This review contains some spoilers.
If any duo creating Batman comics for the current decade could be likened to Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams, I’d have to say it’s Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. After captivating audiences for 51 issues during the days of the New 52, their contributions to the enduring mythos are undeniable. To briefly reiterate, we have these fellas to thank for The Court of Owls, Death of the Family and Endgame, among others.
Now, they’re back to finish the journey with Batman: Last Knight on Earth, the latest addition to DC’s Black Label. And let me tell you, after reading the first in this three-issue limited series, I believe this to be one of the most imaginative tales featuring the Dark Knight in recent years. It’s kind of like Batman: The Animated Series‘ “Dreams in Darkness” had a baby with Final Crisis – yet it has a flavor to call its own.
To paint a vague picture, Batman begins this tale investigating one of his most bizarre cases yet. And before he and the readers can get a fair idea of what’s going on, we’re suddenly thrust into a world where Bruce Wayne is suddenly young again and committed to Arkham Asylum. There, he’s told that his crimefighting career is but a delusion, and that his villains are actually his attending doctors.
Soon afterward, he breaks beyond those walls, but the situation doesn’t get any better. Basically, the world as we know it has ended and our hero has only a lantern occupied by the Joker’s severed (and totally conscious) head as a companion. Yes, he does meet up with a few surviving DC favorites as his past is slowly pieced back together, but it appears as though this odd couple won’t be separated anytime soon.
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Cryptic as I was trying to be there, those of you who know Snyder and Capullo’s run forward and backward can probably hazard a decent guess as to how Bruce is suddenly young again. But to spoil much of what’s going on would be a great disservice to the work itself because I believe you must go in fresh as possible. The material is that intriguing.
One thing I’d like to say about Capullo’s artwork is that it somehow looks even more visually stunning than before. This is something I noticed from the opening pages, though Jonathan Glapion also deserves much credit for stepping up his game as an inker. Again, this is supposed to be the big finale to Snyder and Capullo’s epic, so it’d had better be pretty. Well, at least as pretty as a guy who dresses up like a bat and beats the crap out of criminals can be.
You know, I was going to conclude this review by saying Batman: Last Knight on Earth is 2019’s White Knight, but then I remembered Sean Gordon Murphy is actually rolling out a sequel to that, Curse of the White Knight, this summer. Regardless, we’ve been blessed with some incredible Batman stories in recent years, so be sure to get in on the ground floor with what’s guaranteed to be the next instant classic.
It's the beginning of the end for Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's Batman run, and Last Knight on Earth is already shaping up to be one of THE books to read in 2019.