Updated: Jan 24
BATMAN: LAST KNIGHT ON EARTH #1
Writer: Scott Snyder
Penciller: Greg Capullo
Inker: Jonathan Glapion
Publisher: DC Comics
Holy Shit!!! That was my exact reaction after I put down this epic book. This is it comic book fans Snyder and Capullo's last Batman story. This is the end of an era and once again proves why these two giants
are in the top creators to ever work on the character. As someone who has been anticipating this book from the moment it was announce I can happily say that the hype was real, this might already be one of my favorite Batman stories of all time.
The book is broken up into 4 chapters, which I thought was clever and really helps the mysteriousness of the book.
The story starts off like any other Batman story, he's chasing down some mysterious criminal to solve a case. I know pretty basic. But as he's driving around town talking to Alfred we see why he's so obsessed. This case involves a giant chalk line shaped like Batman with his heart being located in Crime Alley. Ok Snyder you have my attention. As he approaches Crime Alley, he sees a boy standing there. It's here that we see some of Snyder's signature horror elements in play. The boy is dead and has been for years. It's here that Bruce gets shot and wakes up in Arkham. This first chapter really helped set the tone and atmosphere for the book from the get go. Every panel and every page seemed be done with care and perfection. Snyder, Capullo, Glapion and FCO are really pulling out all the stops and giving us more than our moneys worth with this book.
The Arkham part of the story might actually have been my favorite. Bruce wakes up in Arkham and his doctor is the "Joker". He's been made to believe that he's crazy, that he was never Batman, that his whole life was just in his head. I've often thought that this would be an interesting situation to put Bruce in, but I never could have imagined it playing out this way. His entire world is surrounded with his villains as employees of the asylum ("Bane" was his physical therapist, "Ras Al Ghul" trained him to fight, etc.) pure genius. The real emotional part of the story was that even Alfred didn't believe him. The real kicker is that Alfred put him there, only he's pretending to be younger? Dude that page floored me. Alfred had Toyman build a whole city and inhabit it with "people", just to save his "son" from this horrible life. Bruce asks why he (Bruce) is so young but Alfred is old, we don't get the revelation till later in the book though.
Let me just say, Mr. Capullo, you are absolutely brilliant with that Batman straight jacket costume. It was insane how much I loved it. Not to mention watching the Bruce take people down while wearing it. From the bright white lights that make you feel as if you're actually in a hospital, to the dark scenes of Bruce and Alfred. The art team continues to prove why they're the best.
After making his escape from "Arkham" he ends up in a desert and walks up to a lantern only to discover it's a jar with Joker's head in it. That's right... Joker's head...in a jar. This is just the kind of crazy shit you would expect from Snyder and Capullo. Obviously Batman sees this and decides to take "Joker" with him. All the while Joker has somehow survived and cracks jokes constantly. This is such a crazy idea, but I absolutely loved it.
From there we see Bruce get to Coast City, where he's attacked by giant Lantern constructs of babies. This was such a funny scene to read. But it's here that we learn that this an apocalyptic future where the villains won. It loosely ties into Snyder's current JUSTICE LEAGUE book wit the whole "Doom" story currently taking place. The mother shocking reveal is that Bruce is actually a clone, which ties into Snyder and Capullo's story from their Batman run. In that story Bruce came up with a way for their to always be a Batman, through a machine he created where it would implant the memories and skills into a younger version of himself.
It was during this part of the story where Wonder Woman, who leads the survivors underground, tells Bruce that there is no hope for the people above. She has made a deal with Hades to bring everyone down below so that they may survive. Of course Bruce can't give up on the survivors above. He take his Joker head and goes back to save whomever might be left.
I had no idea where this story was going and that was the best part. It's not often when reading that I can't figure out what's gonna happen, at least a little. Snyder though has poured every ounce of his skill and soul into this story and it shows with every page. But don't get it twisted, this is just as much a labor of love for Capullo as well. I've long been a fan of his work, but he's taken his art to a whole different level with this story. This is not a book any comic book fan should miss. This isn't just a great Batman story, it's one of the best comic books I've ever read. Mark my words, this will go down as one of DC's best books in the history of the company.
I'm calling it right now, this is our generations DARK KNIGHT RETURNS. This book is that huge.