in mystery with his true origin and motivations yet to be fully revealed, his unstoppable nature makes him a worthy successor to Failsafe on the conveyor belt of Bat-foes. When it seems as though Batman has found the path to success, Insomnia manages to flip the script and serve up a finale that is truly shocking. No spoilers here, but the twisted ending puts Bruce Wayne in a place that even he may not be able to come back from.
The bonus story sees Damian Wayne on an odyssey in search of a method to conquer the nightmare world. It’s a lovely departure from the darker edge of the main story with it’s slightly lighter tone and more whimsical art style, from David Lafuente. It certainly sets up Damian as a major player in Knight Terrors, which will play out in issue #3.
Knight Terrors: Batman #1 is a highly engrossing issue that really drew me in. It’s shocking, vibrant and otherworldly, yet it still feels grounded in the lore of the Batman character. This event promises to be a good one.
Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment