DCComics.com official solicitation
After 1,000 issues, you’d think Batman could finally have a break…but no: as a new era dawns, he’s facing the most dangerous threat of his career! The Arkham Knight has arrived in Gotham City with an entire round table of deadly allies, and their first encounter will leave Batman shaken to his core!
So here we are, the full introduction of The Arkham Knight into the DC Universe after his final page debut in Detective 1000. The character first appeared in the popular Batman: Arkham Knight game where he was revealed to be Jason Todd but writer Peter J. Tomasi has promised that this will not just be a retelling of that but rather a reimagining of the character using just his name and look.
There is no hanging about and we meet the Arkham Knight straight away and he his leading a group going by the name of Knights of the Sun. Their mission in Gotham is to ‘burn back the dark’. This has the feel of the ‘Order of St.Dumas’ and the 90s concept of Azrael with actual medieval-looking knights arriving in Gotham to take on the Dark Knight.
The bulk of the issue revolves around Batman investigating the death of all the bats in Gotham. This leads him to the lab of Francine Langstrom, wife of Kirk ‘Man-Bat‘ Langstrom, who also seems to be struggling with whatever has afflicted the bats. Francine injects herself with Man-Bat serum which results in Brad Walker drawing a very Neal Adams-esque transformation sequence that ends with Batman surfing on the back of Francine’s bat form. They smash through an ‘Adams’ sign to hammer home the reference. After Francine has been subdued, the Knights of the Sun ignite a miniature sun above Gotham to remove all the shadows while launching an assault on Batman and the issue concludes with the Arkham Knight standing over our hero.
As this is the first part of the story this issue is all setup. There are no obvious clues to the identity of the Arkham Knight and only the broadest hint at what his plan is. But it does deliver. It has the feel of classic Bronze Age Batman where he is the detective. The supporting cast is small with there just being Alfred and Gordon but the characterisation are on point and a Man-Bat appearance always delivers a 70s vibe. With the tone of the book my money is on the Knight being somehow involve with Ra’s and his League, maybe a Bruce or Damian clone.
An enjoyable start to the story which is to be expected from an experience Bat writer like Tomasi.