Review – Batman: The Knight #1 – At the Beginning

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Batman: The Knight #1 variant cover, via DC Comics.

Batman: The Knight #1 – Chip Zdarsky, Writer; Carmine Di Giandomenico, Artist; Ivan Plascencia, Colorist

Ray – 9.5/10

Ray: The early days of Bruce Wayne have often been shrouded in mystery, with a few writers exploring that ten-year gap between his parents’ murder and him heading off to Bat-training but most glossing them over. Into that gap spends Chip Zdarsky, fresh off one of the best Daredevil runs ever. This new maxiseries immerses us in the world of a Bruce Wayne who is filled with all of the rage from that fateful night but hasn’t learned how to deal with it yet. It essentially takes place in three timelines, with the first being a middle-school-aged Bruce who faces his first nemesis in the form of a sadistic bully. But how Bruce deals with him shows that the young future Batman has some disturbing tendencies himself.

Dark days. Via DC Comics.

In high school, Bruce is more focused and even has ambitions of becoming a police officer, but also a tendency to slip into risky behavior. By the time he’s in college, Bruce is basically ignoring his coursework and engaging in high-stakes activities like underground fight clubs—which leads him to the office of Doctor Hugo Strange, a famous psychotherapist who seems very interested in getting Bruce under hypnotherapy. The sessions between the two of them feel like a chess game, with Bruce displaying some surprising Batman-like detective skills that play out in the issue’s denouement. But Bruce’s victory in this issue also feels like he’s securing a darker future for himself at the expense of the people around him.

While Bruce is at the core of the story, two other characters play big roles. The first is Alfred, who’s more in focus this issue than he usually is. We get to see him actually try to parent Bruce, and he seems rawer here than he is normally—unafraid to call Bruce out for selfishness and recklessness. And then there’s Dana Dunlop, a fellow student at Bruce’s school who becomes a love interest as he gets older—and then unwittingly lures him into Strange’s web. This first issue covers a lot of ground for the beginning of a twelve-part issue, and it’s impressively ambitious. It has the potential to be one of the defining works on Bruce Wayne’s character if the next eleven issues are as strong as this one.

To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.

GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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