REVIEW: ‘The Batman Who Laughs: The Grim Knight,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Batman Who Laughs: The Grim Knight

The Batman Who Laughs: The Grim Knight #1 is published by DC Comics, written by James T Tynion IV and Scott Snyder, with art by Eduardo Risso, colors by Dave Stewart, and letters by Sal Cipriano. The issue takes place almost concurrently at the same time as The Batman Who Laughs #3 but follows The Grim Knight as he kidnaps Jim Gordon as opposed to the Batman Who Laughs while also acting as an origin story for the mysterious, “darker” knight.

The Grim Knight is the world’s most dangerous vigilante and heavily relies on guns despite Batman’s usual disdain for the weapon. He is a Batman from a darker universe but unlike The Batman Who Laughs or the other Dark Knights of the Dark Multiverse, he is not corrupted in a traditional manner. The Grim Knight’s origin story is almost identical to the Bruce Wayne we know, which is what makes it so terrifying.

With a writing team like Tynion IV and Snyder, the bar is set pretty high. Both played major roles in the Dark Knight: Metal event with Tynion IV writing the Batman Who Laughs one-shot origin story, Dark Knights: The Batman Who Laughs. If The Batman Who Laughs is a study about the psychological dichotomy between Bruce Wayne and the Joker then The Batman Who Laughs: The Grim Knight #1 is a psychological study of Bruce alone.

The Grim Knight is a horrifying mix Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns with the technology and power granted to the United States government by of the Patriot Act, plus he is very rude to Alfred. The Grim Knight is fascinating and my fear of him being too similar to Jason Todd, another Bat who tends to use guns, was unnecessary. Also, giving him an origin story was great but it also explains why he wasn’t a part of the Metal crossover event and lends a really interesting story with Jim Gordon.

It was a little odd not seeing Jock on the title but Risso did a fantastic job on the artwork, especially doing flashbacks. The coloring and artwork itself had a dreamlike quality that gave the reader enough clarity in addition to the script itself to work out what exactly was occurring. Stewart’s colors bled into each other (pun intended) creating a really dark and beautiful page that flowed well with the overall aesthetic of the story.

Moments of this book, especially in the art style and the story remind me of older Batman books. A lot of the lettering choices remind me Batman: Gotham by Gaslight, the choice to use sheets of slowly withering paper make the character’s origin seem set in Batman lore despite this being an extremely new character to the comics. Batman has a long list of fantastic villains but Snyder has a talent of creating new ones that fit with relative ease into the Dark Knight’s bizarre corner of Gotham, this small visual cue from Cipriano helps readers believe into this narrative as well.

This issue was an interesting break from The Batman Who Laughs regular series and as a one-shot I really enjoyed it. As dark multiverse Batmen go, The Grim Knight isn’t my favorite and I do not think he is nearly as deadly as DC is trying to make him out to be but I do think he is fascinating. Overall, I very much enjoyed this book and think it is a must-read if you are reading The Batman Who Laughs or enjoy DC Comic Elseworlds stories.

The Batman Who Laughs: The Grim Knight #1 is available now wherever comic books are sold.

The Batman Who Laughs: The Grim Knight #1
4.5

Summary

The Grim Knight isn’t my favorite and I do not think he is nearly as deadly as DC is trying to make him out to be but I do think he is fascinating. Overall, I very much enjoyed this book and think it is a must-read if you are reading The Batman Who Laughs or enjoy DC Comic Elseworlds stories.