With Batman celebrating his 80th birthday this year he is coming off the massive high of Detective Comics #1000. While the majority of the issue was dedicated to celebrating the character Peter Tomasi teased the arrival of the Arkham Knight in the final story in Detective Comics #1000. The Arkham Knight is originally from the final Rocksteady Batman game who turned out to be Jason Todd’s pre-Red Hood identity. Given that Jason is already Red Hood and would have no reason to go after Bruce or anyone in the Batman Family, he is likely not this incarnation of the Arkham Knight. Who exactly this Arkham Knight is and why they have decide now to appear to haunt Batman will be interesting to find out. Let’s start learning the details now with Detective Comics #1001.
Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Artist: Brad Walker
Inker: Andrew Hennessy
Colorist: Nathan Fairbairn
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: In an unknown location within Gotham City the Arkham Knight inducts new members into the Knights of the Sun.
Elsewhere, at a park Commissioner Gordon has a GCPD cop start the clean up of a park that is filled with dozens of dead bats. He then contacts Batman to inform him on what is going on.
At the Batcave, Bruce is well aware of this as the Batcave is filled with dead bats all around him. While dissecting one of the bats Bruce talks with Alfred about how there have been various bat colonies that have died across Gotham City. Bruce is unable to find a clue as to why this phenomenon is happening. He decides to go to someone who can help and grabs his cape and cowl to go out for the night.
Elsewhere the Arkham Knight completes the device for the Knights of the Sun’s plans for Gotham City.
At the Langstrom lab, Batman finds Francine Langstrom struggling with containing the effects from the Man-Bat Serum. Batman asks for the Man-Bat serum so he can figure what is going on with all the dead bats. Batman asks Francine to help since Kirk is away working with the Justice League Dark. Francine says she wants to join Kirk and decides to inject herself with the Man-Bat serum.
Francine transforms into She-Bat and flies out the window. Batman is able to get on She-Bat’s back and tries to steer her away from hurting innocent people. She-Bat ends up flying them to the safari exhibit at the Gotham Park Zoo.
The landing knocks She-Bat out. Batman works quickly and injects She-Bat with the cure that transforms her back to Francine.
As Batman gets Francine to safety he spots a massive tower of light shooting up into the sky. Alfred contacts Batman that there has not been an explosion and that the tower of light has created a sun over Gotham City.
Batman goes to swing to the epicenter of the tower of light. When he does the Knights of the Sun attack him. While fighting them off Batman’s costume is pierced by the Knights of the Sun’s arrows, much to his surprise. When he counters with his own weapons he finds that they are all bouncing off the Knights of the Sun’s armor.
Batman is able to destroy a damaged column that causes part of a structure to collapse. This gives Batman a chance to get some distance between him and the Knights of the Sun.
The Knights of the Sun quickly close that distance by firing many arrows at Batman. Batman continues to fight off all of the Knights of the Sun.
When he notices some innocent bystanders are getting caught up in the fight Batman tries to draw all the knights to him with a smoke pellet.
Suddenly the Arkham Knight appears and deflects the smoke pellet back at Batman. This throws Batman off, giving the Arkham Knight a chance to pin Batman down with his foot. Arkham Knight states that a new day now dawns on Gotham City. End of issue.
The Good: Detective Comics #1001 does not waste time in setting up the plot around the Arkham Knight. The fast pace of pitting Batman and the Arkham Knight against each other came with its fair share of strengths and weaknesses. Which ones outweigh the other for the rest of this story arc will depend on how Peter Tomasi develops the Arkham Knight and the Knights of the Sun.
Not wasting time in having the Arkham Knight and the Knights of the Sun plans be executed was a major positive for Detective Comics #1001. Having this sense of immediacy when it comes to this new group showed the reader that they are not messing around. At least for now, this puts over how serious Batman must take them since they aren’t doing the stereotypical villain rant. They were all about pushing the attack and not letting up even when Batman was able to defend himself.
This quick action does raises the questions as to what the Knights of the Sun’s endgame is. We get a lot of talk of them taking over Gotham City from Batman. What we don’t know is what their exact motives are. Given that this was the first issue with them and the Arkham Knight it is good to have this mystery hang over this story. As long as we learn what their motives aren’t stretched out this set-up in Detective Comics #1001 will look good in the long-term.
Coming into conflict with the Arkham Knight and the Knights of the Sun also put Batman’s skills on display. He is normally prepared for any type of fight. This time Batman was in position where he had to improvise. In doing so we got to see a different side of Batman’s fighting style as he used his environment to his advantage. With how Batman’s normal fighting style is firmly established in our minds Tomasi created strong character development for the character in this way.
While the sub-plot was a miss, it was good to see Tomasi bring in Francine Langstrom to investigate the dead bat crisis. With how strange of a phenomenon this is it is logical for Batman to bring in someone close to Kirk Langstrom. There is no one closer than Francine. Seeing as she is still suffering from the after-effects of the Man-Bat serum it’ll be interesting to see where Tomasi goes with her character in all of this.
Brad Walker’s artwork throughout Detective Comics #1001 was solid. His best work was when Batman was battling She-Bat through Gotham City. Walker brought out how much Francine was suffering and her desperation to join Kirk. That added to how unpredictable Francine became once she turned into She-Bat. Similarly, Walker added to how the Knights of the Sun threw Batman off his game, forcing him to improvise a lot during their fight.
The Bad: While the pacing of Detective Comics #1001 had many positives it also came with some major problems. The biggest one is that it did not give time to develop who Arkham Knight is. As the main driving force for the Knights of the Sun we don’t learn much of what is making this version of the Arkham Knight. His hunt for Batman and Gotham City comes with zero motivation. All it seems like is that Arkham Knight wants to take control of Gotham City from Batman. But even that is not clear for what his motives are.
This quick pacing also meant that there wasn’t time dedicated to the Knights of the Sun. The opening hints at their being an elite group of knights within their ranks. But once we get to the Knights of the Sun vs Batman that is non-existent. They are all nameless grunts that are used as bodies to wear down Batman. This just makes the Knights of the Sun come across as nothing special. They are just another group like the League of Assassins who has one main figurehead, in this case Arkham Knight, and the rest of the group does not matter in the long run.
The dead bats around Gotham City also were badly developed. The randomness of this event did not work as intended. It would have been stronger if it had some connection to what the Arkham Knight was planning. Even if it was shown to be a way to threaten Batman it would have come across as a bigger deal. But since it didn’t the dead bat sub-plot came across as completely disconnected from everything else going on in Detective Comics #1001.
Overall: Peter Tomasi wasted no time in introducing the Arkham Knight to the DC Universe with Detective Comics #1001. The fast pace of this issue was able to put over how the Arkham Knight and the Knights of the Sun are going to be major threats to Batman. At the same time, the quick pacing meant that their motivations did not have time to develop. With the battle between the Arkham Knight and Batman intensifies this is something that is hopefully improved on in future issues of Detective Comics.
To comment on this article and other Comic Book Revolution content, visit our Facebook page, our Twitter feed, our Instagram feed. Catch up with all of Kevin’s other musings about comics, anime, TV shows, movies and more over on Twitter.