Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Art: Carmine Di Giandomenico, Ivan Plascencia, and Pat Brosseau
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: August 16th, 2022
Bruce Wayne’s pilgrimage into the World’s Greatest Detective has cascaded him around the world several times over. However, after his strenuous journey, his practicum is virtually finished. Bruce’s trials, nevertheless, haven’t gone overlooked by some “overseer”. Let’s dive into BATMAN: THE KNIGHT #8 by Chip Zdarsky as we uncover just who has been governing Bruce’s every move!
If you’re interested in this comic, series, related trades, or any of the others mentioned, then simply click on the title/link to snag a copy through Amazon as you read the Batman: The Knight #8 Review.
Bruce Wayne takes his final steps in building the ultimate human in this week’s BATMAN: THE KNIGHT #8 by Chip Zdarsky, except this final step, is mental. Bruce searches for a man who can utterly control every aspect of his emotions in order to bend and block them at will. Now, I loved this aspect of the character as well as the focus on the mental development of what Bruce is and does. And, I think it gets wildly overlooked by the common BATMAN fan. Let me explain.
The concept of BATMAN must take a mental toll. From pain, anger, loss of identity, depression, and dozens of other emotions and disorders; Superheroes can be just as vulnerable in their job as the villains they face. Bruce may now be a physical specimen but if he can’t do the mental gymnastics required to block out some of the violence and hate he sees on the reg, he’ll ultimately become what he himself hates. Plus, if he can learn to harness those emotions to even redirect those physical and mental pains, then he could truly be an unstoppable force. However, Zdarsky establishes (with some truth I might add) that what Bruce is asking for in BATMAN: THE KNIGHT #8 is to become a… sociopath himself. This raises the question that hardcore BATMAN fans have had for years, “is Bruce Wayne just as much a sociopath as the killers and criminals he puts into Arkham?”. And by the end of the issue, you may get your answer.
Nevertheless, the narrative doesn’t stop there. Readers will learn who’s been pulling the strings this entire time, which makes a ton of sense weaving back together the estranged history of Bruce and a classic villain from his past who’s been missing the past couple of issues. Plus, I thought this individual was more of a focal point of his past, which is why BATMAN: THE KNIGHT #8 begins to make so much more sense as Zdarsky puts some of the corner puzzle pieces together framing his story and making the direction a bit more clear.
My only knock to the issue is that characters are introduced into the BATMAN mythology that I’ve never heard of before and I feel would be key figures in his growth. After semi-extensive digging online, I found nothing on Dr. Captio or Harris Zuma. And up to this point, most of the characters Zdarsky introduced into this story were somehow associated with BATMAN’S past or at least in DC COMICS. Nevertheless, these two figures seem to be brand new. Now, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Yet, to recreate two new characters, one who mentally molds the Dark Knight, that we’ve never heard of before seems like a waste when Zdarsky could have used a deep dive into a Doctor from DC COMICS past that may have fit the bill just as well. Or in the case of Harris Zuma, someone connected a bit more to the League. This idea would have just added a bit more depth to our BATMAN lore while also showcasing more of the research Zdarsky endeavored in order to bring this story to fruition. Granted, these characters take nothing away from the story. However, because they lack roots, they don’t add as much depth to the story or history either.
Carmine Di Giandomenico and Ivan Plascencia are perfect for this book. The style reminds me of dark, vibrant watercolors with an almost CGI overlay that really makes the comic look sharp. The colors are extremely deep and saturate each page, especially the coloring surrounding the sun. However, Di Giandomenico’s awareness of detail with Bruce’s amazement and emotions were spot on and added the dynamic suspense the anecdote required at just the right times.
BATMAN: THE KNIGHT #8 was an intriguingly clever take on how Bruce developed his mental toughness while controlling his emotions and becoming a borderline sociopath in order to stop other criminals and … sociopaths. The focus of Zdarsky’s run to this point has been on his physical toughness but not his mind. Readers get that shift in BATMAN: THE KNIGHT #8 as well as the reveal as to who’s been pulling the strings behind the scenes in the foundation of BATMAN.
The series continues to be action-packed and full of suspense as well as thrills and clever twists that keep readers excited and on their toes. BATMAN: THE KNIGHT continues to be a must-read for any and all BATMAN fans and I highly recommend picking this issue up as well as the series. Nevertheless, this isn’t the issue to hop on board. There is tons of background information that Zdarsky assumes you’ve been privy to, which isn’t a bad thing. Readers should just pick up back issues and trades before diving into this issue of BATMAN: THE KNIGHT. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!