Batman: Last Knight on Earth #3 – Scott Snyder, Writer; Greg Capullo, Penciller; Jonathan Glapion, Inker; FCO Plascencia, Colorist
Ray – 10/10
Ray: It ends with Batman: Last Knight on Earth.
In 2010, DC took a chance on a new writer named Scott Snyder to write the secondary Bat-book starring Dick Grayson’s adventures in the cowl. Things moved fast from there, and when the New 52 began he teamed with big Image acquisition Greg Capullo to launch the flagship Batman book – and he hasn’t stopped since. In the nine years since the Snyder era began on Batman, he’s introduced us to the Court of Owls, Harper Row, Duke Thomas, the Batman Who Laughs, and a future where Batman never ends.
But in this world, all things do end, and this Black Label epic, Batman: Last Knight on Earth, has been Snyder and Capullo’s swan song on the character – at least for now.
Does it deliver? In every way possible.
The post-apocalyptic genre is a favorite for Black Label, but I don’t think anyone – even Daniel Warren Johnson – has done as well with it as this epic globe-trotting final battle starring a resurrected young Batman navigating the ruins of the DCU with the Joker’s head in a lamp.
The first two issues were gleefully surreal, but this final issue pulls back a little for a final showdown with Batman’s darkest secret. He’s reunited with a few surviving allies, including Wonder Woman, Barbara, Dick (now the leader of the Court of Owls), and an aged and blind Commissioner Gordon to take the fight to Omega, the mysterious Darkseid-powered Batman who rules over the wastelands. And to get there, Snyder calls on every bag of tricks he’s introduced over eight years of stories.
Heroes, villains, and everything in between play a role here. Also-rans like Mad Hatter have their technology become something special in the hands of the last heroes standing. Joker’s role will probably be the most controversial here – Snyder has always had a unique take on their relationship and he changed Joker into something both more and less than human in Endgame. Here he asks – can Joker actually have a redemption arc at the end of the world?
There are a lot of strange twists and turns along the way, and the answer may surprise you. I didn’t know I needed a decapitated Joker in a robot suit as the last Robin, but comics always surprise you. As someone who often finds Joker the least compelling part of Joker stories, this was a great surprise.
The final showdown, between Batman and an unmasked Omega, is one of the most brutal fights in recent comic history and a brilliant spotlight for Greg Capullo’s art. Despite the bombastic, epic plot, this is ultimately a very simple story about what Batman fears he will become and what he’s determined to be.
The last pages remind me a lot of another classic of the genre, Kingdom Come, in the way it pulls back from darkness to show us hope. A run like this deserves an equally epic mic drop, and while Snyder and Capullo aren’t going anywhere – they’re likely the creative team on the next great DC event come summer – this is the perfect ending for their Bat-run. Much like Doomsday Clock, this is destined to be a timeless DC classic.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.