The last chapter of the “Knightmares” story arc was extremely disappointing. Rather than regain its momentum after Batman took a break to take part in a crossover with The Flash the opposite ended up happening. Even though I appreciate that Tom King is trying to explore Batman’s psyche in a different manner “Knightmares” is quickly losing its way. Given the quality storytelling that King has delivered before this story arc things can easily turn around. But that will mean King will have to start piecing things together for the bigger story he is crafting in his Batman run. Will things turn around with chapter five of “Knightmares?” Let’s find out with Batman #67.
Writer: Tom King
Artists: Lee Weeks and Jorge Fornes
Colorist: Lovern Kindzierski
Story Rating: 2 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Batman confronts a masked figure that just killed someone on the rooftops. The masked figure jumps off the roof and uses a telephone line to swing through a window into a nearby apartment. Batman swings after him and chases him through the apartment complex.
The masked figure jumps to another building but doesn’t stick the landing. Batman uses this opening to tie the masked figure by his foot and dangle him. The masked figure is able to get out of his shoe.
The masked figure then jumps down to the street with Batman chasing closely.
As the chase goes on they end up in another building. While trying to get away the masked figure slips off a staircase. Batman is able to hit the masked figure with a batarang to make him crash onto the floor safely. Batman then lands on top of the masked figure, who kicks him off the floor.
The masked figure makes a break for it again. As that happens Batman recovers from falling and continues to give chase.
Batman is able to catch up the masked figure in time to tackle him into the Porky’s Bar. (The same bar owned by the human version of Porky Pig living in Gotham City from the Batman/Elmer Fudd Special.)
Porky is stunned to see Batman on his bar. The masked figure recovers first and continues running away. Porky directs Batman to where the masked figure went.
When Batman gets outside he notices the masked figure likely went into the sewers. Batman quickly goes into the sewer to continue the chase.
Batman notices blood in the sewer water and follows the trail. He eventually corners the masked figure at the end of the sewers.
Batman tackles the masked figure into the sewer water. Batman is able to unmask the person and notice he looks like Joker.
Batman thinks about what happened, revealing the person dead on the rooftop was Wile E. Coyote. Batman realizes the masked figure is not the Joker, he is actually the Road Runner. The Road Runner takes out a horn to make “BEEP, BEEP” sound at Batman’s face. End of issue.
The Good: On a concept level, as a standalone story Batman #67 would’ve been a cool one-shot comic to purchase. But Batman #67 is not supposed to be a one-shot story. This is a comic that is supposed to progress the “Knightmares” story to its next stage. That never happens with Batman #67, causing what could’ve been a cool story to lose its way due to not progressing the main plot at all.
The positive choice that was made in Batman #67 by King was to use the phenomenal Lee Weeks and Jorge Fornes talents to tell the story. Weeks and Fornes combine to deliver on telling the story through their artwork alone. No dialogue was needed with how Weeks and Fornes were able to build the mystery around the masked figure very well. The entire time we are left wondering who could this person be that continued to elude Batman. The surprise on Batman’s face each time the masked figure got away added to everything going on. It built nicely to the reveal once King added context to which world we were on with the final page of minimal inner monologue.
The Bad: An issue like Batman #67 puts into question if the writer has lost his way when it comes to the direction of a story. There was absolutely nothing added to the “Knightmares” story arc. At no point do we learn how this is supposed to continue to explore Batman’s psyche or how this nightmare sequence is hurting him mentally. The entire structure of the story was purely a one-shot that could have easily been skipped without missing a beat in the “Knightmares” story.
Batman #67 is nothing more than a sequel to the Batman/Elmer Fudd Special that was released back in 2017. While that special, which King and Weeks worked on together, was fantastic there was absolutely no reason given why this Looney Tunes-DC Universe world was chosen to further the “Knightmares” story. Given that this is supposed to be an alternate world that both DC and Looney Tunes characters exist in there is context given why Batman from the current DCU continuity would know about it. This wasn’t a world he existed in and the Porky Bar has never been part of Gotham City outside of the Batman/Elmer Fudd Special.
That is the other big problem with Batman #67. Since this world was from a completely separate one-shot that was only picked up by those that read the DC Comics/Looney Tunes crossover comics it had no meaning to King’s Batman run. Even with how phenomenal the Batman/Elmer Fudd Special was it is a comic that was not read by everyone that is just reading King’s Batman run. Because of that a lot of the callbacks will fall flat and alienate readers who did not read that special.
Since the chase between Batman and the human version of the Road Runner went on there was no reason some tie-in to the greater “Knightmares” narrative wasn’t implemented. Even small things like the villains Bane assembled having cameo appearances as background characters in the different locations the chase happened would’ve made the story much better. Without that connective tissue this turns out to be a comic that can be completely skipped without losing nothing.
With Batman #67 being the fifth chapter of “Knightmares” it is completely unacceptable to have an issue that is filler. At this point we should be nearing the end of this story rather than just staying in place. If King and DC really wanted to have a sequel for the Batman/Elmer Fudd Special then just release a new one shot with Road Runner. Given the importance “Knightmares” is supposed to have towards King’s run the perception that is given by Batman #67 is that the story is being stretched out when it should be over by now.
Overall: Batman #67 does absolutely nothing to progress Tom King’s “Knightmares” story arc. We are left standing still as King decided to write a sequel for his Batman/Elmer Fudd Special from 2017. That would’ve been great if this was done in a separate one-shot comic titled Batman/Road Runner Special. But with the importance “Knightmares” is supposed to have towards King’s epic Batman run this is unacceptable. The saving grace for Batman #67 is that we were treated to phenomenal artwork from Lee Week and Jorge Fornes.
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