Thursday, July 4, 2013

Batman: The Dark Knight - Knight Terrors (comic)

Writer: Paul Jenkins, David Finch
Artist: David Finch
Collects: Batman: The Dark Knight #1-9

Of the New 52 line, The Dark Knight is one of the books I had the lowest expectations for. Golden Dawn was not what you'd call high art and that's without taking into account the fact that Finch couldn't even manage five full issues of art in a years time. Hard to have much confidence in that.

Knight Terrors exceeded my super low expectations, but that's not saying much. The comic is still a hot mess.

Do you enjoy reading a Batman who's kind of an idiot? Yeah, me neither. The Batman we get in Knight Terrors simply cannot put two and two together even when the clues all but slap him in the face. It's not like there's some complex caper going on, either; you can guess who's behind it on the last page of issue one and you're not even supposed to be a great detective!

The plot is almost as dumb; very action figure-y, much like Golden Dawn. It does, however, give Finch plenty to draw. If he didn't get to tackle everything he wanted to with the first story, I'm sure he has now. Just about everyone shows up in Knight Terrors, whether they add to the story, such as it is, or not. If you really like David Finchs art - or hell, are even jonesing for some classic rogues* - that may be reason to check this out.

I'll give Finch credit; he defied my expectations. He actually manages seven full issues before a guest penciller has to step in for an issue. Really makes you wonder what the hell the problem was with the first series. His work is typical David Finch; maybe a little less detailed due to the strict deadlines, but still easily recognizable as his. That includes the drawbacks.

Artists who like to draw females on the verge of cheesecake are pretty common in comicss, but Finch kind of takes it to a new level here. The White Rabbit is just... wow. Here we have a character who is literally running around, occasionally tormenting Batman, in her underwear. White corset and pink panties. Dead serious. The White Rabbit is a walking ass shot. Even Psylocke - Miss Ass Floss herself - would look at her and go "damn, put it away girl".

The highlight of the whole book is probably the last issue, a Court of Owls tie-in. Judd Winick scripts, giving us a tale of an old Talon the court retired when age dulled his skills. It's a nice one-shot, giving some background to one of the numerous Talons the Court employs. Winicks best work has always been with Gotham, in my opinion, so it's always nice to see him jump back in. The issue even has David Finch on art, so he's actually lending his work to a story that makes sense! I know, I'm as surprised as you are.

But regardless of how good it is, one issue cannot save an entire volume.

Oh, one last thing. I mentioned in the review for Golden Dawn that I had no clue if anything from that volume would re-appear. Now I can say that's a no for sure. I have zero faith anything from this volume will be resolved either, since a new writer is on board for the next volume.

My Opinion: Skip It

This comic almost makes me want to re-evaluate my stance on Faces of Death. At least that one kind of held together. If you really like the artwork of David Finch, you can bump the score up one. Otherwise, I'd wait for the next volume of this book or just read another Batman book instead.

* The other Batman books are mostly concerned with new villains. I could be mistaken, but I think The Dark Knight is the only one that didn't follow this trend.


  1. According to Finch, the reason for the delays was that it took him forever to write the issues. Once he was only penciling things went faster.

    The White Rabbit hasn't shown up again. The next volume is worth a read, though, if only for the giant WTF ending. I mean, it's like epic WTF.

  2. I read Golden Dawn and expected this to be a similar trainwreck. Didn't they make a big deal about how Golden Dawn was going to carry over into the relaunch? Maybe I'm misremembering things. Either way, it's pretty amusing what DC has actually gotten out of this big exclusive deal with Finch.

  3. @Matches: That's a little odd, but I suppose it makes sense. Sounds like Finch is an artist that requires direction to keep things moving smoothly. When he has to provide that direction he slows to a crawl. At any rate, it ruined any real appeal Golden Dawn had; the only reason you'd want it is for his art and he didn't even finish the whole story.

    Is it wrong for me to laugh at the fact that the White Rabbit hasn't appeared again? Boy did THAT character flop. She didn't even have a purpose in Knight Terrors and the character ends her stint in the title on a cliffhanger reveal you could see coming five pages into the first issue.

    Seriously though, that design was atrocious.

    I'll probably check out the second volume when it drops. I've got to see this WTF ending.

    @Marc: I don't know if they made a big deal about Golden Dawn carrying over, but I think it was mostly assumed by everybody in the community that it would? It's not like Golden Dawn had a particularly satisfying conclusion. It introduced a shitload of subplots and then just dropped the vast majority of them. It's been a good while since I read it, but didn't the main conflict just sort of end? Like, the cult manages to sacrifice her - because Finch's Batman is, for some reason, kind of incompetent - and then they get away?

    I guess they decided to start fresh, because Golden Dawn was completely ignored. Which is funny, because from what Matches said, THIS volume was ignored too.

  4. That's basically how Golden Dawn ends, and compounding Batman's incompetence is the fact that Etrigan has to defeat the bad guys for him.

    The most open-ended part of the story, from what I remember, was the young girl who became his sort-of ally at the end; it just seemed like Finch was setting her up to be a bigger character of some kind. But I just looked on Comic Book DB, and there doesn't even seem to be an entry for her character.