Batman: Last Knight on Earth #2 // Review
The DC Universe has no shortage of possible futures. From the Great Disaster to The Dark Knight Returns, from Kingdom Come to the Legion of Superheroes, each one steeped in the lore of the publisher’s history but amazingly distinct nonetheless. In Batman: Last Knight on Earth, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo craft an almost fable-like future for the DC Universe, with a giant monstrous Swamp Thing fighting an army of Unknown Soldiers for control of the Red.
In Chapter Two, we finally meet the mysterious Omega, a former bat-acolyte (or perhaps Batman himself?) who has used the Anti-Life Equation to control most of Gotham City. Omega’s agents--Bane and a hideously reconfigured Scarecrow--work to hunt Batman down. As he makes his way to the Fortress of Solitude, only to find it under the control of a deranged Lex Luthor trying to atone for his final victory over Superman. The Joker (or at least his head in a jar, Batman’s traveling companion) struggles with the nuances of a simple knock-knock joke. The issue ends with what seems like both a stunning twist and an inevitable reveal if you’ve been reading Snyder and Capullo’s entire Batman opus.
If the poetry and nuance of Snyder’s script occasionally veer toward pretentiousness... The Joker is always there to inject some witticism (mostly by asking if he can be the next Robin). Fans of Sny der’s work on both the New 52 Batman and its follow-up, All-Star Batman, will see plenty of recurring themes and ideas.
Greg Capullo’s pencils, with inks by Jonathan Glapion, are career-best. Capullo’s layouts manage the rhythm of the book expertly, creating a natural ebb and flow. Capullo’s depiction of a speed-force tornado containing all of DC’s major speedsters is delightfully grotesque, as is his design of the mutated Scarecrow. Colorist FCO Plascencia grounds the fantastical imagery in a more muted, stereotypically “Batman” color scheme. Eschewing the neons and pastels that characterized his work with Snyder, Capullo, and Glapion in the New 52 era. Letterer Tom Napolitano has the opportunity to stretch his metaphorical wings, using different fonts and word balloon styles for the Joker, the Scarecrow, and others.
Batman: Last Knight on Earth #2 is a great issue of comics, and is the crown jewel of DC’s meager offerings on this fifth week at the end of July. Highly recommended.