Batman: Last Knight On Earth got off to one heck of a start. Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo are clearly giving us the definitive end to their epic run on Batman together. The story set-up in the first issue was all well crafted as it built on all the elements that Snyder and Capullo introduced throughout the course of their Batman run. For this story, they are just going all out as Batman has been placed in the middle of a post-apocalyptic DC Universe with everything completely changed from what Bruce Wayne remembers. There are still a lot of questions as to what is really going on and how Batman can even overcome all the threats that exist on this version of the DC Universe. Let’s start finding that out with Batman: Last Knight On Earth #2.
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Greg Capullo
Inker: Jonathan Glapion
Colorist: FCO Plascencia
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: In his apartment Joe Chill is cooking some food when there is a knock on his door. Chill checks the knock and Batman immediately tackles him into the stove. Batman immediately questions Chill on the dead boy he found in the alley, who DNA tests show to be Chill’s son. Chill reveals he knows Bruce Wayne is Batman. Batman continues question Chill about the dead kid. Chill says that there is a reason he stole Bruce’s mother’s pearls and that tonight his house will burn as flames star consuming the apartment around them.
Batman suddenly wakes up in the desert with Joker’s head asking Batman if he can hear the yelling. Batman looks and sees that a Speed Force tornado is approaching them. Batman tries to ride his horse but the Speed Force tornado causes it to quickly age and die. Batman is able to instead climb up a mountain and into a tunnel away from the Speed Force tornado.
As the Speed Force tornado passes by Batman hears the voices of Barry Allen, Bart Allen, Wally West, Jay Garrick and other Speed Force users calling for help. Batman is only able to watch the tornado pass by him.
Sometime later Batman uses his glider to fly above Fort Waller where scientists like Professor Ivo and Sivana have set up a defensive base.
Batman then sees the soldiers leaving their barracks to fight a horde of creatures that approach the base. Several soldiers are killed during the battle. Eventually the remaining soldiers are able to use a special tank to set fire to the area and burn all the creatures to death.
Before the soldiers can rest after their victory Swamp Thing appears and kills all the soldiers in the area. Batman is able to dodge Swamp Thing’s attack and continues flying towards his destination.
Over at Gotham City Alfred is confronted by Bane and Scarecrow. Alfred does his best to keep Bane and Scarecrow back by using a shotgun. Scarecrow easily gets right behind Alfred and stabs him in the face with several syringes.
As Alfred succumbs to Scarecrow’s drugs Bane and Scarecrow’s leader, Omega appears. Omega comforts Alfred by saying he saved the Waynes from their death. Alfred is shocked when he recognizes Omega’s voice as someone Bruce helped a lot in the past. But that is too late as Alfred passes away on the streets.
Elsewhere Batman makes his way through the Plains of Solitude. The Joker head keeps asking Batman question like if he can be Batman’s new Robin. Batman continues saying no. Batman eventually gets frustrated and demands Joker’s head to tell him who is left in the world. When Joker’s head just wants to joke around Batman gets tired enough to admit that he was hoping to find Superman in the Plains of Solitude.
Suddenly a rocket similar to the spaceship Superman crash landed on Earth in when he was a baby crashes nearby. More rockets show up and Batman is barely able to avoid them. He is eventually caught by one of the explosions.
An old Superman appears and carries Batman to safety.
A little later Batman questions Superman about the world and where they are. Superman leads Batman out of the Plains of Solitude and shows him the Kent Farm.
Batman continues to question Superman about what is going on. Superman doesn’t answer any of the questions. Instead he only tells Batman to follow him.
Eventually an old and haggard Lex Luthor appears. Lex reveals that the Superman that Batman has been interacting with is not the real one. Batman asks where the real Superman is. Lex says that Superman is all around them.
He then shows Batman a farmhouse full of Superman clones he has made by using Kryptonian cells. Lex goes on to say this has all been done so he can bring the real Superman back.
Lex then takes Batman to his lab where he reveals through the use of Ray Palmer’s white dwarf technology, an Apokoliptian fire pit and Brainiac’s crown he was able to create a space-time wormhole to take Superman from the time period when as a baby he was launched from a dying Krypton to the present. Batman continues to ask Lex what happened.
Lex finally reveals that sometime in the past Superman learned about how he placed Kryptonian shards underground. Lex then challenged Superman to a debate on what side the public would side with: good or evil. Lex promised not to pull any tricks and make it a fair debate by using Starro tech to see who the public honestly chose. From there the Kryptonian shards would activate and kill the loser.
When they finally had the debate Superman easily won the public’s opinion that good was better than evil. Afterwards as they waited for the Kryptonian shards to kill Lex Superman instinctively pushed Lex out of the way. Unfortunately the shards ended up piercing Superman, killing him instantly.
