Title: Batman: Detective Comics.
Story Arc: Arkham Knight.
Writer(s): Peter J. Tomasi.
Artist(s): Brad Walker, Travis Moore & Max Raynor.
Inker(s): Andrew Hennessy.
Colourist(s): Nathan Fairbairn, Tamra Bonvillain & Nick Filardi.
Letterer(s): Rob Leigh.
Publisher: DC Comics.
Format: Single Issues.
Release Date: December 2019.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
My Overall Rating: ★★☆☆☆.
Previously in the DC Rebirth’s Detective Comics run:
Batman: Detective Comics: Mythology by Peter J. Tomasi
Now teamed up with artist Brad Walker, writer Peter J. Tomasi continues his saga within the Detective Comics series following its 1000th issue as he brings into play a brand-new character to Gotham City who was only ever been introduced in the critically-acclaimed video game developed by Rocksteady Studios called Batman: Arkham Knight. This mysterious character looks to put an end to Batman while somehow knowing everything about him and his way of life—from his tactical in-combat strategies to his most secret personal relationships. While the original identity of the Arkham Knight would’ve needed comic book writers to retcon certain character arcs, writer Peter J. Tomasi looks to introduce a twist in his interpretation as he attempts to turn the character canonical.
What is Batman: Detective Comics: Arkham Knight about? On a solemn night, bats fall from the sky and send Gotham’s greatest detectives on an expedition for answers. Bruce Wayne’s first hypothesis lies in the only doctor who developed a bat serum but his visit sends him flying straight into the grasp of the mysterious Arkham Knight. Unable to identify the person behind the armour, the Arkham Knight continues their plan to purge the city of Gotham of its darkness by taking down the Dark Knight. Although they are driven with a knightly purpose bound to wreak havoc on Gotham, only Batman and his son can put an end to their round table of disillusioned villains.
What a ludicrous and mediocre attempt to introduce the Arkham Knight into the Detective Comics series. The only upside to this mess is that other writers can now work with something in the future and try to not only fix this mess but also offer the character some amount of relevancy in the grand scheme of things. Where writer Peter J. Tomasi mostly embraces failure is in the plot itself, worsened by ridiculous pacing and unexplainable character demeanors. Granted that he might have had a select few ideas that merit some form of appreciation, the rest tends to prompt undesired shock and incredulity. Amongst these oddities, I believe that a particular important sequence in the Arkham Knight’s origin story halfway through the story, regarding villains and their out-of-the-blue instinct for motherhood (this includes the Joker) sealed the deal for me and sent this volume into a dark alley of no return.
On top of collecting issues #1001-1005 of the Detective Comics series, this volume also includes the Annual #2 and a story contained within the celebratory #1000 issue. While it is enthralling and pays tribute to Grant Morrison’s Batman comic book run by referencing several of his work, including Batman: The Black Casebook and Batman Incorporated, this second-take on Batman: Year Two looks to also give another origin story of the infamous Reaper as Batman goes international to battle villainy. Ultimately bland and open-ended with no closure whatsoever, the only consistent element within the entire volume remains the artwork as artist Brad Walker does an impressive job in illustrating the main story arc while artists Travis Moore and Max Raynor simulate a similar style for the Annual #2 issue. The colouring is also great with thick colours and impressive contrasts to accommodate the action-heavy arc. But you know what they say: even solid artwork can’t always save poor story-telling.
Batman: Detective Comics: Arkham Knight is a second-rate origin story for a character blinded by revenge and ergo lacking in appeal.
Batman: Arkham Knight is the third and final game developed by Rocksteady Studios in 2015. Their trilogy remains one of my favourite series of all time. I imagine it comes with no surprise there. 😉