FROM THE PUBLISHER: After 1,000 issues, you’d think Batman could finally have a break…but no: as a new era dawns, he’s facing the most dangerous threat of his career! The Arkham Knight has arrived in Gotham City with an entire round table of deadly allies, and their first encounter will leave Batman shaken to his core!
Well, well...They’ve finally brought the Arkham Knight into the comics! I’ve been waiting for this to happen for a while now and I was curious how it would be handled. If you’re not already familiar with the character, he was created in Rocksteady’s Batman: Arkham Knight game released back in 2015. One of the larger plot points of the game was the mystery surrounding the identity of the Knight, many hints were dropped throughout the story and it was simple to figure out if you were familiar with the history of Batman. The big reveal that it was Jason Todd was such a letdown for me at least especially since Rocksteady insisted it was a new character under the helmet... but I can harp on about that another time. So anyway, I always kinda wondered how it would be done if he were to be introduced into the comics. Now, here we are.
Issue #1001 is written by the very talented Peter J. Tomasi who does a great job juggling storylines here. In the opening pages of this issue you’re introduced to a new group of villains called Knights of the Sun lead by the Arkham Knight himself. It’s been a few minutes since Batman tangled with a cult so that’s interesting right off the bat. The writer doesn’t allow any time to linger and quickly moves ahead dropping you in the middle of a mystery. There are hordes of dead bats being found around Gotham without any explanation. Could it be some type of epidemic? Maybe a warning of some sort aimed at Batman? Hmm...
That’s where the story really takes off as the focus becomes figuring out what’s happening to the bat population in Gotham. However, it’s important to remember that this is just the beginning of a whole new arc and so this issue does feel just a little short. I can excuse that though because it really is so good. You get to see familiar faces, new characters including a surprise cameo of sorts, and some awesome action. Tomasi also does really well when it comes to Bruce’s inner monologues, he gets Batman and it shows. There’s a really nice moment with Alfred too which I thought was pure comic book gold.
The Arkham Knight isn’t in this issue a lot which is fine with me, they made the most of the appearances he does make. I think it’s safe to say this version, even with the small glimpses we’ve seen so far, will be better than the video game counterpart. In the game’s version with Jason Todd under the helmet, he was just driven by revenge. They essentially made their own version of Under the Red Hood for that story. That doesn’t seem to be the case here. There seems to be much more than that. If you checked out Detective #1000, you read the epilogue featuring him with that fantastic inner monologue.
The art is nothing to sleep on either. All the characters and environments are expertly drawn and colored. Batman himself looks fantastic as does the Arkham Knight. I was really happy with the look of Batman’s cowl particularly, it has more of a classic meaner look to it here. I can’t put my finger on it but something about it just really works.
I dig it.
Overall, it’s a brisk well written story with gorgeous art by Andrew Hennessy and Bradley Walker. It’ll leave you wanting more and luckily, more is definitely coming. I really haven’t been this excited for a new story in a while!
RATING: LET’S GO!