Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Art: Carmine Di Giandomenico, Ivan Plascencia, and Pat Brosseau
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: January 18th, 2022
Oftentimes, we hear stories about Bruce’s parents being murdered in the alley. Or, we hear about the early days of BATMAN. However, what about the in-between? The movie BATMAN BEGINS certainly took a solid look at this aspect of the character but still deviated more towards the early years than anything else. Chip Zdarsky’s take appears to place the emphasis more on those middle years in this new series entitled BATMAN: THE KNIGHT #1. Let’s dive into this opening installment as Zdarsky pries back the focus of those early years involving the DARK KNIGHT and gives us a fresh new look at Bruce on the verge of something special.
Did you know Buzz Aldrin dealt with severe depression after his return from the Moon Mission? Think about it. What’s left to do? I mean, you literally walked on the moon. What’s left to accomplish? Well, especially in recent years, BATMAN has become more of a Superhero than a crime-fighting vigilante. Street crime and other murderous parleys have taken a backseat while the Caped Crusader focused on Darkseid, evil multiversal versions of himself in DARK NIGHTS: DEATH METAL, and mysteries involving DOCTOR MANHATTAN. And if you can survive Multiversal Madness, stopping a FEAR STATE or dealing with the Mob just doesn’t seem to carry as much weight.
I get it… people like the Bat-god. They like that this insanely intelligent human who’s trained night and day for years can tango with superhumans, stop zombie apocalypses, and thwart alien invasions. However, what’s left for BATMAN? Where does he go from here? In essence, it’s the Buzz Aldrin phenomenon. What’s left for BATMAN to do? If he can stop all the prior, then what good is a gang, drug dealers, Joker Toxin, stupid riddles, or his entire Rogue’s Gallery? Well, here is where Zdarsky’s tale comes in.
BATMAN: THE KNIGHT #1 REVIEW
Instead of telling us a story of the future, Zdarsky focuses on an area in his past that’s been overlooked. And might I add, it’s so $&@& refreshing. You see, this BATMAN makes mistakes because he’s not BATMAN yet. This is all about Bruce discovering who he’s meant to be while finding a purpose in the process. BATMAN: THE KNIGHT #1 begins to tell a story about a teenager growing up in light of what happened yet showing readers why becoming BATMAN was the most logical conclusion for his character and persona.
For example, there is a scene where Bruce’s friend Dana is talking with him and he tells her that he wants to be a Cop. However, she explains to the readers that there is no way Bruce could ever be a Cop with his name, his money, and his fame. It would never work. And truthfully, Zdarsky nails a rock-solid point. If he’s out to make a difference with the law or to fight crime, he can’t if people know who he is. Enter vigilantism as the logical conclusion.
Heck, there is a scene later with Bruce basically fighting in an underground Boxing Ring that gets busted. As the Cops come in to take it down, immediately they recognize him. How could he possibly be a Detective or Beat Cop? Who would put him on the street? Moreover, Alfred has a heart to heart with Bruce after the Fight Club scene that brings a hard twist and perspective to light that also helps iron out some more crucial details to the psyche of BATMAN. And later, none other than Hugo Strange helps guide Bruce’s compass in a fundamental, practical direction. Additionally, Zdarsky paints a more realistic picture of a young BATMAN finding his way than BATMAN BEGINS ever did, not that it was a bad movie. I absolutely loved it!
Zdarsky’s focus is more logical and direct. It shows a driven teenager/ young adult working to be the very best while searching for ways to better himself in the process instead of gallivanting around the world chasing martial arts instructors. Could that all happen next issue? Sure. Is that still in BATMAN’S history? Sure. But the focus of this issue, and I think the entire BATMAN: THE KNIGHT series, is a more down-to-earth beginning that brings us back to BATMAN’S roots in a masterful way.
BATMAN: THE KNIGHT #1 takes the origin of the BATMAN and brings it down to a more realistic level. Readers get a taste of those in-between years as Bruce comes to terms with who and what he will become in a way that takes the character back to his roots. This is a teenage boy who’s driven and in search of guidance and purpose. This isn’t the Bat-god or ironed-out Detective we’ve seen in recent years and it’s incredibly refreshing. I don’t want JUSTICE LEAGUE BATMAN or the BATMAN who has a contingency for every possible outcome. I feel like DC COMICS is attempting to distance itself from that version, especially since INFINITE FRONTIER began.
However, this is the first real-time in recent months that I’ve felt like that aspect of the character has been decoupled from the gritty, crime-fighting vigilante we’ve been missing for quite some time. BATMAN: THE KNIGHT #1 was real, raw, and opens up the table for some new adventures at a key moment in Bruce’s life that’s ultimately been skimmed over. Carmine Di Giandomenico and Ivan Plascencia do a respectable job keeping this reviewer locked into the issue. However, there were certain character designs and shadowing that seemed a bit too sharp and wild at times that made it feel less like a BATMAN book and more like a horror comic, which it’s certainly not. Nevertheless, I’m genuinely excited to see where this goes and I think BATMAN fans will definitely want to check this series out! Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!