The Grim Knight #1 Review
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I mentioned it a few months ago in a tweet that I think that Snyder has effectively created the DC version of Spiderverse with the DC Metal event and it slid quietly under the radar.
This isn't a negative, I've always been a fan of "What If" or Elseworlds stories so I eat this stuff up whenever I get a new or alternate take on an established character.
That being said, I'm not a big fan of the main "Batman Who Laughs" series. I love Jock in other series but this story hasn't been playing to his strengths as an artist and Snyder's take on Batman has always been cool but really pretentious. I find the Bruce Wayne's featured in this mini-series tend to lean really heavy on the aspects of Snyder Batman that I don't particularly enjoy.
This story covers the Punisher - Batman Variant, The Grim Knight and gives him an origin. The comic starts off with Bruce Wayne's parents being murdered but instead of running off, Joe Chill drops the gun. Bruce picks it up and blows him away. From this point, we see similar beats to the rest of the Bat-mythos with the primary difference being that this Bruce is never shy about killing criminals. Most of his rogues are long gone. This version of Batman has leveraged his resources to turn Gotham into a police state that he runs from the Batcave.
The primary antagonist for this Batman turns out to unsurprisingly be Jim Gordon. Also similar to Punisher, a bulk of the Gotham PD turns out to be in support of the Grim Knight. Gordon sticks to the case and gets several of his fellow officers killed trying to take Batman down. He survives the encounter and goes Dark but eventually emerges with the help of a surprising ally and the Feds.
The Grim Knight starts up pretty much where I expected it to. I started rolling my eyes as it seemed the start that the book would simply be Batman with Bullets. I mean, that is what it is but James and Scott get more mileage out of the story than I expected.
Seeing a Jim Gordon obsessed with taking down Batman isn't a new concept. Seeing Jim Gordon as being the only thing standing between Batman having a complete totalitarian rule of Gotham is a lot more interesting.
The art in the issue is a mixed bag. The flashback sequences are all great I particularly liked the scenes with young Bruce in Crime Alley. The scenes in the present day between our Jim Gordon and The Grim Knight left me scratching my head because the styles are drastically different.
Eduardo Risso is the only artist listed in the book so I'm assuming that the color variants are simply a design choice that the team settled on. The book doesn't look bad but I wish that the art was consistent throughout and that one style was chosen over the other. Dave Stewart deserves mention because his colorwork especially the watercolor effects are the standout aspect of this issue.
Overall I liked the Grim Knight. It's a lot better and concise than the main series. It's an interesting take on this character and the concept of the Grim Knight has legs. I can see him becoming a reoccurring character. He actually makes More sense than The Batman Who Laughs.
The biggest plot-hole so far is why are these two men working together? The Batman who Laughs is clearly evil. I don't get the how this relationship works at all or why the Knight doesn't just kill him?
I hope Snyder and Co. have an answer because whatever they come up with will determine the success or failure of this series.