Lex admits to Batman it was all a mistake he has tried to fix by even creating another Batman but the world still blew up. Lex then admits that every Kal-El rocket he brings from the past ends up just having a dead Superman inside. The old Superman clone appears and immediately tackles Batman and Lex through the house.
Once outside Bane and Scarecrow appear. Scarecrow tells Batman that they have angered Omega. Scarecrow then orders the clone Superman to show Omega’s wrath to Batman. Superman does as he is told.
When the clone Superman is about to deliver a back breaker to Batman Wonder Woman appears out of nowhere. She immediately slashes the clone Superman. She is eventually able to kill the clone Superman before it kills Batman.
The other clone Superman spill out of the farmhouse and fly towards Batman, Wonder Woman and Lex. Batman asks Lex about a portal. Lex directs Batman and Wonder Woman where it is. He then decides to stay behind to give Batman and Wonder Woman time to escape. Lex then uses the Brainiac crown to attract all the Superman clone sto him.
Batman and Wonder Woman eventually make it to a place where the ground feels odd. They discover that what they are standing on is Spectre’s cloak that is hiding the portal Lex told them about. They immediately go into the portal before the others notice them.
Eventually Batman and Wonder Woman sail through Limbo’s River of the Dead. Wonder Woman warns Batman not to give into the temptation of the river to jump into the water because he would be lost forever. Batman asks Wonder Woman if Omega is a younger version of himself. Wonder Woman says that no one knows who Omega is. Batman says he can feel a link with Omega that tells him he is responsible for the threat.
Batman then starts hearing voices and sees all the dead heroes standing on an island together. Wonder Woman tells Batman to avoid listening to those voices as they are not real. Batman sees Alfred on the island with the dead heroes and almost jumps into the water. Wonder Woman is able to calm Batman down so he doesn’t jump in when he admits he is okay.
Batman then wonders if this is all a mistake and that the GemWorld is the eden they should live in. Wonder Woman admits that she has lived a long time to see the world move forward and backwards. She goes on to say they can’t stop being who they are. Batman questions that if he follows with his true character that he would just end up dooming everyone.
Wonder Woman says that Batman was the guy who held the door open when things happened. Batman asks why he should follow through with things again. Wonder Woman says it is because he is the guy who held the door open.
Eventually Batman and Wonder Woman make it back to Gotham City that has a massive Omega signal lighting the night sky. Wonder Woman wonders what Batman’s strategy is to take back the city. Batman talks about how he once snuck onto a heavily protected island that was hidden by a divine vail. Wonder Woman asks if this island was Themyscira. Batman says he only knew it as Paradise Island back in the day.
Just as he was about to say how he made it inland voices start talking to Batman and Wonder Woman from the shadows. They are then surrounded by an army of Court of Owls’ Talons. The Talons tell Batman and Wonder Woman they have been sentenced to death.
As the Talons talk Batman recognizes one of the voices and asks if it is “him” under the Talon mask. Dick Grayson takes off his Talon mask and is stunned to see Bruce again. End of issue.
The Good: The first issue made it clear that Batman: Last Knight On Earth was not made for those that did not read Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman run. Batman: Last Knight On Earth #2 reaffirms that as this issue is built around all the concepts that Snyder and Capullo introduced during their run. As a fan who read and enjoyed Snyder and Capullo’s Batman run this is exactly what I wanted to see from the conclusion of their work together.
What makes Batman: Last Knight On Earth #2 special is the fact that it does come across as the last Batman story. This is not only a wrap up to Snyder and Capullo’s run but an idea of what Batman’s final adventure would be during that creative run. Whether Batman wins or loses is not necessarily the endgame. This is about how this version of Bruce Wayne deals with a world that has completely descended upon madness.
Given the state of the world it’s been interesting to see Bruce take on a much more adventurer role in Batman: Last Knight On Earth. With each step he takes Bruce finds more and more surprises in the state of the world. Nothing is like Bruce remembers. Whether it is a Speed Force storm nearly killing him or flying above a war between soldiers and zombie-like creatures. One wrong move in this world and it will be the complete end for Bruce. For better or worse, he is a visitor of this world and has to venture out to figure out how he can best help.
This issue does an even better job in building out the history for this version of the DC Universe. Snyder does this by bringing in elements of his current run on the Justice League with his use of Lex Luthor. A lot of the backstory that Snyder lays out works within the framework of what Lex has been doing with the Legion of Doom and Year of the Villain direction. A lot of the history for Lex and Superman is implied but makes sense if in his own way Snyder told us what the final conflict would be between the two.
