By Alex Batts — BATMAN: Last Knight on Earth—from Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Jonathon Glapion, and FCO Plascencia—hits stands at the end of this month, and I don’t think my hype levels could be any higher. Admittedly, I’m a HUGE Snyder/Capullo fanboy, but I know I’m far from the only one. Their run on Batman was the first comic I ever read month-to-month, and I’ll always have a special place in my heart for it. Also, it’s just so damn good. The pair started their work on Batman in 2011with the New 52 relaunch, and now eight years later are releasing what they described as the end to their Batman story.
Snyder and Capullo made massive waves in the industry with their run on the main Batman title, which spanned 52 issues. With Scott’s fundamental understanding of Batman’s character and knowing just how to shake up his world, Greg’s unparalleled pencils, Glapion’s (and later Danny Miki’s) top notch inks, and FCO’s out of this world colors, this book was firing on all cylinders for years. I could rant and rave about their entire Batman run for days, and one day I’m sure I will, but that’s not what this article is about. We’re here to talk about the finale.
Batman: Last Knight on Earth
Snyder has said in multiple interviews that a piece of advice legendary writer (and fellow Batman scribe) Grant Morrison gave him when he took over the title was to imagine a beginning and an ending to your Batman, like you would a creator-owned comic. Zero Year was the beginning, BATMAN: Last Knight on Earth is the end. Releasing under the Black Label imprint at DC (though not with the larger format, so it will fit neatly on the shelf with the rest of their run) with a first issue due May 29, Last Knight on Earth will see Bruce Wayne wake up in Arkham Asylum, surrounded by familiar yet eerily different faces. Bruce will discover that he’s been a patient here for years and was never actually Batman.
Snyder and Capullo have said that this book is the spiritual ending to their Batman saga, a look at what would happen had their Batman gone for another 20 to 25 years. That alone had my hype level through the roof. Part of a story, maybe the most important part, is its ending. And the fact that we’re going to get to see the end to the vision this team has for Batman thrills me to no end. Add this to the exciting fact that despite a seven-page sneak preview, I still have no clue what’s going to happen in this book. We’ve seen Bruce locked in Arkham, his cape and cowl re-imagined as a straight-jacket and cowl, and we see a Batman wearing said straight-jacket and cowl stumbling across the Joker’s head in a streetlamp. Sound insane? It’s going to be.
The Hype Train is Boarding Now...
Every tiny glimpse we get of this book makes me more excited. We’ve seen an even-more-disturbing-than-normal Scarecrow piggybacking on a Bane who has had his brain cut in half or removed, a zombie Bruce Wayne, and did I mention Joker’s severed head hanging from Batman’s hip? I should mention that this isn’t set in the main continuity, rather it’s essentially an Elseworlds tale (that I’ll gladly headcanon as a possible future for Batman), which offers an almost unlimited amount of creative freedom. This team brought us Dark Nights: Metal working within the confines of continuity, I can only imagine what insanity they can cook up with no canonical weight to carry.
I’ve spent so many hours reading, re-reading, and analyzing Snyder and Capullo’s work on Batman, as well as what it means and has done for the character. They’ve explored the character and world of Gotham with such depth and care. They crafted what has become my favorite origin for the World’s Greatest Detective and told several of my favorite stories involving him. The notion that they now get to present three forty-eight-page issues exploring the end of their Dark Knight tale is something I never thought we’d get to see. I personally see unlimited potential. Endings to Batman are maybe the hardest thing to do, because Batman doesn’t simply retire. Still, when creators do them, the results are rewarding, leading to some of the best Batman stories ever (see Neil Gaiman’s Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?).
The two most underrated elements of this book are two of the muscles in the creative team. Jonathon Glapion and FCO Plascencia, inker and colorist respectively, are some of the best in the industry at what they do. Glapion and FCO enhance all the incredible work Snyder and Capullo already put in and are essential to creating the finished product. Glapion’s inks blend and compliment Capullo’s pencils perfectly and FCO’s colorwork is possibly my favorite in the business. His colors POP and really are a standout within every book he’s on. All these artistic elements combine for a package unlike any other and with this book it appears as though this creative team has reached another level.
Normally when things reach a certain hype level there’s concern it won’t live up to it. This is one instance I predict the end result will not only live up to but exceed the massive amount of hype. When this team is firing on all cylinders, there are zero missteps. Everything we’ve seen so far and the way everyone involved has talked about this series leads me to believe we’re in for something truly special. I’ve tried speculating what could possibly be in store for us with this book, and I’ve honestly got no idea. The one thing I do know is that May 29 can’t get here fast enough.
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Alex Batts is from Texas. A lifelong comic book enthusiast and movie lover, if he’s not talking about comics, he’s probably not talking. You can find him on Twitter by following @BatmanFiles