The introduction of Arkham Knight into comics has been rife with surprises, including her origin. The story arc involving this young and angry villain comes to a close this week as she attempts to literally shine a light on Gotham. Will Batman and Damian prevail?
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
The finale of the Arkham Knight saga arrives as the Knight’s surprising cult within Arkham Asylum unleashes its full power! Will Batman be swept under by the madness? Who is the Knight, to have inspired so much loyalty? And is there any way of stopping them that won’t just cause their legend to grow?
Why does this matter?
Peter J. Tomasi and Brad Walker close out the arc with a bang. We’re talking walls of zombie bodies for Batman to cut through, Gotham citizens coming under fire from the Arkham Knight, and the Batman and Robin relationship continuing to be a highlight. It’s good Batman comics, y’all.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue serves as a good example of how well oiled the Batman and Robin dynamic is right now. Batman knows Damian has his back and vice versa and it’s cool to see Batman trust Damian so wholeheartedly. Much of this issue is focused on the two slicing their way through Arkham Knight’s defenses to defeat her once and for all and it’s through this dynamic that the fighting gains a bit of purpose. Seasoned comic readers know Batman will win, but it’s how he does it and the relationships he builds along the way that give stories like this one more meaning.
I continue to really enjoy the art by Brad Walker, inker Andrew Hennessy, and color artist Nathan Fairbairn. The fight sequence with Dr. Phosphorous is a great example of how color, layout design, and pencils can come together and make for a dynamic and riveting fight scene. The layout design switches up nicely too, from a dynamic double page layout to a page of nine cinematically sliced panels running from top to bottom. The use of color with a sequence of bright light is quite well done too subduing the colors with brightness but keeping things looking realistic and vivid.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
This is one of those comics where it makes sense in the moment, but when you stop to think about it the villain kind of had no plan at all. I guess the Arkham Knight was going to simply blind all of Gotham, but her intention is to wake them up not hurt them, I think. What is it exactly she’s really after? When she tells us it seems vague and unclear as if she doesn’t know what she’s even trying to do. Much of this issue is Batman and Robin battling though somewhat arbitrary defenses only to thwart the villain from doing something that seems kind of stupid. Save for the solid Batman and Robin character work, the plot seems rather limp.
Is it good?
A good ending to a story arc that has introduced a very strong new villain to Batman’s new rogue’s gallery. I take issue with the plan enacted as it seems a bit pointless in the end, but the origin of Arkham Knight and the general aspects of the character prove the character is bound to show up for years to come.