REVIEW: ‘Batman: The Knight,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Batman The Knight #1 - But Why Tho

Batman: The Knight #1 is written by Chip Zdarsky, illustrated by Carmine Di Giandomenico, colored by Ivan Plascencia, and lettered by Pat Brosseau. It’s published by DC Comics. Ever since his parents were gunned down in front of him, Bruce Wayne has felt lost—plagued by constant nightmares and engaging in fights with his fellow students. Urged by his butler Alfred and the school psychiatrist Hugo Strange, Bruce begins to find alternate solutions to his problems, and the genesis of his Batman persona.

When this book was first announced, I admit I felt some trepidation. Batman, along with Superman and Spider-Man, has seen multiple takes on his origin by different creators over the years. Even people who haven’t read comics can tell you that Bruce Wayne lost his parents at a young age and the trauma drove him to become Batman. But this book takes a different approach by exploring a little-known area of Bruce’s life: his teenage years. Adolescence is a tough time, but factor in the death of your parents and a growing rage for injustice and that’s a recipe for disaster.

What helps this book stand out from other takes on Batman’s early years is the involvement of Zdarsky. Zdarsky is no stranger to psychologically complex heroes, as the current writer of Daredevil. His work on the “Cheer” story in Batman: Urban Legends also showed that he had a firm grasp on the Dark Knight’s world. Under his pen, readers will see how Bruce takes slow steps on the path to Batmanhood. He manages to use mind tricks against a bully, convincing him to drop out of school; he does studies outside of the school curriculum; he even enters an underground fight club in order to let out the rage that’s been building up inside of him. But the scenes that hit hardest are those with Alfred; especially when Alfred bails Bruce out of jail following the fight club sequence. “You’ve been given everything,” Alfred tells Bruce after a heated speech, “prove that you deserve it.” Zdarsky understands that Alfred, in some ways, is as much of a father to Bruce as Thomas Wayne.

Helping bring Zdarsky’s script to life are Di Giandomenico and Plascencia, who pepper the book with shadows and rain-from the opening page where Alfred picks up a young Bruce from the Gotham City police station to the sessions Bruce has with Strange. A recurring motif that Di Giandomenico brings up is a suit of armor that inhabits Bruce’s psyche. A young Bruce is often seen running from the gun that killed his parents and hiding inside the armor. And the shape of its helmet and breastplate is undeniably that of a bat. It’s not hard to see why Batman earned his mantle of “The Dark Knight.” The lettering by Brosseau ends up emphasizing certain words, especially when characters are angry; it helps to add weight to certain speeches, such as Bruce and Alfred’s talks.

Batman: The Knight #1 takes a different angle to Bruce Wayne’s early days, showing how the persona of Batman was built over time. I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Hopefully, Batman fans or those growing tired of Batman will also enjoy it.

Batman: The Knight #1 is available wherever comics are sold.


Batman: The Knight #1
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TL;DR

Batman: The Knight #1 takes a different angle to Bruce Wayne’s early days, showing how the persona of Batman was built over time. I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Hopefully, Batman fans or those growing tired of Batman will also enjoy it.