Review – Batman: The Knight #9 – The Demon’s Den

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Batman: The Knight #9 variant cover, via DC Comics.

Batman: The Knight #9 – Chip Zdarsky, Writer; Carmine Di Giandomenico, Artist; Ivan Plascencia, Colorist

Ray – 9.5/10

Ray: For the run of this book, Bruce Wayne has been traveling the world learning from one master after another—and in the process, he found a close friend in the skilled and manipulative Anton. We now know that Anton is actually Minkhoa Khan, the future Ghost-Maker, and he and Bruce had an ugly parting of the ways mid-way through the series. They’re now reunited—in search of the final figure in their mission, the enigmatic Ra’s Al Ghul. They eventually find him in the middle of the desert in the Arabian Peninsula, but this isn’t the Ra’s we know. This Ra’s is a deeply charismatic figure who has built a self-sustaining city underground and styles himself as the man who is going to save the world. He offers the two young men a place to stay—and they take it. So begins weeks of intense training, as Anton seeks answers about what’s really behind the scenes, and Bruce finds himself increasingly drawn to Talia.

The hunt. Via DC Comics.

Ra’s has been used for so long, usually as a straight villain, that it’s often hard to remember what his original goal is. Using him as the “final boss” of this book is smart—not only does it contrast Bruce’s own obsession with his, but it’s a way to eventually set Bruce and Anton at odds once again. While this has been Bruce’s story, it’s surprising just how much of the story has been about these two old friends and how Anton’s choices drove them apart. It’s much-needed context for their caustic relationship in the present day, and the issue ends with fate—and Ra’s—pitting them against each other once more. What makes this work so well is that we can see the glimmer of Batman emerging through Bruce’s training, but he’s not there yet. This Bruce is much more flawed, much more vulnerable than we usually see him, and that makes this one of the most compelling Bat-stories in a while.

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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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