The New 52 Dark Knight Volume One
Authors: David Finch, Joe Harris, and Ed Benes
Illustrators: David Finch, Ed Benes, and Richard Friend
Buy on Amazon!
The New 52 continues to disappoint, this time with DC’s greatest traditional hero, Batman. With the lack of a meaningful plot, and the absence of logic – which is kind of important for a story featuring the world’s greatest detective – Knight Terrors not only denigrates previous Batman stories, it denigrates good stories, period. It’s a shame DC can’t hire a detective to find themselves a decent writer. Or maybe it’s time they make Alan Moore or Frank Miller an offer they can’t refuse.
Knight Terrors begins with a mass breakout at Arkham Assylum. Batman’s most notorious enemies are out on the street once again, and this time they’ve all been injected with a mysterious substance that makes them stronger and fearless. Batman must solve the mystery of the “mystery substance” while putting Gotham’s criminal underworld back behind bars.
When Batman first arrives at Arkham during the mass-breakout, he immediately decides Two-Face is responsible and seeks him out. Uh … the world’s greatest detective with no evidence decides to seek out Two-Face … why? It’s a lot of decisions like this that are made by Batman, and the writers alike, that will have you scratching your head. Writing detective work shouldn’t be that difficult. Ask questions find the answers, and don’t make random thoughtless decisions … unless you want to write the next Fifty Shades of Grey.
What Batman villain is responsible for creating a fear based substance?
What villain is responsible for creating super steroids?
Guess what the writer decided to do? Combine the two substances … whoop-de-do. Mystery solved. The plan to distribute the new drug is done with the aid of a new outsider, called the White Rabbit. The White Rabbit, who’s mysterious identity isn’t even a mystery, is a cruel nod to Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Cruel in the sense that this story tries to attach itself to Caroll’s credible “rabbit hole” allegory when this plot features no examples of exploring the unknown. In fact this plot becomes so predictable that the greater mystery becomes why did someone write this?
Knight Terrors becomes an exercise in Batman running around to various parts of the city to do battle with an endless list of villainous cameos. There’s the Joker, Clayface, Two-Face, Bane, Ventriloquist, Poison Ivy, Zsasz, the giant Owl thing?, but that’s just the villains. Then there are the pointless hero cameos. Batman gets to work with Wonder Woman, Superman, Flash, Batgirl, Batwoman, and I’m sure I missed some in there, too, but you get the point. The plot gets so diluted its hard to call what’s written on these pages a story. It looks like a bunch of pretty pictures that were puked on by some words.
The artwork is the only thing I can confidently say is good. It’s slick and glossy and it distinguishes itself from previous Batman pencilers and colorists. It’s shame that it’s all for naught with a story that intends to get you drunk on pointless cameos and then slip you a roofie with the hopes that you’ll forget there was no plot when you finish it. Artwork alone can’t save this. And sadly roofies and booze just aren’t strong enough to make you forget, as this re-envisioning of Batman will require a much stronger drink and a much stronger roofie.