Superman winning the final confrontation between the two as Lex threw down his final card by having a debate of good vs. evil was an excellent turn. It once again showed that no matter what Lex could do Superman would always win in the end. Lex coming to terms with this as he was inspired by Superman’s speech was a good starting point for where his character ended up. Because without winning that debate Superman sacrificing himself for Lex wouldn’t have as much impact as possible and explain why Lex would be obsessed with bringing Superman back at all cost, even to his own sanity. It made Lex’s own sacrifice so Batman and Wonder Woman to escape a great character moment in the middle of Batman’s journey.
This worked well into developing how powerful of a foe that Omega is. Seeing how villains like Bane and Scarecrow, who normally act on their own, working for Omega it showed that they are incredibly powerful. Adding to that power was how Omega easily got the army of Superman clones to fight and almost kill Batman. The design for the character with the modified black and red Talon costume was another point of elevating the character into a threat that feels almost unstoppable.
It is still unknown who Omega is though given their ties to the Court of Owls and how Alfred reacted to their voice it does seem to be one of Bruce’s proteges. We can likely strike Dick Grayson off the list of suspects since he was shown to be a Talon under the Court of Owls. Since they were creations of Snyder and Capullo’s Harper Row and Duke Thomas could be placed at the top of the list of who Omega is.
All that said it was interesting to see Snyder continue to play with the idea of Bruce being a guy that just can’t give up on the hope he has. Even when he does not know how he can actually save the world he marches forward until he can come up with a solution. That is an element to Bruce’s character that not only Snyder but other Batman writers like King and Tomasi have played with.
Having Wonder Woman be the character that Batman bounces off his current views with was a great choice. She is someone that has never been afraid to challenge Batman’s way of thinking. At the same time they share a great deal of respect towards each other no matter their disagreements. Snyder does a great job showing that respect with how they talk with each other when they sail through limbo. Having them wear the Lasso of Truth added another layer to their conversation as they were comfortable with each other to fully open up with each other.
The conversation also helped push Bruce to have to accept the reality of the world and how the majority of people he knew and loved were dead. Specifically, Bruce learning that Alfred is now dead when he saw all his other superhero friends in Limbo was an excellent way of providing a strong emotional story beat. The fact that Wonder Woman was not going to stop Batman from diving in and ending their journey together added to the weight of both their decisions to sneak into Gotham City and confront Omega.
Ending Batman: Last Knight On Earth #2 with Dick Grayson revealing to Batman and Wonder Woman that he is a Talon was a great hook ending. This brings full circle the fact that the Grayson family had a history with being involved with the Court of Owls as Talon candidates. It also puts into question to what is really going on with Omega. Because from the looks of it Dick was still in control of himself since he looked and acted normal when he took off his Talon mask. If that is the case than even more questions are raised into what is truly going on in this world Batman has woke up in.
Those questions are made even greater given how Snyder framed the opening scene of Batman confrontation with Joe Chill. This seemed to be a dream given that Joe Chill has never been shown to know that Bruce Wayne was Batman. But since Batman went after Chill because of his case with the dead boy he found there could be even more to this present day scene than it appears. How all of this comes together with the battle against Omega will be very interesting to see.
With all the world building that was done in Batman: Last Knight On Earth #2 Greg Capullo delivered highly consistent and great looking art. Capullo did an excellent job using the flashback scenes to show us what the DCU was like and how it was completely different in the future that Batman has found himself in. The aging in Lex Luthor and Wonder Woman showed how chaotic things have become. The designs in general were all well done and elevated this issue that was very dialogue heavy. The one big action sequence of Wonder Woman coming to save Batman from the Superman clones made great use of the Black Label publishing line for DC.
The Bad: The strength of Batman: Last Knight On Earth being the conclusion to Snyder and Capullo’s creative run on the franchise was also its greatest weakness. This second issue solidified the fact that Batman: Last Knight On Earth is not for casual Batman fans. This is a series built for those who read Snyder and Capullo’s Batman run. If you did not read their run than there are a lot of important things that will be lost. From the interactions between Batman and Joker to the appearances of Omega and Dick Grayson. This is a story that readers need to read the majority of Snyder and Capullo’s run to fully appreciate how this is their own version of Batman’s final story.
Overall: The world building that was done in Batman: Last Knight On Earth #2 was fantastic. Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo have developed a post-apocalyptic world filled with potential. The interactions Batman has with Wonder Woman, Lex Luthor and Joker helped this issue move at a steady pace that never felt slow. How Batman deals with this world and reacts to everything he learns lays the groundwork for a stellar final issue for Batman: Last Knight On Earth.
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