Doubt sets in.
Scott Snyder has brought a lot to the Batman mythos. He’s written iconic stories such as The Court of Owls and Black Mirror. He’s looked as Batman’s past, present, alternative present, future, and alternative future. We have multiple dark multiverse Batmen and even a Batman who laughs. Sometimes, it’s hard to discern whether or not Snyder is telling multiple shorter stories or one very long story. Whether or not Batman: Last Knight on Earth is its own tale or an alternate continuation of a long Batman epic Synder’s been weaving for years, it’s big, bold, and unique. And creates a whole new world, immaculately built by Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion, FCO Plascenica, and Tom Napolitano. This is what the Black Label should be — a collection of worlds that both exist and don’t. They are a future, but not the future. It gives creators more freedom, which leads to more original concepts and ideas. Snyder’s able to introduce us to an entirely original and carefully crafted world that you can peel back layer by layer while pushing the DC Universe forwards in terms of what it really be and truly achieve.
Batman: Last Knight on Earth is an entirely new world. When you open the pages of this book, you’ll likely find that it’s the most original thing Snyder’s ever done in the DC Universe. This is a new future for the world of DC Heroes. It may be a Black Label book, and it may standalone, but this world is still as true as you want it to be. This is Batman’s greatest test yet, and in Batman: Last Knight on Earth, the Dark Knight begins by confronting a menacing demon from his past: Joe Chill.
The two spar in a house on fire. It all ties back to the boy who shot Batman at the beginning of issue one. Was that the beginning of the end? Whether it was or wasn’t, Batman soon wakes up from that nightmare and enters the real nightmare. The speed force storms, fiercely raging nearby on this unrecognizable section of the world. There seems to only be one hero left, and he is Batman. It’s fitting to place the speed force storm in the beginning because this issue is a whirlwind of ideas and intensity. We’ve seen a Batman with nothing and no one left before, but the odds feel supernaturally stacked against him this time. How did the future get this way? How did it all go so wrong? It’s about time we find out.
As far as a bold shift in the status quo goes, Batman: Last Knight on Earth is most refreshing take since Morrison’s run. Morrison expressed Batman as a symbol and explored what that meant in the past, present, and future. He brought Batman to the brink in numerous ways and then pushed him past it. Morrison understood that the power of Batman transcends the man himself. Snyder inverts that a little bit, and brings forth the question: What happens when the man is all that’s left? As Tom King uses his run to ask whether Batman can be happy while being Batman, and exploring that in every facet he can, Snyder’s exploring a future that, frankly, doesn’t care. This world happened without Batman and perhaps it was his fault.
A lot of the larger conclusions will come with the final issue, but Batman: Last Knight on Earth #2 answers how the world came to be this way, and admits that Superman may have won, but he still lost. The world draws influences from many previous runs and titles, but it is still very much its own. Whether or not you thought Snyder filled in the mantle of Batman during his flagship run, you can’t argue that he’s filling it now. This isn’t anything like Morrison or Snyder’s longer runs, this is its own trilogy. It’s bold ideas and new execution, which is exactly what we need from those writing Batman.
With his classic collaborators like Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion, FCO Plascencia, and Tom Napolitano by his side, Snyder’s ideas shine brightly. Capullo is one of the most intense and recognizable artists at DC, and Glapion and Plascencia support him beautifully. Napolitano has some astounding accents and flourishes that prove why he’s one of the best in the business. Batman: Last Knight on Earth is a very unique way to tell a story in the world of comics. The chapter pages aren’t just used as divisions. They bridge ideas, connect different worlds, and show how important design elements can be to the overall image of a book. It’s a true collaboration, and every element of Batman: Last Knight on Earth matters.
It’s easy to see why this is Snyder’s capstone and thesis statement. It connects all of the emotional and thematic elements to a world unlike anything we’ve ever seen. By making it a trilogy, each book feels big and important. This is Snyder’s Old Man Logan, and it’s just as fascinating as the Marvel title you love. It’s an infectious mix of horror, dystopian fiction, and intense drama that pulls you in and never lets go.