Detective Comics has delivered a new story I think anyone can love. Folks who played the video games want to know who the Arkham Knight is, fans of Damian Wayne have his inclusion in the story, and Batman continues to be…well, Batman. Last issue’s cliffhanger seemed to suggest we’d get the identity of Arkham Knight as the helmet came off. Who are they!?
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Damian was so certain he could succeed against the Arkham Knight where his father failed-and not only was he wrong, but as it turns out, the Knight has a surprising plan for the son of Batman!
Why does this matter?
This issue has strong Grant Morrison vibes ala Batman & Robin. Plus, the art team has been rocking it.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue opens with Batman on the hunt for Damian who has been captured by the Arkham Knight and their goons. Cut to where we left off last issue and the identity of the Arkham Knight is revealed! Sorta, but a confrontation takes place between Robin and Arkham Knight’s men. By the end of the issue it becomes much more clear who the Arkham Knight is and writer Peter J. Tomasi even drops a hint as to that identity as the story progresses. It’s safe to say there’s a payoff to the identity of this character.
The biggest boon for this issue is the Robin and Batman relationship. It reminded me of Morrison’s run with these characters. They’re both deadly serious, but Damian is still a kid and Batman is still his father. The back and forth between the characters is cute in that you can read how close they are with each other. Damian wants to drive and Batman relents to Damian’s surprise. You get the sense Batman respects and trusts Damian more than ever which is a nice development. Their solid relationship is contrasted well with a terrible act Arkham Knight bestows on some of their men who failed the cause. In these moments you get a good sense of how unfair and unrelenting this group of baddies are and they certainly live up to their medieval nature (Arkham Knight after all).
I continue to love this art style by Brad Walker, inks by Andrew Hennessy, and colors by Nathan Fairbairn. The ink work is very slick, enhancing Walker’s typically finer style. The use of silhouette is used quite well and color enhances some action-packed moments. We’re talking underwater shots cast in green, bright flashing lights from a bat submarine, and just enough blood to remind us these characters are human.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
The reveal of Arkham Knight’s identity totally drops you out of the book. It’s recovered by the end, but I was seriously begging for someone big to be revealed. The organization of Arkham Knight continues to be a big mystery, further keeping reducing your interest in the villain. We get the sense they’re hugely important, but we’re two issues and a few pages in and it’s getting hard to care.
Is it good?
A good issue that fans of the Damian Wayne and Batman relationship can’t miss.